Polymer Clay Techniques – The Skinner Blend Plug

Skinner Blend Plug

Vid #54: A beginner cane with many uses, the Skinner Blend Plug is a ‘must learn’ polymer clay technique:

For those of you not familiar with the polymer clay technique called the Skinner Blend, it is a sheet of clay that has been blended in such a way to gradually shift from one color to another. A Skinner Blend can be used in a variety of ways. One way is to make it into a Skinner Blend Plug, which can be used to make more complicated canes such as flower canes, leaf canes and many others.

The Skinner Blend Plug is made by rolling your Skinner Blend sheet as long and as thin as you can, with your pasta machine. This long flat ‘snake’ of clay is then fan folded back and forth on itself to create a block of clay that shifts from one color to the other.

This block of clay can then be manipulated into whatever shaped cane you like… square, round, triangle, etc. Having a block of clay that is shaded in this manner is very useful when making other types polymer clay canes. It can provide the shading in a leaf cane, the sunset in a landscape cane and dimension in a flower cane.

Much like a few other beginner polymer clay canes, making the Skinner Blend plug is definitely one of those ‘must learn’ polymer clay techniques!

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The full version of the “Skinner Cane Plug” 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 “Skinner Cane Plug” video tutorial I demonstrate an accordion folding technique for making Skinner Blend Plugs using a color blended sheet of clay and your pasta machine.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 07 June, 2008

    A Skinner Blend Plug doesn’t only have to be created using a two color blend. Multi-colored blends work equally well for this polymer clay technique.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Color Mixing Polymer Clay – Leaf Green Recipe Ideas

  2. Katy, 10 July, 2008

    Cindy, these videos are great and I appreciate your making them available to us novices! Certainly shortens our road to correcting our mistakes. Thank you a million times. Cheers Katy

  3. Cindy Lietz, 10 July, 2008

    You’re a million times welcome Katy!

    Cindy’s last blog post..Creative Jewelry Making Supplies for Bead Artists – Shopping Tips

  4. Lani King, 10 July, 2008

    I am really looking forward to learning more about cane’s and their multiple uses. The topography of this art form is fascinating. -Lani

  5. Cindy Lietz, 10 July, 2008

    I’m looking forward to have the cane courses ready to teach you Lani. They really are very cool to make! Topography is a great word to describe the the way the cane designs are laid out… I really like it!

    Cindy Lietz’s last post..Jewelry Making Supplies for Bead Artists from Home Depot

  6. Cindy Erickson, 11 July, 2008

    Dear Cindy,

    Thank you again for another great video. I find your videos fascinating each week as you demonstrate yet another way to do magical things with polymer clay! Thank you so much for sharing your time, effort, knowledge, and sweet spirit with all of us…you are very much appreciated :)

    I am looking forward to the treasure hunt. You have my curiosity!


    …and YES! Cindy IS a great name! :)

  7. Keri Lee Sereika, 11 July, 2008

    Another very interesting way to use polymer clay! Thanks for another great vid Cindy!!

  8. Stephanie M, 11 July, 2008

    That is so cool Cindy! I can’t wait to get home and try it! I am really excited about trying that in rainbow colors! Thanks so much for all these awesome videos! I am learning a great deal from them!


  9. Pat Olive, 11 July, 2008

    Thanks again, Cindy for a very enlightening way to use Polymer Clay. I enjoy your videos very much.
    Pat Olive

  10. Maria, 11 July, 2008

    Thank you again Cindy for a wonderful video. Actually seeing you demonstrate how to make the Skinner Blend Plug really helped to clarify some questions I had.

  11. Cindy Lietz, 11 July, 2008

    @Cindy Erickson: You’re sweet! *me blushing* Keep your eyes on your email box next week for the details on the treasure hunt.

    @Keri Lee: I’m really glad you liked it!

    @SC Steph: Does the SC stand for Super Cool?… Cause the rainbow blend sounds awesome!

    @Pat Olive: Happy to light your polymer clay path!

    @Maria: I’m glad it cleared things up! If you ever have questions about any polymer clay technique make sure to ask… I may know the answer and could give it to you.

    Cindy’s last post..Inexpensive Jewelry Making Supplies for Bead Artists – Shopping Tips

  12. Zoe Kessler, 14 July, 2008

    Great video Cindy! Can’t wait to see what you do with the plug. Have a good one! Zoe

  13. Cindy Lietz, 16 July, 2008

    Thank You Zoe! There are really a lot of cool complex canes that involve using a Skinner Blend Plug, so practice getting good at making them. That will help you when the new cane courses are finally available.

    Cindy’s last post..Polymer Clay Contest Treasure Hunt – Win a Bead Making Course

  14. Kim C., 01 August, 2008

    Hi Cindy,

    How do you get the skinner blend to come out so even at the thinnest setting. Mine never come out of the pasta machine that straight.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 02 August, 2008

    Kim C. If you butt your clay up to one side it helps. Also start at the largest setting and go thinner only one setting at a time. If you try to skip some settings, the block tends to distort.

    Another trick is to hold your finger in the rollers at the width you want the clay to be. (Don’t worry your fingers are too big to get caught in the rollers.) This can be a little awkward because you have the crank the handle while doing this, but it can work if you go slow.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Dragonfly Pendant Jewelry Necklace – Fimo Rubber Stamping Techniques

  16. Ed, 09 August, 2008

    Hi Cindy,
    This is an idea that I had when I started to make long narrow skinner blends for plugs. I was having trouble controling the long thin sheet of clay as it came out of my pasta machaine. First I cut a dowel about 3 inches longer than my machine rollers. Second I cut a piece of freezer wrap 4 feet long and 1/2 inch narrower than the length of the rollers (this was 48″ X 9 1/2). Third I taped one of the narrow ends of the freezer wrap to the dowel and rolled it up on the dowel. Now when I’m going to need better control I place the free end of the wrap through the machine, between the legs, and pull the wrap about 3″ to the front. I start the clay through the pasta machine just like normal but when the clay touches the paper I pull the paper forward with the clay. All this lets me have more control of how the clay leaves the machine and because the clay is on the paper, my claying area has as so much stuff on it, I can just lay it on top of everything.
    Love the vids can always use help with new things.

  17. Cindy Lietz, 10 August, 2008

    Ed that is a cool idea! I had to think about it for a few minutes to get what you meant, but now I get it. Sounds like it works really well!

    That would make a great video cause some people might not be able to visulaize what you are saying about how it works. When I give it a try, I’ll have to film the process and definitely give you a big shout out for taking the time to share this valuable tip.

    Cindy’s last blog post..A Polymer Clay Can Making Tutorial

  18. Jocelyn C, 28 October, 2008

    Trying to watch the Private: Video 002-3: Skinner Blend Plug and about 20 seconds in it stops and the message “buffering video…” appears and the video will not move past that point. Tried refreshing the page, same results. What do I need to do to see this video?

    Cindy, just joined as a paid member for both new and historical information. This site is fantastic and I am thrilled with what I have seen so far. You are an excellent teacher, and some of the followup suggestions and hints in the comments section from others are equally great.

    Thank you.

  19. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2008

    Hi Jocelyn,

    First off, thanks for your kind words about the new members library. I’m so glad you are benefiting from it.

    Now in regards to the video 002-3 issue in the members area, I checked on a several machines to make sure the problem is not actually with the video itself. The video is running fine on all of my tests.

    The way you have described the situation is something that is most common for those who use the Internet Explorer web browser (I use FireFox and would encourage you to do the same… it is much more friendly when it comes to watching Internet Video).

    Anyways, the ‘video problems’ link by my name above, will take you to a page with a long list of possible things you can do to address the issue you are seeing. Because it is an issue that’s happening on your local computer, unfortunately there isn’t anything I can do on my end to fix it… except of course to provide you with that ‘video problems’ help file for you or a techie friend to refer to. Trust me though, the problem you are seeing is definitely curable.

  20. Tina Adams, 26 May, 2010

    Cindy, have you ever thought of doing a landscape cane tutorial ? I would love to see how YOU do it ! Really enjoy your work and thanks so much. Take care, Tina

  21. Phaedrakat, 27 May, 2010

    @Tina Adams: Funny, this was brought up a couple days ago. I re-posted it on the Zebra Cane Tutorial page, to see how many people might be interested. Cindy has now added it to her “list” of tutes (the ones she’s thinking of creating for us.) Perhaps we’ll be seeing a new “landscape” around here soon! ;~D

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