Fimo Nail Art – Polymer Clay Canes for Fingernail Art Designs

Fimo Nail Art Designs

Ever put tiny slices of pretty polymer clay canes onto your fingernails?

Because I’m not much of a girlie-girl certain things like fancy manicures and pretty nail art are things I have not had much exposure to.

Sure I’ve had a couple of French manicures as a gift from my sister and friends. But since I pretty much have them destroyed after a day in the garden, doing housework and making polymer clay beads, I had no idea that Nail Art Professionals were using thin slices of polymer clay canes in their fancy nail art designs! Who knew?

Well… one of my readers knew and she wrote to me about wanting more information and pictures on using fimo canes for nail art. Here is what she said:

Hi Cindy. I ran across your website while searching the web. I am a nail artist and looking for someone whom makes fimo/sculpey canes that are 1/4″ in diameter to put on nails. Do you do these or know someone that does? Can you please contact me I would love to see pictures of some work. Monique.

I had to write her back and say I had never heard of this but would look into it. I have been around the polymer clay industry a while and have seen and heard of lots of things…. but I’d never come across using fimo cane slices for nail art. So I did some digging.

Guess what? There’s one lady Angie Scarr who is making teeny tiny pre-baked polymer clay canes of fruit and vegetables. These canes are then warmed up and sliced thinly with a razor to embed into nail art designs or sliced more thickly as miniature fruit slices and pizza toppings for dollhouses. The nail art industry calls them Fimo Frooties.

Instantly I got excited! I can see all kinds of opportunities to teach people how to make all sorts of miniature fimo canes for nail artists… many more designs than just a few fruits and vegetables.

Now don’t get me wrong. The Fimo Frooties I’ve seen are very cool and well made. But I can envision a whole bunch of the cane designs that I’m preparing for up coming courses, as easily adapted for DIY (do it yourself) nail artists… flowers, pirates, tattoo designs, face canes, geometrics, etc, etc.

So thank you Monique for exposing me to the world of fimo nail art! I’ll be adding that to my video tutorial courses right quick!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Laurel, 10 June, 2008

    LOL – okay, now I HAVE heard everything! How cool is that?

  2. Sher, 11 June, 2008

    Very pretty!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 13 June, 2008

    Thanks for your comments Laurel and Sher! They are very pretty aren’t they? It wouldn’t be practical for me to have nails like that, but I would be happy making the canes for them!!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..How to Make Rose Petal Beads from Dried Flowers

  4. Charlene (“Cat”) Therien, 29 June, 2008

    Thanks for doing a feature on polymer clay nail art! You can find some of my nail art canes at the Beauty Tech Shoppe. Cat

  5. Cindy Lietz, 29 June, 2008

    Cat – It’s great to hear from you. I was *very* excited when I first found about about Fimo nail art! Didn’t know that you were involved with these nail artists too.

    Someone just emailed me the other day with a question that I couldn’t answer. You might know. Is there a specific type of nail polish that works best with fimo cane slices applied to fingernails? Any compatibility issues that you know of, because I’ve seen that nail polish on polymer clay beads grows sticky over time.

    Cindy’s last blog post..Jewelry Making Supplies – 12 Shopping Tips for Polyclay Artists

  6. Cindy Lietz, 29 June, 2008

    Debbie Doerrlamm from the Beauty Tech Shoppe just sent me the following info via email. FYI: She tried to add her comment directly, but for some reason it did not end up working. Not sure why that happened Debbie but thanks for responding. Here’s your post:

    "The fimo clay slices don’t work well on polish.. most of the nail techs are embedding them in either acrylic or gel enhancements. The purple fruitie nails you see there are mine.. they are still on.. and perfect., 30 days later.. yes it is exactly 30 days last night since they were applied :) On the other hand, I did my 12 year old niece’s nails, glued the slices to the polish and lots of top coat.. 3 days they lasted before they started to pop off."

    I see that you have a nail art forum over at your Beauty Shoppe site. I’ve put it on my list of things to do to go over there and spend some time hanging out. It looks like you have a very active following.

  7. Charlene ("Cat") Therien, 30 June, 2008

    Hi Cindy, Yes, I first heard about fimo nail art at the beginning of June, when an etsy customer asked me if I’d reduce and bake some of my canes for her to use on her nails. The idea blew me away and really got me excited about making canes again.

    In answer to your question: No, there isn’t a nail polish that can be used by itself in direct contact with the polymer clay nail art. It works great with the nail acrylic, and some beautiful, long-lasting nails result from using the fimo nail art within the layers of acrylic.

    We should be passing along to the technicians this warning about using the fimo nail art in direct contact with the polish, so they don’t have upset customers returning to them with cracked and flaking fimo nail art, or bubbles above the surface of the fimo where it came in contact with the polish.


  8. Kathy Boyette, 10 August, 2008

    A question about warming up the pre-baked polymer clay canes: This makes them easier to slice? Do you have a tutorial on slicing pre-baked canes? any other application for this technique?

  9. Cindy Lietz, 10 August, 2008

    Hi Kathy  – Thanks for your questions!

    One of the reasons nail art canes are pre-baked is so that you can add the design to your nails (real or false) without having to bake again. The cool thing is you can still slice the cane easily after it is baked.

    By warming the cane first, it makes it way easier for the razor or tissue blade to go through the clay. I like to warm them in a cup of boiling water. Once they are warm enough, they will slice the same way as a raw cane, although you have to push just a little harder. The nice thing is you don’t have to worry about distortion.

    I do have a video on slicing canes coming up soon in my Polymer Clay Tutor Video Newsletter so do watch for that.

    As far as other uses, you can use these Fimo cane slices in scrapbooking and card making projects. Any sized baked cane works well for that.

    You can also drill holes through thicker cane slices to make cane slice beads. Some people even like to bake their long tube beads before cutting into shorter beads. You get straight cuts and no distortion that way!

    Cindy’s last post..Cool Polymer Clay Tutorial – A Fimo and Sculpey Cane Making Tip

  10. michelle yip, 15 August, 2008

    hi everybody,
    i happened to chance upon this website. n i would like to highlight that the using of polymer clay on nails was actually all the rage in japan a few years back so there is actually nothing new about it. it would be more of a trend revival.


  11. Cindy Lietz, 15 August, 2008

    That is so funny Michelle!! I wonder how come us North Americans have been so out of the loop? Do you know of any Japanese sites with pictures of Fimo Nail Art? That would be a fantastic thing to pass on to everyone!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..What’s Better than Receiving Beaded Polymer Clay Jewelry as a Gift

  12. BitzASuga, 22 November, 2008

    hi there i love the ideas here with the clay im self taught and like to expierament but my dilema is, where can i find the canes to just buy i remember some craft stores used to carry them do they anymore? i just dont alwayz have time to make my own!!! well hope u can help…great nail site! ~Suga

  13. Cindy Lietz, 22 November, 2008

    Hi Suga,

    Glad you are enjoying the site. For purchasing Nail Art Canes, you could try the Beauty Tech Shoppe.

  14. hannah, 20 January, 2009

    how would i make my nails grow faster than they are.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 21 January, 2009

    Hannah – I really don’t know of anything you can do to make your nails grow faster. Mine grow super fast but I think that is because I leave them natural and I use my hands a lot which keeps them healthy. If you google the phrase, “how to make nails grow faster” I bet you find some helpful tips though.

  16. vito, 21 January, 2009

    does anyone know how to teach someone how to make fimo cane’s ?

  17. Cindy Lietz, 21 January, 2009

    Yes vito. I teach people how to make Fimo canes. How much do you currently know about polymer clay at this stage? It’s important that you understand the basics before jumping right into making Fimo canes. I’ll wait to hear your response…

  18. vito, 21 January, 2009

    i have no knowledge ..

  19. Cindy Lietz, 21 January, 2009

    Then the best advice I can give to you at this stage is to learn the basics first. My polymer clay beginners course will get you up to speed quickly.

  20. Susan Ledsam-Smith, 20 March, 2009


    I’m after the bumble bee cane, but can only see it on the American sites, do you know of anyone selling these in the UK?

    Also what the best way of getting really thin slices for natural nail art!

    Many thanks

  21. Cindy Lietz, 22 March, 2009

    Hi Susan! The Beauty Tech Shoppe is an online store that sells Bee Canes and they are out of the UK. As far as how to slice the canes, click the link beside my name for more info.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 22 March, 2009

    Sorry Susan, but BeautyTech is actually out of the States. I’m not sure why I thought they were out of the UK. My mistake. I did a Google search but couldn’t find anyone in the UK selling the Bee design. Sorry I couldn’t help.

  23. charlotte johnson, 19 May, 2009

    hi, i am having a go at making my own fimo clay canes for using in my nail art, and wondered how long to bake the cane for so i can still slice it.
    Thank you

  24. Cindy Lietz, 19 May, 2009

    One of the things you may want to consider trying Charlotte is leaving the canes raw. Many nail artists are using the canes raw, sandwiched between layers of Gel Acrylic and getting wonderful results. If you do decide to bake them, just bake for ten minutes or so, since they do not need to be as hard as beads.

  25. Jocelyn, 17 July, 2009

    Seems like polymer clay would be the ideal nail tip or nail cover since it has a little give and won’t snap as fast when in contact with a hard object.

    Big trend at work during the eighties (oh, if I had just saved that money, the money from take out food, and the money from dry cleaning and invested it, I’d be a multi-thousander today, lol).

    Probably had MS back then, just didn’t know it. Adding to the finger accuracy problem in my new job designing software for field users were those long perfectly finished red beauties.

    All of us woman. The men working on the team grew very disgusted with us all because it slowed us down. One, as a gag, came in on Monday morning with gloves on. When he whipped them off to type, he had a perfect set of stick on long red nails.

    We all had coffee with us at that moment, and I shudder to think how many keyboards were ruined. Too funny.

  26. Debbie, 17 July, 2009

    Jocelyn, while in theory your idea of raw clay as an “enhancement” makes sense.. it wont last long.. the clay would smear and wipe off.. you can’t put your fingers in the oven at 265 for 5 minutes to cure them :) and even if you could I highly doubt it will adhere for any length of time.

    Some technicians are using raw clay UNDER an enhancement of gel or acrylic.. they lay down a base of either gel or acrylic then the raw clay, then throughly cap it with the same gel or acrylic.

  27. Jocelyn, 17 July, 2009

    @ Debbie

    Ahahaha, during that competitive period, I think I would have tried shoving my hands in the oven if I got good results!

    Seriously, what I meant was make the entire nail out of polymer clay, cooked on molds of your finger tips in the oven, then applied to your natural nail using the standard glue.

    Fast and easy. Only if you have a decent nail over which to place one which will support it well.

    Would this work?

  28. Debbie, 17 July, 2009

    Jocelyn.. well yes that might very well work :) but why make more work.. every nail company makes tips to apply then cover with something :)

  29. Jocelyn, 17 July, 2009


    Oooooo,every girlie here go click on Debbie’s link. Wow,I see your point.

    Just challenged to make as much stuff out of polymer clay as is feasible.

    Stuff just gives me goosebumps,lol!

  30. Jocelyn, 17 July, 2009

    @ BitzASuga

    I have the best luck finding canes or cane “bits” at I just search under “polymer clay” and all sorts of wonderful stuff comes up.

  31. Angela, 21 August, 2009


    I am trying to use canes as a design under polish can this be done using the raw canes with polish over the top or would I have to bake the canes and then apply the polish??? Any tips would be great, as i would prefer it if i could step away from using gels and acrylic if possible.

  32. Debbie, 21 August, 2009

    Angela, the cane baked or raw will really will not work with polish applications. Baked you can use some nail glue and LOTS of top coat and it should stay several days. I can’t imagine the raw working at all with a polish application.. the gel or acrylic “seal” the raw onto the enhancement.

    I would polish the nails, slice the baked just as think as you can get it and place it INTO the wet polish, pressing it in there real good as you would a rhinestone. LOTS & LOTS of top coat. Or once the polish starts to dry, apply some nail glue then the thinnest slice you can manage, again, load it up with top coat.

    Depending on the size of the cane, you may want/need to warm it slightly to allow it to bend to conform to the nail better. You can pick up the slice with tweezers and hold it near a regular light bulb for a few seconds to warm it enough to be more pliable.

  33. Kike K, 11 January, 2010

    Thanks Debbie for the step by step tips on cane design. I’ve been trying to learn this technique, your tips are quite easy to follow.

  34. Suzi, 10 February, 2010

    Hiya, I have been using the cut up canes on my own (natural) nails for a while now, as long as they are razor thin..and really, it does have to be THAT thin! any thicker than that and they will peel off after a couple of days~ razor thin & they will stay on for around 5 days, I put 2 or 3 coats of lasting fix high gloss on them. Darker colours chip on my nails around that time anyways, so I would normally take them off & redo after that time. I can’t get on with acrylic/gel nails for myself, so I am happy to spend an hour or so every 5 days doing all my nails :-) and I also have to add, I never wear gloves for washing up and stuff. Eek! I always forget that :D maybe I will try them for a week and see if the cane slices last longer…

  35. Cindy Lietz, 10 February, 2010

    Welcome to the blog Suzi – Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It’s great to hear have these “what’s-working-for-me” types of stories posted here at the blog.

  36. Jenny, 20 November, 2010

    Does anyone know how to make these? They’re really popular in my salon and I get like 100 slices for a dollar from but it would be so much cheaper to make them myself!

  37. Cindy Lietz, 20 November, 2010

    Hi Jenny – To make polymer clay canes for nail art, you must first learn the basics of working with polymer clay. My Beginners Course will help you with this. Then after that, I have quite several cane design tutorials in my videos learning library. See link by my name. Hope this helps. ~Cindy

  38. aurora, 18 December, 2010

    hi, i am an avid fimo user (i also have some sculpey but i dont like it as much) and have been working with it for 6 years so i know how to make canes and everything. ive tried and failed many times to bake them for nail art. do you have a certian time and temperature you sugest using? i normally just do what the package tells me to.
    i dont really care if using canes on my nails will only last a few days because ive been doing nail art for a long time and i repaint them every 2 or 3 days anyways.
    thank you so much!

  39. Cindy Lietz, 19 December, 2010

    @aurora: Hi Aurora, what exactly is going wrong when you bake your canes? Are they burning or breaking when you slice them or something? If you tell me a bit more I can help you better.

  40. aurora, 19 December, 2010

    well i baked them the way that the clay i use for beads and pendants do but its too hard to slice and it cracks if i try to slice it. i have no problem with stuff that doesnt need slicing though. when you bake a full cane out of fimo and it is slicealbe what time and temperature do you use? thats really the thing i cant figure out how to do on my own.

  41. Cindy Lietz, 20 December, 2010

    @aurora: It shouldn’t matter that your canes are fairly hard after they have been baked. To soften them up before slicing, simply warm them in the oven or some boiling water for about 5 min. This will make them easier to slice using a sharp razor. Or… next time only bake your Fimo nail canes for ten min at 275F and use them that way. Some people are even using the canes raw instead of baking them at all. Hope this works for you!

  42. Grace K, 02 April, 2011

    I have a question. Do you bake the cane after cutting it into thin slices or do you just put them straight on the nail after making the cane?

  43. Phaedrakat, 05 April, 2011

    @Grace K: Hi Grace, the answer to your question is in the comments above. According to Cindy and others, you can either bake the entire (unsliced) cane, taking slices of it as needed…or even use the raw slices of the cane sandwiched between layers of your acrylic nail gel. See Cindy’s comment here, as well as the one directly above your question. It’s up to you — bake the cane whole first (don’t slice yet.) Then when it’s fresh from the oven, or re-warmed later in boiling water, you can take as many slices as you need. Then the remainder of the cane can be saved for the next time. Or you can use slices of the raw cane without baking…

  44. Cindy Lietz, 05 April, 2011

    @Grace K: Hi Grace, great question! There are actually a few ways to go about it. You can bake the slices if you want, bake the canes first and then slice them or you can use raw canes slices on your nails. Whatever works best for you!

    @Phaedrakat – just noticed that you posted right before more… thanks so much for responding to Grace’s question.

  45. Laura X, 09 June, 2011

    Hello I am looking at applying fimo slices to my nails I get acrylic nails done every month and am getting bored with the same designs month in month out, however the shops charge a fortune to but the fimo on for you so I was thinking how hard can it be???? I was wondering how I would go about it and what I would need to use (I have seen the fimo clay sticks on ebay and think they are a good price)
    I was wondering if anyone can advise me and help me
    Many thanks
    P.s the blog was a good tube journey read

  46. Cindy Lietz, 12 June, 2011

    @Laura X: I am not really a fancy nail person (as you can tell if you’ve seen my videos). Not because I don’t like them, but because I can never keep nails nice for more than a day, with all the stuff I make my hands do. So even though I have made several Fimo nail art canes, I don’t actually apply them.

    From what I gather, you put on a base of the uv nail gel and then cure, then place super thin slices of either baked or raw canes to your nails. I think for the baked you need a dab of nail glue under the slice, but for the raw canes you don’t. (There is no need to bake the raw slices when applied to nails, since they are temporary. Any long term reaction between the gel and the uncured clay would not be applicable.) Then you add more gel on top and cure again.

    Hope that helps!

  47. Elaine Faulks, 15 June, 2011

    Hi Cindy, I love the way if anyone throws down a challenge you come right back with a reply, (even if it’s that you do not know!!)I am also amazed that your loyal followers will come right in and help out with some answers. So a big thank you to all of Cidy’s guys n gals.Being new here and still feeling my way around a computer (although not new to polymer clay) I am forever pushing the boundries and testing, experimenting and scribbling in my notebook, well I spend hours just reading some of the brilliant tips and tricks discovered by other members.
    My cousin makes cakes and decorates them with sugar craft so I told her about polymer clay (She had not even heard of it!) I wrote to her, sent her some of my samples and she said she thought it would be a great idea to start making her cake toppers from PC instead of sugar paste. She is not into computers so I have had three phone calls so far from her asking health n safety aspects, what brand to use etc. She is no spring chicken and is also disabled but an amazing person. It is great to know that there are no barriers, no age limits, so can’t wait to see her “take” on Bride and Groom in PC.
    Now back to my pasta machine and conditioning another teardrop blend as this is such a great timesaver so thanks Cindy, looking forward to more adventures with you…..Elaine

  48. Cindy Lietz, 15 June, 2011

    @Elaine Faulks: :-) :-) Thank you so much for your kind words :-) :-)

  49. Phaedrakat, 05 August, 2011

    @Elaine Faulks: Just read about your cousin’s foray into PC. Kinda funny, timing-wize, anyway…in the past few months I’ve discovered “Amazing Wedding Cakes”. It’s a TV show on the WE Network, with renowned cake artists. Now, I’m a decent baker, and I can decorate a mean cake, but never a wedding cake. But I find myself fascinated by what they do…the edible flowers, and so many other cool things they make. Much of it is done just like polymer clay…unfortunately, we can’t eat our creations!

    Anyway, I think it’s great your amazing cousin is giving polymer a try. Have you seen any of her toppers yet? I hope she’s enjoying it. I also had an idea…if she gets a computer, a membership to Cindy’s site would be an excellent way to learn more about clay techniques… (LOL!!! You know me, I want everyone watching Cindy!) ;D

    Have fun, Kat

  50. Sara U, 15 October, 2011

    Im an experienced polymer clay charm maker and love experimenting with little cakes and sweets.
    I have seen alot of people using canes in their cakes.
    Do you know if it’s possible to BAKE these pre-baked canes with uncooked polymer clay?? (275 degrees for 10-15 minutes)

    I don’t like making my own canes as it takes too much time and percision, i wanted to cut myself some slack *lol*

    and I really really want to stay away from gluing the canes on after the clay’s baked.


  51. Elaine Faulks, 16 October, 2011

    Hi Sara U.

    Cindy has lots of advice on baking (curing) your polymer clay creations. Just make sure you get the temperature right for whatever brand of clay you are using. (I use an oven thermometer to check this out.).

    Also make sure you “tent” your work using tin foil, especially when using white, as it can discolour. I use two tin foil trays to enclose my work and seal them with bulldog clips. You can add the slices to baked clay using liquid polymer clay or similar products and re-bake for 15 mins or even longer. If you are a member of Cindy’s polymer clay tutor site there is just loads of information about all these sort of questions, so if you are not yet a member it is worth while paying the small amount she charges for her courses and you get so much more!!!

    Let us know how your cup-cake charms turn out and perhaps post your pictures to Cindy as everyone on her site is so friendly and we love to see each other’s work.

    Good luck with your baking…………Best wishes…….Elaine F.

  52. Natasha R, 12 November, 2011

    Hi I am from South Africa. And would like to know if you know where I can find the fimo clay designs here.

  53. Debbie Doerrlamm, 12 November, 2011

    The Beautytech Shoppe stocks 300 different nail art clay canes and we ship world wide.

  54. Sue Yankowski, 02 October, 2014

    Hi. I am wondering if the nail cane polymer can be used in the same way regular polymer is used, like for jewelry. I’m just starting out and don’t know much about this craft. Thanks. Sue

  55. Chelsea H, 03 October, 2014

    Hi Sue,
    I had a project to make muffins, pie slices, and other such food charms for a troop of girls last summer and the moms in the troop were very specific on how they wanted them to look – ultra realistic. Well nail canes were the easiest route for me to take because I just didn’t have the time to make 400 individual charms all with different fruits etc. I can tell you that you certainly can use nail canes in your regular polymer projects. Just know that they are already baked (the ones I purchased were from China and said they were partially baked so they were just a hair softer than the ones that you can buy off the shelf at Sally Beauty.)

    I found that if I cut them very thin they worked great. The fruit ones, to me, looked the best of all the canes that I purchased. The leaf ones were the least appealing ones so I ended up making my own canes for leaves.

    The things that you will need to know when using them with raw clay: You will need to use either Kato poly paste or Liquid sculpy to adhere them to your projects. (If you have made a “frosting” out of liquid sculpy you will just need to insert the cane slice into the “frosting,” It will bake into the frosting.) If you are making charms, and your charm requires more than 2 bakes, make sure that you only bake the slice from the prebaked cane 2 times. I found that when baking it more than 3 times (remember it is prebaked, so that is once – so cooking it 2 more times is ok) It tended to get brown around the edges of the cane even with tenting, lowering the oven temp, using a larger oven temp, and trying with or without convection.

    I hope this helps you out a bit. Just so you know and don’t waste a lot of money on canes for nails, my favorite ones for charms are: Lemons, Lime, Strawberry, Kiwi, and Oranges (though there is debate on the complexity of making canes yourself for these – I personally stink at it when I am under a time commitment.) These all look great with a shiny finish and they look great sliced.

    Best of luck to ya.

  56. Sue Yankowski, 05 October, 2014

    Hi Chelsea
    Thank you so much for your response. You answered every question and more.
    Thank you again!

  57. Michele Smith, 31 March, 2017

    Can you bake fimo nail art slices along with unbaked polymer clay? The reason I’m asking is I don’t want to use my slices as nail art I want to use them to make beads. For example I would take unbaked polymer clay in one color then press the slices into the clay then bake it will it work?

  58. Cindy Lietz, 01 April, 2017

    Yes, you should have no problem with doing that. I would add a little Sculpey Bake and Bond to the back of the Fimo Nailart slices and they will stick better to the raw clay. NO problem baking them. Polymer clay can be baked multiple times.

  59. Michele Smith, 01 April, 2017

    Thank u so much

  60. AnitaTaco, 08 February, 2020

    I am using my full size canes I have been hoarding from an outstanding cane artist that sells them on ebay. People fight over these canes and partials no bigger than an inch long can go for the same as full size canes depending on the design being sought after. She does some blue and white that look like the Holland type dishes, and I fought people for those! I wish I could remember her name, but I haven’t bought any in a few years.

    I figured it was time to use some, so I’ve been using full sized on my nails. I just slice thin, lay the mail on top, see what section I want, and cut again. I like making a French looking manicure style where I paint whatever color and then use the same for what would normally be the white tip. I wish I could attach a picture! The possibilities are endless and what a way to make these canes go a long way, and get to be seen by many!

    I don’t bake them first. I just slice, put a fit of glue on, place it, then file it down if need be, then cover with a uv gel topcoat. Ive read using regular mail polish top coat doesn’t react with the clay well and makes a sticky mess, but the gel does not. I can attest to gel working wonderfully! I never wanted to waste any clay to see if regular polish didn’t mix well, I figured I’d take her word for it….lol

  61. Cindy Lietz, 10 February, 2020

    That is really cool Anita! Thanks so much for sharing!

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