Hammered Hoop Earrings with Mokume Gane Polymer Clay Beads [Q+A]

Hammered Hoop Earrings “Learning the wire
work for me has become
a natural extension of
I do with polymer clay.”

Just the other day my daughter Willow, mentioned that she would like to have a pair of large hoop earrings. Well that was motivation enough for me to get out the copper wire for a fun session of hammering and bending.

Dangling from the hoops in the photo above, are some funky Mokume Gane patterned, Polymer Clay Disc Beads.

Now since Willow is not able to wear copper because of her sensitive ears, those earrings up there actually ended up in my jewelry box. But you can be sure I’ll be making another set for her using Niobium wire.

Learning the wire work for me has become a natural extension of what I do with polymer clay. Unique findings like the ones you created here, Cindy,  accent the beauty of the beads. Just think how different these beads would look with plain ole store bought (and probably expensive) findings! ~Elizabeth-S

The remainder of this article will be for Q&A. I’ll be working this format into other upcoming articles as well, so that everyone gets their questions answered effectively, and in a timely manner.


Q&A: Extruder Flower Cane Technique – Clay Splitting


Cindy, I have tired this one several times and each time my clay will start splitting half way thru the extrusion… can anyone tell me why this is, I am using Premo and thought I was conditioning it enough. Thanks! ~Tina-A

That is a very common problem with this technique Tina, so don’t feel too bad! In the Extruder Flower Cane Video [Vol-019-1 at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library] I stress three important aspects to extruding the flower cane so that you end up with as few breaks as possible.

First the clay needs to be soft and well conditioned, which it sounds like you did.

Next, you need to hold the extruder high off the table, with the  opening pointing down, so the clay can come straight out with as little bending as possible.

And finally, the full amount of clay needs to be extruded in one smooth even ‘push’ with no stops. As soon as you stop turning the handle and start again, the clay extrusion will break, which is my guess as to where the problem is happening for you.

Hopefully this answers the question for you Tina and anyone else having this problem!

Special mention and a BIG thank you to Susan-B for the response she provided to Tina-A on 2010-02-11. Please everyone follow Susan’s lead and take the opportunity to help each other out whenever possible. Everyone sharing ideas is what makes this community such a great place to hang out.

@Tina Adams – I find that sometimes it splits and sometimes it doesn’t even when using one lump of conditioned clay that has been divided into two parts.  I keep a constant movement on the handle of the extruder.  Although it is a great shame to loose the extruded flower I did discover that the stripes inside the outer coating are beautiful and I made a lovely pendant with it.  But if someone knows why this happens I too would love to hear it.  I use Cernit. ~Susan-B

If anyone else has other ideas, answers, tips or stories to share in regards to the questions above, definitely add them to the comment section below.

I know that they are many of you intermediate and experienced clayers lurking about here at the blog, that have pearls of wisdom you could share with us all. So please do.

Even if you are a complete beginner, please know you are welcome to join into the conversations that happen here. There are so many different ways to work with polymer clay, and everyone’s input is appreciated.

** Win Some Polymer Clay Beads: Handmade by Cindy Lietz.
Time to send in your photo entires: Polymer Clay Giveaway Contest


For anyone who wants to follow along from beginning, the following link will take you to a summary of all the articles in this fun and educational Polymer Clay Bead Giveaway series.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor



  1. Susan B, 17 February, 2010

    @Cindy L: Although I looked and listened (or so I thought!) to the video again to see what I was doing wrong I still missed the bit about holding the extruder with the opening pointing down. I have been holding mine horizontally! So thank you for clarifying this techique — which is such a GREAT technique and I will definitely try this one again now I know what I was doing wrong.

  2. Anna Sabina, 17 February, 2010

    I was having the same problem with splitting and the also made a pendent out of the “mistakes”. The first time i tried the technique all went great. But has been not so good since. I will holding the extruder opening down.
    Anna-Des Moines Iowa- Where it is not snowing right this moment-yeah.

  3. Elizabeth S., 17 February, 2010

    Beautiful bead, Susan, and Cindy, awesome earrings!

  4. carolyn, 17 February, 2010

    We must always make sure that we thoroughly clean our extruder after each and every use. Sometimes this is a pain, but it sure helps it all to work better.

  5. Silverleaf, 17 February, 2010

    I’ve been playing with the extruder flower can the last few days, coincidentally.

    Thanks for the tip about pointing the extruder downwards! I’ll try that next time.

    I found that when you do get a split, if you stop straight away and cut off the cane right next to the die, you can start again as if from the beginning, by putting your finger over the end as Cindy does in the video. That way you’ll only get a little bit of waste and a couple of shorter canes, rather than one short cane and a whole lot of waste.

  6. Phaedrakat, 17 February, 2010

    Beautiful earrings, Cindy! I just love disk beads — they’re so versatile. Yours are especially pretty and look great on the hoops. It’s awesome being able to make your own findings, isn’t it? You get a request (like you got from Willow,) and “Bam!” — done. (Well, except for her sensitive ears…)

    Have you made Willow’s hoops with Niobium yet? I love Niobium findings, but they can be pricey. I want to make my own, but I haven’t had the $ to buy the wire yet. It’s on my shopping list, though. I guess I’m also waiting to hear people say things like how easy it is to use, and how rewarding, inexpensive, etc. And, of course, I want to see a “Cindy” example! hehehe ;-0

  7. Cheryl Hodges, 18 February, 2010

    The earrings are gorgeous Cindy. I know my daughters would love them – it’s totally their style. They love hoops.

  8. Marcela Saldaña, 01 March, 2010

    Hi Cindy, receive regards and hugs from Guadalajara, México. First of all I want to thank you for all the beautifull things you teach us.

    My Brother is going to Atlanta Georgia next month and I want him to bring me some 20 gage wire like the one you use in your videos I can’t find those here. you said that in any hardware stores we can find them but can you tell me a name? I want to look for them in internet so he can go easily with the address or buy in internet. I’ve beeing looking for it and haven’t find them yet, Thank you so much.


  9. Cindy Lietz, 04 March, 2010

    @Marcela Saldaña: In the Q&A part of today’s post about Calla Lily Beads, I provided some feedback regarding your question above (RE: Hardware store references in Atlanta, Georgia).

    The link by my name will take you to today’s blog post. Once you are there, scroll down the page a bit to get to the Q&A section.

  10. Lina Forti, 14 March, 2010

    I would like to know if is possible to get the tutorials on DVD instead of through the link. I am also very interested in learning as much as possible about the millefoglie technique, is this in the tutorial? Thanks a million! Lina

  11. Phaedrakat, 15 March, 2010

    @Lina Forti: Hi Lina, as of right now, the tutorials are not available as DVD’s. Cindy has received requests for them lots of times, however she needs to know there’s a great deal of interest before going through the expense of setting things up for distribution. She posted some notes about this in the comments section of this article [Sanding Polymer Clay Beads], which contains links to comments from others requesting DVD’s, as well.

    As for the technique you mentioned, I believe you meant ‘millefiore’, which means something like “1000 flowers”. This is a popular technique; polymer clay flower canes are created, and then slices of them are added to beads. Cindy does have a tutorial from which you can learn about millefiore. Check out this article & the video preview: How to Make Polymer Clay Canes.

    This video, as well as the ones that teach the basic canes, are part of Cindy’s Fundamentals/Polymer Clay Basics Course. The basic polymer canes that are taught can be used in different ways to create millefiore flower canes. The 39-videos also cover polymer basics like conditioning, baking, finishing, storing clay, mixing colors, etc. It also has wonderful tips & tricks so that you can avoid making mistakes, and get started making beautiful beads sooner, and better.

    Cindy also has weekly videos, which cover lots of cool canes, techniques, and projects. You have to be a member of the video library for those, but they are quite inexpensive (about $3 per month.) You can find out more about that here: Polymer Clay Video Library

    If you’d like to see pictures, showing some of the amazing tutorials from previous months, you can check them out here: Polymer Clay Video Library Archives

    They’re sorted into “back issues.” To get a better look at any of them, you can watch a video preview. Just look for the link that says “Click here:” in red, followed by the names of the four tutorials in that group of videos. Then click! There are some beautiful flower video tuts, and Cindy has started doing a different cane every month now.

    Well, I hope I was able to help you with the information you needed. I also hope you’re able to take advantage of the videos; they really are very helpful. Leave a comment if you have any other questions, and someone will be happy to help!

  12. Silverleaf, 17 March, 2010

    Just as feedback, I’ve played with the extruded flower cane a few times recently and holding the extruder upside down so the cane hangs straight really does help. I managed a really long cane with the extruder about 3/4 full with no splitting – towards the end the pieces weren’t attached as securely to each other but a little squeeze sorted that out. Yay!

  13. Phaedrakat, 19 March, 2010

    Thanks for these tips, Silverleaf. They will be a big help when I tackle this. I couldn’t do it today. Ugghh! But when I do, all of these tips will help…

  14. Carrie, 29 April, 2010

    I think my problem was the way I was holding the extruder, as well as maybe having the cap too tight. However, I too discovered that the inner stripes are very usable!!

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