Faux Burl Wood Pens | Polymer Clay Tutorials Vol-060

Faux Burl Wood Pens - Polymer Clay Tutor6 Videos #376 to #381: Quality pen kits that are easy to assemble even without a pen press tool.

I have received many requests over the years for tutorials on making pens… the nice ones made with the woodturner metal component kits, as opposed to cheaper plastic style.

There have also been many requests for Men’s gifts ideas, and for graduation and teacher gifts too. So I thought, why not address all these things in one tutorial series by putting together a Faux Burl Wood Pen project for you guys.

In this tutorial series I have included my own original technique for creating a Faux Burl Wood Cane from polymer clay… that rivals the real thing! After building the cane, you will slice and stretch it to create decorative faux wood sheets, that can be used for all kinds of fun polymer clay projects… including both men’s and women’s jewelry designs, pendants, earrings, home decor items… and even some awesome looking pens. I’ll show you step by step how to make the pens.

Posted just below is a Sneak Peak and overview of this months Faux Burl Wood Pen Tutorial. The rest of the 6 part video series will be posted tomorrow (Friday, May 3rd, 2013) in the Vol-060 section at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library.

BTW, if this Polymer Clay Pen 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-060-1: Video #376: Introduction: In this 6 part video tutorial series, you will learn techniques and tricks that will have you creating stunning, unique and professional looking Faux Burl Wood Pens as well as jewelry and other great looking polymer clay projects.

Pt 2 Faux Burl Wood Pens - Polymer Clay TutorVol-060-2: Video #377:
Faux Burl Wood Cane:

In this video I will show you how to create your own one-of-a-kind Faux Burl Wood Cane in the colors of your choice. This cane mimics the swirling knots and the sparkling grain that is so distinctive in real Burl Wood specimens.

Pt 3 Faux Burl Wood Pens - Polymer Clay TutorVol-060-3: Video #378:
Creating Burl Wood Sheets:

In this video I will show you how to manipulate slices taken from your Faux Burl Wood Cane, and create sheets of clay that mimic sheets of real Burl Wood Veneers. These sheets can then be used to make a wide variety of polymer clay projects.

Pt 4 Faux Burl Wood Pens - Polymer Clay TutorVol-060-4: Video #379:
Covering The Pen Blanks:

Here I will show you the tips and tricks for wrapping the Burl Wood sheets around the brass pen blank barrels, in an easy yet flawless manner so that your pen is not only durable and well made, but gorgeous looking too.

Pt 5 Faux Burl Wood Pens - Polymer Clay TutorVol-060-5: Video #380:
Sanding And Finishing:

Whether you’re making pendants or pens with this Faux Burl Wood technique, you are going to want to give them a beautiful, professional finish. You do that through proper sanding, buffing and waxing your piece. In this video I will show you how!

Pt 6 Faux Burl Wood Pens - Polymer Clay TutorVol-060-6: Video #381:
Assembling The Pen:

This is where the whole thing comes together! In this video I will show you how to properly assemble your pen parts into a gorgeous pen. And it is easy with my secret trick… even if you don’t have one of those cool pen press machines! I will also share some other options should you choose not to use the pen kits that I suggest for the tutorial. So even if you don’t want to make a pen with your Faux Burl Wood technique, you will still have tons of cool ideas to play around with!

Other Supplies:

  • Please note that you may or may not need all the supplies listed below, or in the suggested list above. It just depends on if you decide to do all the different techniques shown.
  • Funline – Slim line Pen Kits from Penn State Industries online shop.
  • Playing cards for measuring thickness settings on your pasta machine.
  • Paper towels.
  • Dish of water with a drop of dish soap.
  • Bamboo Chop Stick  or similar object for holding pen blank while sanding.
  • Scrap Wood or thick softer plastic block for hammering on.
  • Old plastic gift card.
  • Cutting board or other surface suitable for cutting polymer clay.
  • Piece of craft felt for hand buffing. Or use your Dremel or JoolTool instead.
  • Mister bottle of water.
  • Rubbing Alcohol.

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 Faux Burl Wood Pen tutorial described above, is available in Vol-060 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:

Hi Cindy, Your expertise, cheery disposition, and enthusiasm stand you in very good stead. When I was first beginning my stumble through how to use this medium, you (of all the myriad of resources I sussed out on both the internet and in print), provided a clear step by step and exciting window into the world of polymer clay. I thank you for sharing your kind and informative insights. Your moto re: ‘I made the mistakes so you don’t have to’ is the perfect welcome mat for any beginner or seasoned enthusiast. Thank you. ~Linda-F

Thank you, Cindy, as always for getting me over the fence on the Renaissance. The feeling of the sanded and polished polymer with the Ren wax is absolutely DELICIOUS! I have definitely gotten my money’s worth from all your tutorials on this product alone! ~Andrea-P

Oh Andrea, do not fear or be afraid of what others think or say. If you have enjoyed making something, put your heart into it and overcome the difficulties, you shine. I love your sea themed dragon, the colors speak to me, the expression looks satisfied as if he/she is saying “Thanks Mum for bringing me to life Everyone has their own perception of “ART! My younger sister was a wonderful water color painter. She painted the most amazing elves, fairies and birds and nature. Then she attended a famous Art College in London. It destroyed her natural flow. I am not sure how or what she was taught but her work thereafter became just ordinary. The heart had gone out of it. She does not paint much anymore, but I treasure two of her early paintings. Sometimes you can learn too much, become afraid you are not good enough. Looking back at some of my early PC pieces I laugh at how ugly they are but somebody loved them? Cindy is a wonderful teacher and we have all learned lots of lessons, but she is NOT rigid. She says “put your own spin on it, choose different colours, experiment, and that’s what ART is all about. Pushing the boundaries, trying new ways, taking advice but doing your own thing. Remember someone somewhere will love even the ugliest warty toad……cheers xx. ~Elaine-F

Cindy, I also wish I had some of your energy and artistic abilities. And yes the more you show us the better. I have never been even a little disappointed in any lesson. When I joined within I think a week or two I purchased all the back lessons. I still go thru them and I still get more inspired every time I watch each and every one of them. I don’t think you could ever disappoint any of us with a lesson, tip, comment any suggestion of any kind. Not me anyway. Love ever ounce of your artistic abilities. You don’t do this just for the money or you would charge way more and give way less. I might not be able to even begin to keep up with you either but I sure have fun trying and love what I do accomplish thanks to YOU CINDY. ~Peggy-B

The full video series for the Faux Burl Wood Covered Pen tutorial described above, is available in Vol-060 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. Peggy Barnes, 02 May, 2013

    I am always excited about up-coming tutorials but this one is just in time for me to make a special gift for my grandson’s graduation. All kids love and need to get money for graduation but it is always nice to be able to add something special that you have made for them. I can’t wait to try this tutorial out and the Burl Wood is the perfect touch to this piece. Thanks again Cindy for bringing that special touch you always add to your tutorials. The Lietz team will deliver yet another perfect lesson tomorrow.
    Sending lots of Uuuuggs in appreciation

  2. Jocelyn C, 02 May, 2013

    Cindy, these little jewels will sell like hotcakes….thanks so much for branching out. Almost want to put one of those ball chains on them like the bank, so it never leaves my side, lol!

    Tried on many years ago, a friend woodworked and had the mechanical pusher insert. The polymer clay always broke and cracked, so I gave up. Cannot wait for tomorrow….

  3. Dixie Ann, 02 May, 2013

    I put off trying to find pen blanks for covering with polymer clay once I found out Cindy was going to have a tutorial on them. I wanted to do them the correct way and not stumble through and do it on my own. I am so excited about this tutorial since not only does she link us to a really nice inexpensive pen blank, we get to learn a whole new cane technique plus an additional benefit of jewelry ideas.

  4. Sue F, 02 May, 2013

    The Faux Burl Wood technique looks fantastic, Cindy, and I can’t wait to try it! :D

    I probably won’t make pens, at least for myself — I do so much stuff on computers and smartphones these days that about the only writing I do is when I need to sign something — but I have a particular project in mind that Faux Burl Wood should suit perfectly. I just need to figure out the construction details…

  5. Monique U., 02 May, 2013

    I know I’ll enjoy this one, Cindy… I’ve NEVER given up my pen and I’m constantly scribbling notes. Now I can have an attractive accessory at every workstation!

  6. elaine faulks, 02 May, 2013

    Love, love, love the look of this faux Burl Wood cane and so pleased Cindy is teaching it. I covered some cheap pens ages ago but (like the barrets) I was not satisfied with them so would not sell them as really had not a clue how to do them. They looked OK but Cindy’s pens look beautiful and know the male members of my large extented family will treasure them. At one of the craft fairs I attend there are five jewelry stalls, although no polymer clay!I said I make other items as I do pyrography so love all types of wood. Now I will not feel guilty when another tree crashes to the ground for Arts sake. So I make miniature dolls house foods, key rings and other non-jewelry stuff. Now I will have some more gifts for guys, so a big thanks Cindy really looking forward to learn the “Cindy Way” to make them……..cheers xx……

  7. Jill V., 02 May, 2013

    Gorgeous technique.

  8. Peggy Barnes, 03 May, 2013

    Woke up and I just couldn’t resist sneaking a peak, OK so I watched all of this months tutorials already. Kind of like eating just on bite of something you love. Can’t just sneak a peak when it is all there just waiting for you. I knew this set was going to have a special place in my heart as I hope it does my Grandson’s heart when I give him his pen for graduation..
    Thank you Cindy and Doug for making this a possibility for me not to just make him a gift but to make him a very special beautiful gift he hopefully will get a lot of use out of. Wish I could stay here and give you many more thanks but I need to get back to bed so I can start thinking my process out for this very special gift. Once again you have hit it way out of the ball park and into my heart. THANK YOU LIETZ TEAM, THANK YOU
    Praying you and your family have a wonderful weekend.
    Many, many Uuuuuugggggs

  9. Peggy Barnes, 03 May, 2013

    Ok so I haven’t gone to bed yet I wanted to go back on watch the cane video again first. This cane and all the possibilities is just Awesome. Tinting with just a little different colors. Cindy did you do any experimenting with any mica powders or inks by any chance. I think a hint of some of the mica powders instead of a pinch of different color clays could have a great effect. If I have time I might try a couple of different powders before deciding on a cane for my pen. I love playing with clay. You could go wild with this creation and I am sure that is just what you had in mind for us. To use our minds. I just can’t tell you how excited I am and thrilled at the timing for this tutorial.

    I have a question not doing with todays tutorial. Due to being sick quite often I miss many posts made in Cindy’s blog here. Does anyone know of a way to Go to a certain date on the blog and just keep going forward from there on. I just would like to touch on some areas and make sure I don’t miss anything in between them. Any help I would be grateful for.

    Thank you so much once again Cindy, you and Doug are AWESOME! Now if I can just be a regular visitor again here that would be AWESOME also.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 03 May, 2013

    It is always fun to read your comments when you are so excited like that Peggy!! Don’t get too excited and forget to sleep though… a girl needs her beauty sleep you know!

    As far as your question about reading the older stuff and not missing anything, there are a few things you can do. You can click the home button on the top of the page and just scroll down until you get to the date you last read and go from there. You could click on the calendar on the right hand side of the blog and find the date there. Or you could subscribe to the blog with a blog reader like Feedly and you wouldn’t miss a post or a comment again.

    Hopefully that helps!

    And btw I would love to have you here more regularly too! You are a real pleasure having around!

  11. Peggy Barnes, 05 May, 2013

    Thank you Cindy for all the information and kind words. I am going to try my best to visit more often. I should never stay away, even when I am ill because it always makes me feel better after a visit with all my lovely friends and you. Hopefully you will be hearing more from me in the future. Now on my bucket list. ;)

  12. Jocelyn C, 03 May, 2013


    Hun, I do not know the answer to your question, but, I sure do want to pop in and wish you continued best of luck throughout your health difficulties. Trust, prayers and good wishes are being sent across the Altantic on a pretty regular basis to you, and I hope you feel my good wishes and strength to get better as quickly as possible.

    Love love

  13. elaine faulks, 03 May, 2013

    hi Jocelyn.
    Yes I get a warm glow when I read all your messages. Even managed to get into the garden today and plant some flower seeds as my lovely stepson filled all my tubs with fresh compost and -watered them so they will have a good start. My daughter and granddaughter took me out to a lovely park where I sat in the sunshine looking at the beautiful spring flowers, while Jessica tried to chase squirrels, but she was on a long lead so gave up and chased a bee instead. Good job she didn’t catch it as she was stung as a puppy so perhaps she is immune?

    That site for pens with added extras is very good so might use a couple of the ideas as have two friends who would appreciate thicker pens. So thanks for that ………cheers xx…………………….

  14. Jocelyn C, 04 May, 2013

    Peggy and Elaine

    Apologies, I get the two of you confused with health issues. I keep both of you in my prayers. Hope both of you return to full vitality with no pain.


  15. Peggy Barnes, 05 May, 2013

    Thank you, Unfortunately we all need prayers from time to time but fortunately our Dear Lord is there to always answer them with a plan for us all.
    I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that have been sent for me and others here every day. Cindy has created such an informational blog for us with the warm touches of so much kindness.
    This blog means more to me all the time and I am so sorry I have stayed away so much and with help from all of you I promise I will try my best to be just as kind and warm hearted as all of you. Thoughts and prayers for Lietz family and all their bloggers. God Bless and walk with us all.
    I will always send many Uuuugggs out to everyone. So grab one and use it when you need it most.

  16. Tantesherry, 12 May, 2013

    uugggs to you too Peggy :)

  17. Jocelyn C, 03 May, 2013

    Ah, Cindy, I had a ball watching this video! You made it so easy, and there are so many creative options to use when veneering poly clay to the tubes.

    One adjustment could be made to the bottom part of the pen which would make it a dream to use by those poor folks afflicted by arthritis or hand movement difficulties, and to illustrate those choices, I’ll just paste the Google search link.

    Lots of different ideas to expand and flatten that bottom tube with the clay to make finger grips that allow handwriting to be more legible. And come on, there is nothing more wonderful in this day and age, then getting a handwritten note from a Godmother at 87. Guess what Aunt Dodie is getting for Mom’s Day?

    Also, would add a touch of translucent to the burl mix, chopped up extra fine before adding to the general mix. It seems to add more depth of color when baked and buffed in a combo like this pattern.

  18. Cindy Lietz, 03 May, 2013

    That’s a great idea Jocelyn! Once you get the hang of making the pens, you definitely could alter the shape to make it easier to hold for people with arthritis or other mobility issues in their hands. Thanks for the tip!

  19. Pattw, 03 May, 2013

    YOU HAVE OUTDONE YOURSELF!!!!!! What a wonderfully comprehensive tute! So many others cover pens, but not this professionally ! This way above any of these. This pen is beautifully done. Thank you both so much for all your work. I have wanted to cover pens for so long, but was not happy with how they looked. No MORE -now I can cover pens with a professional look.

    Love the Burl wood look,BUT -my mind is in a whirl with other ideas…………Like so many of your followers I CAN’t SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

  20. teresa d, 03 May, 2013

    Green!! How did you make that beautiful green burl color? Awesome as usual.

  21. Cindy Lietz, 03 May, 2013

    I actually got that green color Teresa by chopping up an old end of one of my Peacock Canes. With all those metallic and pearl colors in that cane I thought I’d try it. And although there is no wood that I know of that is that color, I liked how it turned out!

  22. Catalina, 04 May, 2013

    Yep! This is cool!! I didn’t realise how inexpensive the kits were! This is a must try!! Now to play!!

  23. Peggy Barnes, 05 May, 2013

    Cat I didn’t realize the kits were so inexpensive either. I do have one question about the kits. I notice no matter which site you go to for purchasing kits they also sale bushings. What are they for? Does anyone know why you would ever need to purchase them? I sure do hope I feel up to getting started on my grandson’s graduation gift this week. I just hope it turns out half as beautiful as Cindy’s. Never have I looked so forward to making a gift. Part of it is my grandson’s are not big on any kind of jewelry and I really have high hopes he is going to love this pen or maybe pens . Anyone know if you can purchase the pencil kits as well. Who knows I might go all out and look into the key ring and the envelope opener also!!!! Thank you again Cindy. You have answered all my questions and concerns about making and covering a pen that was not the simple bic pen you cover. Don’t get me wrong I have covered many bic pens and everyone has enjoyed those also. But there was a definite need for this higher quality when it came to covering a pen for a lovely graduation gift.
    Uuuugggs to all

  24. Monique U., 05 May, 2013

    Peggy, the bushings are needed for actual wood-turning, but not for decorating the pen kits in PC. Bushings are metal cylinders that fit on a lathe mandrel to stabilize and guide the cutting of the wood “blanks”. Companies like PSI cater to woodworkers. If you go to their website (Cindy has the link above), just search for “pencil” and several kits will pop up. They also sell pen refills and replacement pencil leads.

  25. Michelle Adams, 06 May, 2013

    I like the idea of covering this type of pen that you can refill and keep using.

    On another note, does anybody have any recommendations as to where to get some really strong jump rings that close up tight? The ones I buy seem to be so thin and never close quite right. Thanks.

  26. Dixie Ann, 06 May, 2013

    Hi Michelle, if you are looking for heavier jump rings, ask for an 18 or 16 gauge wire jump rings. I rarely use anything thinner than 18 gauge but I make them myself and it depends on what I am using them for. Michaels does not carry the heavier ones but you can do a search online and I’m sure you will find a supplier. Good Luck.

  27. Michelle Adams, 06 May, 2013

    Thanks Dixie Ann

  28. Maria, 06 May, 2013

    Hi Dixie Ann!
    When you make the jump rings, do you need to file the edges down so that the rings close correctly? or do you find this step unnecessary? I have tried to make my own, but the ends seem to come out too pointy… and it seems like such a chore to file every one …

  29. Dixie Ann, 07 May, 2013

    Hi Maria, there are a lot of YouTube videos that show you how to cut for jump rings. You must have a FLUSH CUT pliers and each end must be flush cut in order for them to fit together properly. You can also go to the top of the blog and using the SEARCH BOX type in how to cut jump rings. A lot of times I only want to make 1 or 2. I flush cut my wire end and using a bail pliers, I wind the wire around it 2x for one jump ring. I flush cut the end and then flip the pliers so it flush cuts evenly with the next round. On the heavier gauge wire looking down on the cut itself, the metal is slightly raised, on one half of the cut. The reason for this is that you never truly get a flush cut with any of the flush cut pliers so on the thicker wire, it will pinch a little and cause this raise edge. Just take a flat metal needle file and going in one direction only, run the file across the end of the wire a few times. This will help to flatten the ends so they meet together properly. It doesn’t take much so don’t go crazy with the file. Be sure you open and close the jump rings to align them properly. These extra little steps might seem like a pain but believe me an ugly looking jump ring that does not properly close can stick out like a sore thumb. If you are going to go to all the trouble of making your beads look beautiful, why not do just as good a job on your jump rings, clasps, and other closings? There is a little wire waste at first until you become efficient at making them so do use some cheap copper or black wire to practice on first. Professional Chain Maille designers either cut their jump rings with a saw set-up or order them already cut.
    You can make your own for a lot less once you become one with the wire. Hope this helps.

  30. elaine faulks, 07 May, 2013

    Good advice Dixie. Have you made big chunky oval ones, textured as in Cindy’s hammered copper bookmark? Sure gets rid of all that frustration, hammering away and they look great linked to smaller ones to make a chain. I use two small ones to link each piece…………..cheers xx……

  31. Maria, 07 May, 2013

    Wonderful advice! Thank you so much, Dixie Ann!

  32. Cindy Lietz, 08 May, 2013

    Hi Michelle, I do have a video on making jump rings in the Faux Rust Tutorial. You have that one don’t you? Any way, the thing that makes a jumpring strong isn’t just the gauge, it is also the temper of the metal. If the metal is soft it will open Easier.

    When making your own jump rings, you should use half-hard wire (full hard would be difficult for you to bend by hand, otherwise it would be better). Once they are made you can make them harder by either tumbling in a rock tumbler with some steel shot. (They act like tiny hammers, hardening the metal.) Or you can hammer the jump rings your self using a nylon hammer if you don’t want to flatten them, or a metal hammer if you do.

    Another way to harden jump rings, whether they are home made or store bought, is to open and close them several times. Five or so times will do it. If you go too far, they will harden to the point of becoming brittle and with actually break.

    Some shops that specialize in chainmaille make really strong jump rings. A place I like to buy jump rings is called MetalDesinz. They have all kinds of rings in a variety of sizes, metals, and gauges plus they also sell Niobium Wire that I like to buy for making ear wires.

    Hope that helps!

  33. Dixie Ann, 07 May, 2013

    Hi Elaine, I have made so many of Cindys Copper Bookmarks. Everyone just loves them because I put a little PC birdhouse, or a purse or a big orphan bead on them. I took a medium size glass vase and trimmed the rim with copper foil tape. The museum has them sitting on their glass counter right next to their Cash Register. I love working with wire almost as much as polymer clay!

  34. Linda O, 09 May, 2013

    Thank You. So happy to have found you and joined!!

  35. Fatima A, 10 May, 2013

    Hi just wondering has anyone made the burl wood cane with fimo clay. If so what colours did you use. Im asking because i really want to make it but i only have fimo at the moment Fatima

  36. Jocelyn C, 11 May, 2013

    Fatima, I just tried it with pinks and browns, and added a slight amount of tiny chopped translucent. Wow! Cannot wait to finish this pen to give to my Godmother for Mothers Day. I so like the way it came out, the burls are totally 3-D.

  37. Sara T, 11 May, 2013

    Just watched the videos on the faux wood pens. You are so talented. My grandson uses a lathe for turning wood into pens. He’s 12. From the videos — your pens look so much like real wood. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.

  38. Ella Moore, 11 May, 2013

    I just recieved my pens today and can’t wait until tomorrow to get started
    I received some bad news yesaterday as I was diagoise with bone marrow and blood
    cancer. There is no cure but it can be controlled with chemo pills, and monthly blood transfusions. At least there is no pain with this persay. Just a 27cm spleen.
    Thanks Cindy with your great tuts. It does keep me going everyday.Elly Moore

  39. Dixie Ann, 11 May, 2013

    Hi Ella, got my pens today too, so know how excited you are. So very sorry to hear about your diagnosis.
    That sure must have been awful to hear. There is so much they can do now with treating cancers so hang in there, I will keep you in my prayers and I’m sure a lot of us here will. My DH was treated for the same thing and the good Lord gave us many years together. God Bless. :)

  40. Catalina, 11 May, 2013

    Hi, Ella, you seem to have amazing spirit considering you just received such bad news. I pray you get thought this trial. Polymer clay is a great distraction. Enjoy working on your pens!

  41. elaine faulks, 12 May, 2013

    Hi Ella
    Know how you feel babe, but just think, you could get your “new” blood from somebody famous like, Jonny Depp or George Clooney as I hear that lots of stars give blood
    These pen kits are awesome, although will probably get some strong man to do the hammering
    . So glad Cindy did this tute and the French Barrettes. I’ve been trawling the web looking for the letter openers, key ring blanks, magnifying glasses etc. but want to buy from a UK site. Does anybody know who stocks them?…cheers xx…….

  42. Jocelyn C, 12 May, 2013

    Welcome Ella. So sorry to hear your recent news, but, hopefully with advances in treatment, you will be here a long time to make new friends. You will be in my prayers.

  43. Cindy Lietz, 13 May, 2013

    Oh Ella, I am so sorry to hear you are so ill. :( You sound so strong and brave. It is heartening to know that you can find some enjoyment and distraction from your cancer, by focusing on working with your polymer clay.

    I think you are really going to enjoy making the pens! They turn out really neat and they are not too difficult to do. Once you’ve made a few you can experiment with your own designs. Maybe add a cane slice or two? Or something fun like that. I was thinking the Aurora technique would be a great one to make some pens with. Would look lovely.

    Get lots of rest and make sure to keep popping by here, for some love and encouragement when you need it. Take care of yourself sweetie! :)

  44. Sue F, 14 May, 2013

    I thought I’d try the Faux Burl Wood technique on its own first, to get a feel for how it behaved before using it in specific projects. I followed Cindy’s instructions pretty closely for this first attempt, and even used Premo clay (eek!).

    It was also a good chance to try something from Helen Breil’s wonderful “Shapes” e-book, which I’ve been drooling over for a little while but hadn’t previously had a chance to try.

    With the convoluted grain of burl wood in mind, I first made a twisty pendant and a pair of earring dangles to match: Photo1

    I was really happy with the combination although they were a monumental pain to sand and buff. Next time I’ll stick them in the tumble sander: I should have worked out my own tumbling schedule with the new media Cindy recommended by then, and it will be interesting to see how effective it is with such weird shapes. (The smooth small pebbles I’ve used to date wouldn’t have got into the smallest hollows.)

    It was also interesting how much easier it was to make the shape twist in one direction than it was to make its mirror image. My brain is obviously lopsided!

    I haven’t assembled the finished pieces yet, but I’ll probably just use plain black leather or suede cord with the pendant, and either black or heavily oxidised copper minimalist earwires for the earrings.

    I also made a variety of ordinary flat shapes from the leftovers. They’ll become earring dangles or studs too. (I love earrings! :D) Photo2

    I found that with the colours I chose and the pattern I achieved a satin finish to a medium shine looked better and more realistic than a super-high shine, which became a bit artificial.

    The main project I have in mind for Faux Burl Wood will use fairly large expanses of it (I’m skipping the pens for now), so I’m going to try a few construction variations to tune it for that. The method exactly as taught works wonderfully for smaller items but would be a bit repetitive for my taste for larger pieces.

    In any case, another fantastic technique! :D

  45. Dixie Ann, 14 May, 2013

    Nice job Sue, Love the way you twisted the clay.

  46. Sue F, 15 May, 2013

    Thanks, Dixie Ann! :)
    It was fun to play with.

    I’ll have to find myself a new photo or file site, however, as the latest iteration of Photobucket stuffs around with the uploaded images too much.

    (Doug or Cindy, if you read this and have time, can you please try putting the “~original” back on the ends of those photo links, e.g. “i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee367/suef_au/Polymer%20Clay/Cindy%20Lietz/060-FauxBurlWood-EarringAndPendantTwists.jpg~original”? That theoretically will display my original image rather than the Photobucket-manipulated version. My original images were larger and noticeably sharper, and the loss of sharpness kinda bugs me. Thanks! ;D)

    (P.S. If theory doesn’t match practice and they’re still blurry from Photobucket even with the “~original” ender, I’ll find somewhere else to park them…)

  47. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 15 May, 2013

    OK I’ve gone ahead and updated your links as requested. The “~original” tag is not a standard link element so I’m not sure if this is serving up the desired result. Looks to me like Photobucket is just redirecting to a standard html page showing the “manipulated” version of the photo(s). By the way, if the resolution on your original photos is too high, that may prevent a good chunk of people from being able to see your work… because they (or their server), will check out (time out), before the images display.

  48. Sue F, 15 May, 2013

    Hi Doug,

    Many thanks for making that change. The difference is that “~original” displays my sharper resized images, where without it you get PhotoBucket’s blurrier ones.

    I’d already resized the raw photos down to 1200×900 before uploading because of the resolution/bandwidth issue that you mentioned… PhotoBucket was then resizing them further, down to 1024×768, but using an algorithm that gives a relatively blurry result. I hate that (control freak here! :D)

    I used to be able to disable PhotoBucket’s resizing but it doesn’t allow that any more, and only offers that “~original” workaround which is rather annoying. It’s much more awkward to use all around now too since their most recent “upgrade” (hah!), so I’m not going to use it any more.

    I’ll probably park images in a Dropbox public folder in the short term since I already have a Dropbox account for other reasons, or use space allocated by my ISP.

    Anyway, thanks again!


  49. Cindy Lietz, 20 May, 2013

    Hi Sue, your twist (pun intended) on the Faux burl wood tutorial is awesome! But we would expect no less from you, now would we? I really love how you learn something new and then quickly run with it. It is a very encouraging thing to see. Great job!

  50. Jocelyn C, 17 May, 2013

    Sue, I simply adore your results, and that “Shapes” book is overdue. If folks could see my face while I stand over a piece of clay trying to decide how to slice it to make it “arty” they would die laughing. Thanks to the help of Cindy, you, and other compadres here, I am glad to note that I do see improvement. LOL!

  51. Tantesherry, 18 May, 2013

    Jocelyn – LOL

    Sue – such a new take you’ve made, I love them too.
    I also put Helen Breil”s book link in my favorites bar so I don’t lose it
    thanks for letting us know about it:)

  52. Sue F, 20 May, 2013

    Hi Jocelyn! Hi Sherry!

    Thank you :D

    I love this technique… it’s MUCH more interesting than ordinary faux wood.

    I didn’t have much time to clay this weekend, but I did find a few minutes to try a minor variation on the Faux Burl Wood Cane construction to see if it would suit larger pieces. I used Premo again but with different proportions of the component colours, although the overall colour impression isn’t as different as I’d expected it to be.

    I think this one turned out better than my first attempt, at least in terms of looking a bit more like the real thing. Still not quite what I’ll need for my larger project, but getting there!

    Being pushed for time I just slapped a trial decorative sheet onto a clay cuff blank left over from the last time I made cuff bracelets, to see how it would look in use. (I adore those twisty shapes but they take more time and care.)

    Here’s a super-quick photo of part of the cane and the EXTREMELY unfinished cuff… This is NOT how I normally leave things! LOL

    It’s basically straight out of the oven, cooled, and onto my workbench, and I still have to take it off the cuff form, clean it up, line it, edge it, sand it and buff it.

    It’s a bit wonkier at this stage than it should be because I’m used to working with much firmer clay and didn’t handle this carefully enough. My parents would say: more haste, less speed. ;) Luckily sanding hides a multitude of sins, and the Faux Burl Wood patterning is pretty forgiving too!

  53. Tantesherry, 20 May, 2013

    Sue – that’s a pretty smart idea!! can totally see where you are going w/ this cane as you put slices on a larger surface
    yep – smart idea

  54. Jocelyn C, 17 May, 2013

    Back googling like mad to satisfy my addiction, and found some neat sites to peruse.

    This Wooden Teddy Bear Site has everything. Amazing source of parts to turn your poly clay into useful art.

    Looked at the lasered “fretwork” art a minute. Makes me wonder how you could do something similar with polymer clay? Be stunning. But, plastics give off fumes when you use a wood burning tool to make finely detailed cuts, and cannot see myself in hazmat gear to do it, plus the edge would brown (though that might be a design detail).

    Sanding and buffing would be time consuming too, you’d have to use the cotton tip and stick like micro polishers to get the nooks and crannies.

    Maybe there is a way you could make your own mold using reverse image technology, to be able to roll it through the pasta machine with the clay and be able to peel it back and reveal that level of detail in cutwork?

    Hmmm, call me intrigued.

    This next Klockit Site has everything but the kitchen sink. Love, love.

    Hope you enjoy both and have a wonderful weekend.

  55. Tantesherry, 18 May, 2013

    could you make a mold out of the oven safe kind and then cure the pc in the mold?

  56. Jocelyn C, 18 May, 2013

    Sherry, think that is where I am heading mulling this over. Back in the day, my first love was trying to get the thinnest most translucent bowls and dishes out of the clay.

    Wanted a finished ocean spray effect on the edges of some of them, so make the mokame gane in the sea colors and very patiently poked away at the edges with small tube and pointed wooden stick (I dulled the edge a little).

    After a day or so, it started looking like the spray and foam you get on a rough day. Put it in the fridge, carefully peeled it off the glass tile, then baked. I loved it.

    But after being a member here, I realized I baked it nearly not long enough. The best part of the effect was the fact that the design colors flowed into the inner holes left.

    I’d like something that does the same thing, roll it through the pasta machine, put it in the freezer, pop it out. Think could spread out the silicone mold stuff first on a tile, then imbed the overlay on top, bake, and you’d have a decent thin mold. Hmmmmm.

  57. Tantesherry, 19 May, 2013

    your ocean bowl sounds beautiful:)

  58. Jocelyn C, 20 May, 2013

    Sue F, that cuff is another triumph, those big burls and twirls are yummy. Like the way you left a little space in the cane so that the burls stayed rounder.

  59. Lynn V, 21 May, 2013

    Thank you very much Cindy. I love your tutorials! You have great energy and I’ve learned alot with your free ones. Now will be happy to support you with the more in depth ones. :) Lynn

  60. Vivian B, 24 May, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    I made 5 of these pens and have given 2 of them as gifts. One was for a good friend and the other for my great niece’s graduation. They both loved them.
    Thank you for what you share with all of us.


  61. Elizabeth S, 27 May, 2013

    Ordered my pens. Great tutorial. Thanks Cindy!

  62. Regina Edmonds, 06 September, 2013

    TRACKBACK COMMENT […] Here is a great video by Cindy & Doug Lietz at polymerclaytutor.com where they introduce you to making pens using polymer clay techniques. The pens are gorgeous and as soon as I get a free afternoon, I am going to take the entire course, which is not on YouTube with the introductory video, but they do appear all on one page on Cindy & Doug’s website, which you can get to easily by clicking here. […]

  63. Larry K, 30 September, 2013

    Cindy – Thought you would be interested to see my first pen and pencil set.

    Larry Kyle Faux Wood Pen Set

  64. Dixie Ann, 30 September, 2013

    Wow, Larry you did a wonderful job on your pen set.
    Nice going dude.

  65. Cindy Lietz, 30 September, 2013

    Awesome work Larry. Thanks so much for sharing your photo!

  66. Larry kyle, 30 September, 2013

    thanks Cindy and Dixie Ann
    Cindy’s tutorial pointed me in the right direction and was a big help.
    I did a few more things than what was in the tutorial I sanded the brass barrels to give the clay something to grip.
    I bought the PMD-DL Long Drill Chuck mandrel and put in a electric drill to sand the Barrels. the clay barrels where sanded with 320 girt through 1200 grit than finished with Three coats of renaissances wax (from now on known as Ren. Wax as coined by Cindy -) )

  67. Larry kyle, 30 September, 2013

    Cindy the -) after Wax as coined by Cindy should be :)

  68. Chrissy W, 05 February, 2014

    Larry, I know this is a long while past your original comment, but I wanted to thank you for the update about the mandrel for sanding. Without getting into all the gory details, I haven’t been able to sand recently and needed a method to continue my projects (deadlines, deadlines!). This was the PERFECT solution. I hadn’t thought about using one in my drill, never even crossed my mind. But with your suggestion, I checked my local wood working store, found the mandrel, popped it in my drill and have been sanding like a madwoman ever since. So, THANK YOU!

  69. Michelle C, 21 February, 2014

    I made several unique and colourful pens for Christmas presents. They were a real hit! I managed to keep one for myself but I plan to make more too. Recommended video purchases from Cindy that’s for sure! :D

  70. Scott H, 09 March, 2014

    Great technique and I can’t wait to try this. I’ve been building pens for a few years now and this is a great change. Thanks Cindy, these are great!

  71. Michele H, 14 April, 2014

    Hi, Cindy: Just wanted to share a photo with you. I used the Faux Burlwood tutorial to make a bunch of crosses that will be given to each person being baptized this weekend at a local church. They turned out great and the baptism coordinator loved them! Thanks for the tutorial. I love the PCT community! Michele
    Michele Haffner Faux Wood Baptismal Crosses

  72. Cindy Lietz, 14 April, 2014

    Hi Michele, What a wonderful way to use the Faux Burlwood technique! I’m sure all that receive one at your church will feel very blessed by your kindness.

  73. Tante Sherry, 23 April, 2014

    Hi Michele, just wanted to tell you that these turned out excellent – the finishing work is lovely – thank you for sharing with us:)

  74. Jo M, 18 April, 2014

    Your faux burl wood tutorial has been good for me!!! It’s so easy to follow and gives such beautiful results, I am amazed that I can do this!!! I find it so motivating seeing the results. I am thoroughly enjoying your method and all the help and confidence your tutorial has given me. I’ve been playing all day !!!

    Thanks heaps.
    Jo Munro Faux Wood Bucket and Cutlery Handles

  75. Cindy Lietz, 18 April, 2014

    Very nice! Thanks heaps for sharing your photos :-)

  76. Tante Sherry, 23 April, 2014

    Jo, I love seeing other peoples take on Cindy’s tutorials Thank you very much for taking the time to share your beautiful work w/ us!

  77. Debbie B, 05 February, 2015

    Hi Cindy – I loved this tutorial and am happily making pens, but I’ve run into a problem that I hope you can help with. With the faux burl wood, there’s no problem, but when I use the same technique but with just a blend of pearl and regular clays, I can’t blend out the seam on the side of the pen. No matter how much I smooth with my fingers, there’s a narrow seam that destroys the look of the pen. I followed your suggestion to make sure they don’t overlap and just gently close the gap and blend with my fingers. I’m using mostly kato, sometimes with premo, and I make marblized blends with metallic and pearl to add sparkle. Is there a way to avoid having a seam down the side of the pen? Do you know what causes it? Could it be because of the mica shift?

  78. Cindy Lietz, 06 February, 2015

    Hi Debbie, this is kind of a hard question to answer without actually seeing what you are doing, but my guess is that it is indeed a mica shift issue. If you are getting a darker line where they meet, you are probably still exposing the cut edge where the sides of the particles show rather than the top where they are flat and reflecting light. If you can really try and pull the tops of the cut edges together, it should help. I should try and add more mica shift videos to help explain this concept better. But until then, maybe practice with some mica sheets that you wrap around a pencil or something and keep doing it until you can’t see the seem anymore. That way you won’t be doing it on an important piece like your Burlwood pens. Hope that helps a little.

  79. Debbie B, 06 February, 2015

    Thank you, Cindy – Your answer was really helpful. I didn’t know there was a difference between the sides and the top of the cut!

  80. Marilyn S, 12 February, 2015

    Hi Cindy,

    I just discovered this tutorial. I love it!. I ran out to my local woodworks store to find the pen kits. I was too impatient to wait for a mail order. I just completed a pink and green version because I didn’t have the supplies yet for the faux burl wood. How beautiful! I now have the supplies for the burl wood and I am excited. I am now waiting for the wax that you suggested. My daughter I were just discussing how encouraging you are on your videos. Thank you so much.

  81. John Michael Tulloss, 28 February, 2017

    I would like to provide some feedback about your Beginner Polymer Clay Course, that I purchased.

    I am a woodworker and I have made quite a few wooden pens and other turned items. I became interested polymer clay and in your videos when you did the series on the making a polymer clay pen. I bought that set of video lessons and was relatively successful, however I needed more of the basics.

    The beginners series was perfect for giving me an understanding of working the clay and especially baking times. I am in a much better position now to make pens. And with polymer clay I have a lot more flexibility with color and design than I had with wood.

    I very much appreciate all your videos as they are very helpful to a person like me that previously had no knowledge of polymer clay.



  82. Cindy Lietz, 28 February, 2017

    Ahhh… thank you Mike… I appreciate the kind words. Happy to hear that the course was so helpful for you :)

  83. Jannie Ernst, 28 July, 2019

    Hi my favorite mentor/tutor/teacher!

    You have given me a bug! Not a computer bug or a cold bug – you gave me a pen-making bug. I have made faux burl wood pens this week until it runs out of my ears – blond burl wood, reddish burl wood, antique goldish burl wood, keyring stylus pens of burl wood, etc. Last night I even mixed up a lump of “marble” clay and made some beautiful veneers. And then I ran into a trick question, and now is the time when I hand the baby back to you, my dear!

    How do you cover a STRAIGHT pen barrel with clay so that the pen goes from thin to thicker. You know, like most fancy pens you buy are rounded, i.e. not completely straight. How do you get them with curved bellies without running into trouble with unevenness and dents, etc. Come on, teacher, teach! ????

    I hope my description gives you a clear picture of what I need. They say us South Africans speak in pictures. Now that I need it, I trust that it is true!

    Sweet wishes from house to house – hubby likes you too and says hi to Doug.


  84. Cindy Lietz, 30 July, 2019

    First of all Jannie, thank you so much for your kind and enthusiastic words! I really appreciate it! It is pretty tricky to teach a new pen shape by typing words in this tiny box. It is something that would take a video to explain. Now that you have made a few pens, I would consider experimenting on your own to find a shape that you like. You can use scrap clay or a softer clay like Sculpey Ultralight and bake the base first before adding a veneer on top. If it is a total fail, you can always cut the clay off the barrel and try again. Perhaps down the road I will do some tutorials of different pen shape? Who knows. But for now you will need to see what you can come up with on your own. Good luck!

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