Mokume Gane Polymer Clay Jewelry – Hard to Say But Easy to Make

Mokume Gane Polymer Clay

Vid #56: Want to Really Impress Your Friends? Then You’ll Definitely Want To Master this Cool Jewelry Making Technique:

Pronounced “moe-koo-may GAHN-ay” >> Mokume-gane originated in the metal sword making industry way back in 17th century Japan. It roughly translates to “wood grain metal” and the look is often described as having “wood eye” or burl characteristics.

Polymer clay mokume gane is made by layering several different colors of clay sheets, interspersed with other layers of thin metal leaf or foil. I use the Mona Lisa Brand metal foil.

These layers are then punctured with circular objects to create the burl-like patterns which permeate through your block of layered polymer clay.

The clay layers are then smoothed together again by rolling with an acrylic rod.

Finally, using a cutting blade (sometimes called a tissue blade), thin layers or cross sections are sliced from the mokume gane block to reveal beautiful designs that can be layered onto round beads, swirly lentils and pendants.

You can have hours of fun experimenting with different colors of polymer clay; different layer thicknesses in the mokume gane block, different types of metal leaf; and with using different objects for puncturing. Rubber stamps and texture sheets can also be used to leave unique and creative impressions.


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The full version of the Mokume Gane preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-002 Back Issue Package.

In this Mokume Gani Technique” video I show you some beautiful examples of mokume gane polymer clay jewelry (necklaces, earrings, pendants). Then I walk you through a step-by-step process of how to:

  • Layer the clay
  • Add the metal foil
  • Make the puncture holes
  • Re-roll the punctured polymer clay back into a smooth block
  • Shave off your pattern slices
  • Apply the Mokume Gane designs to your base beads and bead jewelry pieces.
  1. Cindy Lietz, 24 April, 2008

    You probably already caught my typo in the title of the video. I accidentally used Mokume Gani instead of Mokume Gane. Oops! Hard to say. Apparently even harder (for me) to spell. Oh well.

    Cindy’s last blog post..Polymer Clay Supplies From Unlikely Places

  2. Kam, 26 July, 2008

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great video. I have read how to do that technique and it still couldn’t picture it!! Yours made it look much easier….so might have to give it a try now!! Thanks!

  3. Debbie Garrad, 26 July, 2008

    Hi, thought the mokume gane video was really helpful. I’m new to polymer clay and I’ve wanted to have a go but found the picture instructions quite hard to get a grasp of,but actually seeing someone do has made a big difference and I’m going to have a go. Thanks very much. Debbie

  4. Sue, 26 July, 2008

    Hi Cindy,

    I think this is the first “cane” technique I’m not intimidated by! I guess I’ll be purchasing gold leaf in the near future…I’m experimenting with inclusions and didn’t have gold leaf on my brainstorming list! I’m sure it would look great in other types of cane, as well! Thanks!

  5. BEV, 26 July, 2008

    Thanks so much for demonstrating Mokume Gane. I’d tried it before, using directions from a book, but got it woefully wrong. I appreciate your helping others by making your videos.

  6. Lani King, 27 July, 2008

    Wow!!! I have a book that shows this technique, but I didn’t understand it until I saw this video. Thanks so much for showing us how this is done. I mind races with so many ideas after watching your videos. -Lani

  7. Yvonne, 27 July, 2008

    Cindy you do such a great presentation in your videos. Would love to see how you do your faux ivory.

  8. Kim C., 27 July, 2008

    I have tried this once but you cleared up so many things for me. I didn’t know about using different thicknesses or the gold leaf or using the pen caps. I do like using a wavy blade to cut my strips out. Thanks for clearing up so many questions as always!!!

  9. Pepper, 27 July, 2008

    Well, now you’ve done it! I just went through my junk drawer, raided my childs toy box and even went through my DH’s tool box…those big chunky screws make neat impressions and I’m sure he won’t miss one or two of them!! Thank you for another GREAT video!!

  10. Pat Olive, 27 July, 2008

    Thanks again, Cindy, for all your knowledge of Polymer Clay and the different things can to do with it. It helps a lot when you have choices to do different things with this medium.

  11. Keri Lee Sereika, 27 July, 2008

    Wow this is a fun cane tech for sure. Thanks for sharing such good tips Cindy!

  12. Niki M, 10 August, 2011

    Keri lee has me hooked on it now.
    @Keri Lee Sereika:

  13. Phaedrakat, 14 August, 2011

    @Niki M: Mokume Gane is such fun, isn’t it? And addictive…like so many other cool polymer clay techniques Cindy teaches! Did Keri recommend Cindy’s videos to you? (Just curious, since I haven’t seen recent comments from her — & this is one of the older threads. Wondering if she’s still around!) ~Kat :-)

  14. Cindy Lietz, 27 July, 2008

    Thank you everyone!!! Wow great comments! I am so glad I was able to simplify this technique for you.

    That is the one thing about books, they are great but they just can’t show you how to do things like a video can!

    I am a visual learner and video is easier for me too! I’m glad I could help!

    Way to go Pepper for thinking outside the box… and into the toy box, the tool box and the junk drawer!!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..A Polymer Clay How To Tip for Making Beads Using White Fimo Clay

  15. Joyce Schick, 27 July, 2008

    Thanks for a the great video Cindy.

  16. Mary Ellen Soffee, 28 July, 2008

    Oh Cindy!…This shows how we are so connected to each other in this great big universe of ours. After buying the clay, a few tools, a few books (not all at the same time), spending many hours on the internet, I decided to jump right in and try Mokume Gane beads. I followed the instructions stack the clay layers, add the gold leaf, cut, then it said put in my pasta machine on 1. Then cut in half and roll through again. I sliced like you did and they were not as pretty as yours. I did make the beads. I think it was not necessary to roll through. I lost alot of the color combinations. This was my first. If I had waited for your email I would have used your way to make them. I didn’t really listen to what you said “We learn from your mistakes” I love to cook, but I have lost my pasta machine, my glass cutting board, and a few other kitchen gadgets to my new adventure! Thank God I didn’t have to pay 22something for my gold leaf . I live in Richmond and the exact same brand and size was 8.99 at my craft store. It really isn’t fair prices change. I found turkey baster thingamagigs you now the pack that has 6 or 8 long prongs and the string? They were 20 cents at the thrift store, so I strung my beads on them, opened up the round loop at the ends and hung them from the grate in the oven, worked out great! I won’t rattle on next time. but once again thank you for the video, it was informing, personable and its nice to be able to share thoughts, tricks and have people like you to take the time to care. I’ll polymer on. Good Nite!

  17. Janet Allen, 28 July, 2008

    Loved the mokume gane lesson. You make it look so easy I will give it a try. I’m so happy I came across your site.
    Thanks, Janet

  18. Cariad, 29 July, 2008

    Wow! That’s the first time I’ve seen the mokume gani technique demonstrated. Makes a difference. Still have five hours to quitting time — then I can go home and play with clay! Thanks for taking the time to make these videos.

  19. Cindy Erickson, 29 July, 2008


    I am so excited!!! Thank you from the bottom of my creative heart for sharing this wonderful video with us!!!

    I have been reading about the Mokume Gane technique for a couple of weeks now, but have been afraid to try it myself, because I felt that I never completely understood how to do it from the assuming directions I would find in other places (it was always assumed that I could just figure out the “between the lines” directions). And then…I watched your video!!! Now I am no longer afraid to try this technique, thanks to you and your concise and NON-assuming directions!!! Plus, I am a very visual person, and to watch you actually go through all of the steps in the Mokume Gane technique…well, as soon as I am done writing to you, I am very happily going to complete my very first Mokume Gane pendant!!!

    Thanks, Cindy…you have made my day :)

    Sincerely, Cindy Erickson

    PS I’ll let you know how it turns out! :)

  20. Cindy Lietz, 29 July, 2008

    Thank you every one! I am touched!

    Make sure to email me with some pictures OK?

    Cindy’s last post..Slicing Fimo Nail Art Canes | Sculpey Polymer Clay Cake Toppers

  21. Cindy Erickson, 30 October, 2008

    Hi Cindy,

    I just watched this video again. It has been a while since the first time I watched it. Now that I am a member, I am able to watch your videos any time I want, and I am really happy for that! Again, I got a LOT from watching this video. I want you to know that I LOVE THE LENGTH OF THIS VIDEO!!! I just found myself absorbed and so interested in your wonderful video class!!! Thanks for the first time I saw it, and thanks the second time around!

    Cindy E.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 30 October, 2008

    You are so, so welcome Cindy E.!! I find it is really great to review things I’ve seen before. When you look at thins again, through more experienced eyes, you see new things that your inexperienced eyes missed before. Also I find when I go back to the stuff I did before I get new ideas and inspirations! Thanks for joining the Polymer Clay Tutor Library… I am so glad you like it!

  23. Diana S, 01 December, 2008

    Hi Cindy!

    I am writing to see if you could help me out. Help Me!!! Someone was kind enough to send me a virus at my sandcastle website, and unfortunately, I can’t get into anything. I am currently away from Vegas, and helping my daughter out with my grandchildren in the Shenandoah Valley, in Charlottesville, VA. At this juncture, I can not open anything up, and might not be able to even enter into my former website, because everything has been destroyed. The one I am listing in this e-mail is one which is connected to my upstarting business. As I had mentioned before, I am a Beadaholic Designer. In any event, don’t know where to go from here. There is no accessibility to my bts site, and from what my daughter is telling me — looks as though the whole dargone thing will have to be redone. Can you help me out with this. It is such a frustration to me, because I am dependent upon my e-mail for all kinds of projects. I’ve literally lost everything. It had even told me that I do not have any access to anything at all. My start-up is jammed, and I just might have to buy a new start=up mode for Windows. This is such an annoyance for me, because there is nothing that I can do about it at all.

    I am signed onboard for your Newsletter, and also the weekly stuff. My payment is connected to Pay-Pal. truly miss reading all your information, and have from the beginning. So, this is such an inconvenience to me. I’ll probably be here, at least until mid January, so my hands are tied. Have been attempting to transfer some of the useful info. (like yours) to the above-noted e-mail. I’d sure appreciate hearing from you at this juncture. Keep thinking about that pendant you had shown; it had Hollyhocks on it. Really gorgeous piece of work! Wanted so to get more into your techniques, because your instructions are so encouraging. Don’t know where to go from here, but thought (maybe) my name and all could b changed. My Pay Pal is attached to this e-mail. I await your response.

    Hope that your Holiday was a Pleasant One — Blessings Personified!



    P.S. FYI — At this juncture am not even sure of my entry information, and my password on your site. Had to write to you from here, because I was not sure how to contact you — was having problems. Just so you will know, I’m currently on my daughter’s computer, because I am away from home.

  24. Cindy Lietz, 01 December, 2008

    Hi Diana – so sorry you are having problems. I know those computer viruses can be devastating. I’ll email you privately with your login information.

  25. tereasa brooks, 05 December, 2008

    hi! love your stuff but am having a hard time figuring out what my membership lets me view. i thought i could only not view what came before my membership was paid. could you please let me know what i’m entitled to with my membership. thanx, tereasa

  26. Cindy Lietz, 05 December, 2008

    Glad you are enjoying the videos Tereasa. I looked at your account and see that you became a member starting with Volume-005. That means that you have access to everything in Volume-005 and all future releases… just like how a magazine subscription works. It’s explained in more detail on the Become-A-Member page (follow the link by name just above).

  27. Cindy Lietz, 31 March, 2010


    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Mokume Gane Polymer Clay Technique), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Cheryl-H. The link by my name will take you to where you can see them, along with a bit of a write up. Hopefully they will inspire you to achieve great things with your own polymer clay projects.

  28. Jocelyn, 07 July, 2010

    Cindy’s use of the plastic card, added texture to leopard spots, made me remember a great old mokume gane pattern for those that like the look of slices that come off as marbling techniques (feathering) done on paper.

    Used shades of celadon green, lots of layers, lots of gold leaf….then crosshatched all sides of the base rectangle, cut it in half, meshed and rehatched the new top, then straightening it out a little.

    Those slices came off as breathtakingly gorgeous as you could ever imagine. Little diagonals, or cubes, or later, like a feathered painted paper.

    If you alternate layers using the occasional contrasting dark color, you will find that lots of slices can be used for two or three entirely different color effects, or build adding dimension. For kicks, try a base color, then use the painters yellow and white to show light, and purple/browns to show depth. Surround it in translucent layers or shaded, and you can get remarkable “starship” or deep space imagery.

    I am having fun. Hope you are too.

  29. Phaedrakat, 08 July, 2010

    @Jocelyn: Maybe it’s because it’s late, but I’m not completely understanding your steps. I got the stacking of the layers of green shades & leaf. Then take the card and cut criss-cross into the top of the stack. Are you saying you also cut into the sides of the stack, (like, everything but the bottom?) Then you say to cut in half (how—just cut all the way through from the top, or parallel to the table?) I know how MG is usually done, but your description sounds like it might be different. Hence the questions! (It’s probably just me…)

    Then, you said to stack and rehatch & mesh the new top. Oh, I guess that makes sense, if you cut it from the top and stacked one side atop the other. You would be redoi ng the cuts—criss-crossing them again, N to S and E to W. Okay, so I guess my question is merely do I cut the initial cross-hatching from the top, or is there cutting happening on the sides, as well? (I know that’s not the usual MG way…)

    Do you have some examples of this beautiful pattern to show us? I’d love to see some pics… I love greens, btw. Expecially Celadon greens! Thanks for the inspiration, too!

  30. Jocelyn, 08 July, 2010

    Kat, you’ve got it, just crosshatch deeply with the card in a regular pattern, then half and recombine, then rehatch, repair, then slice.

    If you leave the cross hatching in place and don’t straighten it too much you get lovely little slices of the slashings…save these! They make remarkable clay fabric for future laminations.

    Also, Cindy points out the raku effect that happens if you use old clay slices, with the bird cane in the video. I happen to like that, think that effect is great, and antiqued and set properly, would be fabulous.

    Question. How do you tell from looking at a cold cane what shape it is in for lamination? We have to be more sophisticated now as a result of experience to be able to tell other than by trial and error.

    Would love feedback. As stated I use plenty of transluscent, and I think this helps preserve cane life.

  31. Cindy Lietz, 11 July, 2010

    @Jocelyn: I think what you meant was old canes not cold canes, right? Anyways, other than the cane feeling super hard when squeezed and cracks forming on the sides when you try and stretch it, you pretty much have to take a slice of a cane to know whether it is old or not. Canes that start out a little softer to begin with, tend to last longer.

    Warm days like we are having this summer, are good days to try and use up old canes. The canes are little softer and more willing to ‘move’ when they are warmer. You can warm up canes with a heat pad or warm water, but you have to be careful not to cook them.

  32. Jocelyn, 15 July, 2010

    Good tips, Cindy. Going to watch for this carefully. So frustrating not to be able to use the stuff you’ve worked so hard to create and put aside for the future.

    Yep, talking “old” not “cold”, LOL!

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