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


[caption id="attachment_102" align="aligncenter" width="100" caption="Member IPCA"]Member IPCA[/caption]

Polymer Clay Steps Aside for Sunrises and Mermaids

I haven’t been claying, I’ve been beaching…………

I went away for a four day week-end with 6 of my girl friends and we stayed on a fabulous island off the coast of Florida. You can only get there by boat and once there travel around on foot or by golf cart.

The house belongs to a very good friend and I love going there, it is the most relaxing place to be that I can think of. We are all praying that  it will stay free of oil from the spill. Both on the inlet side and the ocean side, the water was unbelievably beautiful and clear. We all were so appreciative of everything on this trip, we don’t want to lose it.

Glorious! I got up very early one morning to catch the sunrise. It was beautiful as you can see by the photo and I just had to share it.

I do want everyone to know that the coastline of most of Florida is still oil free and you should come and enjoy it. Tourism has practically stopped here, and we need you to come if you were planning on it. Please don’t stay away because of what you think might be happening.

I also remembered this time to take a picture of the mermaid we made for the our friend that owns the house. On one of the trips a couple of years ago, I brought some fabric and some paint and gave everyone a piece of fabric and asked them to paint something. I didn’t tell them what I was going to do with it until later.

I took all the pieces home with me and made them into the body of this mermaid. I did her face and hair, added a few things of my own and then sent her off to one of my friends with instructions to add whatever they wanted to and then pass her on.

That Christmas, we presented our friend with the finished mermaid. She has lived at the beach house ever since. I didn’t take pictures then, so I was happy I remembered to take some this trip. I thought it was fun and I’d really like to do it again.

A Polymer Clay Figure Inspired by Kathleen Dustin’s Class

Flying Mermaid

Flying Mermaid

I have been working all week on my tutorial for the profile face cane, but haven’t finished the editing of the video yet. But the filming and the pdf are finished.

I have been having blogging withdrawals, I haven’t made anything new to post because of the tutorial.

While on breaks,  I have been talking with some people on Facebook about the class we took with Kathleen Dustin. I thought I’d post this flying mermaid that I made after her class. I really enjoyed the techniques she taught us and I would like to try again. I know, just another thing to put on my Wanna Do list.

This mermaid flies above my head when I am working on my computer. Unlike her human friends, she wears her bathing cap when she is flying….it keeps her hair from frizzing in the air.

Flying Mermaid Tail

Flying Mermaid Tail

I had a thing for mermaids back then, and I guess I still do kind of. But back to work on the face cane tutorial.

Mermaid Bracelet Listed on Etsy

Polymer Clay Mermaid Cuff Bracelet

Polymer Clay Mermaid Cuff Bracelet

Okay I’ve figured my time and materials and have listed my mermaid bracelet in my Etsy store, I’ve listed her for a price of $60.00. She is all clay, no other materials were used. I don’t have a metal base on the bracelet like I do on most of my other ones.

However, there is much more clay used. The clay itself wouldn’t amount to very much money, maybe $4.00 or so, but the  time that has been spent on the canes amounts to about 4 hours total. Plus the baking cost and spending time on the photos. Yes, I have some canes left over, but the point is, without spending that time in the first place, I wouldn’t have the canes to make my mermaid, so I’m generous in figuring the time spent.

Then I add the time spent on the mermaid bracelet, about 2 hours and I come up with about 6 hours to get this bracelet to my Etsy shop.

So, at the price of $60.00 minus $4.00 for the clay and $4.00 for the oven, that leaves me $52.00 for labor. Divide $52.oo by 6 hours and I will make 8.66 per hour. Hmmm. Oh I forgot, I still have to list it for $.20, then I have to package the bracelet nicely to send to my customer if it sells and drive to the post office. Then I have to pay a commission to Etsy, and one to PayPal.

Plus I have to spend time on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook to make sure everyone knows I’ve posted a new item. But I still don’t have the “right ” customers linking to my blog, Twitter and Facebook.

By that I mean, unfortunately, other polymerclay artists aren’t really interested in buying my polymer clay creations, they have their own.

If the item doesn’t sell right away on Etsy, people suggest that you re-list your items over and over. Just figure out the right time to re-list when the most people are on the front page of Etsy and there you go. What???  I know it probably works, but I’d rather spend time making something.

But I do like Etsy, I’ve had a few good sales and I’m happy. But I want to branch out further and continue to find galleries and shops to take my work.

Back to the money…..So now that $8.66 per hour isn’t looking very fat. (Not that it was a ton of money anyway) But that’s okay. I enjoy making my items and I really like it when other people buy them and I know they are enjoying them too.

If I sell it wholesale, because I could by the way I priced it, I would divide the 8.66 in half. Leaving me with $4.33 per  hour. Not even minimum wage. But I don’t have to do anything but get it to my retailer. With my items I can send them by mail and send several at a time.

I’ve made  the seconded mermaid bracelet, using the same canes. this bracelet took less time because I already had the canes, increasing my profit somewhat. Providing they both sell. I’m going to send this one to a gallery and see which one sells first. I’ll let you know.

Part 1 Selling Your Polymer Clay Artwork
Part 2 Pricing Polymer Clay Artwork to Sell Wholesale
Part 3 Mermaid Bracelet Listed on Etsy
Part 4 Inventory Lists for Your Polymer Clay
Part 5 Display Cards for Polymer Clay Pins and Necklaces
Part 6 Creating Tags for Your Polymer Clay Creations

Polymer Clay Mermaid Using Profile Face Cane

Polymer Clay Mermaid

Polymer Clay Mermaid

See what happens when I start thinking about merchandise for galleries on the beach. I was mixing colors and making canes for leaves and plants for my flamingos and started thinking about my  fish mosaic.

I ended up with a mermaid……………..

When I mix my colors, I try to mix them with the same amount of grey to get my base color and then add white and skinner blends. I am looking at the book Color Inspirations and am interested in play with the “mud” idea too. But for now I’m mixing grays with my color blends to get a muted result.

Then I make different canes using the mixes and Skinner blends. When I’m ready to work on a project, I have canes that blend and go together nicely.

Polymer Clay Mermaid Close Up

Polymer Clay Mermaid Close Up

I used the coral Skinner blend in each of the canes. Sometimes as the main body of the cane and sometimes as accents. Her hat was leftover bits of mixed color and Skinner blend. It didn’t make a very big cane and I only got six slices off of it, but I only needed four to make her a smashing hat. I used the other two slices on a fish bracelet I’ll show you in the next post.

Watch my video Don’t Waste That Little Bit of Skinner Blend to learn how I use even scraps of Skinner blends to make usable canes.

I used the same method to build this mermaid as I do for my fish mosaic except I’m layering the canes instead of butting them up next to each other. It’s less labor intensive, but doesn’t create the same level of sophistication as the mosaic work. It just depends on what effect you are trying to achieve and how much time you want to spend.

To see how I do my mosaics, just sign up for my newsletter and watch a video for free.

I love these blue bottles and I’m quickly running out of them. Here’s one I did for a fund raiser at Highlands Art League. It made $135 for the league. I was delighted as there was some incredible art work auctioned off that evening from some very talented artists.

Polymer Clay Wine Bottle

Polymer Clay Wine Bottle