Monday, October 5, 2009

Snowflake Cane Tutorial

Fall is here and winter is coming on.  We've been busy preparing for some Christmas shows coming up soon and so I've been busy creating things with winter and Christmas themes.

I was thinking of making a snowflake cane and had been looking around for various ideas.  One of my ways of getting inspiration is going through magazines, flyers and colorful brochures.  I will tear out photos that grab me for one reason or another and sort and file them for later reference.  While going through one sales flyer a photo with a snowflake (shown below) got my attention and I could easily visualize making a cane from this design.


I started with a blue colored clay that has some pearl in it for a nice sheen.  You can also use a transluscent instead but the blue is easier to see in the photos.

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1.  Form your clay into a round plug about 2" in diameter and 1-1/2" high.  Cut the plug in half down the center.  Separate the halves and make cuts into each piece making both sides equal as shown in the photo.
2.  For the snowflake "veins" I used a mixture of half white and half pearl clay and rolled it out on the #2 setting of my pasta machine which is the second thickest setting.  Cut pieces in the following sizes to fit into the cut areas (see photos 2 & 3):
    2 pieces 1/4" wide  x  1-1/2" (height of you cane)
    2 pieces 3/8" wide x  1-1/2" 
    2 pieces 1/2" wide  x  1-1/2"
    2 pieces 5/8" wide x  1-1/2"
Pinch and taper one side of the long edge of each piece (pic 2).

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3. Place the white pieces between the blue clay as shown in photo 3 with the tapered ends facing up.
4. For the center vein, use a double thickness of the white/pearl clay and cut a piece 1-1/2" x 1-3/4".  Pinch and taper along the 1-1/2" edge on one side (pic 4).

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5. Insert the center vein lining up the squared end at the bottom and the tapered end at the top.
6. Press the clay together into a tight round plug again.

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7. Reduce the cane to about 14" or longer.  Trim off the distorted ends.
9. Cut the remainder into 6 or 8 pieces -- depending on how many sections you want to use.

9. Pinch the top end of each cane piece like forming a flower petal or leaf.

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10. For the snowflake center, make a bulls eye cane with blue as the center (3/8" or 10 mm diameter) and wrapped in the white/pearl rolled out at a #3 PM setting (3rd thickest).
11. Arrange the snowflake cane pieces around the center matching up the stems so they line up and touch the center white.

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12. Fill in around with more blue clay, packing it tightly.
13. Wrap the cane in a sheet of blue clay.

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14.  The cane is now ready to reduce.
15.  Here are my snowflake canes reduced down to several sizes ready to use.


2BeadOrNot2Bead said...

This is great, you guys. I love that color blue!! Is it blended or is there some polymer color out there I haven't found yet??

2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks. I use mostly Kato clay and some Premo. I mixed some pearl clay in with my Kato Ultra blue and it gives it a nice pearly sheen. Only thing is that when you do a clay sheet there is some mica shifting resulting in the clay background with the clay slices.

Dr. Denise Tucker said...

WOW! I love this snowflake tutorial!

I wandered over to your blog. Found you on the 2009 One World One Heart Giveaway site. After watching the movie Julie and Julia recently, I've decided to try and go through the ENTIRE OWOH list, from beginning to end, in 90 days and connect/reconnect with all the artists and blogs that truly inspire me! Your blog is amazing and really resonated with me!

A bit about me. I'm a mystery writer, jewelry artist, and college professor. Yes, and a Gemini, if you couldn't tell! Here is my blog, where I blend my mystery writing and jewelry craft:
My first mystery Keeping House: A Madame President mystery just came out on Amazon.
Take care

Isabelle Norris said...

Fantastic tutorial! thank you for sharing

Unknown said...

what a simple and great tutorial! I have caned many leaves and never once thought to make a snowflake (or shorten the veins). thanks!

PLaneFancies said...

Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. How generous of you. I found you on PCDaily.

Moushka said...

Awesome cane. Thank you for the tute. You explained it so well I think that even I, a rank beginner, could accomplish it.

2 Good Claymates said...

You are all welcome and happy creating!

Unknown said...

Great tut Carolyn. I luv the colors. You always make it look so simple.

Unknown said...

Fantastic snowflake cane ! I haven't made one of those in years.
What a great idea to adapt a leaf cane....It really gives the snowflake that light lacy quality!

Ankh said...

Thank you so much for this tut. so well do, so clear. Thank you, you made my day :)

Hazel Ward said...

A late comment, but I just wanted to say thanks for a great tutorial - I usually design my own canes, but I couldn't get a snowflake looking the way I wanted it I really appreciate this one!

Light Trigger said...

Nice tutorial!!!! thanks for sharing!!!!!

We´r now following your blog!!!!

Light Trigger said...

Nice tute!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!