How to Make Polymer Clay Canes – Tutorial Series Introduction

How To Make Polymer Clay Canes

Vid #030: Polymer Clay Canes Are Often Referred To As Millefiori:

Good tutorials should always start with just a bit of a history lesson. For instance, did you know that polymer clay canes are often referred to as millefiori canes? Millefiori is a design word originating from the Italian glass making industry. Translated into English, it means “thousand flowers” (1000 flowers).

The Millefiori technique has now been widely adopted by polymer clay artists throughout the world. It’s used to make beautiful cane designs and intricate cane patterns.

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The full version of the “Canes and Caning” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course[SEE Video #30 of 39]. “How to make polymer clay canes” is one of the most common questions or requests I get from beginners. This video is the introduction to an ongoing series on making polymer clay canes with detailed step by step, how-to instructions… plus lots of cane design ideas, patterns and projects.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 06 March, 2008

    Some other polymer cane tutorials and projects posted in my Beads and Beading Membership site include:

    Bullseye Cane Making Tip for Polymer Clay Beginners
    Striped Cane – An Easy Polymer Clay Cane Project For Beginners
    Making Polymer Clay Canes with the Checkerboard Cane Pattern

  2. Katina, 24 August, 2008

    I’ve always loved Millefiori items and have several hand blown glass paperweights made with this technique. That’s probably what started my interest in polymer clay, a medium I can use to re-create Millefiori since I won’t be doing it in glass any time soon!!

    I can’t wait to see the entire video, I’m sure it is full of great ideas as well as tips.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 30 August, 2008

    I have always loved the look of glass Millefiori canework too Katina! It is so pretty isn’t it?! You’re right about it being re-producible in polymer clay. It is really fun. I know you’ll like it!!

  4. Betsy Butler, 01 October, 2008

    Thanks for the videos! I’ve been making polymer clay canes for 10 months now, making candle holders for beeswax candles I’ve been making. I finally figured out how to make the candle holders. When I used slices put together they broke – but I didn’t like the slices on top of a solid piece. This weekend I tried mixing white with a leftover flower cane, so the same colors were in there for a solid base, and just put the beautiful flower cane around the edge. It’s sturdy and beautiful! (I drape it over an overturned bowl to bake it.)

    I would never have started making candles, and then learning how to make polymer clay canes for candle holders, without having gone through stage III (out of IV) thyroid cancer. You never know what is in store for you or who you will meet. Thanks so much for making the videos!

    Betsy Butler

  5. Cindy Lietz, 01 October, 2008

    You are very welcome Betsy!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. There are many subscribers and readers who have come to polymer clay after finding themselves dealing with health issues.

    A hobby such as bead making is a wonderful way to help cope with the confinement and stress of an illness. It can bring a sense of creative freedom and escape.

    I am very proud of you Betsy and all you others who have written in similar situations. You are bringing beauty into your lives and those around you in your times of struggle. I am honored to know you all!

  6. Betsy Butler, 01 October, 2008

    What a wonderful thing to say!

    My best friend is an acupuncturist and she said your reaction the first two minutes of a cancer diagnosis determines your outcome. For me, I learned that I had to heal spiritually, emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. And the whole experience has turned out positively. I just love working with polymer clay. I read that to heal you must relax – not sleep, but find something that you do where you don’t think of anything else or the time, just get into it.


  7. Jordan, 22 July, 2009

    I am beginning a small home business, and i am interested in making and selling polymer clay candle-holders. Is it possible to make safe candle-holders without simply covering over a glass form?


  8. Cindy Lietz, 23 July, 2009

    @Besty: I can’t think of a better way to relax and let your mind go, than working with polymer clay! I am so glad to hear you have found a way to do that and allow yourself to heal. I wish great health for you!

    @Jordan: The thing about polymer clay is that it will scorch at fairly low temps. For safety, I would not recommend placing a candle directly on the polymer clay or have clay that too close or above the flame. If you’re making a business out of it, go with the safest possible route to avoid liability issues. The safest way I know of is to cover a glass tea light holder on the outside only and to not let the clay overhang the top or the inside of the holder.

  9. Molly Fischer, 10 June, 2010

    I love the “Basic’s class” even though I’ve been claying for a few years I learned tips and tricks that I didn’t know before. Many thanks.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 10 June, 2010

    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your feedback about the Polymer Clay Beginners Course. I really appreciate it!. All the best.

  11. Reilyn S, 13 September, 2011

    i am just new on polymer canes, i would like to know if i can use polymer canes in candle making.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 21 September, 2011

    Hi Reilyn, are you talking about putting the canes on the outside of the candles or embedding them into the candle somehow? Were you thinking of using them raw or baked?

    Years ago I made candles, but I have never thought to use polymer clay canes with candle making. It sounds like an interesting concept and worth trying out. It would take some testing to see whether or not the clay was compatible with the wax.

    Why don’t you give it a try and see what you can come up with? Come back and let us know how it goes!

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