Thursday, 5 March 2009

How To Make a Complex Kaleidoscope Cane in Polymer Clay - It's Simple!

Kaleidoscope caning is one of my favourite techniques to use with polymer clay and lots of my beads are made using these canes. I thought it might be fun to show you how I make one.

First choose your colours, for this cane I have decided to go monochrome.

Condition your clay really well. You can use a Pasta Machine or a roller or your hands, whichever is easiest for you.

Here are my sheets after I have finished conditioning and I have put them through the Pasta Machine on a medium setting, about #4 on mine.

Next, make some interesting elements. Here I have made a Jelly Roll Cane, a Striped Cane and some plain "sausages". I have a couple of small sheets also.

Then combine them in whatever way you like, I try to keep them in a general right angle triangle shape, loosely speaking!
Then I reduce the cane, refining the shape as I go into a more recognisable right angle triangle - please note that this is not an exact science in my case!

When the cane is about 4 inches long I cut it in half and then combine the two halves, mirroring the image.
Now we have an almost square shape. Reduce the cane again, refining the square as you gently pull, squeeze, tug, smooth or whatever your preferred method of reduction is.
I then cut the cane into four equal lengths and again, mirroring the images, combine the four into one larger square.

One more final reduction and here is your finished Kaleidoscope Cane.
Of course, it does not need to finish there - you can reduce yet again and recombine, change the shape of the cane from a square to a circle for example. Add another cane , or several. Cut the cane in half and then cut lengthways and recombine. The possibilities are endless!
Here are my beads I made from this cane, cut, pierced and awaiting baking!
Now I just have to make something gorgeous with them!

Very Berry

I finished making two lots of Berry Beads yesterday and sanded and polished them up today.

They take a lot of work, but I really like the graphic element of the black and pearl canework against the soft shimmer of the beads. I have been playing with the idea of doing black beads with coloured canework, but have not tried it yet. Still not sure in my mind whether that would work or not.

Ihave also made a black and white Kaleidoscope cane and have taken pictures of the different stages of construction, which I will post later today - lots and lots of photos, but I thought it might be interesting to show a little of my process in cane making. Be warned though - my cane making is not an exact science, more of an organic process!