New Unbaked Polymer Clay Canes

After a 2-year hiatus, I’ve started making polymer clay canes again.  Currently I have been working on perfecting a design for a Frangipani flower cane, that I will also write a tutorial for.  Frangipani is one of my favorite tropical flowers, and I’ve made frangipani polymer clay canes before.

The first one was in cane5502007.  I think it was a pretty good attempt, all things considered.  I had the generally right idea.  But in analyzing the cane, I think it needed a bit more depth to it.  I liked the curled sides of the petals, and I liked the color at the tips, but I thought the petals themselves were longer and more pointed than I wanted. I also thought the pink at the center should have been a different color.  But all in all, I did use the cane in my own work and sold the rest of it, so it was mostly a success.

cane647The next one I made was in 2009, and it wasn’t what I really wanted.  It was okay; but the design changes I made from the first cane didn’t evolve the design in the way I wanted it to go.   However again, I kept the design, used it in very small sizes (1/8 inch, so as to minimize the flaws in the design), and it worked for me.

cane827So this week, I decided to tackle this ‘problem child’ afresh.  I reviewed many photographs of real Frangipani flowers.  There are different varieties with different petal shapes, but I still liked the 5-petal pinwheel variety with the curled edge the best.  Many of the ones I saw had a yellow to yellow-orange center, so I added that into my design this time.  I revisited the petal color only at the tips, and rounded the points.  An improvement– but not exactly what I was looking for.  that being said, it’s still a good flower, and will make a nice accent design for my beads.

perfecting-a-designI went back to the drawing board — literally.  I printed out a photo of this last cane and wrote notes on it, delineating the changes that needed to be made to get me closer to where I wanted to go.  I needed to make the shadow that falls under the curl of the sides of the petals lighter– I’d used a gray to white blend, and it came out much darker than I’d hoped.  I also needed to do some slight outlining at the tips of the petals, I thought, to give them a bit more definition.  But that would have to be very light, or else it will look too cartoonish.

cane828So with my notes and photographs on my work table, I began another cane last night.  And YEA.  This is what I wanted.  I’m really happy with the design, it meets what I was hoping to achieve.  I liked the new touch of the thicker curl right at the tip.  Yes, that’s good.  I also changed the assembly of the main petals a bit, which made a difference in how the design construction fit together (aka the assembly of the puzzle).  I’m now going to practice the design by making more colors;  but I think this one will become a permanent part of my polymer clay cane collection.




4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. myra katz
    Nov 02, 2014 @ 10:56:27

    The polymer posts are all so interesting! I hope there will be more of them. And…I especially liked your video that shows how to slice your canes almost paper thin. Thanks.


    • Charlene Therien
      Nov 03, 2014 @ 08:57:25

      There will be more of the polymer posts for sure, Myra! Thanks! And more videos. We finally upgraded our camera. I have been using an 8-year-old JVC videocamera that just is…. well, not really capable of doing what we’d like to do. We’ve just upgraded to a Nikon DSLR camera, and we’ll be able to do much better quality HD videos with it. In fact… I’m working on an online cane class for the Polymer Clay Adventures Virtual Retreat that’s happening next year. Plus some more youtube how-to videos. Having better equipment makes a huge difference.


  2. Debbie Schamber
    Nov 02, 2014 @ 17:29:01

    I like learning about people’s design process. I will also say that I think I like the blue flower better than the final version, but that’s probably because it’s more round and even and fills my need for everything to be neat and orderly! lol


    • Charlene Therien
      Nov 03, 2014 @ 08:52:39

      I also like learning about peoples’ design process! It’s interesting to see how individuals approach the problem– because we’re not only assembling a 3-d puzzle, we’re having to create the puzzle pieces from scratch in the first place! Some people like Sarah Shriver approach it mathematically; others (like me I guess) approach it more ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’. So it’s a wide bell curve with lots of interesting approaches.

      I did like the blue one– the only thing I’d have changed on it was to lighten the shadow that runs along the curve of the petal, and then make better contrast on the outer tip of the petal. Coincidentally, I’ll be teaching this exact cane at the Polymer Clay Adventures Virtual Retreat next year.


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