Polymer Clay Tutorial | Zebra Cane Animal Prints [Video]

Polymer Clay Zebra Cane ProjectVid #157: “The
zebra beads look
like a lot of fun to
do and then wear. Can’t
wait! Thanks Cindy!” ~Hobokenmary

Once again, it’s time to let your animal instincts go wild and start creating some more animal print, polymer clay canes for your bead making projects! So on Friday, May 28th at the Polymer Clay Library (Vol-024-4), the member video tutorial will teach you how to make Zebra Canes.

I would love the tute on zebra beads – anything that will get us learning new techniques for the beads. I know there may be many instructions out there, but any teaching you do is very simple and clear so I would love some tips and ideas. ~Cheryl-H

Yes those Zebra Beads sound great… Anything Cindy proposes is AOK with me. Love. ~Elizabeth-K

Cindy always has a unique way of making something easier. I could never say NO to one of Cindy’s tutes. I would also sometime love to see the Zebra bead done as well. I love the Zebra pattern. Uuuuuuuuuuuuggggggss. ~Peggy-B

I’ve been begging for zebra for months! I adore these beads, especially with purple cores. Really cute! The lanyard is gorgeous, as well, especially with purple-core’d ZEBRA beads!  ~Phaedrakat

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-024-4: Zebra Cane:

  • Black and White Polymer Clay. Make sure both clays are well conditioned and of the same consistency. (You never want one soft clay and one hard clay in the same cane.) I used one section of each color of Premo Sculpey but you can also use another firm clay like Fimo or Kato Polyclay instead. And to really liven things up you could use other colors, like we did with the Leopard Cane.
  • Pasta Machine.
  • Clay Blade.
  • Acrylic Block or Sheet (optional).

The full version of the Vid-024-4 Zebra Cane video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday May 28, 2010. 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.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor





Click Video Play Button

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
>> Polymer Clay Tutorials <<

The full version of the “Zebra Cane” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-024 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Your monthly fee is so small compared to what you pay for craft magazines these days and you probably only end up liking a few crafts from the magazine in the end. For what you two have done with this website, the price is quite reasonable. The color cards are fantastic and the community here is very inviting and everyone is willing to share information. I was sort of a beginner when I started out here, and I have learned a great deal… able to try some new tutorials and finally feel good about my creations. I look forward each day to see what is new on your blog. Thanks for all your work that you two put into making this an A+ polymer clay site in my book! ~Lupe-M

The following topics are included in this week’s Zebra Cane video tutorial:

  • See examples of several different beads, a bracelet, lanyard and earrings made with the Zebra Cane.
  • Discussion of the clay needed and the importance of conditioning the clay before forming into a cane.
  • Learn how to shape and form the perfect realistic looking Zebra Stripes.
  • Tips on how to combine the stripes to make a larger zebra cane to use in a variety of bead making projects.
  • Learn how to get those balanced but uneven edges in your zebra strips that look much more realistic than just making straight perfect stripes or repeating patterns that you would never see on a real zebra.
  • Find out tricks on how to avoid long skinny stripes or short choppy ones so you know it is a zebra pattern when you look at it and not just some weird geometric black and white pattern. Trickier than you might think. I know I ran into trouble before I figured out what to do.

The full version of the “Zebra Cane” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-024 Back Issue Package.


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Comments

  1. I’m really looking forward to this… I love animal prints, and I love the simple but striking pairing of black and white! :)

  2. That is unbelievable, black and white are always a classic combo and this adds new life to this pairing. Can’t wait till Friday.

  3. Once again I am blown away by what happens to polymer clay when it’s in your hands, Cindy. Can’t wait!

  4. The enameled copper wire is striking with the black and white! I was wondering though – I have tried using colored wire before and was dissatisfied with the fact that the color was peeling off the wire, making it look very unsightly. I tried using the rubber tipped needle-nosed pliers that are supposed to be for coated wires. The tips were too clunky and slippery to grab hold of any of the wire. My “regular” ones mar the surface. Any suggestions?

    • @Maria: There is a product called ‘Tool Magic’ that I bought from Fire Mountain Gems that I have used to coat some of my tools to prevent marring of the wires. It works great and provides a good ‘grip’.

  5. Now I know what I’ll be making this weekend. Cindy, your preview video shows so many great ideas!!! I can’t wait!

  6. Cindy, I was reading just yesterday that animal prints are “in” this summer. Although I’ve always been big on bright colors, I do love the simplicity and contrast of black and white. This is going to be a wonderful tut.

  7. OH MY GOODNESS – When I saw that Zebra print appear I bet my face lit up like the Whitehouse at Christmas. I have to have a root canal and crown done on Friday and I don’t even care because it also means I get to watch Cindy show me how to do the Zebra cane!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I will be waiting Friday morning at 12:00 AM or until the tute shows up. This is the most excited I have ever been about a tute coming up. I promise you I have been excited before several times. I am not big on animal prints but the Zebra is just super neat I love black and white. I am so looking forward to Friday.. I can’t wait to see what Cindy and Doug have created this time. I am like a kid in a candy store. I have to rest up for Friday. YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
    Sending Lots and Lots of Uuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggs to All, Peggy

    • @Peggy Barnes: So sorry about the root canal — that’s up there with some of the worst pains! I’ll be praying for you, that it goes as easy & painless as possible. As for the tute, I’ll meetcha here Friday at 12:15 am to discuss, OK? LOL… ;D

      • @Phaedrakat:THANK YOU for the kind words and I always except prayers. You are always there for everyone. I hope you enjoy and have a wonderful time working on the Zebra tute. I know you were as happy as I was when Cindy announced the Zebra cane for this weeks tutorial. I am going to try to get some sleep before my appointment so I can keep my mouth open. I don’t want them drilling through my lips. I am headed off to dream of Zebra stripes, pretty Zebra stripes.
        Love and Uuuuuugggggggs, Peggy

        • @Peggy Barnes: Best of luck with your appointment, Peggy. I’ll keep praying for you ’til it’s over, and your temp crown is on! Then your pain med’s will have to do the heavy lifting, LOL. Here’s hoping you’re having lovely dreams right now, and that it all goes smoothly in “the chair”… It’s gonna be fine, you’re a sweetie, and because of that the Dental Gods will smile upon you today! Love & Hugs to you, no “H” in the Hug, of course! ~Kat

  8. In one of the corridors of the hospital, while taking one of my ‘wheelchair’ walks, I saw a painting of a zebra and stopped to admire it. These zebra pieces look like they jumped right out of that beautiful painting! What a wonderful addition to our repertoire!!!!!!

  9. How do I change the photo by my name? Since Don’s anniversary of his crowning in glory took place while I was hospitalized I thought it was time to appear as just myself. I still have this photo by the hearth where I can see it all the time. I miss him so much, but it truly is time to pick up my heart and move ahead …

    • Great stuff, I love it! I’ll definitely be making this one.

      @carolyn: I wish I had words. But words are not something I’m good at, so I’ll just say I’m thinking of you, and that I’m sure Don would be proud.

  10. Cindy You rock!!!! O…. You too Doug :) I can’t hardly wait until Friday!! I’ve been making all sorts of stuff with the leapard cane…. fun, fun, fun……. I love the animal print..

  11. Wow, Cindy! This is the one I’ve requested many times, and now that it’s here it looks even better than I imagined! Your example projects are exciting, and the cane is very realistic. Gorgeous! The bangle is beautiful; I sure hope you’re going to show us how to make it in a future tute. I love your tube beads with the color cores, as well as the other tube beads (with black edges.) Cute earrings, too. So much fun stuff — it’s getting very “wild” around here… :~D

  12. On an older post, Karen made a request for a landscape cane (with ocean, clouds, etc.) I told her I’d bring it up on a more current post if she wanted, since it might not get noticed by enough people on the older page. I think “Landscape Canes” were on Cindy’s “list” at one time, but I haven’t heard them mentioned in a while. Since she does most/lots of tutes based on our interest, I wanted to show mine, and see if anyone else wanted this kind of tute. It would be a fun cane to learn, IMO. I’m also still interested in a “realistic” rose cane. Anyway, Karen’s comment is here (Ebay Polymer Clay), if you’d like to read it.

    If you’re interested in either of these canes, let it be known! ;D

    BTW, my request here doesn’t mean I’m not still super excited about the Zebra Cane — I am! I’ve been waiting for it a loooonng time! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, CINDY!

  13. Thank you guys! Your enthusiasm makes me feel very happy today. Peggy I had a huge grin when I read your comment! You all are so much fun!

    @Maria: I don’t have any problems with my color coming off of the wire. The guy I bought it from said it was a very good quality enamel coated wire and that it wouldn’t chip easily. Wrapping tape around your pliers prongs will help prevent marring.

    @Phaedrakat: I’ll add landscape canes to the list of possible tutorials. I think they are very pretty and can have lots of cool variations!

  14. I’m with Kat on both tutorial suggestions. Made me think of picture jasper – but even better if there are other colors. As for roses or other flowers, I just can’t seem to get the hang of petals behind each other in a cane as they are in real life. So even a ‘general’ tutorial on petals in depth would be great and then we could create all sorts of different flowers.

  15. wonderful – I will be on the lookout for quality enamel coated wire – I guess the stuff I used was too cheap – “permanently colored copper wire” is not enamel coated then, right? Cindy, did this wire have a brand name?
    Carolyn, I will try the coating from FMG, thanks. I’m so glad to see you’re back!

  16. Maria: I use and love Parawire. It is not really expensive either. I do viking knit with most of their colors. They will tell you there are a couple colors that do come off when drug through the drawplate but this is pretty extreme stress for the wires to go through so normal wrapping should be fine. They are online. Just do a search for “parawire”.

    I LOVE the zebra. I can’t wait. Also like the idea of landscape canes. Very cool! As usual, Cindy just keeps the fun coming. :)

  17. Black and white – very classic! I love them together. The bangle is beautiful; hope you teach it to us in the future. I love the earrings too and the wire just adds to it. Where can we buy this enamel coated wire? Is it very expensive?

  18. Oh boy, that zebra cane! Can’t wait. Tricky, you say? Imagine what a mess I’d make trying to nut it out myself. What would I do without Fridays with Cindy, Doug and all you other cool cats? Oh no, that’s right, spotted cats last time- we’re zebras this week. Without you zany zebras. I’d love to see how to do that bangle too. Tomorrow, tomorrow!

  19. Hi Cindy and all
    My second eye Op is over and I am back here 2 days after, and its Friday, and I have just watched the Zebra Cane Video, and what a difference in colour,now that I have 2 good eyes to view the videos.
    So classy, and bright and clear.
    All the projects you made from it Cindy are just beautiful.The ear rings are just gorgeous.
    I like black and white anything, so it is even more well received by me.
    Cant wait to make up some.
    Love the idea of pinching the square cuts around ,that will be fun.
    Havent blogged for quite awhile just wanted to get these eyes fixed, and now thats all done , I’ll get into the swing of everything again soon.
    Those Ops could cost about $5000 all up without Private Medical Insurance that we can take out in this country, so I am so glad I had it,never had to pay a thing,except my yearly payments, so no worries there. I am just over the moon about it all, and think it is such a miracle and thank God or great Eye Surgeons.
    Stay safe and well everyone, be back soon.
    love
    Elizabeth .

    • @Elizabeth K.: PTL! So thankful all went well with your eyes. You have been in my thoughts and prayers. It is marvelous how far they have come with eye surgeries. Two days out and you can finally see Cindy’s work they way it should be seen.

      Yes, insurance is great! I just got a bill from the hospital (doesn’t include drugs or doctors fees) for just shy of $184 thousand dollars! If I didn’t have insurance I think this bill might have caused a fatal heart attack. :-}

      • @Maria: I don’t know the brand name of the wire I used Maria. I got it from metadesignz.com It is called enamel coated copper wire. It really is lovely stuff and quite inexpensive.

        @Elizabeth K.: Congrats on your second eye surgery!!! That is wonderful. I knew it would work out for you. Glad to hear your expenses were covered so you can now focus (get the pun?) on more important things like making polymer clay beads!! Have fun with your new improved Peepers!

        @Peggy Barnes: Hope the root canal went well. I’ve had a couple of those, so I feel for you. Take care. At least the pain goes away quite quickly and you can move on to happier things, like claying!

        @Sue Whelan and Jessie: I made that bracelet blank, in almost the same way I made the Hammered Metal Bezels from the tutorial a little bit back. Will show you all if you like. It is a handy thing to know!

        @carolyn: Geeez!! That’s a lot of money! That would give me a heart attack if I came out of the hospital to that bill. Thankfully we have a pretty good health system here in Canada. May take awhile to get in, but at least most things are covered.

        @Paul: Great to hear from you… it’s been a long time. I’m so glad to hear you are staying active with your polymer clay.

  20. Well Cindy you did it again I love the zebra cane I did not think I would But I to love Black and white. Elizabeth so glad you can see again and back with us here dont over do it though to start with. Ritzs

  21. Without a doubt this is my favorite tutorial to watch so far. I am on too many pain pills right now to try to make one but hopefully after my dental work is done later today I can ease of the drugs and get ready to create some artistic pieces of jewelry. I know I will have to practice many many hours. But it is going to be so worth every second. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH CINDY FOR DOING THIS TUTE FOR US AND DOUG FOR FILMING AND PRODUCING IT.
    ENJOY YOUR WEEK AS I KNOW I WILL MINE PAIN OR NO PAIN I WILL BE WORKING ON MY ZEBRA!!!!!!!
    LOVE AND UUUUGGGGGGGS, PEGGY

  22. Love, love, LOVE zebra cane, absolutely fantastic! I really want to make some of those cool bracelets. Please, where did you find the blanks? Hoping our local Michaels carries them; I think my 40% off total order coupon is still good today! Great work, Cindy. As always, you make it look do easy and “do-able.” Thank you.

  23. I can’t get the Zebra Cane video to work — the link is sending me to the back issues instead. When I get to the current newsletter, it tells me I have to purchase the video (same with the new color recipe.) Is this a video problem, or did my membership end w/o me knowing it?

  24. I still can’t get mine to work. Cleared cache, cookies, history, all that stuff. But since it’s working for everyone else, it has to be me. I’ll try later; gonna get some sleep first… Happy Friday, everyone!

    @Elizabeth K.: So happy you’re done with the eye surgeries, and that you’re seeing so well! Hurray for you! I’m so glad you’ve got insurance, it sure makes all the difference. (I’m without, so I know what I’m talking about here…) I’ll keep an eye on your blog now, I’m sure we’ll be seeing some “wild” stuff on there pretty soon. Your beads were already beautiful, so I can’t wait to see how you create with improved eyesight! Hugs, ~Kat

    • The zebra cane video will now be working for you Phaedrakat. There was a technical issue on our end. Doug racked his brain this morning trying to figure out what the issue was… and finally got to the bottom of it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  25. Love this tute!!!! Cantwait to try it. Elizabeth……great news about your eyes and Peggy…sure hope your root canal goes well.
    Andrea

  26. I just cancelled my order for bracelet “blanks” at FireMountainGems and am holding Cindy responsible. What a beautiful cane and perfection on the bracelet. Give us the scoop on what you used to shape that blank. (If I had to guess knowing Cindy’s talent it was probably “eyeballed.”) I have never seen a really good giraffe cane on-line either. Maybe that should be on the books too. I imagine a tiger cane would be similar to the zebra – just different colors.

    • @Jessie: Hi Jessie, I saw on a video one time where a lady used a baseball bat to start shaping, then cooked with the bracelet on corn starch. Have heard of using a can of veggies or fruit with the food in the can to first shape then with the food out of the can setting on a piece of batting or you could also use corn starch I would think while cooking your clay. I think I might give the can of food a try or even the baseball bat, who knows. Wasn’t Cindy’s tute absolutely perfect in every way possible. I just loved every thing there was about it. I think I have watched it 12 times.

      Now I also have another request. I saw some agates faux agates that is made with the one and only polymer clay. Some of them were definitely faux eeeekkeeeee but the rest were just breathe taking. So I am asking Cindy and the rest of you, anyone interested in a tutorial on faux agate pendant.

      Last but most definitely not least. Phaedrakat I want to thank you for your thoughts and Prayers. So far I am doing OK. They couldn’t take the final mold for the crown because of a problem they had with the root canal, caused more swelling than normal. So I will wear the temp crown for a couple more weeks then I will get the real thing. Dentist said my gums will be extremely sore the next couple weeks so I just need to watch what I eat. So thank you again for all your kindness.
      Love and Uuuuuuggggggs to everyone, Peggy

  27. Hi Cindy been awhile I’ve been so busy making polymer clay and it’s all your fault I’m hooked. My newest are covering pens. Thank you so much for you videos and instructions. I forgot to mention you video on making mt own earring wires. Please don’t stop.

  28. WOW I am so touched by all of your messages and thoughts. I do feel better but the Dentist worned me I would probably feel worse tomorrow. One thing I am sure of when you join Cindy’s blog you also get a support group of the best kind along with everything else here.

    God Bless all of you!!!
    Love and Uuuuggggs, Peggy

    • @Peggy Barnes: I agree 100% about the support group. I am not sure I would have made it through those weeks in the hospital without the loving, caring, praying support I had from right here in Cindy’s group. Cindy, you have definitely created something more than just a clay blog! This is a group of people who truly do care about one another … and from all around the world! What more could we ask for. Thank you, Cindy, and thanks to ALL of you. I’m doing much better though I still need the walker because of the muscle weakness. I’m eating real good … dessert first … Life is too short to leave dessert ’til last!

    • @Peggy Barnes: Hope you’re feeling much better by now. Oh, just thinking about root canals makes me hurt! I had such a bad experience that last time I had one. I’m so glad yours went pretty well. Once the swelling goes down, you’ll be able to get your crown, right? That part’s not so bad or painful. I’ll tell you about what happened with me AFTER your all healed and your crown’s in place. Anyway, I hope that you’re feeling great really, really soon. I know you want to attack that Zebra cane (just like I do…) You are oh-so welcome for the prayers. I can’t think of a sweeter person to pray for!

      Of course, there are so many nice, sweet, caring people here at the blog. Definitely a wonderful support group! And of course, some super-talented polymer clay artists, too! Clay on, gals! (and guys…)

  29. Agates are beautiful. a yes from me – I would love to learn how to make that faux stone using polymer clay.

  30. @ Peggy – Hope you’re feeling good. I had a root canal recently too and though it is painful at the time , you feel better after.

  31. I wasn’t that excited about this video until I saw it. I didn’t think I liked animal print really but watching this video persuaded me to try it and I love it! Used up all my first cane making some beads for a bracelet. will be maing another one tomorrow I am sure! Thanks Cindy

  32. On Flickr I saw a really cute Rainbow Zebra Print heart pendant by Mals Arts. I immediately thought about how Cindy’s tutorial could be used to create a Rainbow Zebra Cane. You could just substitute a Rainbow Teardrop/Skinner blend plug for either the black or white clay (depending on what color stripes you want with the rainbow colors) from the tute. From there, you just make the cane the exact same way.

    I can’t wait to try this, making a Rainbow Zebra Cane. I’m thankful that Mals Arts shared her inspirational photo on Flickr — I just love how so many people in the clay community share their work. No one shares as much, of course, as our beloved Polymer Clay Tutor, Cindy! Thank you! I know there are a couple of really big “rainbow” fans here at the blog, so I thought I’d mention this alternate way to make a Zebra Cane. Have fun!

    • @Loretta Carstensen: These are great! Be sure to post them on Cindy’s facebook gallery … that way lots and lots of people will see them … many more than might see them here. And link back to this blog and to your own and you’ll really be all set!

  33. Beautiful Loretta. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to upload your pictures to the new Facebook Gallery Page… that is how your photos get officially entered into the Bead Giveaway contest.

  34. JUST POSTED… Member project photos that relate to the theme of this page… Polymer Clay Zebra Cane Jewelry.

    Polymer Clay Projects

    You can view the larger images by clicking on the link by my name.

    BTW: Thanks to everyone above, who took the time to comment in this thread. Your feedback, support and engaging conversations are always such a wonderful part of my day. Although I don’t get a chance to address everyone individually, please know that I do read everything. ~Cindy

  35. I finally caved in to buying this video. Now, I am going to use the colors I have and create something cool! I am thinking of using the cane as a background to some alphabet letters. I’m in a co-ed fraternity and having a cute zebra patterned bracelet with my greek letters as an inlay sounds cool. Only if I can find a how to in making the letters. Thanks for this! I was looking all over for something simple too.

  36. Hi Cynthia, glad you got the video…it’s cool, huh? :D I’m not sure what kind/how big your bracelet’s going to be, but it seems like you could choose the font/size you need and print your letters from your computer. Then cut them out and use as templates, to cut out both the Zebra background & the “other colors” you plan to use as inlay. (Or did I get that backwards?) Just an idea…

  37. I just became a member as I love the animal prints and wanted to learn how to make the canes and the bracelets. I can’t find anywhere on here where it shows how to make the bangle from the zebra cane or tips. Every time I try the zebra print goes away and I have smooshed lines…any help?

    • @Jenna H: Hi Jenna. Here is my suggestion for a bangle if you are looking for a skinny type. Cut out a piece of your cane (depending on how long and how much of it you made), roll it carefully (with a skewer) to make sure it isn’t smooshed. Once that’s done, take it off the skewer and wrap it around a soda can with seams together and bake. Of course, make it your way. :)

      HTH, Cynthia

      • @Cynthia: So what I “think” you are saying is to make a longer cane (the size of the bracelet), cut it lengthwise, roll lightly and you have a bangle or cuff? Sorry if it’s silly, I am a newbie to polymer, but LOVE it. Thanks so much for your advise and tutes!

  38. Cindy – I am having fun making the zebra canes. Also tried the butterfly cane yesterday and it is very pretty. Have started baking for an hour and using the tent method. Experiencing more with your colors. Thank you for providing such great videos.

  39. Hi, Cindy. I just purchased the Vol-24 Back Issue and have made the Leopard cane. I’ve applied slices to a metal bangle (complete circle, no opening) that has a slight ridge on each side of the bangle (from Nunn’s). What I don’t understand is how to get it off the bangle after baking so that I can glue it on. The first one I actually slit and then peeled it off carefully, but no matter what I do, the slit shows. So…is there a secret to doing this? Do you have a video or can you just provide some advice? I do have the videos about creating and covering a metal cuff, but that has an opening and it has no lip.

    • Hi Carol, I can see your dilemma. As long as the clay goes all the way around your blank and would have no chance of popping off, there is no need to glue it after baking. Just leave it. You may need to take care not to scratch the metal of the blank when you are sanding the clay, but other than that I don’t see it being a problem for you. (Much easier and will look better too, so it’s a win-win.)

      I will be doing some more polymer covered metal cuff tutorials soon, so you can look forward to that.

  40. Thank you, Cindy, for your quick reply. Whew, your suggestion is much easier than what I tried to do. I’ll try that on the next one and see what happens, and I’ll look forward to more cuff tutorials!

  41. Hi – I’ve been trying to use the zebra cane to cover the back of a mirror, but the cane isn’t wide enough and I make a mess when I try to patchwork the pieces together. I conclude I just have to make a really big cane so it is wide enough. Any tips on how to do that? I guess I just have to start with really wide blocks of black and white clay.

        • Jocelyn, I think you read that wrong… Brenda said pasta Machine not food processor. Not sure the slicer on a food processor would even work for such a soft item as a cane.

          What Brenda said is what I would do Debbie. Just take thicker slices from your cane and roll them out thinner. This will stretch the design out to a bigger size. This way of ‘enlarging’ a cane works pretty good for simple designs like a Zebra Cane. Might distort a more detailed cane like a face cane though, so design should always be kept in mind when making your slices bigger.

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