Polymer Clay Tutorial | Instructions for Making a Basic Leaf Cane

Basic Leaf Cane Tutorial Video Part1

Vid #97-98: Plus… How To Combine Simple Leaf Canes to Form More Complex Designs:

Many of you have been patiently requesting that I start adding polymer cane tutorials to the Beadvideos Library, Well this post marks the first of many more to come. Later this week as a member at the library, you will be able to view Part 1 of a 2 Part series on how to make a basic leaf cane. This is a very popular design that can be used in so many bead and jewelry making projects.

Starting with a color blend using my Lietz Teardrop Method, this cane tutorial will show you from start to finish how to create a shaded leaf cane in a very short period of time. Even if you’ve never made a cane before in your life!

“Cindy you make it seem that creating canes can be so effortless. I love what you do, and how you put into words the instruction for others to follow.” ~Andrea

Leaf canes can be used to make simple cane slice beads. They can also be combined to create more complicated leaf canes; Used to embellish your flower canes; layered onto lentil beads; And are the perfect green accents to flowered background sheets like on this silver spoon polymer clay pendant.

If you have always wanted to learn how to make polymer clay canes, the basic leaf cane is an excellent place to start. You can make them in any color combination for added variety and you’ll find that you can never have too many leaf canes lying around the studio to use!

Part 1 of this two part leaf cane series will be posted in the Members Library later this week as Volume 010-1. And Part 2 will be posted next week as Volume 010-2.

But you can watch a preview clip right now if you like, by scrolling down on this page a bit. Or just click here to go straight to the preview video player.

More information about my Polymer Clay Tutor Library and how to become a member, is posted right below the preview video on this page.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Click Video Play Button

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
>> Polymer Clay Tutorials <<

The full version of the “Basic Leaf Cane” preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-010 Back Issue Package.

In the “Basic Leaf Cane” video I walk you step by step through the process of making a shaded leaf cane. Here are the specific topics included in Part 1 (Volume 010-1) of this two part mini series:

  • Using both conventional colors as well as more creative ones for making your leaf canes.
  • Creating a color blended sheet of clay using my Lietz Teardrop Method instead of the traditional Skinner Blend approach.
  • How to offset your blend so you end up with pure colors on each end of your color gradient.
  • Demonstration on how to keep your color blend from getting too wide for your pasta machine.
  • Tips for removing air bubbles from your color blended sheet.
  • What you should know about clay consistency when making canes.
  • Converting your your color blended sheet into a very long, flat and narrow strip of clay.
  • Accordion folding the long narrow strip of color blended clay in order to make a Skinner Plug.

Topics covered in Part 2 (Volume 010-2) of this two part mini series include:

  • How to mold and cut your Skinner Plug into two equally sized pieces.
  • Combining the pieces to form the two halves of your leaf design.
  • Reducing your leaf cane by squeezing, pulling, coaxing, pinching, stretching and wiggling it.
  • Clay temperature issues.
  • Why you should cut off and save parts of your cane at a range of different sizes rather than reducing the entire cane.
  • Combining multiple lengths of your simple leaf cane in order to form a more complex leaf can design.
  • Ideas for using leaf cane slices on lentil beads.

  1. JEANNE, 04 March, 2009

    I’m looking forward to learning different cane techiques it seems that they are incorporated in many clay designs.

    Thanks Cindy.


  2. Cindy Lietz, 05 March, 2009

    Many of the basic techniques are used over and over in different ways when making polymer clay canes. Learning the basics will always improve your canework. Thanks for your comment Jeanne!

  3. Jamie, 06 March, 2009

    I just enjoy watching your videos Cindy! Not only are they instructive and helpful. They are also “real”. I love that you dont edit out the little oopses or have an elaborate set, in a dream studio, like some videos I have watched. For most of us who do or have done, the majority of our crafting at the kitchen table or less. Its nice to see you work in a simple setting and with tools that most of us probably have too. And to see you dealing with the clay, even when it doesnt always cooperate, the same as we do. Although,(evil grin)Id love to see if you have the same untidy creative effect on the rest of your studio, as most of us probably do. LOL, I know mine is a wreck when I get done with a major idea storm. Any chance of a peek at the rest of your clay haven? XOXO Jamie

  4. Cindy Lietz, 06 March, 2009

    Oh Jamie you have no idea what a frazzle I can get myself into! :-) I love what you said.

    Showing you how things are done in real life makes you feel like you can do it too. Part of that is seeing an artists work environment and is why people like to take studio tours and read magazines like ‘Studio’. It is something that I’ve thought I should be sharing more of myself with everyone as well.

    Though I don’t have a picture to show you right now, my computer desk has a little strip of glass in front of the keyboard so I can play with clay while at the computer. (You know… while something is downloading or while watching a video.)

    There are tiny bits of canes and partial beads piled around, some tissue blades under the glass so I can’t cut myself while typing, a fish in a bowl, some clay tools and pictures of my kids… and that is just the start of it! I need things around me to be inspired, and this is where I spend most of my time.

    I’ll have to get my husband to either take some shots of my desk and my studio or teach me how to use the new camera, so you can see for yourself.

    Trust me when I say, your messes could not be any worse than mine. If you click the link by my name you will see a slice of my studio in the background. I hope that gives you a glimpse into my clay haven. More will have to follow!

  5. Jamie, 06 March, 2009

    Yippee!! I cant wait! I just love to snoop in someone elses creative “arrangement”. And judging by the pic you mentioned, I’d say we have a lot in common. Right down to the fuzzy (light brwn here) robes! I find brown is the perfect color to cover all those little clay smudgies that get away, dont you agree? LOL! And a poet too! Sheww, that is uncanny. I write poems also, and in fact I havent bought a “Hallmark” card in forever. Everyone says they like mine better anyway, because they know they were written just for them. But, back to the studio, LOL. Its nice to see Im not the only one who thrives in a creative cyclone effect. To the untrained eye it looks like a horror set. But I know where everything is (or have a good idea anyways)I only really clean up once or twice a year to take inventory. That way I know what I need when the good sales come around. Then I hurry and mess it up again so I can get back to work Hahaha. As for clay at the PC? Not for now ‘sigh’. But when my new craft room is done? It will be right at the end of my work table on the rolling cart I got for it. I cant wait to be able to watch a tutorial and do it at the same time! Especially since I found your website. So many ideas! Gaaaahh! I need chocolate! Its the only thing that makes waiting for my “new” room bearable! Keep the good stuff coming Cindy! We love ya for it. XOXO Jamie

  6. Cindy Lietz, 07 March, 2009

    That’s funny I have a rolling ‘island’ with all my tools and my pasta machine right beside my computer chair for spontaneous blends and bead making! Looks like we think alike!

    When I can get to switching rooms with my daughter and build a new studio, I have plans to create my computer station and clay station beside and attached to each other. That way I can roll on my desk chair a little to the left to make something and roll back to the right to type and click. Sounds like heaven to me!

  7. Jamie, 14 March, 2009

    I just finished watching part 2 of your leaf cane video. You did a very nice job of making it look as simple as it really is. Lots of clayers are intimidated by the thought of cane work because it looks so complex. But you explained it very nicely. I liked that you mentioned about saving some of the cane in the larger size. I didnt get that idea for some time, much to my regret more than once! I especially liked that you showed how to make a more complicated cane by using the simple one that you made. For some reason this idea seems to escape some beginners who think they can only use the cane in the original form. And I also liked the idea with the lentil bead. Another example of thinking outside the “mold” as it were, that might not occur to those just starting out. I cant wait for the next one! XOXO Jamie

  8. Adrienne lindsey, 14 March, 2009

    Enjoyed this tutorial on the leaf cane. Loved what you did with the multiple pieces. I had wondered how it was done. Thanks

  9. Cindy Lietz, 14 March, 2009

    @Jamie: Thank you for your words! I’m glad the simplicity of the cane came across. The heat was so high with the lights, that the clay was getting really soft and I was having a little trouble getting the lines in the cane as sharp and as straight as I usually like. But figured that most beginners would feel better about the fact, that perfection isn’t necessary with this type of cane!

    @Adrienne: Thank you! There are so many cool things you can do with simple canes to make more complex ones. Just wait… you’re going to love it when you get to see more videos on making canes!

  10. Ginger, 15 March, 2009

    Thanks so much Cindy. Great tutorial :)

  11. Cindy Lietz, 16 March, 2009

    You’re very welcome Ginger!

  12. Cindy Erickson, 25 March, 2009

    Thank you so much, Cindy. I love your leaf canes! Thanks for incorporating so many different ideas into one video! Bravo to you!!!

    :) Cindy E.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 25 March, 2009

    You are very welcome Cindy! I do try to combine techniques in a way that will be helpful for you. Glad you like it!

  14. Cindy Lietz, 13 November, 2009

    **PHOTO ADDED: A jewelry project picture using leaf canes has just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Zuleykha McMillan, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the link by my name to have a look.

  15. Phaedrakat, 11 March, 2010

    Cindy, I watched the preview of this leaf cane, and loved the example you showed with the combination! This leaf is quite simple, but the leaf made from several lengths of this cane combined looks anything but! It’s very striking! I love this idea, and I can see it would be even easier to make than the leaf canes I’ve made in the past! Thanks for your endless supply of inspiration~

  16. Bhromor Mukherjee, 08 September, 2017

    I just want to know the fundamental theory of making canes. I have gone through many you tube cane tutorial but can’t understand the basic concepts.

  17. Cindy Lietz, 19 September, 2017

    That is a really difficult question, so I not surprised that you haven’t found a clear answer for it out there. But I guess if I had to give a short answer, I would say that a polymer clay cane is a log of different colored clays that are “built” in such a way that the design (whether it is a picture like a face or a pattern like a checkerboard) goes from end to end, so that you get the same picture each time you take a slice of the cane. Exactly like when you slice a jelly roll cake and you get a spiral slice of cake, every piece you cut. Hopefully that cleared things up for you a little better!

Copyright © Polymer Clay Tutor Bead and Jewelry Making Tutorials