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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Teaching a Polymer Clay Workshop at Beads F.O.B.

I just have to tell you …. I love teaching …. and …….. I love teaching new caners. The smiles and looks on the faces of the ladies in my class this weekend at Beads F.O.B. in Sarasota just put me in a good mood for the next month at least.

Thanks to Karen at Beads F. O. B. for keeping all the paperwork straight and Marty for all her work and for letting me come join the fun. Looks like I’ll be going back to teach again soon so check back to see when you might be able to come join us.

We made so many canes and turned some of them into beads and some into pendants, I’m only showing the pendants here.

Joan Diehl at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel

Joan was having a great time and already had plans for a volunteer project and began working on it before class was over.

Marlene Brownell  at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel


I heard this high little yell from Marlene and wondered what was wrong. It was all excitement  at her table, she had just successfully reduced that little leaf cane and was tickled with herself. It reminded me of the first time I reduced a cane and all the possibilities that were running through my head.

Marty Montague at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel


Marty made earrings and enjoyed the whole creative process. She is one fun polymer clayer.

Lois Mills at Beads F.O.B. Workshop with Alice Stroppel


I looked up one time to see the biggest grin on Lois’ face. She had just made several successful canes in a great combo of colors and I could see the wheels turning behind those smiling bright eyes.

Christine Kaczmarek  at Bead Workshop with Alice Stroppel


Christine said she couldn’t go to sleep the first night and couldn’t wait to get back to work on her canes on Sunday. Her enthusiasm shows in her work.

Cathe Keck at Beads F.O.B. Workshop with Alice Stroppel


Cathe’s work is big and bold. Her color combinations are bright and work so well together.

I’m so sorry that Marina had to leave early and I didn’t get a picture of her work.

(two days later, update) Marina sent me a picture of her work, I’m so happy to be able to include it. I just didn’t feel right for her pieces to be missing. Thanks Marina!

Marina - Beads F.O.B. Class - Alice Stroppel

Marina Montagut

I love how everyone created their own colors and Marina loves to do mini piece. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

I also didn’t take a class picture.  We ran over time, we were having so much fun, and people started to leave before I remembered the group photo. Thanks to all my student, I really appreciate how easy you made it to show you what I know, it was great fun.

The Other Side of the Canister made with a Profile Face Cane

Profile Face Canister Side 2

Profile Face Canister Side 2

Here’s the other side of the canister made with two different profiles. You can see the other side here. The hair from both flow around half the canister. It  was fun to do and I think it will go next to my coffee canister and hold …let’s see…..flour? NOT sugar…oh no…pasta maybe.

Tropical Leaves Polymer Clay Canes

Tropical Leaves

Tropical Leaves

I’ve been creating tropical canes. I’m going to do several color combos but I made one skinner blend and it resulted in these canes. I went ahead and made these different canes with the same colors just to record what I did. When Laquita Cater was here, we were looking through my canes and she asked how I made some of my tropical canes and to tell you the truth, some were so old (or maybe it’s me that so old) that I couldn’t remember exactly what I’d done and certainly not how I reached my mixed colors. So I’m kind of on a mission at Laquita’s request, to create a tutorial of tropical leaves and plants.

I do want to show how to use one skinner blend to end up with all these diverse canes. I’ll be choosing the different color combos and maybe listing several of them in the tutorial.

Just looking out my window gives me lots of inspiration, plus there is always the internet with tons of pictures of tropical plants. So I’m off to create.

Magical Faces and Color Mixing Demos with Barbara McGuire at Fandango

Face by Barbara McGuire

I’ve left Barbara McGuire for last because I had a chance to get to know her better than the other artists at Fandango. I’ve already posted about the incredible face class I had the opportunity to take with her and how much fun it was.

One of the demos Barbara McGuire gave was placing one of her faces on a base to make a large focal bead like the one in the photo above.  I purchased this one from Barbara that night. She used her new stamp on this one and demonstrated those as well.

But before that, I was truly excited to watch her demonstrate her color mixing techniques. This demo had Barbara with her pasta machine and an array of colored clay. After watching Sarah Shiver and Julie Picarello mix their colors using the skinner blend method, I was finally driven TO the edge by watching Barbara. It actually took attending that small face class to send me OVER the edge and soaring into a world that I have been just sticking one tiny finger in. I haven’t been this excited since I made my first face cane almost 10 years ago. The combination of all of the artist’s techniques came together for me and I was gobsmacked.

I loved learning how to make a face the way Barbara does, but I have my own voice that I am still training. I may never produce anything but jingles, but I will continue to strive for a symphony. Just this last few days I feel like I’ve been set free. Mixing colors will never be the same again.

It was such a pleasure to get to know Barbara and I appreciate all that she shares with us.

I feel that finding our own creative voice and a way to use it is what we are all striving for and I know Barbara has started a new publication to help us do just that. She was kind enough to share a bit about her Woman Creative postcards in the following video. Enjoy.

To find out more about Barbara, her products, where she’s teaching next visit her website.  Be sure to take a minute to check out Woman Creative.

Polymer Clay – Talk About Using It All!!

Orange and Purple Polymer Clay

Orange and Purple Polymer Clay

This should be added to my Don’t Waste That Little Bit of Skinner Blend video. I had some old skinner blend sheets that I made a couple of months ago and was going to get back to them right away. So instead of storing them in the loose leaf binder under the protective sheets, I just put them between sheet of deli sheets. After all I was going to get right back to them. Right?

I “found” them today and decided to finish them up, make some canes from them. Well, they were pretty dry. The deli sheets had leached them pretty badly.

I worked with them and turned them into plugs and logs. When I trimmed the ends, because they were so dry, I ended up with these fluffy little flower shapes. I started to smash them, but if you know me at all, you know I had to save them some how. So I added this one to the bracelet above.

I also added the first cut from either side of a skinner plug. It won’t win a prize, but it’s interesting, full of texture, and kind of funky.

Made me start to think of ways to create texture in my work that’s different from using a texture sheet or pressing things into the clay. More organic….hmmm…

Bluegreen and Coral Polymer Clay Cuff Bracelet

Bluegreen and Coral Polymer Clay Bracelet

Bluegreen and Coral Polymer Clay Bracelet

Today I made more canes using the Skinner Blend method. Judith Skinner invented this way of blending polymer clay in 1996 and is working on a book with Sarajane Helm. I can’t wait for it to come out.

It is one of my favorite techniques. If you don’t know what a skinner blend is or have just never tried to make one, there are many sites out there with instructions. I think the best written tutorial is by Desiree from Desired Creations. She has some wonderful information on her site. You should spend some time there. I learned how to clean my pasta machine from Desiree’s site. Eugena from Eugena’s Creations also has clear picture instructions.

I’m working fast and furious on all kinds of bracelets for the galleries that show my work and to stock my Etsy Shop. thanks for stopping by today.

Recreating a Favorite Cane in Polymer Clay

Coral Leaf Cane Bracelet

Coral Leaf Cane Bracelet

I had a favorite cane, like the coral leaf on the bracelet above. I made it a long time ago and have used it on many of my projects. It’s a simple cane using the Skinner Blend method for both the coral and the silver of turquoise in the middle.  I wasn’t sure if I would remember what colors I used, but it was simple. Cadmium Red and white and turquoise and white. They make quick and easy, beautiful, tropical blends.

Color Chart

Color Chart

This time I’ll make a record of the color. For the last year or so, I’ve been making color records of my blends. I mix my color and then run a piece through the pasta machine at about #6 (very thin). I cut a small circle from that and heat set it with my heat gun, then glue it in my color book. Then I make Skinner  blends from it and do the same thing with bits of the blend. I like being able to write on the pages and make notes if I want to.

Color Rings

Color Rings

I’ve tried lots of other ways to record my color experiments like the color rings above. On the one on the right, I carved the recipe on the back. The one on the left, (I must have been out of my mind) I made these little circles with the recipe typed on the computer. I had to set them up on the computer, print them, cut them out and then glue them to the samples. After a couple of years, some of the recipes fell off!!!

Today, I like my book the best.

There’s lots of information out there about color charts, the most recent is by Maggie Maggio on her blog Smashing Color. The Article Documenting Your Color Mixes is very informative.

Oh, by the way, the bracelet is going to my Etsy shop.

Etsy Bound Bracelets, Card Cases and Bottle Stoppers

Polymer Clay bangle braceletA funny thing happened. I was so happy that the shop I stopped in while I was in Tampa wanted to buy some of my pieces. So happy I shared it with you. Now I have to tell you that I emailed the shop and haven’t heard a word since.

Polymer Clay bottle stopper front

polymer clay bottle stopper  back

Because of that shop, I realized that there were so many other possibilities out there that I wasn’t looking at. So It’s okay!

I began to look at dress boutiques and other speciality shops. I found quite a few and have emailed several. I’ve heard back from one, but she only carries local artists. she still was a bit interested and asked for some time to think about it.

As you can see, I am still stuck on Zentangle canes. I really have had fun with them.

Polymer Clay business card holder

I did my emailing on Friday and this week end was Halloween, so I’m not discouraged yet. Besides, I still have the whole United States and Canada left….and I’ve started receiving commission checks from Julia’s Art Gallery on Pine Island.  I told you about that trip in September.

Blue Skinner Blend polymer Clay braceletSo all of these items are now listed in my Etsy Shop with more to come. Life is sweet.

Polymer Clay Skinner Blend Cuff Bracelet

Skinner Blend Cuff Bracelet

Skinner Blend Cuff Bracelet

Still having fun after all these years! I’m still amazed that there are so many people that don’t know anything about polymer clay. Have never even heard of it. But I guess there are hundreds of things I know nothing about. Okay thousands……Millions? But polymer clay is such apart of my life and has been for the last 15 years, with it the main focus for at least 10, that it’s hard to imagine that there are people that haven’t heard of it.

Even when I wasn’t “into” pc, I had tried my hand at it. In the ’80 I made  fruit ring candle holders. I know I have them somewhere and I’m going to look for them and see if they are anything like I remember them.

Anyway, I’m always so happy to hear from people who have found my blog and say they want to find out more about pc. The more interest we have the more related product there will be. Besides, it’s such a satisfying art form. Anyone can do just about anything with pc. So if  you’re new to pc, go get yourself a few ounces and just play. Find a class near you or online. Do a search online and you’ll find hundreds of free tutorials for you to try.

The bracelet in the photo is a Skinner blend, roller into a plug flatten out and cut into two equal parts and formed into a cane. I cut this cane into four equal part to form the final cane (shown below). I covered a bracelet with a thin layer of black clay, then cut and place slices of the finished cane on top of the black, covering the whole bracelet.

Skinner Blend Cane

Skinner Blend Cane

Okay, cheerleading over. Go forth and have fun! Christmas is coming, gifts to be made. But if you want, I have bracelets for sale on my Etsy site. Just in case you run out of time…….

Polymer Clay Cuff Bracelet and Flamingo Bottle Stopper

Polymer Clay Flamingo Stopper

Polymer Clay Flamingo Stopper

New listing in my Etsy Shop. Got my head down and working hard on several projects.

I love working with Skinner blends. If you are new to PC and think you might want to make canes, learn how to make a skinner blend. Unlimited things are waiting for you and hours of fun and imagination wanderings.

Skinner Blend Cuff Bracelet

Skinner Blend Cuff Bracelet