POLYMER CLAY CANE USES
Here's some general information about how to use these canes.
You can use these canes in a few different ways. You can cut off 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide pieces and pierce through the side to make beads. Or, you can cut very thin slices and apply them to background clay or completely cover a base of scrap clay with slices. Roll bead in your hands to smooth in slices. You can cut slices from these canes and apply them to anything that you can bake at 275 degrees F. Use slices to cover glass, metal tins and wood or metal frames. You can even cover certain brands of pens and bake, such as Bic Round Stic, Bic Clic Stic or Bic SoftFeel. Just remove the pen's ink cartridge with pliers, cover, bake and replace ink cartridge.
To pierce the beads, twist a needle gently through the side of the bead until the tip of the needle comes through the other side. Remove needle and twist into the other side where the tip of the needle came through. This will make a nice hole at both ends of the piercing.
If you are going to use a lot of flat beads, you can also sandwich a long, thin wire between thin slices of cane along the length of the wire. Lay the bottom slices in a row on your baking sheet, lay the wire along the center of all the slices, and place more slices on top of the wire over bottom slices and press into place to attach.
CANES WITH TRANSLUCENT BACKGROUNDS
Canes with translucent backgrounds are used when you want to layer slices and see through the background to whatever clay is under it. Whether it is background clay or other slices. The thinner you slice, the better.
Translucent clay is also easier to burn, which will turn it light brown, so be extra careful baking your pieces with translucent.
After baking, the piece can be sanded with wet/dry sandpaper using about a 400 grit, progressively down to 1000 or 1200 grit. This will make the translucent parts more translucent.
Canes used for nail art are usually reduced to 4 or 5 mm (3/16 inch or smaller) and baked as written below. I usually put the canes on a sheet of card stock that’s been accordion folded, on a cookie sheet, with another sheet of card stock on top. Then I cover it all with another cookie sheet and bake. Bake right away so that the paper doesn’t soak up the plasticizer in the cane. This will make the canes brittle. Cut very, very thin slices of the baked cane with a sharp blade to apply to gel or acrylic nails.
Canes can be reduced in size by warming them up in your hand for a couple minutes, then stretching and rolling them out on your work surface, until they are the diameter you want. Square canes can be warmed up, stretched and smoothed out on each side until they are the size you need. Let cane cool off again before slicing.
You can make the cane bigger by pushing the ends towards each other, rolling the cane and pushing again, but it's risky. This can distort the design in the cane.
Most of these canes are made with Premo which needs to be baked at 275 degrees for 30 minutes per quarter inch of thickness. It’s very important that you check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. A lot of oven temperatures are off. Burned polymer clay fumes are toxic. If your clay burns, air the room out immediately.
All polymer clay beads and items can be sanded as mentioned above in the translucent section. You can also buff them after sanding to bring out the shine in the clay. You can also coat beads with Future Acrylic Floor Finish, which will give them a light shine.
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