- Pasta Machine
- Tissue Blade
- Exacto™ Blade
- Scrap of plastic wrap
- 1 log blue polymer clay, any brand, any size
- 2 sheets white polymer clay, any brand, clay large
enough to cover the log twice
- 1 sheet each red and blue polymer clay, any brand,
large enough to cover the log once
Condition the clay by manipulating
it. Fold it, run it through a pasta machine, mash it, twist it, work it
until it's workable. To test if it's conditioned enough, roll the clay
into a fat snake and bend it in half. If there are no cracks or fissures
along the bend, the clay is ready.
Roll the white sheets through the pasta machine on the medium setting.
Then roll the blue and red sheets through on the thickest setting. Roll
the log out so it is an even thickness.
Pick up one of the white sheets and trim the sides so it is the same
width as the log. Trim one end and roll the log into the sheet starting
with the trimmed end. Roll all the way until the trimmed end meets the
clay a gently press to make a slight indentation. Roll back just a
little and cut the sheet along the line made by the pressure. Set the
scrap aside for another project and seat the two ends so they abut
without any overlapping.
Repeat Step 2 with the red sheet.
Repeat Step 2 with the other white sheet.
Repeat Step 2 with the second blue sheet. You now have a multi-colored bull's
Reduce the cane until it is a little thicker than the biggest bead you
plan to manufacture. If you are unsure of how to reduce the cane, go HERE. Cut a length of the
cane off that is no longer than your tissue blade. (I do this for
convenience and accuracy for the next steps.)
Step 7: Place the scrap of plastic wrap over the cane, place your
blade sharp side up (taking care not to cut your fingers) and press down
evenly along the length of the cane. Press the blade just about halfway.
The object here is to NOT cut the cane, but to distort it. This
technique was gleaned from Elissa Powell's Chrysanthemum
Cane. (Click picture for a larger view)
Step 8: Pull the plastic wrap from the crease, give the log a
quarter turn and repeat Step 7. Do this two more times so there are 4
creases in the cane. (Click picture for a larger view)
Step 9: Now turn the cane just a little, replace the
plastic wrap and crease the log in the middle of one of the quarters.
Continue creasing until you have 8 creases total. (Click picture for a larger view)
Here's where I vary from the Mum Cane. Roll the cane smooth again. Don't
worry if it elongates.
11: Using a method I learned from Donna
Kato, roll the cane backward until it is back to the size you wanted
for your beads. To do this, place both hands on the cane, one at each
end. Roll the cane back and forth while moving your hands inward toward
the center. This will push the cane back into a thicker log.
12: Now slice a piece off the cane just a bit larger than what you
want your bead to be.
Step 13: Place the bead on your work surface on end and, with
your Exacto™ Blade, shave off some clay at an acute angle. Do this all
the way around the base of the bead. When you're done, flip the bead
over and repeat that with the other end.
Alternative methods for this step have been
suggested that would be much easier:
Desiree suggests: "Your message title set a brain spark a'flyin'. I
was thinking, once the chevron cane is made, wouldn't it be cool to have
one of those apple peeler/corers, but sized for tiny little apples,
apples about the size of a big bead? Then you could plunk a cane segment
into that silly peeling contraption and it would shave away the ends of
the bead, exposing the star patterns, thus easily creating a chevron
bead. It wouldn't take forever that way. Of course, the trick is to find
a teeny tiny apple peeler. ;-)"
Pencil sharpeners after baking were suggested by JennyPat, Jeanne and
Sandpaper after baking is another one suggested by Desiree. I thought
of maybe some kind of bead-sized cup lined with sandpaper while Joanie
Clayshapr suggested: "Maybe a piece of sandpaper in a funnel.... stick
the beads in and twist them to sand the ends off after baking. That
would keep the patterns more even? You'd have to start off with pretty
rough paper in order to remove bulk material of course."
14: Once again, roll your miniature cane (aka bead) smooth. It is
easiest to do if you use just one finger.
Pinch the ends to bring the bead back to the proper size.
There you have it. My Faux Chevron Beads are not precise as this
tutorial was actually started as "just a noodle." Kind of like thinking
out loud. I am sure, with practice, they will be able to resemble the
blown glass millefiore chevron beads quite accurately! Below are some of
the beads I made and laid on top of the picture of the African Trade
Beads that were my inspiration.
Faux Chevron Beads.
the picture for a closer look.
In case anyone is ambitious enough, making a more demanding (less
easy) faux chevron bead requires:
1. making a multipoint (e.g. 12 - 20) star millefiori cane (use
lots of little triangular polymer clay canes,
2. fill in all the
triangluar valleys with more triangulat canes,
3. cut a segment
from the cane (anywhere between 1-2" long),
4. carve, shave and/or
sand both ends to expose the deeper layers; like the way Sunni shows
on her webpage tute.
If you've got a chevron bead, take a look at it head on (from one
end) you'll see the cross-section of the cane's construction and how to
build your polymer clay cane.
If you don't have a chevron bead, you can see a side view and top
view at my online photo album. Here's the url to page: