Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Art Fire and Thanksgiving

I have been awfully busy lately, you see I have decided after a long time to sign up with art fire. I still will list on Etsy of course, but art fire has a lot of things Etsy does not. For example, art fire gives you tools for stats. Right now they are running a promotion that if you get ten people refered to the site you get unlimited listing for free. This is normally $20.00 per month, which right now is $7.00 per month for a different promotion.

I'm really excited, and hey if you are interested in art fire feel free to use my refer link. Yes a little shameless promoting haha! ;)

My referal link:

Register on

I wanted to let everyone know that I will be busy this coming weekend with Thanksgiving and all. I did get my first custom order from my Husbands work too. I am making a custom black bear family Christmas tree ornament, so excited. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, and I shall be back on Monday with new tutorials, techniques, and lots of giggles.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Featured Etsy Seller: 1337art

I've been busy this week learning how to sculpt dragons. Hopefully I will be able to show you all a picture of my first dragon. Right now she, my hubby decided it's a girl dragon, is at my Husband's work climbing up his cubical wall.

Actually the subject of dragons does bring me to 1337art's shop, I'll explain later haha. :)

Who Did I Discover:

A shop with a variety of items with the motto: "Elite art for those elite at heart." This shop includes jewelry, men accessories, hair accessories, key chains, and bookmarks in it's inventory.

Who Is 1337art?

1337art or rather leetart meaning elite art is a female from Washington. She is also a licensed business as I'm sure many people on Etsy are.

You can fine 1337 shop by clicking here.

My Top Picks are:

1) With such a variety in 1337art's shop it was difficult to narrow it down to three, but I did. My first pick are these very pretty magnets called Flaming magnets.

I am partial to red and black, so these did grab my attention right away. Plus they magnets are very handy in my house. :)

2) Next up would be dogs and bones pewter bookmark. The pet lover in me couldn't resist. ;)

I do not have a dog myself, these are still just so cute! I am also warming up to pewter, good combination here.

3) My most favorite item from 1337art's shop is well, remember how I said that dragons brought me to 1337art's shop? Here is, dragon whisper masculine necklace:

Okay so this necklace is in the "men accessories" section, but I would buy it in a second if I could myself. ;) I love the detailing of the dragon, as well as the fact that it's pewter. Gives it more of an aged look.

1337art's Advice To Beginners:

" Start out small and learn from your mistakes. Experiment with techniques and materials until you find out where your niche is...never give up; we're in a competitive market. "

My Final Words:

1337art's shop has a variety of different items for both men and women. I believe that's an important quality in a shop to gear towards different people. Also I do like her pewter. I hope you enjoyed this feature! :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

BTB: Which Polymer Clay Type is Better?

I have decided to start up a new series of posts called "BTB" or rather Back To Basics. These posts are not just for beginners, they may have valid information for more experienced polymer clay workers too! ;)

To Discuss:

Today I thought I would touch upon a very important question that most ask when researching polymer clay. This question would be "Which Polymer Clay Type is Better?" I know this was a question I had, that required a lot of independent experimenting by myself. I do believe that experimentation is a good thing; however, saving money on not buying all the types of polymer clay is also good. :P

Types of Polymer Clay:

There are many types of polymer clay and it is important to know their names, before you just grab the first one on the shelf at the local craft store. ;) Below are pictures, as well as titles to different types of polymer clay.

(The above picture is not mine! It belongs to "Garies Shop," a link is found under the tests section :) )

From the picture above you can see several types of polymer clay, most of these are the more popular brand names that you will see in common craft stores. The exceptions being Cernit and Kato, I have only seen them in Hobby Lobby once.

Under some of the brand names there are several different sub-categories, for lack of a better word, of polymer clay. Below I have organized them under the brand name.


1) Fimo Classic: This was the first of polymer clays to hit the market
2) Fimo Soft: Softer then classic, formula changed.
3) Fimo Effects: These usually include glitter, and metallic effects built into the clay.

4) Fimo Puppin: This was made specifically with doll makers in mind. It comes in several "skin colors."

5) Fimo Decorating Gel: This is actually Fimo liquid clay. It is transparent, and good for transferring as well.


1) Studio by Sculpey: Has lots of colors for decorating.
2) Sculpey III: Very soft, made for sculpting
3) Premo Sculpey: Lots of colors and different effects to be made.
4) Sculpey Liquid Clay: Transparent in nature, can be used like Fimo's liquid clay.

The Tests:

Now that you know most of the polymer clay types out there, I can now show you some tests that have been performed by fellow polymer clay workers. :) These are all unscientific tests, meaning not done in a lab; however, very informative! Below I will summarize, as well as link, to different tests that have been done.

1) The first set of tests are from "Garies Shop." They did a test on flexibility, and strength by stetching the clay with a weighted scale. They also bent each cured peice of clay 140 times, unless it broke before 140 times were up.

Garies Shop Results:

"After the above tests, the contender is Cernit Polymer Clay, next Kato Polymer Clay, then Sculpey Studio, Fimo Classic, Sculpey Firm, Fimo Soft, Sculpey Premo, Super Sculpey and Sculpey III."

Here is the website to their test:

2) The next test I found on gigagraphica's site. There tests were on conditioning time, needle poke, finger pressure, and the noodle. The noodle test consisted of making each type of polymer clay into long "noodles" then curing them. After curing each noodle was then bent, and stretched to determine flexibility. ;)

The picture above is from gigagraphica's site, and shows the noodle test. :)

Gigagraphica's Results:

"Cernit was the most flexible after curing. It bent and stretched quite a bit without breaking.
Durability rating: very good

Fimo Soft was extremely durable after curing. It was flexible, not breaking when bent, but finally breaking when stretched. Durability rating: excellent

Premo was durable and flexible after curing. It flexed without breaking, and stretched a bit
before breaking. Durability rating: good to very good

Sculpey III was not durable after curing. It was brittle, crumbly, and stiff, and took very little bending to break. Did not stretch at all without breaking. Durability rating: poor

Super Sculpey was somewhat flexible but broke and crumbled when tested with mild abuse. Durability rating: fair to poor"

Test Link:

My Final Words:

I have to say that these tests are amazing to look at and I wish I had thought to look online to find them before I started experimenting. Really each test is to be taken with a grain of salt; however, I find them to have lots of information. These tests can help one to make a final decision, but that decision in the end is still yours to make. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Technique Time: Inclusions

Inclusions are very fun to work with when it comes to polymer clay. I will only be showing just a small sample of what materials one can use, be creative and experiment. ;)

What Are Inclusions:

For polymer clay inclusions are materials that you can put into the clay, and then bake. These materials may change the texture, color, or simply the look of the polymer clay. Some inclusions include glitter, mica powders, sand, shells, glass, foils, and much more.

Why Should I use Inclusions:

Inclusions can be used for varies looks including for making faux materials. It can give your polymer clay a more diverse look, not to mention it's a whole lot of fun!

How Do I Use Inclusions:

I am actually going to discuss a few of my favorite inclusions that I use in my polymer clay items. I often mix and match these materials to get great results. :)

1) Glitter:

A. Glitter can be used in two ways one is to have heat resistant glitter and simply mix it into the clay, then bake. The glitter should also be ultra fine, as the picture below shows.

B. The second way of using glitter is to use transparent liquid clay. First you put on the transparent liquid clay, I use fimo liquid, covering all areas you will be putting glitter on. Then you simply mix the glitter into the liquid clay. Since the liquid clay is transparent, you can really see the glitter sparkle! You may wish to mix it in with a Popsicle stick as well, it can get sticky.

Here we have a plain sheet of transparent clay:

Now to compare is the sheet of transparent clay with glitter and transparent liquid clay. Love that sparkle:

2) Mica Powders:

Mica powders are very fine particles that can be baked directly into the clay. I love using Pearl-X mica powders.

Tip: One will want to wear a mask so you do not breath in the fine particles, as it can get into your lungs. Also, you may want to work with it away from children and animals.
This material can be used in the same way glitter is, either into clay or used with transparent liquid clay. In the pendant below I used both techniques with different colored mica powders.

The blue and green clay is actually mica powders mixed into transparent clay, while the silver-ish colored dots is mica powder mixed with transparent liquid clay. Mica powders mixed with liquid clay can give it a glass like look.

3) Foils:

Foils can be put into clay, as well as be used as on top of clay. When it is in clay it is considered an inclusion. The foils I use are "John Tones." In the pendant below I used colored foil with transparent clay.

This pendant actually includes all of the inclusions I have mentioned in this post to give the look of faux dichroic glass. :) The purple lines, and white teardrop shapes is the foil.

Question to answer: Can you find the rest of the inclusions in my faux dichroic glass pendant?

If you need more pictures of this pendant it is listed here:

My Final Words:

There are many more inclusions to experiment with, I'm sure I haven't even found them all. Some of them do get a little messy, and soon your work space will be colorful and sparkly with glitters and the like. ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Updates on Mom + Featured: Spazzy

Hi everybody. First off I just wanted to thank everyone who has given your thoughts towards my mother. I really appreciate it. :) Oh and kat, I am putting you on my blog list *points to the right.*

Right now she is apparently waiting for a "packet" from her doctor via postal mail. She has no ideal what is in this "packet," but it may explain a little more about her situation. She is feeling a lot better, and in fact is back to her old routine this Halloween. She has bought doughnuts and apple cider for her grandchildren. ;)

On that happy note, I bring you today a new featured Etsy Member!

Who Did I Discover:

I found a little shop ran by Spazzy! Spazzy's shop is full of beautiful hand-spun, and hand-dyed yarn. Plus a little section called "gifts and more."

Who is Spazzy:

A stay at home mother of two, who loves to spin yarn. Her interest with yarn began at a young age when she was given vintage knitting needles by her Nana. Many of her yarns are also eco-friendly (animal free), giving a variety of choices for those who knit. :)

You can find Spazzy's shop by clicking here.

My Top Picks Are:

1) "Build Your Own Gift Basket: Brown and Blue"

I love the color blue and these brown goes especially nice with it. Also it's something I could make myself! ;)

2) Next up is...."Reflection: Handdyed Yarn"

The green, blue, and yellow swirls mellow me out man..(kidding :P). In all seriousness though, the colors really compliment each other well. Also one can't even tell this yarn is handdyed it was done so beautifully.

3) My most favorite item from Spazzy's shop would have to be the "Angel Wings Handspun Eco Yarn."

This yarn just looks so fluffy and soft. It makes me wish I knew how to knit, so I could make a warm soft blanket with it. :)

Spazzy's Advice To Beginners:

" My advice would be to take your time and not expect your first tries to look like yarn. "

My Final Words:

For those who knit or do other crafts with yarn I would recommend Spazzy's shop. She is very creative with her yarn and everything is done by hand. All of her yarn looks very professional as well as soft and comfortable. Sometimes I wish I could make blankets with yarn, especially since it's winter and Etsy is way too tempting. ;)

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Appologies/ Cancer Awareness

I wish to give my apologies for not being able to post most of this week. Unfortunately life happens, and not always for the better.

A month ago my Mother was having dizzy spells to the point where she could not walk without bumping into walls. She ended up doing an MRI and they found a lump. They decided to make another appointment for a second MRI to get a better look. The wait for the next MRI appointment was horrible and I would not wish it on anyone. Fortunately the lump is on the protective film that covers the skull and spine. This means that the lump isn't touching her brain. They have now decided to wait another year to see if it grows before they do another MRI, because the dizzy spells have ceased and my Mother has been feeling better for a while. If it is growing then my mother will need brain surgery to remove the lump, at this time it is unknown if the lump is cancerous.

My Mother and I have always been close, our personalities are a lot alike and I owe my own values and morals to her. During this entire situation I have been back and forth to my parents house along with my Hubby, we live two hours away so it was impossible to be online much except late at night for a couple hours.

I will try to post a new post regarding polymer clay this weekend. I wanted to post this to really encourage you all to be tested if you have similar symptoms of my Mother. Cancer awareness is something I have always supported, and even more so since this event has happened.

Please send your thoughts out to my Mother and Father.

~Blessed Be

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Technique Time: Poly +Others

Today I have been boiling sticks, soaking sticks, peeling bark, putting a wood finish on the sticks.....oh and yes this does have to do with polymer clay! Polymer clay can be used with many other materials to get interesting and unique looks. :)

Why Should I use Other Materials and Polymer Clay?

Well first of all it's a lot of fun. ;) Also using different materials with polymer clay will diversify the craft, polymer clay is so flexible when it comes to how to use it.

What Kind of Materials can I use with Polymer Clay?

Here is just a short list of materials you can use with polymer clay to give you item(s) a look all it's own.

a) Glass (Dichroic glass is a good example)

b) Wood

c) Fabrics

d) Paper

e) Metals

f) Silverware

g) Foils

h) Glass beads

i) Marbles

and the list goes on and on and on....! ;)

How Do I use Other Materials with Polymer Clay?

1) With many materials you would simply be gluing polymer clay to it after the clay item(s) are cured. This holds true for materials that can not stand the heat of an oven such as paper, wood, and fabrics. I suggest using Soba glue for these porous materials as shown below.

2) Other materials that you can bake into the clay are called inclusions. They include all items that can stand the heat of the oven, some testing may be needed! Most glass, and metals should do fine though. I will discuss inclusions in a future post.

3) Today I am going to show you how to prepare wooden sticks to use with polymer clay. First thing I did was check the lawn for sticks. Then I boiled the sticks up in a pot for 30 minutes. Then soaking them in this very hot water with a little bleach for another 30 minutes.

As you can see from the picture above I gathered several sticks of various sizes, and thicknesses. If your sticks have any growth on them (fungus, moss, mushrooms, etc.) please throw these away.

4) Then I peeled the bark off with this cheap (dollar store brand) carrot peeler.

Now you will want to cut off any sharp ends, I used a garden cutter.

Sanding the wood is also important, careful of splinters!

5) After the stick was peeled finally I applied a few coats of wood finish,one of the finishes I use for my polymer clay actually. ;)

6) Now the finished sticks can be used in multiple projects. Just a few ideas off of the top of my head are:

a) Hanging polymer clay pieces off of it to create a door hanger.

b) Gluing polymer clay pieces to it, adding some ribbon, to make a wand.

c) Making a wooden stick frame decorated with polymer clay, but of course.

7) Not all materials take a lot of preparation when it comes to mixing it with polymer clay. For example, I am using fleece on the back of polymer clay, that shall be dangling, so the item does not make a loud bang noise if it hits a wall, door, etc. It also protects against scratches.

8) One can also decorate glass mirrors, and candle holders by simply gluing the polymer clay pieces onto the glass or baking them while on the glass.

9) As you can see from my final door hanger I have used several different materials with polymer clay these include, wood, fleece, ribbon, and wire. Just in one item! ;)

My Final Words:

Using a variety of materials along with polymer clay can really inspire your creativity. It's interesting to see what you can make, and I recommend everyone to at least experiment. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Featured Etsy Seller: SweetRoxs

Yupe it's that time again! ;)

Who Did I Discover:

This Monday I found SweetRoxs who's etsy shop is full of bright jewelry, and warm wearable knitted items.

Who Is SweetRoxs?

SweetRoxs is actually made from Lully (the sweet one), who knits diligently and Roxy (the silly one) who loves making jewelry. Roxy uses a combination of colors, glass beads, and Swarovski crystals to make her unique pieces of jewelry. Lully uses warm and soft wool to knit with. :)

You can find SweetRoxs shop by clicking here.

My Top Picks Are:

1) If you do not like snakes then you may wish to skip this pick. ;) This is after all the "Beaded Ceramic Snake necklace."

I tried to warn you! I really like how the beads and cobra snake match. The colors are very deep, dark, and earthy to me. :)

2) This one doesn't include snakes..."Precious Purple Drop Glass Bead Earrings"

The contrast of the multiple shades of purple combined in this one pair of earrings is wonderful. I also love the pattern on the bottom beads.

3) My absolute favorite item from this shop is...."Black and Red Thick and Warm Scarf"

With this up close photo you can really tell the craftsmanship that went into this scarf. Also the contrast of red and black is priceless in my book, I like the way that the red pops out at you! :)

SweetRoxs Advice To Beginners:

" My advice would be to get a good pair of reading glasses, since you will be doing close up work. Then practice and test your items on friends and relatives. "

My Final Words:

SweetRoxs' shop has some very unique items, and I absolutely adore the pictures! They are so bright, clear, and crisp that it makes me want to redo all of my own. :P I wish you good luck. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Technique Time: Cane Work Part 3

This will be the last part of my cane work series. I may do other posts on cane work later on, but they won't be part of this set of posts. ;) Today's project is pretty important when it comes to cane work, to make your cane from your own unique image/drawing.

I highly recommend reading the first two editions of this series if you haven't done so already. The links to them are below. :)

1) Cane Work Part 1

2) Cane Work Part 2

How Can I Make A Unique Cane?

1) First, find or draw an image that is the same size that you wish your cane to be. I actually drew my own image, since Halloween is coming I decided to do a face of a black cat.

Tip: It may be easier to color you picture in so you know exactly what colors of clay to use.

2)Place this picture flat so you can see it as you are working. It is easier to work from the inside of the picture out. For example, I am going to make my cat details first (eyes, mouth, nose) then make the ears last.

Tip: Think of your image as different shapes put together, it makes it easier to create it in clay.

The cat's eyes will be white with black dots in the center, thus I begin by making two simple bullseye canes.

First I roll out two thin black sheets and cut them into a rectangle.

Then I make two white middle thicker sheets and cut into rectangle (one per eye)

Finally I make two black snakes. They are wrapped with the white sheet, then the black individually: Click picture below for bigger picture. :)

Reduce the eye canes to the desired size and the eyes are complete!

3) Now you need to do other details inside your image.

For my cat I will be doing the cheeks. As shown above they are two round black canes with white on the outside as a border.

The mouth is one black cane curve shaped with white on outside as border. As you can see from the picture above the cheeks and mouth are hooked together, mouth is in the center on the bottom of the cheeks.

The nose will also be completed for my black cat simply by using two snakes of pink "flesh" polymer clay and shaping it into a triangle. It too will be hooked onto the cheeks and mouth, on top of the cheeks centered point of triangle is down.

4)Once the inside details of your cane are finished you can start filling in any gaps you may have with your background color, to make it round. Make sure to hook the eyes on as well, as shown below.

Use black or white sheets of clay to make the borders, and begin to fill in the outside to make that round shape once the gaps on the inside are filled as shown below.

Now at this point your image could be completed, if that is the case then feel free to reduce your cane and you are done. :)

For my black cat; however, I still need to make ears. After filling in the gaps around my cat using black clay with white borders, I reduced my cane, as you can see it's starting to look pretty good. ;)

Finally, I created two ears by rolling a black sheet of clay over triangle shaped "flesh" colored clay.

I attached the ears to the rest of my cane to complete the look.

Now my black cat cane is completed!

My Final Words:

Making your first cane from your own image can be very challenging, but don't give up. Start with simpler images with easy shapes such as the orange circle of a pumpkin. As you become more familiar with cane working, the more complex it will become. ;)

Also feel free to experiment with different shapes, patterns, and details to make your own unique cane. If you have any questions ask away in the comments. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Polymer Tool Of The Week

Nearly another month has gone by, I can't believe it's almost October! Anyhow, this weeks polymer clay tool is....

Pasta Machine!

More specifically, a manual pasta machine with different thickness settings and a clamp. The one shown above is one I bought for $25 USD, it was on sale at a craft store. You can also find cheap buys online. :)

Why Use A Pasta Machine?

A pasta machine is one of the more important buys you can make when it comes to polymer clay. It saves a lot of time, and the project ideas are only limited by ones imagination. Pasta machines also make inclusions, patterns, and blending easier.

How Can I Use A Pasta Machine?

1) Whew, this question is like opening up a can of worms. Before one should use your pasta machine you may need to get to know it a little better.

a) First thing to do is clean it, you can do this by running alcohol wipes through the machine several times. This gets rid of any residue that you do not want on your clay.

b) Finding a sturdy table or ledge to clamp it down is key. Many craft store pasta machines come with a clamp, as the picture shows below.

c) Having lots of space, and a non clay sticky surface to work on is also important. You will need plenty of space for those long pieces of clay, I use a folding table covered in wax paper. The wax paper ensures that the clay will not stick.

d) The only accessory I have for my pasta machine is the feeder tray. This feeds the clay directly to the rollers, good for a large amount of clay being put into the pasta machine.

2) Now that you have gotten to know your pasta machine a little better it is time to actually work with it. ;)

Pasta machines come in different settings, mine starts at 9 (thickest) and goes back to 1 (thinnest). The picture below shows pieces of clay that I put through the pasta machine, after it was conditioned, on each of the different settings. From left to right is the thickest setting to the thinnest, your machine may vary.

3) The thicker setting can be used in a variety of projects that need a thick background, or stand. For example, I used the thickest setting on my Haunted Pumpkin Patch as shown below for the grass.

4) The thinnest setting is used a lot with transparent clay, and faux materials. When using the thinnest setting you may need to sandwich the clay between two sheets of wax paper, so the clay does not tear.

In my Hungry Coco above I used transparent clay on the thinnest setting so one can see the blue water and to get an "ice" look.

5) One can also use the pasta machine to blend colors. I used red, and black clay on one of the middle settings. The red piece of clay was smaller then the black piece and thus when stacked and rolled through the pasta machine I got a blended look.

6)Inclusions become pressed into the clay with a pasta machine as well, one could use very fine glitter and brush it onto flat piece of clay then roll it through the machine. The glitter will be firmly pressed into the clay, and will have a larger chance of staying. Don't forget to glaze each piece that has inclusions to seal it in after baking. ;)

7) Patterns from cane work can be easily enlarged simply by putting them through a thinner setting on the pasta machine. This will also distort the pattern a little. This pendant's original cane was actually no bigger then a dime while on the pendant it's about an 1 inch long!

My Final Words:

Pasta machines are a definite must for those who wish to work with polymer clay. I really only gave just a handful of uses for it, as it would take years to explain them all. :P

One thing to note though is you will need to clean your pasta machine often if you do not want residue from old clay sticking onto your new project. Again, just roll some alcohol wipes through the rollers a few times and you are good to go. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Featured Etsy Seller: designsbybrie

Welcome to my second post on a new etsy seller. :)

Who Did I Discover?

Today I ran into the shop of designsbybrie who makes colorful and cheerful personalized hooks and hair bow holders.

Who is designsbybrie?

Located northwest in PA she is a mother and wife before anything else. :)

She uses colorful acrylic paints and embellishments to make her own unique designs on hook plagues as well as hair bow holders.

You will find her etsy shop by clicking here.

My Top Picks Are:

1)The first item to catch my eyes was this personalized hook:

My favorite two colors happen to be blue and green, so the colors she used here really caught my attention. I also love that each item can be customized, so it's fun to think of all the possibilities.

2) Another favorite item of mine in designsbybrie's shop would have to be this personalized hair bow holder as shown below.

I like how she uses different shapes for the plague, and this shape pops out at me.

3) My most favorite item by far in her shop would have to be.....

I love the color combination in this hair bow holder. The grey, and bright red goes perfectly together. That's a lot like my own style, dark with splashes of color!

Designsbybrie Advice To Beginners:

" My advice for someone just starting out is to make sure you know how much all of your supplies are before coming up with the price of your item, as well as considering the time you spend on it and be fair with pricing! "

My Final Words:

I enjoyed wandering around designsbybrie's shop. The best part of her shop to me is that everything is customizable, it's up to the buyer what colors, and design they want. Also the price is more then fair for the hard work she puts into these items. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Technique Time: Cane Work Part 2

Boy did time fly by this weekend! Anyhow, I am still doing some cane work techniques, this next one is also by using a bullseye cane. Last time I showed you how to make a very simple bullseye cane, this time I will be doing a more complex pattern. Also I will show how one can use this pattern to make a pillow bead. ;)

For those of you who did not read Cane Work Part 1 I highly recommend it before going forward. :) You can find my post by clicking here.

How Can I Make patterns With Cane Work?

1) You will first need to make a basic bullseye cane as I described in "Cane Work Part 1." Use any colors you wish, be creative. :)

I shall in fact be using the exact bullseye cane I used in that post for this one as shown below.

2) Next you will need to cut this cane into four sections.

3) Now you need to reduce each section by pinching the middle until it looks a little like a hourglass. Roll each side of the hourglass with your palm against your work space until each side is even.

Remember to do all four sections, so we end up with four skinnier versions of the original cane.

4) Cutting, yupe that's right you will need to cut those four skinner versions in half. Making a total of eight small canes.

You will need to stack the eight small canes on top of each other, so they are somewhat round and look like the picture below.

5)Roll this newly formed cane until all seams blend together with your palm.

6) Again reduce this newly formed cane (please see step #3). You may need to cut off the ends, and as you can see you have a unique pattern!

How To Make Pillow Bead?

1) Using the cane you just made above pinch the sides in carefully with your thumb and middle finger as shown.

2) Now pinch the top in between your thumb and middle finger to make the cane square.

3) You should now have a square cane, which is perfect for making pillow beads. Next take a scrap of clay and roll it into a ball. The size of your ball should be slightly smaller then the diameter of your square cane.

4) Flatten the top of the ball with your thumb and middle finger. Do not flatten the ball all the way as you will be turning this ball into a square.

5) Pinch both sides of the slightly flattened ball, it should turn out looking like a square in the end.

6) Now pinch each of the corners of the now square clay, it should look something like this:

This is where pillow beads get their name, they make a shape similar to that of a pillow. :)

7)Remember the square cane we made not too long ago? You will be using this square cane to cover up your pillow shaped clay.

Cut a thin slice from your square cane and cover one side of the pillow shaped clay. This slice of the square cane should be cold by now and easier to not distort the pattern.

8) Now cut another thin slice from the square cane and cover up the other side of the pillow bead. You will need to carefully blend in the seams at the side and make sure the corners stay put. Some adjustments can be made until you are happy with the results. ;)

You now have a completed pillow bead, all you need to do now is put a hole through the bead with a needle.

My Final Words:

Cane work, like pillow beads, are very addicting. I really suggest you experiment, even just with the left over square cane I found a new pattern. I simply cut the cane in half, the long way, and inside was a different swirled pattern. ;)

Next technique time I will be doing another cane work part; however, this one will be far more complex. I will show you how to make your own unique image into a cane. :)