Backgroundless Tulip Cane | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Polymer Clay Backgroundless Tulip CaneVid #212: “Cindy, I really like the look of the flower canes without the background packing.” ~Carrie-W

Lately I have been getting lots of inspiration from broken items around the home. Last week it was a cracked off knob from the living room lamp, used for making cute little Polymer Clay Cupcake Beads. And this week my inspiration came from a carved wooden tulip, separated from it’s stem.

Sometimes it’s the shape that inspires. Sometimes the color. This week is a bit of both with my version of a cute little Tulip Cane … Sans Background!

All right! You must have genuinely read my mind! I have been dying, just dying, to make a backgroundless flower cane. In fact, I must confess, I was on the verge of buying a tutorial on this very subject, so I am so glad my desires and your design, Cindy, came at just the right time! ~Becky-C

Well… coming up tomorrow (Friday July 15th 2011) in the Vol-038-3 members video at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library, I’ll show you how to make this very cool and cute Tulip Cane. Plus we’ll be saving a chunk of the cane to make next week’s Sculpted Parrot Tulip Bead. All that from a broken wooden tulip!


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-038-3 Backgroundless Tulip Cane:

  • Polymer Clay. I used the following 4 colors but you could use colors from another palette of your choice:

>5026 Pomegranate Premo Sculpey
> 5020 Blush Premo Sculpey
> 5525 Sunshine Premo Sculpey
> 5007 Spanish Olive Premo Sculpey

  • Knowledge of how to do my Lietz Teardrop Blend (or the more traditional Skinner Blend) … as well an understanding of how to reduce canes. Because of the limited amount of time available for each tutorial, I am unable to repeat these techniques in video after video. These techniques can be learned through my previous tutorials at the members library here or from other instructors as well.
  • Pasta machine.
  • Clay blade.
  • Folded cardstock.
  • Ruler.

The full version of the Vol-038-3 No-Background Tulip Cane video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday July 15, 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.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Click Video Play Button

The full version of the “Backgroundless Tulip Cane” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-038 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Oh these are soo gorgeous!! I just love the waves of color you’ve achieved Cindy. I think what I enjoy the most – and what keeps our tutorials fresh – is the sense of curiosity and detail you share with us. With your own twists you create such beautiful techniques… as we preview the next lesson we can just hear the enthusiasm in your voice, AND it’s simple too!!? Can’t ask for more than that, a treasure trove of inspiration at such a reasonable cost. ~DJ

I have made molds for old buttons and pieces of jewelry with scrap clay but I have to admit this looks so much easier. Thank you for the way you walk us through the tute Cindy you have a way of simplifying it. Thank you Doug for you awesome filming. Without you Cindy would not be able to show us any of this. Together the two of you are perfect team who knows how to get the point across to your students. Always giving so much and asking so little. Thank you once again for being the best!!! Many Uuuugggs. ~Peggy-B

Cindy — I just watched the Mica Shift video. As I got into polymer clay a year ago, every time I looked for a tutorial, your site popped up. I resisted joining for a long time, who knows why. For the last few months it has been such fun to work with you! Every time I see a new video I get great new ideas from you. This week, using the right pearl clay, and using a rounded bottle for the cutting were inspirational. Thanks so much! ~Jacqui-T

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, No-Background Tulip Cane video tutorial:

  • See several examples of beads, earrings, charms and other handmade jewelry projects, made using the Tulip Cane design.
  • Discussion of the tools, materials and techniques needed to create these funky and functional polymer clay tulip canes.
    Learn the tricks to making this style of backgroundless canes and easy way to make cane slice beads that turn out perfect every time.
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with your own unique tulip cane bead and jewelry designs.

The full version of the “Backgroundless Tulip Cane” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-038 Back Issue Package.


  1. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 14 July, 2011

    You know, I am generally very easy to please and fully appreciate all the tutes, but this one rocks! How absolutely gorgeous is this? I cannot wait until tomorrow, may burst. *Pant-pant*. LOL

  2. Fran R, 14 July, 2011

    This one will be special for me. My dad was born in Holland and the family came to the U.S. when he was 9. I went to Holland and saw the house he had lived in and also the enormous fields of tulips in full bloom. That was such an amazing sight. I grew up near a Dutch community that held a tulip festival every year. Obviously, it’s one of my favorite flowers.

  3. Cassie C, 14 July, 2011

    I can’t wait until tomorrow! I love this cane. I also love learning how you do this. You see things so differently then I do. What a creative mind you have. Somehow you can think sideways, backwards and upside down! And then Ta Da everything is in the right place!

  4. Linda K., 15 July, 2011

    @Cassie C: I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  5. pollyanna, 14 July, 2011

    Tulips are my favorite flower. Also parrot tulips. Can’t wait again for this and next weeks tutes. You guys are the best!!!

  6. Jocelyn, 14 July, 2011

    A good friend of my parents married and raised tulips in Holland. The pictures they sent of the year at Christmas were spectacular.

    This one is a parrot tulip, Cindy?

    So excited to see how it all comes together tomorrow.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 14 July, 2011

    How fun to see (read that is) everyone’s excitement for this Tulip cane! The project should open your minds to the inspiration that surrounds you every day… the colors, the patterns, the shapes. You would be surprised just how many polymer clay ideas are sitting right under your nose, if you just take the time to notice them. That is what I love about polymer clay!

    @Jocelyn: Parrot Tulips are a rarer type of tulip with very ruffled edges, often with striations of green or other colors in the petals. This week’s tutorial is more of a regular tulip design. But next week, we are going to take a section of this week’s cane and use it to sculpt the more frilly Parrot Tulip into a beautiful focal bead. I think you are really going too enjoy these next two tutorials!

  8. Teresa D, 14 July, 2011

    Can’t wait til tomorrow, can’t wait til tomorrow, can’t wait til tomorrow

  9. pattw35, 14 July, 2011

    Wahoo!!!!!!!!! Now this is a TUTE !!!! The tulips are beautiful -especially in these new colors. The mind is swirling -hmmmm – how many colors there are in Tulips ????? Your samples are so fresh and interesting, too. Can’t wait.

    Ooops – can’t do them right away. I am painting the bedroom. Hurry – paint fast LOL

  10. Maria, 14 July, 2011

    I love these colors. I have to admit that for all the complaining I did re the color changes at Polyform, they did come up with some great new ones – Pomegranate, Spanish Olive, Peacock Pearl and 18K Gold are probably my favorites right now. I also really enjoy seeing the creative ways you use the canes in your jewelry – they give us a springboard of ideas to create our own beautiful and unique things. Thanks again Cindy and Doug!

  11. Maria, 14 July, 2011

    @Maria: Oh, and how could I forget Denim?!?! OK, now just start selling cobalt blue and zinc yellow again with all the others and I’ll be reasonably happy…

  12. Silverleaf, 14 July, 2011

    That’s a pretty cane!

    You know, when I was a little kid my next-door-neighbour used to grow big red tulips every year. I was scared of them because the stamens inside looked like a big black spider – which is weird because I don’t remember ever being afraid of actual spiders!

    I did get over it (and I love tulips now), but I still think “spider” whenever I see one! ;)

  13. Dawn, 14 July, 2011

    Looking forward to another 2-parter. Thanks Cindy.

  14. Emily H, 14 July, 2011

    Oh I’ve been trolling the internet and flipping through my ‘ideas’ notebook incessantly for a reason to use Pomegranate and now I have one! I wait with bated breath…… :)

  15. Carrie N., 14 July, 2011

    Woohoo!!!! I cant wait to start making this!!!!!

  16. Peggy Barnes, 14 July, 2011

    Very nice cane and I can’t wait to see how you do the back-groundless part. I have done this before with some flower canes but as always I already know your way will be easier and I now will be able to start using yours. Cindy don’t take this wrong but I am so happy things keep breaking at your house please keep breaking the inexpensive things that give big inspiration. I bet there are many who would love to have just a part of your imagination. I knew I should of played more with my imaginary friend when I was little. I’m sure she would of taught me how to make better use of my imagination. :~)
    Many Uuuggs

  17. Jocelyn, 14 July, 2011

    These two-part videos are great. You can present more intermediate techniques, but, so long as I follow and master step by step, I can still keep up. Makes some more challenging or longer to make items possible.

  18. Peggy Barnes, 15 July, 2011

    Well I have a sick little puppy dog so since I’m awake yep I watched the WONDERFUL FRIDAY TUTE!! Cindy your cane is fantastic. Not what I expected at all. I thought you would pack around the cane then remove the packing right before cutting. Nice surprise for me. Love the cane even more than earlier today. Now I just have to convince my 4 legged baby to let me go to my studio without crying so I can give this one a go. Then next weeks WONDERFUL TUTE, well what can I say besides Thank you Cindy for the creating and Doug for the display of beauty. What a team you two are indeed. Oh ya I love those colors together absolutely awesome. 2 thumbs up for me and a 3rd one if I had one.
    Have a great weekend everyone. Heat index here will be 110 plus for the next 5 days, so I think I will try to stay in my cool studio claying. That is seeing how I have some awesome Cindy tutes to work with. ;)
    sending lots of Uuuuggs

  19. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 15 July, 2011

    I was not disappointed, this is a great tute! Love, love, love the idea of baking the entire portion of cane and then slicing when hot, as I always have problems with “mushed” slices for beads (too impatient to let the cane cool down after manipulating it!). This will be a very lovely bead and next week’s parrott tulip looks marvelous as well! Very happy with this tute; thanks, Cindy and Doug!

  20. pollyanna, 15 July, 2011

    This is a fantastic idea. Can’t wait to try it. Tulips are so pretty and come it so many colors. And…..that little peek at next week….WOW. I love parrot tulips even more. thanks for the idea about cutting when hot for this. I too have trouble with wonky beads…

  21. pattw35, 15 July, 2011

    How exciting! A two-part tutorial – what a nice surprise. The tulip cane is really a stand-out. And the ruffled parrot tulip bead is also. Thanks for using your “broken tulip” as an idea – now that’s thinking outside the box……. Please look around your house for other “tutes-in-the-making. Teehee. Love you guys!

  22. Teresa D, 15 July, 2011

    I loved it. But why are we making it so small? It’s cute that way but my fingers always feel so big and clumsy especially after watching your dainty,graceful hands. I fee like i’ m gonna ruin it.

    Another thing can you show us how to do that tassel chain necklace? That was cool looking!

  23. Cindy Lietz, 15 July, 2011

    Thank you everyone. Makes me happy to know you are excited about this one!

    @Teresa D: You could make the cane any size you want. Since with this technique you can’t reduce it after it has been assembled, I just made it the size I like to work with in the end, but you of course can do whatever suits you best. Maybe even make it in a few sizes.

    As far as the tassel necklace, are you asking about making the tassel, or the chain the tassel is hanging from?

  24. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 15 July, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Polymer Clay Color Recipes – Pink Rose Palette: Pardon me for butting in here, but I, too am interested in that chain in particular, Cindy–did you make that yourself? Love a tute on that!

  25. Cherie, 15 July, 2011

    Amazing cane and so pretty! I just love the tulip bead. My mother taught me to make crepe paper tulips – the crepe paper that has two shades of the color for inside and outside the petals and i still use them. I’ve haven’t done any claying for a while with family being sick but I’m enjoying the videos and hope I can get back to it real soon.

  26. Jocelyn, 15 July, 2011

    @Teresa D: LOL!!! My kind of girl. I agree! Going to try to make the broken one using a 40 watt bulb as the base…..that big wooden tulip is gorgeous.

  27. Maria C, 15 July, 2011

    I love the idea of baking and then slicing. I’m also very excited about next week’s tutorial video. Can hardly wait!

  28. Teresa D, 15 July, 2011

    @Cindy, both actually. But I guess only the tassel part since the necklace looks like a box chain-mail.
    @Peggy I hope your fuzzy baby feels better soon. I can barely think when my fur-babies are sick.
    @Jocelyn : )

  29. Linda K., 15 July, 2011

    Oh, and I forgot to say that I LOVE Parrot Tulips, so I can’t wait for next week’s tut.

  30. Elaine Faulks, 16 July, 2011

    Years ago we were playing eye-spy with our young nephew Jamie. He said, “I spy with my little eye something beginning with (Ch) and it’s red”.
    We spent ages trying to guess but had to give up!! He pointed to my vase of red tulips and said, “Chewlips”. Twenty years on we still rib him about it:) I will have to make the “chewlip” charm for him, he will love it dangling from a copper bookmark. Thanks Cindy and Doug. The parrot tulip also looks pretty special.(Must order some more new colour Premo)

  31. Cassie C, 17 July, 2011

    Well I just finished the Tulip cane. It’s fantastic. But It was a little hard to do at the end. I think it’s because it’s kind of warm in here. I had to keep cooling off the clay. I’m looking forward to the next part too.
    I was wondering how else this basic shape could be used? What other canes could be built by starting this way?

  32. Cindy Lietz, 18 July, 2011

    @Cassie C: That is great to hear! I know with a cane like this, it can be a little tricky if the clay gets too soft in the heat. This is where a nice firm clay would be good. But you can always pop it into the freezer for a few minutes and it gets much easier to do.

    As far as other shapes that can be made this way, there are tons! If you have ever seen those tiny imported Fimo beads in different shapes like dragonflies, butterflies, apples, simple flowers and many others, they are often done this way. Just do a Google image search and you should be able to find some inspiration.

  33. Dia H, 22 July, 2011

    I am flower lover. I am glad you have tulip tutorial. I am originally from Tropical Climate- South East Asia; 5 years ago I moved to Europe and I was impressed with a bunch of pink tulip, I thought they were fake but OMG, they were real.. That was the first time I saw a real tulip.

    Is that possible if you will make tropical flower tutorial in the future such as Plumeria ( frangipani ) or Hibiscus? Plumeria have various of colors.They are so beautiful, I have been collecting Plumeria plants.

    By the way, I finished my tulip cane 2 days ago, everything went ok , step by step I followed your instruction, but when I reduced my cane, the stripe gone. did do wrong?


  34. Cindy Lietz, 22 July, 2011

    @Dia H: That is sweet that you thought the tulips were fake… I’ve seen tropical flowers that I thought were fake. I guess sometimes it is hard to believe that nature could produce something so beautiful, unless it is something we have grown up with.

    I could put some tropical flowers on the list of future tutorials, though I would have to do some studying up on them since I am not as familiar with them as i am with our native flowers. But you’re right, some are very beautiful.

    As far as your stripes disappearing in your cane once reduced, just start with thicker layers in the first place and they won’t get so thin in the end. Hope that helps!

  35. Loretta Carstensen, 22 July, 2011

    This looks like a fun one to try. Thanks, Cindy.

  36. Cassie C, 22 July, 2011

    Love this bead!! It looks great. It was so much fun to make. thanks, Cassie

  37. Jocelyn, 23 July, 2011

    Cindy, join in and love the idea of more and bigger exotics. Now with the preservative spray which protects against UV rays, maybe pool floaters, with room for a tealight candle might be a great accent for outdoors.

    Can see sunflowers, huge cabbage roses, white, yellow and pink water lilies, orchids….man….

  38. Elizabeth K., 24 July, 2011

    Hi Cindy and all
    just watched the backgroundless tulip cane. Very fascinating. Dying to try it.
    Just catching up on my videos after been off for sometime.
    Love the colours. I am with Dia H, I would love a tut on Frangipani.
    Be back soon. love
    Elizabeth K.

  39. Keenya R, 21 April, 2012

    I’m all over the place in terms of skill level. I would say a hard intermediate moving towards advanced. I’m trying to find my “voice”. I’ve been using Cernit clay – the nature line, and the clay’s texture is wonderfully soft. It’s perfect for rustic, earthy beads but for me, right now, I get clayer’s block when I look at the colors. I hope that means I’m progressing. Either that or its back to writing novels or oil painting.

    I usually hate making canes, but your tulip cane video was great. I made parrot beads.


Copyright © Polymer Clay Tutor Bead and Jewelry Making Tutorials