Monday, September 28, 2009


Mokume-gane, meaning "wood-grain metal", is a Japanese metal smithing technique where layers of different types of metals are compressed and fused to create beautiful patterns.  This is another technique that we like to imitate with polymer clay as it can be done in so many ways with a wide variety of color combinations.

After selecting my clay colors, I make them in sheets all the same size, varying the thickness depending on the color, and then stack them.


I roll out and compress my sheets so they will fit through my pasta machine.  The stack is put through the pasta machine to compress them even more.  It is cut in half, stacked, compressed and rolled through the pasta machine again.  This is done one or two more times, sometimes adding silver, gold or copper leaf in between towards the end of the process like in the blue bracelet shown above.

The next stage is to impress the layered clay to create a pattern.  Here I've used a texture sheet with a floral design.  I have to use some sort of mould release so it won't stick in which I simply spray on water.

Using a special blade, I shave off the raised areas that the texture sheet created, revealing a pattern underneath.  I then flip these shaved pieces over and arrange them onto another sheet of clay creating a second design.

When I have my sheets the way I like them, I smooth them out with my roller and now they are ready to use in my designs.  Here I have some tiles ready to bake for my mosaic coffee table.

And more tiles that have been sanded smooth and ready to use.

Or how about some pendants...



Unknown said...

Mokume Gane is one of my favorite polymer clay techniques and there are so many different ways to do it. I love the one you made with the red and gold tones. That just has such a nice fallish look to it!

Marie said...

Love the blue and white mokume-gane. I've not tried polymer clay yet, but this is really inspirational stuff so maybe I will one day very soon!!

Unknown said...

Your MG turned out great, those are beautiful colors. I have used this technique for MG in the past, in fact I used the same texture sheet. It's one of my favorites!

2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks everyone -- yes those are nice autumn colors -- also the colors of our livingroom. That is how I ended up choosing them actually.

That's cool Dora -- I had just bought that texture sheet a few days before making these tiles -- I was looking for more fun textures and these ones were so affordable! I was then experimenting to see what look I wanted and when I tried the floral one I fell in love with it right away.

Moushka said...

What a wonderful tutorial. You are so generous to share your work like this. Love your blog! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your sharing. Wonderful tutorials!