Polymer Clay Canes for Beginners

27 videos, step by step, beginner cane workshop beginner Cane Tutorial What people are saying about this tutorial. jennifer rose Just finished this first workshop on how to make canes, and I must say I learned so much. This is exactly what I have been looking for, someone who could explain cane making in a step by step that process that I could replicate. I watched the videos, went into my studio and began to create all of the canes Alice showed. I finally have results I can be proud of, and I say thank you so much for doing this workshop. My only question now is when do we get more workshops. If you are only going to take one online class let it be this workshop. Thank you Alice for your hard work, and your dedication to helping others learn the joys of polymer clay.

Online Workshops with Alice Stroppel


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Pen and Ink and Polymer Clay – How To

Pen and Ink Repaired

Pen and Ink Repaired

I’ve been playing around with this technique and I’d like to share with you. The picture above is the bracelet from yesterday’s post. I’ve fixed her face.

The picture below is my daddy’s prototype for a hair color box. I didn’t realize until this morning that I was copying my father. It’s signed on the bottom of the box, E. Lamar Simpson, 1950, the year I was born.

E. Lamar Simpson. 1950 prototype Hair coloring box

E. Lamar Simpson. 1950 prototype Hair coloring box

It sits on one of my book shelves in my studio. I love it when it draws my attention like it did this morning. People always ask an artist where they get their inspiration. I’d have to say, everything I have ever seen. I think it is all stored and show itself when you are ready.

My Dad did a weekly cartoon for our local paper and I’d spend time watching him as he drew.

I wasn’t thinking of this box when I drew my girls. I wasn’t looking at it, but the technique is amazingly the same.

I began covering my bracelet with black clay. I layered the black with three rectangles of white equal distances apart. On the first bracelet I made, ( Can You Guess?) that was all I did. This one I added pieces of my zentangle canes.

Next step is to bake them. When they were completely cooled, I drew on the white clay. I used a black Micron Pigma pen. Size 01. For the lips I used red.

I always use this pen to sign my work and heat set it with a heat gun, being careful not to burn the clay. There was too much surface to cover with the heat gun (or maybe the truth is I just don’t have the patience) and when I wore it for a test run, the girl in the picture above had her lips smear. I sanded the bottom half of her face and redrew it with the pen.

This time I preheated the oven and put it back in for 5 or 6 minutes. That should take care of heat setting it evenly.

However, I would suggest, if you are happy with a part of a drawing, go ahead and heat set it with your heat gun. If you don’t, you run the risk of smearing it as you move on the the next section.

That’s it. It you use this technique, I’d love to see what you come up with. Leave me link in the comments.

10 comments to Pen and Ink and Polymer Clay – How To

  • Love the bracelet Alice. You have a wonderful talent for drawing faces and now we know where it comes from. The box from you Dad is wonderful.

    Do you sand the clay before you draw on it? I got some Micron Pigma pens for Christmas so I’m anxious to give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing.


  • Alice

    Thanks so much Betty Jo, I don’t sand ever unless I have too. And that is after is mess up a face. I try to make sure my surface is as smooth as possible before I bake my items. I smooth and smooth and smooth.

    You could sand if you want to, it certainly won’t hurt anything. Let me see what you do.

  • Well, this was a nice lesson. Thank you for the post! If I ever get past the point of just making canes and actually make FINISHED PIECES (!), I’d love to give this a try. Thanks for the tip on the heat gun… I wonder where I put that?


  • Alice

    You will Kate, but don’t be surprised if it takes you awhile to want to move away from canes, even for a minute. I can tell you are hooked. Enjoy it.

  • Donna Ingram

    Almost ready with my first face cane. YEEEEEE
    I have worked hard on it but when you take a pic with my camera ( its a good one) you can really see the imperfections in it. I have a long way to go. LOL. Just looking at it its very pretty but wow in a pic is a lot different.
    Love the Braclets

  • Alice

    I can’t wait to see your first face cane Donna. Don’t worry, what does an old camera know anyway. I know it’s going to be great. Do you have any idea how many face canes I made before I had one that was any good at all? email your picture to the gmail address that you have from you tutorial…Alice

  • Lori Bates

    I am looking for information on how to smooth polymer clay onto a larger object. I would like to know how to get a fairly smooth finish before baking.

  • Alice

    Hi Lori,
    I usually try to start with a consistent thickness of clay. then I roll it with a small knitting needle or metal rod. It’s something that really just takes practice. Good luck and I’d love to see what you do.

  • Heather

    I’ve been searching every where trying to figure out how you get Micron Pigma pens not to smudge on polymer clay. Thank you thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! I do have a few questions about the process though. About how long do you have to heat it with a heat gun until it sets up & won’t smear? What degree setting do you put your head gun on?

  • Alice

    Hi Heather I finally figured out Ineed to coat it with tls to really seal it. I also have a video for sale for 10.00 that will showw you everything…it’s on the left side of my blog.

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