How To Slice Round Polymer Canes Without Distortion

Slicing Round Polymer CanesVideo #373: Here is a solution to prevent cane slices from squashing when you cut them.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • To avoid distorting your polymer clay canes when slicing them, try the following simple tips.
  • Use a sharp thin blade.
  • Make a scrap clay cradle with raw light colored clay.
  • Use water to keep the cane from sticking to the scrap clay cradle.
  • Pull or slide blade through clay and raw clay cradle, rather than pushing down with your blade.


Question of the Day:

Have you ever had trouble slicing through your round polymer clay canes? And, do you think you will use this polymer cradle tip?

I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

Oh and don’t forget to give these videos a Thumbs Up click at YouTube if you are enjoying them. The more Likes a video gets, the higher it rises in the searches. And that means even more people will be able to join in on this polymer clay journey of a lifetime.

Also, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel directly, you will receive notifications as soon as new videos are uploaded. To subscribe, click here… Keep Round Polymer Canes From Distorting When Slicing Them. The Subscribe Button is right near the top of that YouTube page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Comments

  1. I always had problems with cutting any clay because of residue that sticks to any surface and peels away from the item. Never figured I can simply use water. This is a life-saver! Thank you :}

  2. Most of my canes — and everything else! :D — are made with Kato of the super-firm older formulations, so I rarely have distortion when slicing them. But I have used the cradle idea with Premo canes and have found that it works well.

    However, my favourite way to avoid distorting canes when slicing them is to stick them in the fridge for a while first until they’re nice and cold and ultra-firm. It’s not only round canes where distortion is an issue… if you want to fit slices of square canes, hexagonal canes, triangular canes, etc., together nicely, it really helps if they keep their shape. And if you’ll be applying them spaced apart on some other surface, just let the slices come back to room temperature first so that you can meld the edges nicely with the other surface.

    I totally agree about using a really sharp blade. All the “clay blades” I’ve ever tried have been fairly blunt in my opinion, even straight out of the packet, so for cane slicing I use tissue blades instead. The difference in sharpness is really noticeable. I also wipe them with isopropyl alcohol every few slices to keep them nice and clean so they don’t drag on the clay while they cut.

  3. Cindy I’ve been away for quite awhile and haven’t been doing any claying but hoping to get back to it! Great video and very helpful as I always distorted canes when cutting them! Thanks!

    • Hi Wes
      don’t know if you remember me – that is if you are who I think you are lol– does rcving snickers candy bars ring a bell?
      but just wanted to say you are still such a gentleman
      kindest wishes – Sherry L

  4. Great tip Cindy! This is one of my difficulties even though I usually put the cane in the freezer first so its quite cold before slicing. I also like the tissue blades and feel they are well worth the cost. I love this cradle idea and plan on implementing it immediately. Thank you so much!

  5. I use to put the cane in the freezer to firm up the clay, but I will try the craddle idea. Thanks for the great tip.

  6. Hi Cindy,

    I’ve never seen the “cradle” idea before, and I thought I had seen it all!
    I too like to “chill” my canes before slicing, but I make it a little more convenient by
    setting a “freezer pack” (like you put in your picnic cooler) at my workspace. Resting the
    cane on the freezer pack hardens it up in just a few minutes for easier slicing.

    Also, a reminder for those having trouble with slicing triangular or rectangle canes; be sure to
    turn the cane each time you make a slice. It won’t distort as much as you are balancing out
    the pressure applied.

    Off I go to try the cradle technique!

    Thanks

  7. Thanks for this great tutorial. What a creative solution!

    I wanted to share my technique for resharpening my tissue blades.

    I use a flat rectangular granite stone; I got it to sharpen my good sewing scissors.

    I hold my blade at an angle, about 45 degrees, to the stone and drag it backwards across the stone. My stone is about 3″ so I have to do this several times to sharpen the whole length of my blade. Then I turn my blade and do this again for the other side of the cutting edge.

    I know that tissue blades are items that were first designed for pathologists to slice tissue to examine it (hence the name). I remembered a (very weird) pathologist I knew who carried his flat granite blade sharpener around in a leather case on his belt, even to church! That made me think of my own block of granite.

    I will not be attaching it to my belt!

  8. Yep, I definitely am going to use this tip! Why didn’t I think of that comes to mind! Polymer clay artists are the most generous when it comes to sharing knowledge…Thanks Cindy!

  9. I also think play dough would work so will try this too. Thanks Cindy sometimes the neatest tips are so simple for us simple souls,,,,,,,cheers xx………..

  10. Thanks Cindy this will make my ocd happy and my budget as there is nothing to buy, lol. Still I would be much happier if I could get the inside of the cane to look like it is supposed to. I just can’t seem to reduce without distorting the design. All I can do is try and try again, good thing no clay is ever wasted.

    • Cheyrl B. I hear the frustration in your voice on cane reducing. Don’t give up dear lady, because eventually you will get it. It’s practice, practice, practice, watched many videos and one thing Cindy said, she thought it was much easier to reduce a cane right after putting it together because if you have used all the same clay in the same consistancy the inside should move along at the same pace as the outside. I have learned to slow down and really enjoy the process of cane building. I now have a 3 step process I use. Step one, I mix all my colors and prepare the clay. Step 2, I make all the sections required for the cane. Step 3, The cane is assembled and then reduced. Good luck doll, hope this helps.

      • Thanks , I really do reduce as soon as the cane is made and follow your other steps also but I think I move too fast and usually reduce too much, I know there must be a formula for when to squeeze out from the middle and when to start working to the ends to stretch instead of smash. I feel like the bam bam of cane reducing…. “Smash make smaller , bam,bam, ” I think I just gave my age away lol. I really want to do some perfect feather canes so I will persevers . At least if I have scrap clay I can always shape it into a flat pendant and cover it with an eggshell mosaic color it with alcahol ink and put a resin finish on it, always beautiful.

          • I try to access the site but keep getting ” page not found ” plus I am slow to respond on my end as the machine keeps freezing up and I only have so much patience to re-boot a few times before I find something else to do, we crfeative people do like our instant gratification, lol.

          • Doug,
            thanks for the info I finally did get into the page and it was a big help

            I hope you and Cindy both know how much I and I am sure everyone appreciate the way you both reply so quickly and patiently to questions and problems to help us do the best that we possibly can in our endeavours to become artisans and not just people who ” play with clay ” Because of these tutorials I have gotten my first real commission for a brooch from a neighbors daughter who saw some of my flowers. My daughter wears some of my things and has gotten requests for pictures of my jewelery. It would be a help to have a tutorial of the best way to stage and photograph our pieces using a basic digital camera which is what I think most of us have. I am reluctant to put anything on the facebook page yet because I am not very good at promoting myself, (which would also make a great video ),maybe I am not alone in having some really good pieces but don’t have the confidence to put them ” out there ” or the know how. Any help along these lines would be a tremendous help.

          • You are very welcome Cheyrl… and congrats on your sales commission!!! In regards to photography tips… that is definitely something we have been putting some thought into. It is such an important part of being able to communicate the quality of your work.

  11. Yes, Cindy that is just the thing I needed for some circular discs I am making. Now if I can just find enough scrap clay, lol. But because it doesn’t need to be baked, I can use the cradle over and over again.

    The square/rectangular canes sometimes get distorted too, with the drag of a not-so-sharp blade. I usually turn my square canes a quarter turn every time I slice them to try to keep their shapes uniform. Unfortunately, when I line them up after (if I am making a row of identical slices for example) I have to figure out where the pattern is and which direction the parts of it are facing. Sometimes they get turned around or over and it’s But that’s a whole other topic!

    Thanks again for a great tip!

    • There are online programs that will measure the diameters of objects, then will separate the sections in any way you choose. Eggs are great. You can print out the size of the exact object, slice it into pieces that match your cane shapes (cut out on fresh or baked clay) then apply for accuracy. I know, I am going to look for a link…..

  12. Hello, All!

    Great tutorial, Cindy! Yes, I have had trouble with squishing the bottoms. I use tissue blades, but that still happens and I had found no solution for it other that working the edges out as you showed on the video. I will certainly use this method next time and I also like the way you begin your slice. I can see how it would start the cut properly without distortion.

  13. Jocelyn, does the poly clay egg man have any of his work online? His technique fascinates me. Would love to see the finished product.

    • I gave it a good look, and no luck, but, the technique has been widely adopted all over the world by poly clay folks, and he’s probably imaged. If you Google “polymer clay eggs” you will see pages of gorgeous eggs.

      Another amazing spot is: lauraseggs.com/

      Also go to photoshop.com and search “polymer clay eggs”

      Bring a cuppa, dazzling displays of amazingly creative work.

  14. Cheryl B.
    if your having trouble with your computer giving you a “page not found” error, and you have a router, you might try rebooting your router or if you have windows 7 let it do it for you. Also if you are having problems with your computer freezing up, a recent windows update is causing some problems like that on some win7 computers. I had both and luckily my son was able to show me what to do. We also found the windows update that was causing the problem and we were able to delete it. I don’t know if that is your problem but if it continues, you might want to look into it. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks I’ll have the resident expert look into those problems with windows , I believe he mentioned a problem once before, you know microsoft….if it ain’t broke, fix it until it is. ……

  15. I just got done making a Cheater Chrysanthemum Cane and used this new tip on slicing it. It was so easy and cut the slices so evenly and about the same thickness each time. I don’t think I will ever go back to doing it the old way. Wow guys, this really works.
    Jocelyn, where can I find out about “the egg man” who slices his canes for goose eggs? Does he do this while the cane is warm?
    I want to try this technique. Blog me doll.

    • K, Dixie. Ante up. LOL! I adore that cane, so could you provide a link to the tute source? The Cheater Chrysanthemum Cane, hah, sounds like a match for me.

      Sigh, the PC Egg Man rocked my world when the internet and sites first started, and I stumbled upon him in Europe. His products were stunning, deep rich colors, some done in Euro and fairy tale themes, others like Faberge. I was astounded when he replied and described his methods for creating these full of depth and polished beauties.

      He was a retired engineer and loved to measure accurately. All of his work was perfectly articulated and matched. He used some booked imaging too. Despite googling for days, I can not find a link to his old site.

      Dixie, he did use warm canes when slicing. The shapes and slice depths were all calculated exactly to fit the egg. He made paper guides first. Said clay shrunk in oven, so needed to compensate.

      • Oh poo, I was hoping to see his work. Perhaps he is claying in heaven now.
        I don’t have a tute for my cheater cane. but I can tell you how I put it together. 1- 2.5″ x 10″ strip of white on #5
        1-(same) strip of pearl on #5
        1- (same) strip of blush on #5
        lay each strip on top of one another, with white on bottom, use scraps of clay and shred them with a small hand shredder and sprinkle them on top of strips until top is covered well. Cover with 1 strip of translucent at #7. Take your brayer and roll it over the stack several times and then run it through on #1. You will have a long strip, cut in half and roll each section into a jellyroll. Take a credit card and sink it into the jellyroll almost to the center. Do this 7 more times so you have 8 sections. At this point you can reduce it . You can use any colors for the shredded clay and each one will turn out different. They are so easy and so pretty. I am making a really pretty heart necklace with mine and will post it on FB when I finish it. It is fun just experimenting with different colors in the stack. I was just looking for ways to use up some of my huge pile of scrap clay. You would be surprised at how many ideas you can get just from going back and watching some of Cindys old videos. So go have fun and try one. :)

  16. What a great tip…I don’t really cane very often because I find premo too mushy for it now.

    I am wondering something.. Have you tried baking that cradle and then sticking the cane out as much as you wish to cut it? Does it still work?

    • Pepper, I asked myself the same thing. But it slices much better by not baking the cradle and slicing through it also. If you bake the cradle, there is no give and then the round cane is no longer round. So it kinda defeats the purpose by baking the cradle.

  17. Please disregard the spelling errors, it is very early here and I have not yet finished my first cup of tea.
    I guess losing 115 lbs did resolve a lot of my health problems, the worst sleep apnea in the world, I would shake the house with my snoring and stop breathing over 500 times an hour, apparently it kept me from getting any deep sleep at all and this went on for over 5 yrs,high blood pressure, cholesterol in the 400’s, helped with the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue still if I do too much I will ” crash ” for a few days ” but nothing will give you back the old grey matter that seems to dwindle with time.
    learning the polymer clay techniques is really good for keeping your mind active and exercised and for the most part my memory is not leaking out as much as it was before I got better. Too many ideas and too little time.
    Andrea did I read somewhere that you do Dragons? My favorite mystical creature, do you have a link to your site? I would love to see them.

  18. Cindy, at some point, having you add tutes that cover mosaicing with clay and amber (with insects!) will be a treat.

    Until then, found this one….

    Very funky prehistory type amber take on this blog. The ancients loved it, when rubbed on hair it created stand up static electricity, and it warmed to body temperature quickly, In some cultures, amber and copal beads are huge and generational dowry. They are experts at using metal to hold the bits together or strengthen.

    Polishing remains could be remelted at the fire, a glue, and because copal and amber are trees/pines, if you heat a pin and place it in the bead hole and sniff, the real “smoke” will smell like pine, so you know if it’s real from plastic.

  19. Yes! I just dove into making canes and I haven’t been able to keep from distorting them. I was using a new blade. I also found that I was not only smooshing the cane in shape, but also dragging the layers above into the layers below when trying to cut. I could see where a thinner blade would prevent this. I’ll try your cradle tip to keep the shape round. :)

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