To visit the Clay Factory, Click Here!

To visit Prairie Craft Company, click here!

Polymer Clay Central

Message Board Chat Bookstore My Delphi Polymer Clay


Here's a "quickie" accent bead that will work well to compliment larger focal beads in a bracelet or necklace combination. As part of the materials, you will need a flower cane. I use a variation of Dawn's Hydrangea Cane in this lesson, but any flower cane will do. If you don't have a favorite, we have some excellent flower canes in the PCCyclopedia to help you choose. Note that the measurements in the lesson can be changed to create beads of different sizes.

Click on Noted Pictures for a Larger View

Click Me for a Larger View
Materials needed are any type of leaf cane, a flower cane, a Kato "Marxit" or any type of ruler to measure 1/8" marks for cutting, a sharp blade, and wooden skewer or knitting needle with a diameter that you want for the finished bead opening. My leaf cane has been wrapped in a thin layer of Premo Gold, as it makes a nice effect on the finished bead.

This is the leaf cane that I use, which is the same one from my TrueLeigh Rose Cane lesson (with different colors and before shaping). The Leaf part of that lesson is right here if you care to make it, or you can use your own cane. Reduce the round cane to about 1" diameter.
Click Me for a Larger View
Begin shaping the round cane into a leaf shape by pinching the top and pressing the sides in.

Continue shaping the cane, and use pinching to elongate the leaf shape.

Now we come to the difference between this and a regular leaf cane - begin to flatten the bottom of the leaf until you get a triangle shape to the cane.
Click Me for a Larger View
Lay the cane down on one side and use a Marxit or ruler to mark off 1/8" cutting marks on the side of the cane.
Click Me for a Larger View
This is the result of marking the cane with a Marxit. Of course, if you're REALLY sure of yourself you can just wing it!
Click Me for a Larger View
Needless to say, this picture speaks for itself...
Click Me for a Larger View
Each slice will end up as a separate bead, so slice off as many as you might need.
Click Me for a Larger View
Pick up a slice, and begin to flatten the piece out by squeezing it between your fingers.
Click Me for a Larger View
Once the slice has been flattened out a bit, take the tip between your thumb and forefinger and pull slightly on it, and begin to elongate the leaf shape while bringing the tip to a sharp point.
Click Me for a Larger View
This picture shows the difference between the original slice and the flattened and shaped slice.
Click Me for a Larger View
Take your skewer or knitting needle and lay it on top of the base of the leaf at a right angle to the leaf. Leave a small amount of the base exposed.
Click Me for a Larger View
Take the exposed piece from the previous step and begin wrapping it around the skewer. Press slightly so it adheres to the skewer.
Click Me for a Larger View
Now begin to roll the skewer onto the slice, making sure that you keep the point of the slice aligned as much as possible in the center of the rollup.
Click Me for a Larger View
Continue rolling the skewer towards the point...
Click Me for a Larger View
Roll down to the end, making sure that the point ends in the center of the rollup, and then press it slightly so it adheres to the rollup.
Click Me for a Larger View
Cut off a fairly thin slice of your flower cane.
Click Me for a Larger View
Lay the flower slice onto the rollup, and make sure that it covers the pointed end of the tip. Press slightly and smooth the slice onto the rollup. Leave the rollup on the skewer and bake according to the manufacturer's recommended settings. I personally bake almost everything for at least 45 minutes to an hour at 275º
(see Leigh's Tip).
Click Me for a Larger View
After baking, pull the bead off the skewer and voilá - the finished Accent Bead!!!!!
Leigh's Tip: Plasticizers are what keep the clay soft and malleable. When you bake your clay you are baking out the plasticizers. If you underbake, there will be plasticizers left in your piece, and they will work at the clay to make it soft again, and this is why underbaked clay is brittle. When you increase the baking time you are more assured of baking out the plasticizers, although if your piece has a lot of white in it, you will need to cover it in foil to prevent browning. A good oven thermometer is a worthwhile investment!!!

Leigh Ross
©2002 Text and Pictures

PoLEIGH Talking - Polymer Clay Central