Faux Metal Mokume Gane | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Faux Metal Mokume GaneVid #202: “I have read how to do the Mokume Gane technique and still couldn’t picture it!! Your tutorials make it much easier!” ~Kam-K

With all the cool new Metallic Colors now available through the Premo Accents line, I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit the polymer clay Mokume Gane Technique. This week I will be teaching a version that looks more like the traditional Japanese Metalsmithing, for which it mimics.

Real Mokume Gane is an ancient metal technique used for making Samurai Swords. It was designed to recreate the look of wood grain. Different types of metals such as Silver, Copper, Bronze, Gold, Iron, etc., are layered and fused together in a block, which is then hammered, stamped or carved. Finally, thin sheets or veneers are sliced off, and used to make jewelry, swords and other precious artworks.

Polymer clay artists have it way easier than the traditional Mokume Gane artist. Clay is much softer and simpler to layer, and the tools aren’t expensive or complicated to use either. Now I’m not saying that polymer clay mokume gane is anywhere near being in the same league as the real thing. But done right, the faux clay version can end up looking very realistic. It is a technique that is definitely worth adding to your polymer clay skill set.

It’s funny – once I’d visited a blog by a jeweler. He was talking about polymer clay artists who mimic his work in doing mokume gane. He thought the work was inferior. Which intrigued me. Okay, so I went to look at his gallery. You know what? I think our mokume gane, with it’s rich variety of color, was nicer than his work. He did a fine job, don’t get me wrong. But I think polymer clay mokume gane offers a wider variety of opportunity and in my opinion, not nearly close to inferior. ~Charlene-T

I just started beading a couple of months ago – but I knew immediately that I wasn’t happy with what I was making and it was because it just wasn’t me. I wanted beads that ‘said something’ and it was obvious that they weren’t available. Flipping through a beading magazine one day, I came across a bracelet that a mother and daughter team had made out of mokume gane. It impressed me enough to make me stop and take a closer look. I knew right then and there that I needed to be making my own beads so that I could make my own statement. ~Aims

Visiting this site inspires me to try to go higher and work harder in mastering this polymer clay art form. All the pieces shown at this blog are gorgeous, but the mokume gane ones are sending me back to try the technique again, one I sort of put aside because I have never really liked my outcomes. ~Elizabeth-S

Love all your videos so far and have really gotten into making some simple Mokume Gane pendants. Just on the first stage of sanding, but it is making a HUGE difference in how they look as opposed to just putting varnish on them. Thank you so much for your time! ~Dawna-M

I was trying to practice my Mokume Gane cane for an upcoming class and wasn’t sure what to try it on, so I covered a small stainless steel utility pocket knife (only on one side) and wow… it really dressed up the knife. I gave them to my nephews and brother-in-laws for Christmas. This is why I just love polymer clay! ~Lupe-M

Hi, thought your first mokume gane video was really helpful. I’m new to polymer clay and I’ve wanted to have a go but found the picture instructions at other sites, quite hard to get a grasp of. Actually seeing someone do the technique in video has made a big difference. Thanks very much. ~Debbie-G

Just wanted to say thanks for the great video. I have read how to do the Mokume Gane technique and still couldn’t picture it!! Your tutorials make it much easier! Thanks!
~Kam-K

So… coming up tomorrow (Friday May 6th, 2011) in the Vol-036-1 Faux Metal Mokume Gane video at the Polymer Clay Library, I will share some more tips and tricks for creating this amazingly simple and beautiful technique that you can easily master in an afternoon!

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Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-036-1 Faux Metal Mokume Gane:

  • Polymer Clay in Metallic Colors. In the video I show several examples of Faux Metal Mokume Gane made using different metal combinations. For the actual demo, a combination of Premo clays in Gold, 18K Gold and Antique Gold was used. Similar to the real technique, you can use any metal color combination of your choice. Some excellent color choices in the Premo Accents line are: Gold, 18 K Gold, Antique Gold, Bronze, Silver, and Copper (the new one and/or the old discontinued one). As an alternative any brand of metallic clay will do.
  • Side Note: In one of the close-ups in the video with the Silver Copper and Bronze clay, I actually pointed to a sample of the new Bronze Clay and called it Copper and called the new Copper, Bronze. Funny thing is I did it correctly when I showed all the colors near the beginning… must have been too excited to show you the technique :-)
  • Acrylic Roller.
  • Pasta Machine (optional).
  • Clay Blade.
  • Large Ball Stylus such as the Sculpey Style & Detail Tools (optional).

The full version of the Vid-036-1 Faux Metal Mokume Gane video, will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday May 6, 2011. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.

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Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Click Video Play Button

The full version of the “Faux Metal Mokume” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-036 Back Issue Pckg.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Wonderful teardrop blend tutorial! It is worth every single penny!! Thanks Cindy. ~Monica-D

Not only is this site worth every penny. It’s worth MORE than the pennies we spend! Luckily, Cindy’s not greedy… she makes membership ridiculously inexpensive, so that anyone can join. The only thing I’ve ever regretted was waiting to join (missed out on those tutes!) Of course, I went back and bought the videos I missed anyway (had to have ’em – so good!) but at the library price. If I’d joined right away, I could’ve had them for the even cheaper membership price of $3.32 per month! OK, I’ll be quiet now. ~Phaedrakat

Cindy I just have to tell you that the Teardrop Technique is a wonderful addition to your teaching. Beautiful and it looks easy for a technique that at first seemed intimidating. One other thing I want to say. I just purchased a video from another publisher about resin work. The artist is quite well known, as well as the company. However, the quality of the video was no where comparable to your videos. You and your husband do such a wonderful job producing your videos that it is the standard from which I judge others… and I have yet to find any that don’t come up short! Your instructions are clear, the photography is excellent, and the boxed close ups are so valuable. You do beautiful work, and provide a great value too. I look forward to each Friday! ~Sue-W

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Faux Metal Mokume Gane video tutorial:

  • See examples of several Beads and jewelry projects made using a variety of different Faux Metal Mokume Gane blocks.
  • Discussion of the tools and materials needed to create your own version of the technique.
  • Learn how to quickly and easily mimic the traditional Japanese Metal Technique with a super simple Polymer Clay version.
  • And of course, tips on how to use this technique to get exactly the unique look you want!

The full version of the “Faux Metal Mokume” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-036 Back Issue Pckg.

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  1. Rebecca Chisenhall, 05 May, 2011

    Oh, Cindy, these are really lovely! Can’t wait until tomorrow. Also, will we be seeing a video on riveting soon, I hope?

  2. Sue F, 05 May, 2011

    I love your stacked riveted piece, Cindy! :D

  3. Jocelyn, 05 May, 2011

    Another slow wait ’til Friday, lol.

    Cannot wait to see these techniques, Cindy.

    Love the layered pendant with the saucer center. Please add me to the list of those requesting a future video on riveting.

  4. pollyanna, 05 May, 2011

    love mokume gane….another ‘can’t wait’!!!

  5. pattw35, 05 May, 2011

    How lovely – a subtle bling ! Friday seems so farrrrrrrrr ooooofff. Can’t wait to learn more

  6. Cherie, 05 May, 2011

    Can’t wait for tomorrow. I love the Mokume gane technique and have done a couple of pieces with it; some earrings, pendant and still have some left. Does Michaels have the new clay yet? I went a couple of weeks ago and they did not have the new clay.
    Cindy, would you please give us a tutorial on riveting too. I want to learn that and have been looking at a couple of videos but your teaching will definitely be way better.

  7. Jeanne C., 05 May, 2011

    The Mokume Gane is one of my favorite techniques, I did well selling my pendants last year at our craft show using this process. I’ve used the new copper color on 2 projects so far and the color is beautiful!! I bought all the new colors so I’m ready for tomorrow! :)

  8. Linda K., 05 May, 2011

    Well, Cindy, I’m really looking forward to this one! The reason I decided to try polymer clay in the first place many years ago was to learn faux mokume gane after seeing a gorgeous pair of earrings at a bead show, but the class was cancelled :( A year and a half ago, I saw instructions for mokume gane earrings in a beading magazine and my interest was renewed. I started searching the internet and found your blog. I still haven’t made mokume gane earrings, so maybe I will this time.

  9. Tantesherry, 05 May, 2011

    You can add my name to the ‘yes I’d like to learn riveting too’ list. Also looking forward to your MG tech.

    Being new here meant I had (have) alot of homework to catch up on – the 1st lesson I did was your Aurora technique–om goodness–wow and a bunch of other happy sounds could be heard as I buffed and the beads began to shine :)
    I wanted to share a sanding aha moment–the first few beads I started with 320 then 400 w/d then went thru my stack of micro pads–the colors were very bright and beautifully bold —- for the next set of beads I only used the stack of micromesh pads and wow again! Totally different and yet the subtleness of them struck me with awe. Thank you Cindy so much.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 06 May, 2011

    Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mom’s and Grandma’s!

    Thank you everyone for your kind feedback! This is one of those cool techniques that looks harder than it is. (Wish everything in life was like that.) There is no reason things have to be complicated to look great!

    Sounds like I’m going to have to do some more riveting around here and come up with a tutorial since you all asked so nicely. I’ll let you know when it comes available. Any other special tutorial requests?

    @Linda K.: What a cute story! Now you have the perfect excuse to get making those earrings. Won’t take you too long either, so I expect to see some pics on the Facebook page, here lickety split! :)

    @Tantesherry: That is so wonderful that you are having so much fun and success with your polymer clay bead making. I know exactly what you mean about the happiness you feel when the colors reveal themselves as you are sanding the Aurora beads. You’re right too about the differences in using the sandpaper vs micro-mesh. The effects are quite different but equally beautiful, aren’t they?

    @Cherie: That’s a bummer! Seems like all the Micheal’s stores are going through a bit of a revamp and aren’t fully stocked yet. Hopefully they will be getting the full line of new Premo colors in soon.

  11. Tantesherry, 08 May, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Sculptural Birdhouse Beads:
    This post is to see if I followed the direction from Gravitar right–hopefuly you guys can see a pic of me and my nephew :)

  12. Karonkay, 05 May, 2011

    Wish it was tomorrow. Looking forward to this. And thanks for being the person you are with the last week of offering the tutorial to everyone. I think a few more people saw what we love in your teaching style.
    Hugs Karonkay

  13. Lupe Meter, 05 May, 2011

    I love Mokume Gane too! Can’t wait to see it! Those earrings are lovely! Thanks, Cindy! 8D

  14. DawnB, 05 May, 2011

    Yea! Beautiful pieces again Cindy. Happy almost Friday everyone!

  15. TrudyM, 05 May, 2011

    I just got my order of the discontinued pearl colors from Premo from Polymer Clay Express to try the Aurora technique. Now I’ll be hitting them for the old and new metallics to do the Mokume Gane. Absolutely gorgeous and you make everything so easy to do. Can’t wait until tomorrow!

  16. Synnøve Olsen, 06 May, 2011

    Thank you for your informative videos. They are so easy to follow, and
    you are speaking so clearly that I almost forgett it is’nt my language!
    I’m – like many others in this forum – looking forwards to the Fridays and I would love to learn how to riveting too . . . .
    Synnove, an entusiastic supporter

  17. fran, 06 May, 2011

    Ditto to all the above !!

  18. Brenda, 06 May, 2011

    The New metalics rock! Your tutorial too Cindy. I havent got any of the colors yet though.

    I havent felt like claying lately. Have any of you just got in one of those ruts that you just can’t get out of. ugh…

    Happy Mothers Day Early to all you moms out there as well. Have a great weekend!

  19. Marlene C, 06 May, 2011

    Thank goodness for Michael’s coupons (they have one right now, good for 25% off entire purchase today and tomorrow). My son’s Mother’s Day gift is going to come in handy! Can’t stay on long, the store will be opening in 15 minutes, and have to be there (hoping against hope that they have them) to stock up on the new Premo Metallics. AND, if they don’t, well JoAnn’s is right down the road, and they take competitor coupons (Yeah!).
    Needless to say, Cindy and Doug, you are a winning combination, and we are all blessed to have you in our lives! Happy Mother’s Day to you and all!

  20. Jocelyn, 06 May, 2011

    Very impressive, old style mokume gane in 8 min flat!!! Very nicely done.

  21. pollyanna, 06 May, 2011

    Just a beautiful look. Will have to run uptown and see if they have the metals. Another inspiring tute. Thanks guys!!!

  22. Jeanne C., 06 May, 2011

    I just watched the video, that is the fastest and easiest mokume gane process I’ve seen! Thanks for another great tutorial.

    Have a great Mothers Day everyone. XXX

  23. Loretta Carstensen, 06 May, 2011

    Once again you’ve chosen an awesome technique to show us. I have taken a little break lately on making my polymer clay beads, but love this mokume gane method and plan to hit the ground running. I have so many visions I can do with this that I can’t wait to get started.

  24. TrudyM, 06 May, 2011

    Wow, is it that easy? I’m going to order my metallics right now!!! Cindy, you are an angel!

  25. TrudyM, 06 May, 2011

    Oh, and I vote yea for riveting!

  26. Cherie, 06 May, 2011

    Seems like you simplify things all the time! Fast and Easy Mokume gane! Love it. Just checked with Michaels as I have 25% of entire purchase but they only have the accent line in gold, translucent and blue pearl- 3 colors only!

  27. Marlene C, 07 May, 2011

    @Cherie: I found that out when I went to Michael’s and they only had those 3 colors on the display. They did have several of the older colors marked down “Clearance” at 99 cents, so hopefully the are making room for the new ones (fingers crossed).

    BTW I did figure out if you add a little of the new Wasabi to Premo Gold it does give it an antiqued gold look.

  28. Marlene C, 07 May, 2011

    @Marlene C: WOOPS SORRY! I meant adding Spanish Olive to the Premo Accents Gold will give you an Antique Gold. Adding the Wasabi actually gives you a Light Gold. I added a quarter of a bar (1/16 of a 2 oz package) to one bar (1/4 of a 2 oz package) each of the gold.

  29. Phaedrakat, 08 May, 2011

    @Marlene C: Thanks for your patina recipes! Sharing color formulas is so helpful…especially now, when so many of us are dying…awaiting the new Premo colors! With the clay aisle at Michael’s “almost empty”, the colors have GOT to be making their appearance soon… (Staff members at 2 different stores have told me “very soon.”)

    @Sister Cat: What’s the inside scoop? When are we going to see the new Premo Sculpey colors at Michael’s?

    @Cindy: I’ve got to agree with Linda…this Mokume Gane technique is super simple. I can’t see how you can go wrong using this tutorial…and the results look very cool. Love your riveted piece!

  30. EJ Collins, 06 May, 2011

    Thanks, Cindy, this was great just as I expected from you. Betty

  31. Lynn Watts, 06 May, 2011

    Thank-You Peggy 4 sending prayers 4 my Daughter whom had both breast removed cuz of breast cancer. I must have posted on a later date and was not where everyone could answer my request 4 prayer 4 her when we found out about her diagnosis of breast cancer and this was a agressive one too. We needed ALL PRAYERS. THANKS AGAIN PEGGY B.

  32. Phaedrakat, 08 May, 2011

    @Lynn Watts: Lynn, I thought I had commented earlier, but I don’t see it here. Please know that I’m sending prayers your daughter’s way. I’ll check the Facebook prayer list, too…and add her if she’s not yet listed. Hugs, Kat

  33. Linda K., 07 May, 2011

    My goodness, Cindy, this is the easiest mokume gane tutorial I’ve seen! I’ve tried a couple of different MG techniques from books in the past, but my results just weren’t great. Your technique looks foolproof. Maybe we should nickname this tutorial “Cindy’s Mokume Gane for Dummies.” And I mean that only in the most positive way!

    I’ve watched the tutorial a couple of times and I’ve already identified a couple of reasons why my past attempts were failures.

    I wish Michael’s would hurry up and get the new colors in. In the meantime, maybe I’ll use some pearl colors with the old metallics.

  34. Cindy Lietz, 07 May, 2011

    @Lynn Watts: Do know that we are all thinking of you and your daughter and sending love and prayers your way during this difficult time.

    @Linda K.: So cute! Though we could name the technique, Cindy’s Mokume Gane for Smarties instead… because isn’t it smarter to do things the easy way, instead of the hard way? :)

    @Marlene C: Awesome color mixing tip Marlene! Thank you for sharing!

  35. Linda K., 08 May, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Rubber Stamps for Polymer Clay – Shopping Smart: Excellent point, Cindy! I think you’re going to have to rename this whole blog to “Cindy Lietz’s Polymer Clay Tutor for Smarties!”

  36. Jay W, 07 May, 2011

    Hi Cindy, Love this mokume gane technique. I also like the look of the rivet on the bead you showed. I have looked everywhere I can think of on how to do rivets in pc, but can’t find anything. Have you done a segment on this? Sure would like to know how its done.

  37. TrudyM, 07 May, 2011

    Marlene, thanks for sharing!! I have Spanish Olive from the studio by sculpey. I’m waiting impatiently for my order of metallics old and new from Polymer Clay Express. Can’t wait to try The Cindy Method and add the Marlene Patina!

  38. Tantesherry, 08 May, 2011

    oh well I’ll try again later..

  39. Phaedrakat, 08 May, 2011

    @Tantesherry: We see you! If you don’t see yourself, clear your browser’s cache. I did the same thing when I created my Gravatar…thought no one could see it, but it was there…

  40. Tantesherry, 09 May, 2011

    @Phaedrakat:
    Thank you and Yay — sometimes all this computer stuff makes me wish I had a teenager…then again–HaHa

  41. TrudyM, 08 May, 2011

    Very, very cute…..both of you!

  42. Lynn Watts, 09 May, 2011

    Thanks Cindy and Phaedrakat.

  43. Theresa, 10 May, 2011

    This is my favorite technique of all. I had never done any work with clay and when we evacuated for Hurricane katrina, I took my first ever Polymer cafe magazine with me down the road I found you. In my fema trailer I tried their version of this and this way is so much easier than theirs. I love the new colors of the metals, so rich. Thank you for making it easy.

  44. Natalie H, 11 May, 2011

    Hi
    Love this technique. Can’t wait to try it with the mew metallic colors..I have made sum using black cad red and white.the cuts are beautiful..just did not get to putting them on beads.. I’ll try to take a picture of them when I do….By the way. you were right a long time ago about not under pricing your work People who value hand made work do on questions you. Hope everyone had a Happy Easter and Healthy Passover

  45. pattw35, 11 May, 2011

    Wowser ! This technique is just beautiful. The square of clay is in the freezer. It was way too soft to cut nicely. Can’t wait to try some different color waves. (Hurry up and cool -I’m ready)..

    Thanks again Lietz team for an outstanding tute.
    Off topic -are we going to learn how to rivet ? Hint,hint,hint……

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