Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Polymer Clay Tutorial: Orange Star Flower Cane

I know I've been promising this tutorial for a couple of weeks now but with one thing and another- it didn't happen.  Part of the problem was all of the trouble I had making this cane.  It just didn't want to come together.  I was also fighting some really soft clay and, instead of leaching it, I just decided to go with it.  That was a mistake.  Hmm, maybe my next tutorial needs to be some basic polymer clay vocabulary and techniques for those of you who are new to the medium.

Okay, moving on...  This tute is for the

Orange Star Flower Cane
Polymer Clay in
     deep purple,
     light brown,
     translucent or other color for packing

pasta machine or acrylic roller
tissue blade

Step 1:  Let's start with the petals today.  (You'll see why later.)  Make a skinner blend with orange and white clay.  (For detailed instructions on a skinner blend, click here.)

Make your blend into a long strip and fold it accordion-style into a block.

(Don't know why I took this photo... but here's another view.)

Compress and roll it into a round log.

Cut the log in half the long way and perpendicular to the folds and set aside.

Now make a skinner blend with your deep purple and white.  (It looks black but I didn't like the pure gray with the orange so I mixed some purple into my black.)

Here you can see the purple in the black.  Make your long skinny strip and fold it up accordion-style.  The narrower the folds, the more gradual your blend will be.  I wish I had made this one narrower...

Compress and flatten the block into a flat strip.  Try to make it the same size as the cut side of your orange log.  (If you made this too big, you can make it longer and cut the end off.)  This is going to be the stripe in your petal so the thicker it is, the fatter your stripe will be.

Put it betweeen the two halves of your orange log (white sides together).  Compress and roll the log to make it round again.  Reduce to a long skinny cane.

Cut the cane into equal 12 pieces.  Next I'm going to share a little more detailed info on how to shape the cane pieces into petals.  Skip the next few steps if you don't need this and just form all of your logs into long, skinny petals.

Okay, we want the white side of the cane to be the point of the petal.  Look for a faint line along the white side of your cane.  You can barely see it here.  You are going to pinch the log all along this line.

If you can't see the line on your cane, pinch the each end of the cane where the purple line tapers off.

Twist the cane to line up the pinched parts and pinch a straight line between them.

Your log will probably end up curved like this.  Flatten the round side of the cane a little.

Keep shaping, squashing, pinching and stretching until you have a long skinny petal.  Do this for all 12 of your segments.  Stand them up on the work surface in a circle with a hole in the middle.  This is why we did the petals first instead of the center.  Now you can see about how big your center needs to be.

Step 2: Now let's make the flower center. Make an orange log about 1/2 the diameter of the hole in your petals and the same length.  Wrap the orange log in a thick sheet of clay so the log is about 3/4 the diameter of the hole. 

Reduce this log and cut in 7 equal pieces.

Arrange the pieces in a flower shape, compress and reduce.

Cut the cane into 7 equal pieces and arrange into a flower shape again. Compress and reduce to the length of the petals.

Now make a white log about 1/2 the diameter of your brown and orange center.  Wrap a thin sheet of black clay around it.  Reduce and cut into 12 pieces. 

This is where you can really see the trouble I was having with the soft clay.  Reduce the pieces as needed to the length of the center piece and arrange them around it.  I gave up on getting them all the same diameter and just settled for getting them on there.

Compress the black and white logs onto the center a little.  Arrange the petals around the center.  You may have to make some of the petals a little skinnier to get them all around.  Kind of try to arrange them so the round base of the petals sits sort of in the groove between the black logs.  This will turn the logs into triangles when the cane is reduced.

Make wedges of translucent clay and pack in between the petals.  Trim off the excess and let it rest overnight. For more information on packing, see the last three photos in another tutorial.

Reduce your cane and cut into it to see what you have made!

If you want more definition between your petals, you can wrap them in a slightly darker orange or something before reducing and cutting.  I forget that step a lot but I think in this cane it worked out pretty well without wrapping the petals.



  1. Korrina, this is a wonderful tutorial--beautifully explained and photographed.

  2. This is the best tutorial I have seen on the web!
    The photos actually explains the whole procedure.

  3. Very informative, thanks for letting me read it.