Polymer clay is a wonderful, versatile material used to make an amazing range of things including jewelry, decorative boxes, and an endless parade of creatures. With a little patience, kids can easily be taught how to make some basic canes and some impressive marbling. Strange and wonderful results await.
- polymer clay in an assortment of colours e.g. Fimo, Sculpey
- acrylic roller
- small piece of wood
- wooden skewer
- razor blade (to be used by or with an adult)
- baking sheet
Polymer clay canes are long shapes of combined colours which, when sliced in cross section, reveal the most amazing patterns. Once a number of canes and marbled pieces have been made and sliced, they can be pressed together and assembled to create an interesting looking creation. Little creatures can also easily be added to the mix.
A glass table is perfect for working with polymer clay, although any clean surface will do. Make sure you have a small piece of wood on hand when using the razor blade. It provides a good cutting surface which doesn’t dull the blade too quickly.
1. To make a cane select a colour of clay, and using your hand, roll it into a long, thin worm-like piece, no more than 2 inches long. Now choose another colour, roll out a thin, flat piece of similar length, cut straight lengthwise edges, and wrap around the first colour. Trim the ends and set aside.
2. To make the black and white striped pattern you see in the photos, roll out a layer of white clay, and a layer of black clay. Once they are quite thin, use a razor blade to cut them into small rectangles of similar size, so you have four of each colour. Stack them, alternating the colours. Use the blade to trim the edges so they are nice and straight. Slice several thin, lengthwise layers to wrap around the long shape previously made. You may have to trim the final layer of stripes so it fits in properly. Roll gently and trim edges.
3. Roll out another colour to wrap around the black and white layer. Where seams meet, gently rub with a finger, and roll on a hard surface so it disappears. Trim edges. At this point, it’s probably already looking pretty cool. You can choose to leave it this way and slice layers in cross section, or keep adding layers of colours.
4. For a two coloured cane with a simple marbled look, roll out two colours until fairly thin and of similar size. Trim to create a straight lengthwise edge. Place one on top of the other with one colour slightly overlapping, and roll them lengthwise. Trim edges and cut in cross sections. You may want them to be in varying lengths to create different heights when assembling all the pieces together.
5. You can keep adding layers to make thicker canes like in the photo. Always trim the edges once finished.
6. You can also consider using left over pieces and trimmed edges to create marbled clay which can be shaped into a variety of things, including swirls. Simply twist all the pieces together, but don’t over mix or all the colours will blend together, and the marble effect will disappear. Roll out into long shapes and create swirls.
7. On a baking sheet, assemble all the pieces you’ve made into an interesting looking arrangement, making sure they touch each other so they stick together once baked. For baking instructions, follow directions on the package. Dollar stores have all sorts of plaques, frames, and shadow boxes you may want to use to display what you’ve made. A glue gun will help secure it.