Sharing tutorials I have tried – Tut 2

Today I am going to make “fabric” from yesterday’s canes.  This is often referred to as polymer clay veneer.  Here are the canes I’m working with.  They have already been reduced some.  I may need to do further reductions – especially if I want to use the fabric on smaller items, like pens.

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The original tutorial I used to make these and for the general design for the fabric was Kalinka Polinka Master Class “Feather-leaf” technique millefiori. All credit for the design and tutorial go to Kalinka Polinka!!  Her tutorial does not go into detail about how to make the fabric from the cane slices and a quick look-around didn’t turn up a tutorial (although I’m sure there are some out there), so I’ll just describe here how I’m doing it.  This will be Tutorial #2, sort of…

The first step is to cut a lot of cane slices. Cane slicing is an art and a science all it’s own.  The most important things to remember are

  1. The canes can’t be too soft.  If you just made them, they either need to be refrigerated for a while to firm them back up, or, better yet, left to rest overnight (overnight is long enough for small canes, but for very large canes, it can take longer).
  2. Your slicer must be sharp and clean.

The canes we made yesterday have rested overnight and are slicing nicely today!  I may need more than this, but I’ll start with these and see.

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Cane slicing takes practice and patience.  At first, it seems impossible to get thin, uniform slices.  After some practice, it seems almost possible!  Of course, there are lots of cane slicers on the market, some very expensive and fabulous… perhaps I’ll invest in one at some point!  :)

Getting the slices as thin as you can is important! The thinner the slices,the less distortion there will be when they are all smooshed together in the following steps.  Also, the canes will last a lot longer and can be used in a lot more projects if they’ve been sliced very thin.

The next step is to use the pasta machine to roll out a pallet to apply my cane slices to.  I’ve used some of the orange and yellow scrap from yesterday’s cane-making.

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Now I’m ready to start building my fabric- starting with my larger slices.

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This is the fun part!

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I am having to slice more of the canes as I go along and I’m finding that I’m using a lot more of the spiral cane than the others, which is good, because I have more of it.2015-06-02 08.39.38

As I’m placing pieces, I’m often picking up corners of other pieces to tuck the new ones under.

Taking pictures of the piece as you progress is a good way to gauge progress. It’s easier to really see what the project looks like and needs from a pic!

We’re almost finished with this step, but I can see that I need some tinier pieces to fill in spaces AND to add some tiny pops of color, so I’m going to reduce a little piece of each of my 3 canes to make some smaller slices.2015-06-02 08.56.48

Here are my tinier canes that will now need to be popped into the fridge for a bit as they are too soft to slice!  I will definitely want to make more of these to decorate smaller things like beads and pens.2015-06-02 09.22.32

I’m happy with this.  Now, after all that work, comes the tricky part – smoothing out the surface without distorting the design too much.  First, use the roller to very gently push everything together.2015-06-02 09.25.29

Then I’m going to very carefully run it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting.  I made sure that my pallet was not wider that my pasta machine rollers, so that I can run it through in both directions.2015-06-02 09.30.41

After one pass, I have a little distortion, but not bad.  But I did stretch it enough that I can’t put it through the other direction.  So I’m going to make the pasta machine one click thinner and run it through again the same way.

After one more pass, I think I’m going to call it finished.  It’s not completely smooth, but I don’t want to further distort the pattern or make the pattern bigger.2015-06-02 09.33.52

So that’s Tutorial #2!  Check back tomorrow when I’ll try another tutorial AND over the next few days, I’ll show your what I’ve made from the Tut 1 & 2 canes and fabric!2015-06-02 09.34.01

Thanks for reading (or at least looking at the pics!).  Comments and shares appreciated!!

Au revoir!

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