How to Reduce Your Polymer Clay Canes So They Don’t Get Twisted

Polymer Clay Cane Registration Mark “Now I understand why so many of my earlier attempts at canes failed.” ~Jocelyn-C

Do you have trouble keeping your polymer clay canes straight when you are reducing them to a smaller size? Well here’s a little trick to follow that will help solve this common problem…

Next time you make your cane, instead of completely wrapping it with the outside color, leave a little space or strip open along the bottom of the cane…. so the color of the layer underneath the outer wrapping, remains visible. You can see what I mean in the photo above. That is a slice taken from a Dogwood Flower Cane before it was reduced.

The small strip of turquoise color will be seen as a stripe down the length of the entire cane. This line is what we clayers call a registration line or mark

When reducing the cane, you can monitor this registration mark to make sure that it is staying straight and not getting twisted. As long as the line stays straight, the cane will be straight inside.

Wow! Now that was one excellent cane tutorial series, Cindy. Thank you! I learned so much and had so much fun trying each of the components! Finally, someone demonstrated the need and proper procedure for adding the registration line. Now I understand why so many of my earlier attempts at canes failed. By trying to reduce them by rolling them like a snake, the inner contents got all twisted and irregular. So many wonderful tips, and the final result is spectacular. ~Jocelyn-C

So try using a registration line on your next polymer clay cane project, and see if you don’t have a lot less problems keeping those canes from getting all distorted!

Please do let me know how this idea works for you in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Kelly, 29 October, 2009

    And if you need to hide the registration line a little more, make a really thin snake of translucent and attach it as straight as possible to your cane, and use that for your registration line. After baking it’ll be a little more hidden!

  2. Cindy Lietz, 29 October, 2009

    That’s a fantastic idea Kelly! Why didn’t I think of that! You’re brilliant. Thanks!

  3. aims, 30 October, 2009

    I’m surprised there aren’t more comments here Cindy! This is a very good idea. And such a simple one too! Thanks!

  4. Cindy Lietz, 30 October, 2009

    I agree aims… sometimes the simplest of ideas can make huge differences in how your projects turn out. Many beginners shy away from cane making because their cane designs turn out all wonky and distorted. Using this simple cane registration mark idea, will go a long way to helping solve this problem.

    I’m all about simple and easy, you-can-do-it-too techniques. On that note, for anyone that has been wanting to see my video on the Quick and Easy Teardrop method for creating Skinner Blends, I have opened up free access to the full version of this tutorial, for a limited time. Follow the link by my name for more info.

  5. Laurel, 03 November, 2009

    Well, I just got back to the blog or I would have commented sooner. :) That is a great tip. I have only tried one cane, failed miserably and have been afraid to try another but with the great tips and teaching Cindy is giving us, I might just get outside my box and try one/some.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 12 November, 2009

    Thanks Laurel! Don’t be afraid to try again. The good thing about learning to make the smaller canes that I teach is that if you do fail (which you probably won’t) at least you have ‘failed small’ and you won’t have wasted a lot of clay doing it. Of course you can always smush up your mistakes and use them for a variety of techniques, so nothing ever truly goes to waste!

  7. Arlene Harrison, 14 November, 2009

    Life has been truly busy lately so I’ve just now getting caught up! One of my first official polymer classes was with Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg, Polymer Paradise Cruise in April, 2008. She introduced us to the registration mark – except she uses them on the top and bottom — as do I. Works absolutely wonderfully – particularly with the leaf cane that she taught us. I’ve continued to use both registration marks and it helps to keep my petal canes balanced. I also wrap most of my flower petal canes in gold, then use a bit of the petal color for my registration marks. By the time I reduce my petal cane, put it together to make the flower cane and do my final reduction, you can still “see” the registration marks but they become part of the pattern.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 01 December, 2009

    I like Kelly’s idea for using the translucent. That would sure solve the problem of the line showing up at all in the design. The Gold outlines sound really pretty Arlene! Would be a softer way to show the lines than black or white. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Dorothy Hjermstad, 29 January, 2010

    What do you mean “registration marks”? What are they for?

  10. Cindy Lietz, 31 January, 2010

    Dorthy the registration mark is a line that runs down the length of the cane that you can watch to make sure the cane stays straight and untwisted as it gets reduced. It is discussed and demonstrated in the Dogwood Cane video as well as others. The link by my name will take to to the tutorial on that.

  11. Natalie H, 02 June, 2016

    I finally had someone tell me about registration lines… But if I had been reading your articles like I should be doing I would have found out about it sooner … Preventing all the frustration of twisted canes which. I called my creative side….now I can work on my canes and be happier with the results

  12. Cindy Lietz, 03 June, 2016

    That is great Natalie! Have you ever heard the saying “When the student is ready, the teacher appears?” I think sometimes information is like that. Someone may have already told you something, but because you were learning other things at the time, you didn’t hear it all. So later when you hear the info again, you are ready to hear it. This is one of the reasons why I think people should go back and do something they learned a long time ago. Like an old tutorial. You will be surprised what new things you will learn about something you thought you already knew!

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