Making A Mod Cane Using a Polymer Clay Extruder

Mod Cane And Bead

Mod Canes; Retro Canes; Dot Canes; Lazy Woman’s Mokume Gane… All Different Names for the Same Cool Cane!

From the research I’ve done, it appears that Nan Roche was the first polymer clayer to make the mod cane… though I think she called it an extruded mosaic cane. Since Nan’s original work, there have been many different clay artists making this cane and giving it their own unique twist on the name and design. I’ve heard them called Retro Canes, Dot Canes, Mod Canes and even Lazy Woman’s Mokume Gane. So you will have to choose which one you like best.

I love this particular cane design because you can create hundreds of unique combinations from the same technique, just by changing the colors. What could be more fun than that!

The extruded mod or “modern” cane is built using a polymer clay extruder such as the Makins Professional Ultimate Clay Extruder. The clay is loaded into the barrel in sections of different colors, like a wide striped snake.

Depending on the thickness of the stripes, the results of the extruded log will vary. But the color of the clay closest to the disk will always wrap around the outside of the other colors until it runs out. This wrapping effect leads to many cool cane possibilities!

Making a Clay Extruder Mod Cane is a cool way to create a simple polymer clay cane with one of your color pallets. For example, say you’re making a set of beads using my Winter Polymer Clay Color Palette (Snowy Mountains). You can build a Mod Cane to make jewelry beads that are individually unique in design, but that also all flow together color wise.

If you would like your mod cane to have dark outlines, you would make a clay snake the size of your extruder barrel with stripes of the colors  ‘Craggy Mountain’, ‘Winter Sky’, ‘Snow Banks’ and finally ‘Deep Pine’. Making sure the ‘Deep Pine’ was the color at the end closest to the extruder die.

Use a medium to large round die (though you can use any shape for a different effect), and squeeze a long log of clay from the extruder until all the clay is used.

Depending on how thick you made that dark stripe by the die, most of the log will look dark on the outside. As you cut into the log the different colors you used will show in rings… like bulls eye canes.

These rings change a little as you go down the cane. Cut the long snake into equal sized logs and stack into a block or square cane like you see in the picture above. The cool thing about making a cane like this is how different each slice of the cane looks because each log is changing as you go down the length.

To get a Mokume Gane effect you can slice this cane at a severe angle so the rings are more oval in shape. Using marbled scrap clay can also be effective with this technique.

The Clay Extruder Mod Cane is one of the polymer clay cane courses slated for filming. So that I can gage your level of interest in this mod cane project, please do let me know in the comments section below.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Lietz, 04 January, 2009

    I read about someone making eyeball canes using their extruder filled with stripes of clay. Though I’m pretty sure the further you went down the cane the more distorted they would get, it definitely sounds like something that would be fun to try. Has anyone heard of this? Have you tried it? Did it work? I’d love to hear from you!

  2. Illaya, 10 January, 2009

    Mod Cane video is a great idea. I would be very interested in seeing this.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 10 January, 2009

    That’s great Illaya! Thanks for letting me know.

    Anyone else interested?

  4. Tinuke, 11 January, 2009

    HI Cindy,

    I just bought the extruder and I am anxiously awaiting way to stretch my investment. I also work full time so the more I can maximize my time the better it is for me.

    I am enjoying all of the back ordered videos and color recipes, such a wealth of knowledge!


  5. Lupe Meter, 11 January, 2009

    I recently played with my extruder gun and made the “Bull’s eye can” and was that fun. You can certainly make a lot of patterns and incorporate it in to just about anything. What amazes me is the different patterns that you can achieve. The more colors you use, the more patterns you end up with.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2009

    @Tinuke: Thank you! I will have some courses soon on using the extruder for making canes. In the meantime you can experiment making snakes and strips for wrapping around beads as bezels or decoration!

    @Lupe: It is fun isn’t it! The possibilities are endless!

  7. Pereira F, 13 January, 2009

    I highly recommend Cindy’s site. I am a member and the videos and recipes are worth the fee. Maybe there is information for free on the net but you have to have the time to sift through all of it. Cindy’s tutorial comes to you and they are very easy to follow with a wealth of information. Cindy always takes the time and is very prompt answering any questions and helping which you will not be able to get through any of the other free info out there.

  8. Jennifer B, 09 January, 2019


    To make a polymer cane with the Makin’s Ultimate Extruder, what size polymer clay disks do I need to cut and stack to insert into the extruder?


  9. Cindy Lietz, 09 January, 2019

    Hi Jennifer, you can roll out a sheet of clay and use the end of your extruder barrel as your cutter. Then you know they will fit nicely inside the barrel. Stack the disks into a log, roll a little on the table to make it small enough to slide in the barrel and extrude. Hope that makes sense!

  10. Jennifer B, 10 January, 2019

    Oh my goodness……of course. Hahahaha. I didn’t even think of that. Thank you so much Cindy!

  11. Jill Lloyd jones, 12 November, 2021

    Hi Cindy,
    Wondering how I can make a cane or marbled effect using an extruder so that the clay extruded will
    Have a patterned effect “as is “rather than cutting through.
    If I load the clay with long coloured stripes would that work as the colours close to The die will Be mixed? Can’t get my head around what to do to get a long stripe of marbled clay. Aaargh.
    ThNks for your help,

  12. Jill Lloyd jones, 12 November, 2021

    Okay tried putting clay in on stripes and lengthwise it’s still is more or less one colour with stripes on the inside so when you talk about a snake of different colours do you mean thin circles of clay built up and put in the gun or thick stripes?

  13. Cindy Lietz, 15 November, 2021

    Hi Jill, sorry for the slow response. Let me see if I understand you correctly… are you trying to get an extrusion, that looks like marble? Like you would see in those hoop earrings that look like gray marble stone? I don’t think that would be possible by using stacked circles of clay. As you discovered, you will just get rings or stripes, depending on how you put them in the extruder.

    For something that comes out marbled, you would need to put marbled clay in the extruder. You can make marbled clay by chopping up different colors of clay and then run them through the pasta machine a couple of times to softly blend the colors. Then roll the sheet up and put that in the extruder. I think that would work. If it was something else you were trying to achieve, let me know. I know how frustrating it can be to imagine something and not be able to figure out how to do it.

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