Beautiful Polymer Clay Canes Begin With Beautiful Color Blends

Polymer Clay Color Blending Videos

A Couple of Options for Blending Polymer Clay Colors to Use In Your Canes and Skinner Plugs:

Graduated color blends, usually referred to as Skinner Blends, are the backbone of many polymer clay cane techniques. They allow you to create cane designs with more depth and dimension.

New polymer clayers learn this Skinner technique by starting with a simple 2 color blend. But the real fun begins when you combine multiple colors to create rainbow blends. Unfortunately, this has always been a tricky process for beginners to master.

Up until now that it is…

The other day I posted an article with a link to a full video tutorial on how to do rainbow color blends using a very simple technique that uses teardrops of clay.

The video tutorial was originally posted for my paid library members only. But due to popular demand, I’ve opened up access to everyone for a limited period of time. As of today, the tutorial is still publicly accessible. Here’s the link if you are interested in having a look:
Lietz Teardrop Method

In my Teardrop video, I referenced another library tutorial which demonstrates how to do the original Skinner Blend technique. Some of you may even prefer to stick with this traditional approach. If so, I’ve included a link below where you can learn how to do a Skinner Color Blend in the way that Judith Skinner taught it.

Polymer Clay Videos: Library Volume-002 Includes:

  • Video 002-1: Learn The Skinner Blend Technique For Making Color Gradations
  • Video 002-2: Simple Instructions For Making The Versatile Skinner Blend Cane
  • Video 002-3: Skinner Blend Plugs Made With An Accordion Folding Technique
  • Video 002-4: Using A Frozen Ice Pack To Cool Your Canes For Easier Slicing
  • Video 002-5: Step By Step Instructions For Learning the Mokume Gane Technique

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Ken H., 27 February, 2009

    Congrats, it sounds like the Lietz Teardrop method is the talk of the town so to speak. I’ve done the two color blends but haven’t tried the multi color blends due to the difficulty involved. I am looking forward to trying your method this weekend.(so many interesting techniques so few days a week to play)

  2. lynn watts, 27 February, 2009

    Wow you have done it Cindy. What a relief, no more 30+ times thru the PM to see the blend. It takes a very creative mind to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks again for sharing this wonderful technique. Lynn Watts

  3. Silverleaf, 28 February, 2009

    I’ve had a bit of a break from the internet, and look what I’ve missed!

    What a great idea, so simple and effective and easy.

    I do love Skinner blends and don’t mind all the precision but it just takes too long. You’ve solved that problem… how awesome.


  4. Cindy Lietz, 28 February, 2009

    @Ken: Thanks Ken! I know what you mean about the multicolored blends being difficult the old way! Now you can easily add as many colors you like. Sky’s the limit! Let me know how you like it!

    @Lynn: Thanks for the comment! Ideas have never been a problem for me. They’re always flying in at the speed of light. My problem seems to be the manpower it takes, to do anything with the ideas!

    @Anna: Nice to see you back! Missed you around here! Thanks for the feedback! It was one of those lazy girl discoveries. Something you figure out just fooling around with the clay. In fact it never really occurred to me that it was that big of a deal until my husband pointed it out! Glad it makes things faster for you! Faster and easier is always my motto!

  5. Christina, 11 March, 2009

    Thanks so much for this wonderful addition to my polymer clay experience! I am especially grateful towards you for putting the tutorial for public viewing. :) I first saw this on your blog and was very excited to see that you put the tutorial up for free.

    I’ve been experimenting with doing rainbow skinner blends for various projects, but they haven’t come out the way I wish them too. Probably due to the fact that I am awful with math and measuring hehe. The teardrop method is a lot easier and I can’t wait to make my spring items with it!

    See you around soon,


  6. Cindy Lietz, 12 March, 2009

    Thank you CB! That means a lot coming from you! Glad to see it works so well for you!

  7. Doug Kelly, 22 June, 2009

    To say I am a little upset is a little bit of an understatement.

    I had this beautiful mix of 2 Fluorescent Colors- red and yellow – mad some nice pieces for various jewelry. Loaded the flat pieces on parchment and put them in the bottom of the aluminum tray (the rack) and covered them with another piece of parchment – had other pieces on wires coated with corn starch up in the top part of the rack.

    Pre-heated the oven for 20 mins at 275 and then put in the rack – first 25 mins, then rest the timer by winding it back to 30, then 5 mins before the timer would have gone off, I added 10 mins = 60 minutes continuous baking at 275 F.


    Obviously I either left them too long or the oven (which I had monitored with the thermometer) was too hot. The Sculpey pack says 30 mins at 275F.

    Where did I go wrong? Is there special care needed for fluorescent clay?


  8. Cindy Lietz, 23 June, 2009

    Oh Doug, I feel your pain! We’ve all burnt something and felt frustrated by it!

    First of all you need to go back and watch all the baking videos in your beginners course again. There are also tons of baking articles on this blog which you can find if you type ‘baking’ into the search box at the top of the page. These will help a great deal.

    These are the things that went wrong:

    – Never bake on a metal pan, even if lined with parchment, because the metal heats up and reflects the heat unevenly and will cause spikes in the temperature.

    – Bake on a ceramic tile instead. In fact I always leave a tile in the oven, even when I’m using a bake rack, because it absorbs the heat and keeps the oven from cooling down and heating up as often.

    – Also, you didn’t bake too long. I’ve baked pieces for two hours without burning. It’s the temp, not the length of time, which is very different from baking cookies.

    – Since most ovens heat up and cool down a lot, I tend to bake all my pieces at 265F even when it says 275F. That way when it spikes while reheating, the temp doesn’t go too high and burn my beads. The extended length of time gives the polymers enough time to bond during its periodical times at the proper temp.

    – You may have an inaccurate oven thermometer.

    – And one last thing, protect your beads and pendants by tenting them with a piece of regular paper or card stock. I show this in the videos but if you click the link by my name it will take you to a post where I show the tented paper. Tenting, keeps the heat from hitting the beads directly and scorching them.

    I am so sorry this happened to you. It’s happened to the best of us so you know you’re not the only one!

    These are exactly the reasons why I made this blog and video membership. Because this kind of stuff happens to all beginners and I would hate to see you get frustrated and quit, when there are simple things you could do to fix the problems.

    Try these things and let me know if you need any more help! :-)

  9. Doug Kelly, 24 June, 2009

    Thanks Cindy. I have but one question – I thought we used that bead rack to suspend and bake the beads on (as one option) – the beads that were suspended also burned.

    I am trying a new set now, on tile, thermometer checks out with the gas oven in the kitchen, so I have faith in the Temp.

    I also read somewhere that I should add 10 minutes or so when using tile to allow the tile to come to temp (275) = 70 minutes.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 24 June, 2009

    Hi Doug, don’t worry we’ll get this working for you!

    The only way beads will burn is if the temp goes too high, not by length of time. Even on a bead rack, beads will burn if the temp spikes.

    If you put a ceramic tile under the bead rack, this will absorb some of the heat and keep the oven temp from dropping. Which in turn keeps the oven from heating up again to stay at temp.

    My guess is that your oven is going above the 275F point when it is reheating. Therefore I would set the oven to 265F instead, then when it reheats it won’t go too much over 275F.

    Also don’t completely rule out that the thermometer may be off, even though you tried it in two ovens, both ovens could be off. It has happened before. If you tried another thermometer it could read differently.

    I would make some scrap beads to test the temp. Most ovens are completely screwy. My toaster oven’s dial is set at just above 300F to get a consistent inside temp of 265F. It took a fair amount of testing before I got it right.

    I put a little pencil mark on the spot of the dial which gets me the right temp and every third or fourth time I bake, I pop in the thermometer to make sure it is still reading 265F. No problems since I figured this out.

    You can go ahead and add 10 minutes if you want. Like I said, as long as its aver an hour, you’ll get a good cure.

    Don’t forget to tent the beads with paper, and you should be good to go.

    Do let me know how it goes. I want you to get the baking down pat, so you can get back to focusing on making more beads!

    *For more baking instructions and discussion from members, click the link by my name.

  11. Doug Kelly, 24 June, 2009

    OK – it worked!!! The tile did it. I covered the tile bloor with wax paper and then tented it. I always turn the oven timer back BEFORE the timer goes off so it won’t turn off. The only time that happens is when I pre-heat – but I pre-heat and open the door and put in the loaded tile BEFORE the timer goes off (I pre-heat at 25 mins and use a second timer at my table for 20).

    They came out perfect. Now I am going to drill for the filings by hand (a little tougher I know). I made a real small drill press using my Hand drill and with the very smallest of drill bits I can drill a perfectly straight hole in a second – then poke through the opposite end so I don’t chip it by going all the way through.



  12. Cindy Lietz, 24 June, 2009

    Hooray! Doug, that is what I like to hear! Good on you for sticking it out. I knew you’d find success! :-)

    Great idea for the mini drill press. Although drilling after baking can be a little harder for some bead shapes, it does make a cleaner, straighter hole with no distortion. And like you said, you get some great filings you can use in other projects!

  13. Kaki, 28 May, 2011

    Thank you, both, Doug and Cindy. I had some beads burn and they were suspended. I’m using one of those slow roasters. I think I’ll try putting tile in the bottom as its all metal and the heat is probably uneven. I wasn’t tenting the beads either…so, I have a couple of new things to try! Thanks for the tips!

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