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11  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / beadizzygrl... real clovers! on: October 23, 2008 10:10:26 AM
Gina, I just knew you'd love this project when you saw the real clovers encapsulated in these liquid clay pendants!  (they're only 3-leaf clovers but the principle would be the same for your 4-leafed ones 'a course):
....TinaT's bracelet tiles made from layers of Kato liquid clay --dried clovers, microfine glitter, and translucent+opaque cane slices in the layers... plus clay tubes on top and bottom of each for stringing cording through


Diane B.
12  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / tic tac toe game on Altoid tin (+ many uses for tins) on: February 24, 2008 10:22:59 AM
(reposted as two parts for archives)

This is an Altoids tin I covered with clay (the lid anyway), then used as a tic tac toe game:

The background sheets on the left and right have simple spiral ("jellyroll") cane slices rolled into them in inverse colors.  The colors used were combos and mixes of yellow and magenta, sometimes with white to lighten, and also black and Brilliant Gold Pearl Ex. The stacked-balls playing pieces rest peg-like in clay squares with center holes cut out (like nuts from a hardware store), and the lid has a knob for helping to open it easily... playing pieces are stored inside.  I also glued a couple of pieces of black felt to the inside top and bottom with Gem Tac glue to keep the pieces from banging around when carried.
This one was a bit fiddly to make but there's a text lesson describing how I did it here if anyone's interested:

There are links to more polymer clay tic tac toe games (on Altoid tins and not... not made by me) on this page at my site as well:
(...click on Games, then scroll down a few screenfuls to Tic Tac Toe...)

There are many other USES besides tic tac toe games for all kinds of polymer clay-covered tins listed in the part of this original post that's now in Discussions and Questions:

Diane B.
13  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / USES for covered tins (Altoid or other) on: February 11, 2008 11:04:54 AM

oohmybees asked in another thread for ideas re using small clay-covered tins.  I have a lot of suggestions at my site so I thought I'd start a new thread to make the ideas easier to find later if anyone wants. 
(There are also links to photos, and/or lessons or more info, for some of these suggestions at my site--see below**):

as containers

to hold things like pills of course, or Tums or cough lozenges ...folded up money for emergency...house key when without purse... pair of earrings (to travel with or keep out of ears overnight) ... hair clips... paper clips or other office supplies... post-it pad with tiny pencil... alcohol wipes ...mini-first aid kits...small sewing kits, or just needles, or several threaded needles for repairs or quilting....candy or mints... "waterproof" matches ...dental floss, or toothpicks (break in half if too long)...bits of decoration for projects (sequins, rhinestones, broken jewelry bits, etc., even small amounts of mica or embossing powders --perhaps as a gift)... tiny tools (mini screwdrivers, screws, nails, etc.)... coins for vending machines/parking/laundry ...postage stamps...Tooth Fairy tooth holders... safe place to keep razor blades or Xacto blades ...spices or herbs for nice smell, or perfume or essential oil soaked cotton ball, etc--as long as no contact with clay

keep a watch face inside (no strap) rather than wearing a watch on wrist

as pendants

as key chain fobs

as gift boxes (for holding anything)
... even given to co-workers, or grandparents to hold hearing aids at night...for teeny tiny clay ornaments....   

add a mirror inside... or a photo (...or a series of photos on an accordion folded piece of cardstock, etc)

partly fill with rice, beans, bells, etc. to make a mini shaker... could also add handle for a maraca

hook earrings can be stuck through holes in plastic canvas inside, especially for traveling without tangling
...make compartments inside the boxes for jewelry boxes for traveling or vitamin organizers

threaded onto a belt as a sort of mini fanny pack for small items ...or held to a wrist cuff

make into a tiny game but putting dice and/or game pieces inside, perhaps with "board" on top (like tic tac toe, or many others)
... to see a tic tac toe game I made on top of an Altoid tin, go to this thread in Completed Projects:


if kept open and standing on end, use as hinged frames (for 2 photos), or
as hinged mini shrines

put a magnet on back to use as frig or whiteboard magnet, etc.

put words or phrases (or photos, letters, scans, anything) onto magnet sheeting ...then pick certain ones to arrange inside or outside of tin top as a board to display quickie poetry, feelings of the day or "affirmations", or to help kids learn to read-spell or basic grammar, etc., or as mini-scrabble or other game

little treasure chest... covered with faux wood, corners and a "latch" added

use as the "body" of a jointed pendant figure or toy (or use as any other "part" of a sculpt)

one of Tonja's "covered" Altoid boxes looks to me like a bed (just add pillows)

miniature "grand piano" made over an Altoid box, with legs

suitcases for dolls or dollhouses

mini coffins for Halloween ....or even to bury a dead pet fish

poke holes in tin(s), then cover with clay and open holes back up... put a small mini-light inside (after making a larger hole in back or side for inserting bulb)... could make a string of holey lights for xmas tree or other decorations too


Can also be decorated in various ways, sometimes to suit the use or to suit whatever's inside:
... use a transfer on top... a sculpted scene... put materials on top that relate to what's inside... practice different polymer clay techniques...use up scrap canes... make a mini clay mosaic...

put feet underneath to give "importance" and style
... add knob to top or side of top to help open or for decoration

** look on these pages especially for photos/lessons/more info re many of the possibilities mentioned above:
...Metal > Tins
...but also other categories like > Film Canisters  and > Papier Mache, matchbooks, etc.                                     
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/BOH.htm > More Ideas
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/frames-mirrors.htm  > Triptychs
... and > Very Small Frames

Have fun!

Diane B.

14  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Glow-in-the-Dark ghost pendants + mini-tutorial on: October 04, 2007 10:32:50 AM
MistressH asked what kinds of things we've made for Halloween with polymer clay over in the Discussions & Questions board, so I thought I'd post a photo of one thing I've made (don't think I've posted it before, but could have).

Here's the info from my site about how I made them, along with some other suggestions:

flat ghost polymer treats (to give out for trick-or-treating) ... cutouts
...I made some ghosties from glow-in-the-dark clay to give as treats instead of candy one year
...I used a ghost cutter I made from a cat food tin, plus tiny cutters (mostly Kemper plunger ones)  in shapes like ovals, circles, triangles, leaves, stars, etc. for the eyes and mouth (for some I used straws or straws that I partially squashed)
...I made scary ones and sweet ones so the kids could choose (for some of the sweet ones, I used a bit of pink blush and/or powdered chalk on the raw cheeks, pounced with a brush)
...instead of making a hole in the top of each ghost, I attached a tiny clay tube (horizontally) to the back of each one, then baked them face down
...after baking, I used quick and cheap waxed-linen cording to thread through the tube to turn them into pendant necklaes
...some of them got a little toasty in the oven (Premo's glow in the dark clay is obviously more sensitive to darkening than Fimo's so those are now my Ghosties of Color -- later I tented them and put a wooden block under my baking pan in the toaster oven and they stayed light... next time I'll probably just bury them in baking soda)
(......there's a lesson on putting a tubes on the backs of the pendants so the cording doesn't show in Pendants > Tube Holes... surprisingly, the black cording didn't show through the GITD clay)
(..was afraid I might get a few complaints because it wasn't candy, but that part turned out fine even for the older kids)  Diane B.

....instead of cutting out and removing the facial features, tiny cutouts of eyes/mouths made from black clay or from clay ropes could be onlaid on top of the ghost cutouts
....cheek "blush" especially for the non-smiley ghosts could be done with green powder instead of pink (eyeshadow, sidewalk chalk powdered on sheet of sandpaper, etc)
....if you're not making too many, it should be possible to create either the ghost shapes or the features by using a hat pin or Xacto knife, etc, rather than a cutter; each one could be individual that way too.... roll the clay to be cut down firmly onto a smooth surface like a tile so it will stick well before trying to do the lines or cuts ... putting the clay onto a surface which can be rotated also will allow smoother cutting when doing curves and diff. directions, etc.

(comments from others, long ago:)
....What a terrific idea! I am definitely making ghosties and black cats, etc for Halloween giveaways next year! Dianne C.
....could also make werewolf claws and teeth. Sonya
....I would much prefer my kids to get something like that over candy any day! Stephanie

Diane B.
15  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / EASIER PROJECTS for BEGINNERS on: August 24, 2007 08:22:16 AM
Some things are easier to make with polymer clay than others, especially for beginners. 
So here's a list of suggestions for some polymer things that would be good for newbies to start with as projects, or just as explorations, and also be fun to do.
These can also just help to get beginners familiar with some of the basics of polymer clay and how it works, so they're also a good foundation that can be built on:

marbling colors
(click on Marbling Effects)

(beginners-- variety of techniques:
....click on any technique that interests you... there are simpler ideas for many basic polymer techniques on that page, though there are other things there too)

... spiral-jellyroll canes, bullseye-wrapped canes,  stacks (cut into canes) and also "kaleidoscoped" canes are some of the simplest canes, but in many ways the foundation of most cane making, except for picture canes
... also, if you cut a cane like one or more of those into several lengths, then combine them together, once or many times, you can get very complex-looking patterns for very little work and know-how)
...(there's another thread at Craftster where I gave a little tutorial on each of these and I think a few other easy canes that are good ones to begin with:
 https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=178586.msg1852235#msg1852235 )

(sheets of pattern
....check out the Marbled Paper, Dragged Lines effect, and the Flattened Sheets--particularly from cane slices)

Other things that are fairly simple but fun include:

..using molds (and making them too)... Craftster thread:
..stamping and texturing
..making "fauxs" --simulations of all kinds --turquoise/jade/opal/etc, wood, ivory, leather, metal, rock, etc. (some simple, some not so)
..metallic leaf (crackling it can look great too)
..metallic "mica powders," like Pearl Ex
..miniatures...very small sculpted items for jewelry, dollhouses, etc.

(there's loads more info on everything mentioned at my site as well:
....to find links for each, look inside the alphabetical navigation bar on the left side of any of the page)

Here are also the pages at the site  that deal specifically with making polymer jewelry pieces (not necessarily the patterns or embellishments, more just the items themselves)
.... these can be really easy all the way up to complicated and/or difficult:
and http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/beads-holes.htm

P.P.S.  In the beginning, it's not even necessary to "make something" with what you've done.. it's less intimidating and less time-consuming simply to learn to do some general techniques, etc., first.   Then you can bake and save what you're made just as samples (these come in quite handy later for inspiration anyway, or showing to others), which you can keep in a bowl on a coffeetable/etc., or string as beads or flat cutouts (make a hole first) to keep them together.

Have fun!!!!!!!!

Diane B.
16  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Carol Duvall Show--clay shows now online as FREE VIDEOS! on: August 22, 2007 09:50:09 AM
I've found out that some of what I originally wrote here is incorrect, so I've rewritten it:

Carol Duvall shows are now available online, for free, on demand... YAY!!!

(You can see A FEW of the segments offered by going to the Carol Duvall page at hgtv.com, then clicking on one of the few shows listed at top center --which may also bring up a few more).

But... to see ALL the Carol Duvall video segments that seem to be offered on demand (543 of them at this point), go to the Video Center Streaming Broadband Channels:

.......wait through the video ads
...... then put Carol Duvall into the Video Search box --not the regular search box-- and click Search Videos
..........you can add the topic you're interested in --like the word polymer-- as well as Carol Duvall, but that word or words may have to be in the actual title of the segment or description of the segment to work (there are around 100 polymer videos there now)
...click on the segment you want to watch (NOTE that there may be many pages of results, not just the page you're on)
......wait through the video ads
......then wait for the video to buffer up and it should start playing automatically (if your internet connection is slow, click on the Pause button and wait till the video is mostly buffered before clicking Play to begin watching)

...(click on another segment you want to watch...wait through the ads...repeat)... or the next video in the list will play automatically

...(if you want to go to the text and photos page for that segment to see patterns or to be able to copy, click on the words "Free Step by Steps" just below the video screen)

This procedure is also true I guess for segments of Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts show which was also cancelled (use Simply Quilts in the search box), and perhaps others.

Have fun!

Diane B.

P.S. other links that may be helpful for TEXT & PHOTOS only at Caroll Duvall Show

links to all episodes of Carol Duvall Show:
links to all polymer clay episodes --though list may include some segments on earth clay or an air-dry clay as well as polymer clay:
17  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / FINISHES for clay (info) --gloss, satin + liquids, waxes, sanding-buffing on: August 18, 2007 09:50:26 AM
This is basically an informational post about finishes that can be used --and also shouldn't be used-- for polymer clay.  
(It's mostly things I've written before, but by putting it all together here I can have a fairly comprehensive summary of info to refer quickly to when questions about various types of finish and their differences come up . . . there is just a bit of overlap between the 2 sections though).

There are a number of ways to get a glassy look on polymer clay... each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Btw, no finish is necessary on polymer clay since it's waterproof all by itself, and many clayers use no finish at all, or they "sand-and-buff" to get a glossy surface or just a beautiful sheen.
Liquid finishes can be used though to give a high gloss--or slight gloss, or no gloss, depending on choice-- to clay surfaces, or they can be used to seal various things onto the clay's surface to keep them from oxidizing or from falling off, etc. (...note that metallic powders like Pearl Ex won't need a sealer unless they are not well rubbed in or unless they'll get a lot of abraision in use).

quick summary of possible finishes:

One can simply apply a (water-based) liquid acrylic/plastic finish to baked clay.

There are two most-commonly used liquid gloss finishes by clayers because they do a good job and are cheap by volume:
.....water-based polyurethanes, which are clear finishes that are sold for sealing bare wood (the most-used brand is Rustoelum's Gloss Varathane--used to be made by Flecto)
.....clear "floor polishes" (Johnson's Future, now called Pledge With Future Shine, is the most-used but may be called by other names like Klear/etc outside the U.S.)
(there are other brands of both those types though)
There are also finishes put out by the clay manufacturers:
...Polyform's Sculpey Glaze, etc. (see bottom of this post for changes in Sculpey's finishes)
...Fimo's Special Lack ...they used to sell 4 versions of varnish --gloss/matte, water-based/alcohol-based (the alcohol-based gloss version was by far the most popular) ...they're hard to find now though, or no longer made? or only 1 version still available? which is a water-based one and not very good)

There are also other materials that can be used to give a glassy shine:
....e.g., acrylic mediums, clear embossing powders, permanent "white glues" thinned with water and "dimensional" white glues," 2-part epoxy resins and 2-part epoxy glues, etc-- but all those either require more work or won't be as strong.

The other main way to create a high gloss is to wet sand a bit (at least 400 grit then 600 grit), then buff with an electric buffer (hand-buffing won't take the clay all the way up to a glassy shine--only a sheen).
If one is sanding lots of small roundish beads (without powders/leaf, etc. on their suface which would be abraided off), using a regular kiddie tumbler can save a lot of time and wear and tear on the hands. There are other electric devices that can be used instead of a tumbler too.

Translucent clays or liquid clays (Translucent Liquid Sculpey, Kato Clear Medium, Fimo Decorating Gel) can also be used, then sanded/buffed to give a glassy shine... but if you want them to actually be transparent as opposed to just translucent, a very thin layer needs to be used (certain other techniques will also help with clarity).

(Some people use only one of those techniques... some people use more than one technique in the same piece --though in a certain order).

a few variables about using the possible finishes:

...thickness varies between liquids
..... e.g., Future is thin (so often more than one coat is necessary for real visual "depth", and will actually give a sheen rather than high gloss shine if it's applied while the clay is still warm), whereas Varathane is thicker and with one coat can give a deep, thick shine (it can also be dipped into for even thicker glassy shine)
.... Sculpeys Glaze is really thick (and gloppy)
.... Fimo has 4 finishes; the "spirit"-based Gloss one is probably the best finish there is for polymer clay, but it's really expensive!

...strength  & longevity vary
...... dimensional glazes/glues, clear embossing powders, and acrylic mediums are all much more scratchable than the Varathane/Future/Sculpey Glaze/Fimo's laquer mentioned, and sometimes are more susceptible to clouding from later humidity
......the Gloss Varathane also has something called an "interpenetrating network"--IPN-- which makes it bond down into the surface of the clay better than most other wood finishes and other finishes, plus it's UV resistant
........not all brands of wood finish are the same in other ways too (compared to Minwax, Golden, and/or others)... e.g., Varathane is very strong/unscratchable, doesn't "require ventilation" when applying, is less resistant to humidity while drying and afterward, has UV protection, etc
.......Future is less permanent than Varathane ...it's actually soluble in water if exposed to a lot of it, even after drying and rebaking; humidity can also penetrate Future if in long contact, turning the finish cloudy & sticky... also "immediate" solvents for Future are alcohol and ammonia, but even later products with ammonia can cause problems (some hair prod's, perfumes, etc.) ...Future is not UV resistant, though most clayers don't see problems with yellowing from UV exposure at least partly because of where we use it....Future will also peel off more easily if not applied and baked correctly
.....(polyurethanes-Varathane and floor polishes-Future can be "re-baked" 5-15 min at 200-250 F to "harden" them and increase adhesion even more)

...time varies
..... most water-based finishes will dry fairly quickly (but may not fully "cure" for a week), whereas epoxy resins take 24 hrs. to cure (for each layer, if there is more than one)... some water-based ones will take longer than others though because they're more responsive to humidity, temp, etc.

...safety varies
...... 2-pt epoxy resins (and epoxy glues) are less good for lungs than the acrylics we use and require at least some ventilation (...though they're still better than polyester resins --Castin'Craft, etc-- which require a lot of ventilation, and which won't work well as final finishes anyway)
......2-pt epoxies do give an extremely glassy shine though, whether they're brushed on, poured into clay cells, etc.

...heating varies
...... some of these can't or shouldn't be heated (may bubble or yellow)... whereas some can be reheated, and will become even "harder" (but can't be heated for a long time at a higher temp)

...sanding and buffing
........sanding and buffing in the most common way we use for baked poymer clay is generally a bit more work, but it really doesn't take much time per piece (lots of small beads, etc, will be a problem though)
...various different kinds of equipment and various supplies can be used to sand and buff to make things easier, including tumblers, but also some other quite unusual equipment/materials
...sanding (and buffing) are sometimes followed by clear liquid finishes, and the finishes themselves can also be sanded and buffed

alot more info on all these things and more on these pages:

Finishes (all the liquids mentioned --plus some "waxes" though those won't give a glassy shine)

Sanding & Tumble-Sanding
Buffing & Tumbling-Buffing
....also using a rotary tool (Dremel) for buffing and/or "sanding"
(...click on Sanding or Buffing, under "Dremels"...)

Translucent Clay
(...click especially on Clearest Results...)

Liquid Clay
(... click on Finish...)

more info --some overlap with above

Only one brand of polymer clay actually has a natural "sheen" after baking --(Kato Polyclay).  
The other brands naturally have a matte finish (Sculpey is the matte-est, with Premo and Fimo being in-between Kato and Sculpey).

Any clay can be given a sheen though right on up to a very high gloss shine though, in several ways:

WATER-BASED FINISHES (some are much cheaper than others):
--Future-Pledge floor polish, Mop 'N Glo  (cyanoacrylates)
(thin... will give a sheen if applied while the clay is still warm from the oven, or will give a gloss shine if applied when cool... sometimes several coats are used for very high gloss, drying between each coat)
--clear acrylic finishes for bare wood like Varathane
(thicker... the Gloss version will give a glossy finish whether applied to warm or cool clay... multiple coats can be used, or the item can be dipped for a very thick high gloss shine... there is also a Semi-Gloss and a Satin in the water-based line, both of which are fairly matte; the Gloss can be made more matte though in various way)
--clear fingernail polish (the acrylic type, not "enamel")
--special "glazes" made for polymer clay
..Sculpey Glaze --the old original verion very thick and gloppy (clear in a jar)
.....the new Sculpey Glaze is probably an IPN polyurethane like Varathane (Gloss or Satin), as is the Studio by Sculpey finish (Gloss only?)
..Fimo has Gloss alcohol-based finish which is really nice but very expensive (and now discontinued probably)
..PolyGlaze is not as tough as polyurethanes and Future-Pledge above and may get scratches)

polyurethane/acrylic SPRAYS
--acrylic sprays can be used to to seal and/or give a bit of gloss, but they must not have a petroleum-based solvent in their propellant because those materials will begin to dissolve the clay over time (can take months to show up) and make it sticky... sometimes heating or recoating with a pure acrylic then heating can help that, sometimes not... sprays also should be applied lightly, in several coats drying between each... probably won't give as even a coat as if brushed-on or dipped
--several brands that seem ok re propellant (some are gloss, some matte) on clay are Varathane spray (Gloss), some of the Krylons like it's Acrylic Matte Fixative, Plaid's Clear Acrylic Sealer (gloss), and Patricia Nimrock's Acrylic Matte Sealer, al though regular liquid finishes can also be applied with atomizers, etc.

--other things like clear embossing powder or 2-part epoxy resins and other things can be used... but they're either more difficult to use (resins), or don't give as good a result

For more info on all those, check out this page:

--baked clay can be sanded a bit with (black, wet-dry) sandpaper (and a little water to keep any dust down and to keep the sandpaper clean) ...the grits usually used are 400, then 600, but a few clayers go much higher.... be sure not to skip grits though if you go higher  
... if the clay is then rubbed briskly on fabric (jeans, bedspread, towel, etc.), it will get a nice "sheen" on the surface
....if the clay is instead buffed with an electric buffer (using a fabric buffing wheel), it will get a nice sheen on the surface if buffed for a short time... but if buffed for a longer time, it will get a glossier and glossier surface
(...some people like to sand and buff, then apply a liquid finish as well)

For more info on sanding and buffing, check out these pages:

Some (though not many) clayers use a clear wax like carnauba or shoe wax to give their smoothed or sanded clay a bit of sheen... then it's buffed after application.


Diane B.
18  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / clockface miniatures on: July 10, 2007 07:59:27 AM
Here's something else fun to do with miniatures... in this case it's donuts and other sweets but could be any minis:


Diane B.
19  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / BEGINNER CANES... easy ones, "basic" techniques (sorta tutorials) on: June 23, 2007 09:56:03 AM
Congratulations on jumping into caning!  Caning is so much fun, it should be illegal.  Grin

Looks like the type of cane you tried to make first though is a "component" or "complex" cane which creates a picture or pattern by putting various long and different shapes together puzzle-piece style into one long bundle (or short cylinder). 
Those types of canes can be simple... but they can also go all the way up to the very hardest-cane-to-do.

So instead of doing that kind of cane, I'd suggest that you start getting familiar with caning by first making a few of the
basic "types" of canes
Most all other canes you make will depend on a knowledge of the basic techniques represented by those canes as well. 

Basic types of canes would include the ones listed below:

for many lessons + much more info  on each of these canes, go to this page of my site:

Bullseye cane...(also called a Wrapped cane because that's the basic technique used for making one)
...make a short fat log of clay... roll a different color clay into a sheet...place the log on the sheet near one end...using the length of the log as a guide, trim the sheet to a strip that's only that width... trim one end of the strip so it's an exact right angle... roll the fat log over the sheet, taking the strip with you, till the wrap makes one revolution... the first edge of the strip should leave a faint mark on the clay where it ends... trim off the rest of the strip just inside that mark... press seams together if necessary to butt, and roll the cane on the work surface to smooth the seam out
...you can also put multiple wraps around the cane, using different colored sheets (only one complete wrap at a time though)... or do all kinds of other things
(...and later learn how to make a gradient "bullseye" cane by using a Skinner blend sheet of 2 colors which is rolled up into a log --which btw is actually a spiral cane that just ends up looking like a bullseye cane)

....reduce the cane (that is, make the image smaller by stretching and/or rolling the cane till it's the diameter you want, and longer)
...then cut thin or thick "slices" from either end of the cane since the pattern will run all the way through it (..the very ends of the cane may have a distorted pattern inside though, esp. for more complex canes)... let cool first if using a soft clay
....you can also reduce the cane a lot, cut a number of same-length pieces from it, and put them back together side by side to make a more complex cane from just that one cane (it would then be a "lace" cane if you'd started with a bullseye cane and didn't rejoin them in a rigid grid shape)
... perhaps save one part of the original-size cane before doing much reducing in case you want to use slices from the larger version later!

Spiral cane (also called a Jellyroll cane)
...this one starts with two rectangular sheets of clay the same size, one on top of the other...roll out with a brayer/roller (or pasta machine) the stack of layers, to make them into a long and thin strip ...then just roll up that compressed strip of layers beginning at one of the short sides, just like a jellyroll... roll the final cane on the work surface a bit to smooth out the lengthwise seam
(...the longer and thinner the layers before rolling up, the more revolutions the spiral will have)
...you can use more than 2 colors for the layers, or make some layers thicker than others, or put a very thin layer of black/etc. between each of the colored layers, etc.

two other basic cane types made with "layers" or "stacks":

Stripes cane
...begin with a stack of clay sheets of different colors (or just alternate 2 colors, etc.)... neatly trim the stack to make all layers the same width and length
...you can create those layers as a "loaf" to use in certain ways, or you can make a "square cane" from it by "reducing" the stack till it's long and slender
.....use the long square cane as is  ...or you could cut it into 4 same-length pieces and rejoin them in a "basketweave" pattern by turning every other one 90 degrees, like a 4-unit checkerboard (... repeat the cutting and rejoining to create a pattern with more than 4 units)

Folded cane
...begin with at least two sheet layers... then make them into a really long and thin strip (of compressed layers)
...fold the strip back and forth accordion-style, or around in loops, or just any way you want... then press together into a cane shape (usually square, rectangular or triangular)
...you can also add small ropes or sheets of contrasting-colored clay in-between the folds, or inside the loops, etc, as you go

two other "basic techniques" which can be used to make canes,
or can be used when making many other canes:

... make a round or a square shape of clay from a solid color (say, one inch tall and one inch wide)
...using a long blade, cut down across the cane anywhere, and separate the two parts
...put a thin sheet of clay against the surface of one of the cut sides, then put the two pieces back together (trim off the extra clay)
...you can repeat this process as many times as you want with different colored sheets or all the same color sheets ... the final cane could look like a "plaid" cane if you wanted, or you could use the insertion technique to put a vein inside a leaf cane (bullseye cane > cut/insert vein > shape as leaf)

... use a cane you've made already --if you use a spiral cane that has lots of revolutions, you'll end up with a "chrysanthemum" cane
...use the edge of a credit card or something similar to press down into the cane, almost to the center,  from the outside, and make the indentions all the way around the cane (like adding bicycle spokes or sun rays), let's say at least 6-7 times . . . leave the cane with it's petal-like indentions, or roll the cane smooth
(...if you don't have a credit card, you can press down with a butter knife, etc.)

More cane fun...

You can also take any of the canes above (or a combination of different canes) and make a very-complex-pattern cane from it (or them) by simply reducing, then cutting it into same-length pieces, and rejoining the lengths.  The pattern will get smaller, and there will also be a more complex pattern (then roll that new cane to join the cane pieces together seamlessly).
...if the cane you started with is not totally symmetrical, you can pay attention to the orientation in which you put the cane lengths from a single cane back together and then create all kinds of complex "kaleidoscope" canes and various kinds of symmetrical patterned canes
...if the cane or canes that are put together are created in the shape of long triangular logs (or squished into a triangular log shape after putting them together), lengths of those can be rejoined radially too ... just cut it into at least 3 lengths (or up to 10 or more!), pick one of the 3 "tips"  of the cane, then put all the lengths together like slices of a pie with the chosen tip always in the center (this is the most typical type of "kaleidoscope" cane --i.e., using a triangular final cane rather than a rectangular cane or random rejoinings of any-shaped canes)

Another thing to do with any canes is to make a "pattern sheet" from them. 
...Roll out a sheet of clay (plain or patterned), then cut thin slices of any of your canes and lay them on the sheet (you can wait till you've put on all the slices you want before flattening the whole thing into a pattern sheet, or you can roll in each slice separately).
(... the thinner the slices, the less they'll spread out when you flatten them into the sheet)
....you can put these slices randomly all over the sheet, or in grids or patterns, or you can overlap them over each other (with or without the base sheet)
...then use the new pattern sheet for "covering" something, or cut out a shape of it with a cookie or smaller cutter, etc., and make a pendant or onlay for something else, or make clothing for little figures, etc.

Any tips to help me make a really good one?

Oh definitely.  Check out this page for loads of cane-making tips from those who've learned lots of lessons re making successful canes... it also covers how to slice canes so they don't distort:
(....One quick tip is to be sure to use colors next to each other in a cane which will fairly strongly contrast with each other, or they won't have as much definition as you might want ....it's also true that the more a cane is reduced, the less bright and saturated any of the colors will become.)

Also, reducing canes (making them a smaller diameter --the picture or pattern inside will also be smaller) is another step at which caning can get messed up a bit, from distortion. 
Check out this page for lessons on how to reduce canes successfully:

Have fun!

Diane B.
20  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / origami paper on clay beads? on: November 28, 2006 10:09:21 AM
I was just noticing chica grande mas bonita's origami paper on flat polymer clay beads (held with liquid clay):
...and wondering if anyone here has used origami paper (or fabric) like that on the suface of polymer clay?  Would love to see more examples!

(She also refers to a tute for making something similar here at craftster?  Is it here on the polymer boards?... if not, seems like it should be included in our links to lessons or something)

Diane B.
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