Flower canes are a relatively simple way to create hundreds of different types of flower polymer clay beads. Slices of cane can be used to cover any surface that can be baked, or you can drill holes in thicker slices for beads, drops and pendants. While the flower cane can be as simple or complex as you like, the basic cane is usually fast and easy. I’ve used this basic template for everything from very simple flowers to life-like roses, pansies and more with just a few alterations to the petal shape and size.
Creating a simple five-petal flower polymer clay cane
The bull’s-eye flower, or five-petal flower, is one of the easiest canes to make. It forms a simple daisy type flower that can be done in any color or combination of colors. This cane takes only three or four colors. Follow these steps for the cane in its simplest form:
- Select one to be your main flower color, and roll it into an even log.
- Create a log out of the color you will use for the center of the flower.
- Cut your main flower color into five equal pieces, then arrange those pieces around the center piece.
- Roll a thick log of a contrasting color and cut cross-sections for five wedge-shaped pieces. Place these between each petal piece with the long point closest to the center.
- Roll out an even sheet of a contrasting color. This can be the same color that you used for your wedges or a different one, but pick something that doesn’t blend in with petal colors.
- Wrap the contrasting color sheet over the entire log so it’s roughly cylindrical, but don’t let the sheet overlap.
- Cut the ends so that all parts are exactly the same length.
- Set the log aside to rest.
How to reduce a polymer clay cane
After your polymer clay cane has “rested” for several hours in the refrigerator or overnight at room temperature, it’s time to reduce it to the size you want. You can’t simply roll the log until it’s smaller – this will cause it to stretch unevenly, twisting and distorting the picture. Instead, “choke” the clay by squeezing its entire diameter. Gently stretch the ends after several squeeze, then squeeze some more. If the ends bulge, then carefully push the center back down while pulling up on the outside edges. Once you achieve the size you want, cut off the ends until you see a clear, well-shaped picture.
Don’t rush this part of making a polymer clay cane. Reducing is a tedious task, especially with larger canes, but it’s critical. If you rush, you can easily destroy all of the work you just did and will be left with mottled scrap clay. Make your canes small to start so that you have minimal reducing and can closely monitor your skill level.
Adding detail to your polymer clay cane
You can dress up this basic cane in a number of ways:
- Use sheets of complementary colors or darker shades to encase each “petal” piece for a little more visual interest.
- Create a skinner blend for a shaded look that makes the center either lighter or darker than the outer ages.
- Pinch one side of each petal piece for an elongated shape that overlaps the other petals to create a rose.
- Layer sheets of two different colors together when making the petal pieces for realistic-looking “veins” in the reduced finished cane.
Remember that you can make any shape or texture with caning. The beauty of the technique is that you start out large, making it easy to add in a lot of detail without really fine, tedious effort. Finished canes can be sliced, baked, drilled, added to millefiori pieces and more. Stick with the basic daisy cane until you master reduction, then go wild exploring all of the possibilities with polymer clay.