Christmas Sweater Cane | Polymer Clay Tutorial Vol-079

Christmas Sweater Cane - Polymer Clay Tutor6 Videos #597 to #602: A classic knitting or needlepoint pattern that never gets old. It just gets more nostalgic with each passing year.

Is there anything more nostalgic than a cozy red and white Christmas sweater, knit with awesome borders, poinsettias and deer with antlers? I mean really! The Holiday Knit look is so hot right now that everything from paper, stencils, cell phone cases and of course jewelry and decor items are adorned with these types of patterns.

So I thought this would be the perfect time to show you how you can make your own Christmas Sweater Cane, using micro-caning techniques and my own Christmas Sweater design out of polymer clay… of course!

What is so great about this micro-caning technique is that you can get a highly detailed cane that doesn’t need a lot of reducing (which means there is very little distortion) and all you have to do is follow the pattern.

Included in this tutorial is my own Micro-cane pattern in Pdf format for 4 individual cane design that you can use separately to make your own pattern, or in the combination that I show in the tutorial, to make the Christmas Sweater design. The four patterns include two border designs, a Deer’s Head with antlers and a traditional Poinsettia pattern.

Posted just below is a Sneak Peak and overview of my Christmas Sweater Cane Tutorial. The rest of the 6 part video series will be posted tomorrow (Friday, Dec 5, 2014) in Vol-079 at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library.

BTW, if this Christmas Sweater Cane Tutorial looks exciting to you, please do click that YouTube Like button. Many of you have been giving the Thumbs Up to the weekly YouTube videos, which is great… Thank You! However, these monthly intro clips need some love as well. When they don’t get as many likes, it makes it look like they are not appreciated as much… which surely can’t be true with all the nice comments you all leave :)

Vol-079-1: Video #597: Introduction: In this 6 part video tutorial series, you will learn how to create the nostalgic look of a vintage Christmas Sweater out of polymer clay using a micro-caning technique. This uniquely designed cane can then be used to make all kinds of wonderful Christmas jewelry and decor items such as bracelets, pendants, napkin rings and glass candle holders. You’ll love making this cane into gifts and for treasured holiday decorations for yourself and your friends and family. Happy Holidays!

Pt 2 Christmas Sweater Cane Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-079-2: Video #598:
Prepping The Clay:

In this video you will learn about the tools needed for this project… which ones will make the process easier… what type of clay to use… why consistency is important… how to prep your clay… tips for using the extruder… what size and length of pieces you will need to build your canes… and much, much more.

Pt 3 Christmas Sweater Cane Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-079-3: Video #599:
Following The Pattern:

In this video you will learn my tips and tricks for following the gridded pattern and building your micro cane design. The pattern is  provided for you as a downloadable PDF. We will get things started by building the foundation row and I’ll show you how to make sure that your rows are not only the right size, but that the pattern has been put together correctly. Much like doing needlepoint, following the pattern is easy, but it takes time to put together. The results are definitely worth it!

Pt 4 Christmas Sweater Cane Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-079-4: Video #600:
Putting It All Together:

In this video we will finish up the Poinsettia cane and combine it with the other canes (made the same way) into the larger Christmas Sweater Cane. I will teach you all kinds of neat information on the various ways you can combine and use these fabulous canes… plus unlimited options for projects that you can create with them. Get ready to learn some cool stuff in this one!

Pt 5 Christmas Sweater Cane Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-079-5: Video #601:
Slicing And Using The Cane:

In this video I will show you some awesome tips for reducing, cleaning up, slicing and using your Christmas Sweater Canes for some great Christmas Projects. I will show you my own idea for slicing the bigger canes all to the same thickness, and for getting a professional end result. I’ll even teach you how to add your clay slices to glass objects so that they survive the baking process and turn out beautiful rather than broken.

Pt 6 Christmas Sweater Cane Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-079-6: Video #602:
Finishing Tips Napkin Rings:

In this video you’ll learn how to reduce your cane so it is just the right size for making napkin rings and other holiday projects. I’ll show you how to get a professional edge, so that your piece looks classy and not hokey. You’ll also learn more about baking, sanding, buffing and finishing your pieces so you can be proud to keep them as your treasured family decorations and for giving as awesome Christmas gifts. Your friends and family will be amazed that you created this highly intricate design, using tiny little dots of colored polymer clay. You’ll see… all the love and care that you put into creating this great looking cane will give you joy for many years to come!

Other Suggested Supplies:

  • 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol).
  • Baby Wipes and Paper Towel.
  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper. 220grit, 400grit and higher.
  • Ruler (if you don’t have Glass Cutting Mat.
  • Baking tray with foil pan or card stock for tenting.
  • Glass Candle Holder or Vase.
  • Metal (or wood) Napkin Rings.
  • Two Pieces of acrylic with square edges.

By the way, many of the “shopping” links I provide for the various tools and supplies used in my tutorials, are “affiliate” resources. That means companies like Amazon and the other suppliers I refer, pay me a small commission if you click on the links and end up making a purchase at their site. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps in keeping the cost of my tutorials down. And, the prices for products that you may purchase through my links, are exactly the same as what you would normally pay, even if it is a “sale” price. So please feel free to click whenever you need to pick up a few things for your studio. Thanks so much for your support.

The full video series for the Christmas Sweater Micro-Cane Tutorial described above, is available in Vol-079 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials


Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my monthly library 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, 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.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

I’m excited about the cane tutorials… adding “more Wonderful” to the benefits of subscribing. I’ve said this before but I think that one reason I have grown in my pc abilities stems from the fact that I can watch every detail of how Cindy accomplishes something, down to exactly how she holds her hands or a particular instrument when demonstrating a facet of a project. ~Elizabeth-S

Cindy does a fantastic job teaching – her videos are the best I’ve seen! Her demonstrations are so clear and easy to follow… and the community on this blog is helpful and sharing. ~Phaedrakat

Your videos for the Sweet Pea cane are absolutely fabulous! Can I just say that I don’t know how you do it, but no other polyclay artist I’ve found on line can even come close to the quality of your videos and the degree of care that goes into them, espescially at this incredibly low price!! ~Marion-R

Just thinking back to all those videos and techniques you’ve taught us and the beautiful palettes. Awesome! I do have a book on polymer clay and one on textures but I have to say yours are way better! I haven’t really got around to trying anything from the books as yet but I have made jewelry watching your tutorials; it made me want to go and do it!!  I have heaps more to try and hopefully will get around to doing them all. I’m so excited about the changes. Seems like a lot more claying and lots more fun!!! One technique I need to try out a lot more is caning. I’ve only tried out the zebra, animal print and rose cane so far. ~Cherie-H

Hi Cindy and polypeeps. Well I am nearly brain-dead after trying to get my new printer to be nice to my new little laptop. Read the instructions a zillion times but didn’t “get it”. Took a simple suggestion from DH (after he made me a cup of tea and told me to calm down), and hey presto it worked!! Why do written instructions just go over my head? I attempted making a “brain cane” from written instructions many moons ago but was not pleased with the result… PC (PRE- CINDY). Watching CINDY showing us all the steps, advising us on the results of reduction and what happens to the colours, all makes so much sense to me now. As she said, the colours she chose looked quite garish before she worked her magic using her colour-shift method. I am just so glad that I stumbled upon our Polymer Clay Tutor. I can now be proud of the end products (using CINDY’S fail-safe methods). Even if I do not “get it” the first time I know that I can go back into my Library and try again and again till I eventually say “Jeronimo” or words to that effect. So a BIG thank you Cindy, what would I (and heaps of others) do without our weekly dose of your feel good medicine. ~Elaine-F

Just a quick update…. my project is finally finished (Inaugural Ball State Flowers Polymer Clay Bouquet)! I shipped it off yesterday… kinda sad a year of hard work completed. I have a whole month before it was due. But we wanted to make sure that the project survived the harrows of shipping. This way if some elements need replaced I have a month to accomplish that. Thanks again for all your support. It means so much to have so many friends in the PC world who understand the hard work and time put into what we do. Woohoo I can finally catch up on doing Cindy creations. I need to go back and review all the wonderful tuts and decide which I want to do first. I have missed so many of them. Cindy I couldn’t have done this without you. Thanks for your help and insipiration at the times that I needed you. Marlene Cupo… my friend. I smile when I think of the wonderful peacock cane ends you sent so that I could have a distraction from the project. You are a great friend. Now I can actually sit down and use them!  Dixie Ann , Elaine and all the others who kept writing notes here on the blog. Thanks for just being there I always knew that I could come here and read to clear my mind and refresh for a new start on the project when I was tormented with the “How am I going to do this” syndrome. All of us are so so lucky to have this family to run to when we need it. You all will never know how many lives you touch with your sharing hearts. I would bet there are many out there who like me visit often but do not comment much. So thanks a million. ~Karonkay-C

The full video series for the Christmas Sweater Cane tutorial described above, is available in Vol-079 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Cherie H, 04 December, 2014

    Gosh I am right! I saw you wearing this bangle Cindy in the last video and just knew it’s going to be our next tutorial. I was kind of hoping it would because I fell in love with the design. I love the Christmas knit sweater look.

  2. Sherry L, 04 December, 2014

    Yay, I love your new Christmas cane idea. So many uses, this is another timeless tutorial! Thank you Cindy.

    I’m really looking forward to learning all about it:)

  3. Marion R, 04 December, 2014

    This is a fantastic idea Cindy! I was just wondering what to make for my sister-in-law’s Christmas present, now I know! I just love the napkin rings, and I know she will too!

  4. Ginny M, 04 December, 2014

    I am so excited about this project! When I saw your bracelet in the last video I also was hoping that was going to be our next project!!! It’s just beautiful :)

  5. Valerie W, 05 December, 2014

    Love this cane. It is so beautiful. I love Christmas anyway. The feeling you get this time of year. Everyone have a Wonderful Christmas and Cindy keep up the good work.

  6. elaine faulks, 05 December, 2014

    WOW Cindy, wow wow wow!

    Just adore your sweater cane and am hunting out my tools again as just “gotta” make this one! I bought a set of T- towels and tea cosy to give as a gift. It has the a red and white “Scandi” design with Christmas trees and hearts, so after attempting your pattern I will get out my graph paper to figure out this different design. Just hoping I have enough red and white Premo.

    Just wish we had a Dollar store here in the UK. We have “Poundland” which is nearly the same but probably twice as expensive but still great value. I also managed to find the glass baubles to do your Mistletoe baubles, after failing to find them until now.

    I did a Craft Fayre in our local Church Hall and made your cute little Owls as tree decorations (sold all twelve). As my theme was Birds I designed a fabric Owl perched on a Cinnamon Quill like he was sitting on a swing, then a few Penguins as paper weights again from fabric standing on a piece of slate (iceberg) and was kept busy using my Pyrography machine to personalise wooden items. Spoons, keyrings bookmarks etc.

    Not super fit at the moment but Art as Therapy keeps me going. Happy Holidays to you all………………..cheers xx…………

  7. Catalina, 05 December, 2014

    Couldn’t sleep last night so I looked and saw that these videos were posted already! I watched the whole series and was very excited, so, now, I really couldn’t sleep!! Lol! I almost got up and went into my studio! I just wondered where we get the pdf file? Is it in the newsletter? I didn’t see it posted with the paid videos. Unless, I’m blind!

  8. Cindy Lietz, 05 December, 2014

    Hi Catalina, the PDF link is just above the links for the Pt2 to Pt 6 videos, in the paid membership site. Maybe if you go back and look you will see it there? You probably were too excited to get watching the videos and missed it!

  9. Catalina, 05 December, 2014

    Yes! I flew right by it! Thanks! Had a funeral to attend, a dear family friend, so I may not be able start this for a couple of days. I can see many different options with this one.

  10. elaine faulks, 05 December, 2014

    Just thought I would pop back in here CINDY, after watching the first video.
    The die you are using has (in fact) twelve little holes, not ten as you stated. I expect if you used a ten hole die the scale would come out different? Just printed out the pattern, so really excited about making this great festive cane…..cheers xx………

  11. Cindy Lietz, 09 December, 2014

    Good eye Elaine! You are right! If it were easier to do I would fix it in the video but it is all but impossible without a ton of effort. Hopefully people will go by what they see and not what they hear, and it should work out ok. I don’t think there is even one with 10 holes but if there were, it would still work… just be a tiny bit bigger. Thanks for letting me know.

  12. Tante Sherry, 05 December, 2014

    Just finished watching the whole tutorial & wanted to pop in and say how wonderfully you explained everything.
    It’s a bit too late for me to use in making this years ornaments for our 3 nephews (shipping overseas and all)…
    But like I mentioned before this is a timeless design and I must admit I Love this type of cane building cuz I’m a ”fiddler” lol (read: obsessive/compulsive). Hmm, now I’m wondering if this is a good or bad trait — I guess as long as this behavior doesn’t bog me down and lead to never finishing a project or experimenting it will be okay ;)

    While I’m sharing things, I want to tell you guys that I have a health update to share, this past summer the local Pain Center did something called Neurostimulation. I now have 2 leads in my spine and a battery pack in my left hip, pretty cool I think. I’ve gone through some major detox and I’m down to one pain pill a day, where I used to take 9 or 10 ( of course that amount of medication was due to 15+ years of chronic pelvic pain and the management of it). The prayer is that over the next few months I will continue to decrease that one pill to a half…yada yada… It’s not a cure But it is better than all that morphine.
    One last point, this community has been a true blessing for me. A place to come learn and connect with others that have common interest, goals and/or set backs in life, whether physical or emotional, ourselves or our family — doesn’t matter, someone here will ‘get it’ and respond with kindness.
    Wishing all of you many blessings, Sherry

  13. Cindy Lietz, 09 December, 2014

    Thank you Sherry for your wonderful comment. You are a such a lovely person and it means a lot to all of us to have you open up and share your feelings and your challenges with us all. I hope that your pain will improve quickly and that you will be able to reduce your medication right down to zero! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family! Take care.

  14. Patt W, 05 December, 2014

    Oh my gosh!! My head is spinning (again-LOL). It is too late for me to make the Christmas swater cane -this year. BUT ( as a knitter and weaver) I can see so many other patterns to use. Sooo, off to gather some goodies for future use.

    What a great tutorial this is.!! I can’t say enough about it. I learned so many new tips and tricks. Each tutorial, you teach us, is so filled with information – to use now and later. TY for all your patience and time spent. This tute is an easy one, but tedious ! And you MUST use precision .Not my long suits, unfortunately. But I do love it, so will tackle it after the holidays…………

  15. Hermine R, 05 December, 2014

    Great canes ! It really looks like Christmas!

  16. cherie, 05 December, 2014

    I don’t think i will get the time to do this for this year as it does take a lot of time to put the cane together and I have finished my jewelry sale and completing a few orders. After that I’m busy accompanying at the school Christmas concert, Masses, senior ‘s home so will be busy with practices.

    I will do it next year and also try other designs too! thanks Cindy for an awesome tutorial!

  17. Jocelyn C, 05 December, 2014

    What a lovely Christmas pattern! Appreciate the tips for making the extruder easier and more stable to use.

    This pattern following use of polymer clay also opens to door to following patterns for beadwork, specifically loomwork, but, peyote is possible as well if you use transparent or a neutral color to get the offsets going.

    A trip to the copying machine at Staples with some graph paper will allow you to use clear acetate to copy the grid pattern to it. You can enlarge or decrease the graph sizes before you print the gridwork on the acetate.

    Using the clear acetate grid over a picture or piece of art allows you to follow Cindy’s technique to make just about any pattern you wish. is loaded with bead loomwork and cross stitch patterns that would make gorgeous polymer cane canes, as well.

  18. Janet Mundziak, 07 December, 2014

    this looks great and like everyone else, can’t wait to try! I do have one question – not sure if you covered and I just missed it – but is there a reason to use the round extruder instead of a square? thanks!!

  19. Rebecca Chisenhall, 07 December, 2014

    Janet, I would think the only reason to use the circle die instead of a square would be mainly, as Cindy mentioned, to give the pin-sized “holes” left in the reduced cane that mimics the holes in a real cross-stitched item on fabric. A square extruder disk may not provide those pinholes, but I would think you certainly could use one if you have one small enough. If not, you’d have a huge cane!

  20. Cindy Lietz, 09 December, 2014

    That’s weird, Becky’s answer was perfect but I can’t see it here anymore… Here is what she said if it doesn’t show up here again:

    “Janet, I would think the only reason to use the circle die instead of a square would be mainly, as Cindy mentioned, to give the pin-sized “holes” left in the reduced cane that mimics the holes in a real cross-stitched item on fabric. A square extruder disk may not provide those pinholes, but I would think you certainly could use one if you have one small enough. If not, you’d have a huge cane!” ~ Rebecca Chisenhall

  21. Doug Lietz, 09 December, 2014

    Rebecca’s comment was not showing because of the website address that was added to the “URL” field. Unfortunately, Becky, the commenting system has an issue with that url because it contains the “@” symbol. Some Flickr web site URL’s have that “@” symbol as well and for some reason it triggers some weird code issues that cause the text part of your comment to disappear. I removed the website reference in the code and now, as you can see, the original comment from Rebecca is showing up.

  22. DawnB, 11 December, 2014

    Love this project, Cindy. So much information and beautiful pieces. I’m definitely not putting this off. I’ve been wanting to make something for a friend’s young girls and I think the bracelet would be perfect. And, I know I say it a lot but there are so many possibilities for this technique!

    I’ve tried canes using square extruded clay (a kimono) including some of the extruded flower canes you showed us, but it came out just a little too “boxy.” I also made an argyle pattern with extruded squares and triangles (half squares), but got way to much distortion. I think round would be the way to go for that one now that I’ve seen you do it. Especially since I was trying to match a sweater! (LOL)

    Thanks again Team Lietz!

  23. Cindy Lietz, 19 December, 2014

    You are very welcome Dawn! I would love to see what you make with the cane if you get a chance to take photos. Thank you so much for your support and have a wonderful Holiday with your family! It is going to be an exciting New Year!

  24. Krithika P, 18 November, 2015

    I made a couple of sweater canes last week, and just wanted to drop and say that I have a whole new appreciation for the level of patience you have Cindy! I had plans on doing all the patterns, in red and green. But after doing a red reindeer and poinsetta, I tucked my extruder away for the time being (there’s lotsa time left till Christmas right?!)
    The tips and tricks you shared helped ever so much. I got to exercise my Lucy extruder and vise, definitely made it easier.
    I haven’t tried reducing the canes yet! I’m scared to! I’ll probably cut off about a fourth of it and try reducing it and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just admire the large canes!

  25. Cindy Lietz, 23 November, 2015

    Hi Krithika, that is great that you have been working on the Christmas Sweater Cane… it is definitely a fun one to do! Don’t be afraid to reduce it… just do a little at a time, it should go fine. You are smart to save some big pieces though. That will give you more options. The Lucy Clay Extruder sure would make the job go easier and quicker! I wish I had it when I was making that cane. Next time it will be a breeze! :)

  26. Phyllis C, 01 January, 2016

    Thank you for the very helpful videos! I’m really enjoying making these canes.

    Something that I found helps me is to tape a square pane of clear acrylic to my glass cutting board with a 1″ piece of white artist’s tape on each side. (I guess it could be anything about 1/16″ thick with a nice straight edge and longer than the cane you’re making.) Then I start each row with the first strand pushed right next to the acrylic. It keeps it straight and in place and I can take my blade perpendicular to the glass and push against subsequent rows to assure they’re straight without worrying about the whole thing coming off the glass.

    When I’m done with a row, I peel up one piece of tape and flip the acrylic out of the way until I’ve flattened and trimmed that row and am ready to start the next one.

    I also put a piece of white tape on the glass cutting board just outside my working area to give me a guide to where the row should end so I don’t accidentally add or forget a strand. This has happened!

  27. Cindy Lietz, 06 January, 2016

    Wow those are excellent tips Phyllis! Thank you so much for coming in here and sharing those with everyone. This kind of sharing of knowledge is why this community is so great. We all can learn from each other. Thanks again!

  28. Kathaleen Waszmer, 02 December, 2022

    I made all my polymer Christmas bracelets . They are all so pretty. But most broke when putting the on. What can i do with all the broken pieces. A lot of work don’t want to throw away. Please help. Kathy

  29. Cindy Lietz, 02 December, 2022

    Hi Kathaleen, I am sorry to hear you had some problems with your pieces breaking. That really hurts! Before I can really help you, I need to know a few things… What brand of clay did you use? How long did you bake them? What temperature? Did you use an oven thermometer? Were your bracelets clay only, or did you add the clay to a bracelet blank? How thick was the clay?

  30. Kathaleen Waszmer, 04 December, 2022

    the clay was sculpey premo baked 275 . i use a metal blank for the clay. Baked 30 min.for top and 30 min. for backing Backing was put on clay for last bakeing. All sculpey clay.. 1/4 of a inch some a little thicker.

  31. Cindy Lietz, 05 December, 2022

    Hi again Kathleen… so you’re almost there. Because you baked your piece only 30 mins after adding the backing, and the pieces are fairly thick, it sounds to me like the piece was under baked. No matter how many things I add, and how many times it goes into the oven, the last baking should be baked for an hour… especially if you’re using a small oven. Small ovens heat up and cool down, many times through the baking process, and rarely hold the clay at the proper temp to cure for the duration of the time. That is why I like to bake everything for an hour to make sure every last particle has had the opportunity to get hot enough and cure. To test it, why don’t you throw your broken pieces back into the oven and bake for an hour and see if they are stronger? That would help you feel better about baking your next pieces.

    I’d love to see pictures or better yet video of the broken pieces, so I know for sure that is what the issue is here. You can easily do that here…

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