Polymer Clay Tutorial | Tribal Cane Design | Bohemian Jewelry

Polymer Clay Tribal Cane Tutorial

Vid #138: “WOW, this fits in with what I’ve been concentrating on recently, faux Bone and Ivory with tribal designs on scrimshaw whaling ships.” ~Lawrence-S

It’s unbelievable that a new year and a new decade has arrived! The great thing about a new year is the potential for all the new things that can be learned over the course of the next 52 weeks. And trust me, there are a ton of cool polymer clay tutorials coming down the pipe.

To kick things off, the first video of 2010 will be released on Friday January 8th at the Polymer Clay Library (Volume-020-1). The project is a Tribal patterned polymer clay cane. This Bohemian styled cane is the perfect compliment to the faux bone, faux turquoise and faux raku techniques learned in last years 2009 tutorials.

WOW, this fits in with what I have been concentrating on recently, faux Bone and Ivory with tribal designs on scrimshaw whaling ships. Our Pacific Northwest, like the American Southwest, is so rich in Petroglyphs and tribal art which is adaptable to our polymer clay art. Other parts of the world like the Lascaux Caves in France also offer the same opportunity  for some ingenious designs. I am always patiently waiting for the Friday AM videos so keep up the great work Cindy. A Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and your family and all the wonderfully helpful people on here. Hugz to all! ~Lawrence-S

What can I say about how excited I am that we will be learning these beauties? I am personally bestowing on you the “Teacher of the Year”, award–no, “teacher of the Decade”-no, “Teacher of the Century”-no, “Teacher of the Millenium”-(I don’t know what comes after that, but you get my drift). Your trophy  is made of my thanks for your commitment and generosity in helping us grow in our art. Warmest wishes to you and your family for a wonderful new year. ~Elizabeth-S

Wow is all I can say, what a way to kick off a new year of tutorial vids. The tribal pattern is something I’ve been interested in since the polls on what techniques to film next. ~Ken-H

Tribal Cane Designs sounds like it would open up a vast amount of designs so that is my first vote. But as always Cindy wherever the most interest lies will be of interest. Thanks for asking. ~Joyce-M

Supplies & Tools: Video-020-1: Tribal Cane:

  • Firm polymer clay in 5 earth tone colors. I used Premo Sculpey in Black, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Ecru and Burnt Umber. Clay should be firm, not too soft and conditioned well. Make sure all colors are the same consistency. Type ‘too soft’ or ‘too hard’ into the search box at the top of the page to find out more about fixing your clay should the clay be either too soft or too hard.
  • Makins Extruder.
  • Right angle triangle extruder disk/die.
  • Square Extruder disk/die.
  • Pasta machine or acrylic roller.
  • Clay blade.

The full version of the Vid-020-1 Tribal Cane Tutorial will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday January 8th, 2010. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.

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 “Tribal Cane” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-020 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

I would just like to say to you Cindy and family and all the members all the very best in the new year. Since I joined I have never looked back. I have learned so much and looking forward to 2010 that’s if I have room in my old brain to store all you have taught me. Love to you and yours from the UK. ~Ritzs

The following topics are included in this week’s “Tribal Cane” video tutorial:

  • See examples of several different beads and charms made with the Tribal Cane.
  • Discussion of the type of clay and colors needed to build this polymer clay cane.
  • Learn how to take simple extruded lengths and place them together to create a complicated cane design.
  • Demonstration on how to create the components of the cane as well as options for using the pieces separately.
  • Technique for building one quarter of the design then cutting and placing the pieces together to build the full cane.

The full version of the “Tribal Cane” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-020 Back Issue Package.

  1. Jocelyn, 05 January, 2010

    Love the way these videos are introduced, pre-prep style, over the last few months. Very motivating. Friday is a big day around here, lol.

  2. Elizabeth S., 05 January, 2010

    I agree with Jocelyn–it’s so great to have everything ready on Friday so we can just jump in and try the lesson right away.

  3. Katie, 05 January, 2010

    One of these days I am getting a new extruder! I used my plunger-type last week for Jupiter beads and it definitely gave me a work-out. But, I had a thought when I was trying to convince myself to go do homework: when you are out of ideas for new products, ask your mom/friend/child… sometimes they come up with things that are so obviously a good idea that you just won’t think of them. I was thinking candleholders, Mom pipes up with eyeglass chains. Okay, now I really need to get my lighting homework done so I can clay sometime this week.

  4. Elizabeth K, 06 January, 2010

    Hi Cindy and all, First Happy New Year, I am lagging behind a bit and havent got my Year underway just yet. Had a B/day that got in the way. so now I am a year older, just as the year starts, I’d better get going. I am amazed at the people who have already started their creating. Love the idea of the next Video with the Tribal Cane looking forward to that.
    Also love the idea of canes from Cindy. that would be something.
    I am still way back in Book beads just love them and have made quite a few as gifts.
    So now onto theis new decade to learn more interesting things from our Polymer Clay Tutor of the Millenium as you say.

  5. carolyn, 07 January, 2010

    Cindy – I posted this in the wrong place in another post, so here it is again where it should have been posted in the first place:

    It is great knowing what colors of clay to have available for the video, however, it might be good to know approximately how much of each. I’d like to condition my clay ahead of time so I can work right along with you, but I don’t want to condition a whole block of each color unless that is what is needed to match what you do.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 07 January, 2010

    Good point Carolyn. I actually did mention the amounts of clay needed in the full version of the tribal cane tutorial video, but since you are probably not clairvoyant , you won’t know what those amounts are to mix ahead of time. Sorry about that!

    You don’t need a lot of conditioned clay for this project. About 1 section (1/4 package Premo) of each color mentioned above and 2 sections of Ecru. For future tutorials, I’ll have to remember to state the amounts of clay needed in the materials lists.

  7. Elizabeth K, 08 January, 2010

    Hi Cindy, having just watched the video on the Tribal cane, you had my head spinning, but to see it come out the way it did was brilliant, and worth all the work, cant wait to see what I can come up with from that experience. thanks once again for your clear and consise way of teaching. BTW , I would love to see more than your hands while you are teaching, I have no critisism about the way you present the video, but feel we are watching a friend and would love to see your pretty face .

  8. Peggy, 08 January, 2010

    AWESOME VIDEO – I don’t know what time zone you are in but it is 3:35 am here in USA, Iowa and you have your tutorial up and running. Do you ever sleep young lady? I sleep in 2-3 hr sections because of my illness so I get on the computer a lot at night. You slammed it out of the ball park once again. Let me tell you I am so thankful for my husbands Christmas gift (my laptop) because I definately need you in my craft room with me on this one. No running back and forth to opposite ends of the house to use computer in my husbands den. So this weekend its you and me Cindy side by side. I would rather have you here in person but this is the next best thing.
    Sending you my kindest thanks, Peggy

  9. Monica, 08 January, 2010

    Hi Cindy.Happy New Year for you !
    Thanks for this tutorial. I loved loved loved it!!!The cane looks very complex and yet very easy to do .I have recently bought the Makins extruder and it is a totaly essencial tool for polymer clayers.
    Have a wonderful week end.

  10. Schakel, 08 January, 2010

    Hi Cindy, I just became a member and watched your video on the tribal cane making. I used the extruder before and could not clean it properly so my light colors of clay always had some dark color mixed in.
    What I do now is I take a baking sheet and clip of a piece of paper that just fit’s the roll that goes in to the extruder. Than I place it in the extruder and get to work. In that way my extruder keeps very clean and I do not have to worry about the colors.
    Just my two cents here.
    Have a nice clay day
    Schakel (Netherlands)

  11. Catherine, 08 January, 2010

    Cindy, another great video!!! Can’t wait to get my studio back (college age granddaughter here and semester starts later this month). You have used a beautiful color combo for this cane and it will fit nicely as it has a Southwest look about it. Thanks again.

  12. Bonnie, 08 January, 2010

    Cindy, that was awesome. I love those beads you made. I’m thinking turquoise, raw umber, ecru and alizarin crimson with the black. You get my mind going and I can’t get it to stop.
    Thanks again for a great video.

  13. Elizabeth S., 08 January, 2010

    I can’t wait to try these beautiful tribal beads! What a fun day I am going to have!

  14. Jocelyn C, 08 January, 2010

    Excellent cane, the possibilities with this tribal design are endless!

    Cindy do you video record under a brand name like OTT lighting? That crimson sure looks brown to me on the tape, and since I just got a package of it, here, I am sure looking at more red tones.

  15. Rose, 08 January, 2010

    I love this tribal cane. Yesterday I looked for a quilt pattern that I could cane & never found one I liked. This is it! I didn’t see it as a quilt pattern until I watched you put it together. After trying this one, I’m going to look over my dyes for more ideas. My head is spinning with ideas, but I’ve already listed something else to try today (alcohol inks with transl clay). Tomorrow I’ll make this cane which gives me a day to come up with some colors. Since I’m new to this craft, I feel I’m way behind in trying things out.

  16. Cindy Lietz, 08 January, 2010

    Thanks everyone for your great feedback on the video! Glad you liked it!

    @Jocelyn: The problem you’re having with seeing the colors right on your screen could have something to do with your monitor. I know that the color I see on my screen looks totally different than it does on Doug’s or the kids screen. Unfortunately there is not much we can do about that. If you click the link by my name I have written a comment about this is more detail, that will give you more info on the challenges with technology and color.

    @Schakel: Thank you so much for adding your 2 cents! It is actually worth far more than that, to fill this site with valuable tips and tricks from the community. So keep it up. We all love it!

  17. Cindy Graveline, 08 January, 2010

    Love the cane! I tried it this afternoon! :)

  18. Michelle, 08 January, 2010

    Hi Cindy,

    Do you have a tutorial anywhere that shows how to reduce a cane properly? I’ve not done a cane before like this.. my extruder is useless and I think I will have to invest in a Makins as it looks SO much easier… therefore I would be more inclined to give it a go!

    Great to see this coming together and as one lady said earlier, patchworks etc now have the possibility of a whole new world!

    Thanks, Love Michelle

  19. carolyn, 08 January, 2010

    Cindy – When I click on Salmon Pearls I get Black Suede … Hmmm!

  20. Cindy Lietz, 08 January, 2010

    @Cindy Graveline – I LOVE how quick you are to get right to it! As soon as these tutorials get posted each Friday, you seem to be right on top of things. It’s wonderful to see!!

    @Michelle – A couple of weekly tutorial videos in particular, where I spend a lot of time demonstrating how to reduce canes, are Video-010-4 and Video-010-2 in The Volume-010 Back Issue Package at the Polymer Clay Library. And there are also some good tips on reducing canes in my Polymer Clay Beginners Course – See Videos #30-Making Polymer Clay Canes; #31-Bullseye Cane; #32-Jelly Roll Cane; #33-Striped Cane; and #34-Checkerboard Cane.

    @Elizabeth-K – About including more than just my hands in the tutorial videos… I appreciate your kind words. At some point I’ll find some time to give you guys more “face time” in the clips. But right now I’m just doing what I can to keep on top of everything that’s happening on all the many fronts. By the way, you can click on the link by name where the topic of filming and makeup has been discussed before. Plus there is a video there, that you may enjoy watching.

    @Carolyn – Yes you are correct, there was a link error in today’s email newsletter. My bad. But the “Salmon Pearls” recipe is in fact posted correctly at the members library. Just go to beadvideos.com (log in of course), and scroll down the page a bit. You will see this week’s A-series recipe card just below the tribal cane video, right on the library site home page.

  21. JoyceM, 08 January, 2010

    Thanks Cindy for the information about the Salmon Pearls recipe link. BTW this weeks is an awesome tut. Due to life’s happenings I’ll have to wait
    for tomorrow to dive in. Oh, boy!

  22. carolyn, 08 January, 2010

    Cindy – This cane is really cool! What I do is watch the entire video before I even start. This gives me a good idea about the whats and whys of the components and how they will eventually be fit together.

    I do have one concern, and maybe it is because I am so new to PC, but with all your cane videos you show other beads that you have made with the cane, but you do not show (or tell) how you made the other beads. This leaves me in the dark. How do you make those beads?

  23. Cindy Lietz, 08 January, 2010

    Thanks Carolyn!

    You don’t have to worry so much about making the beads just yet. But making the cane in the tutorial will teach you the nuances of how to make canes.

    All of the “show and tell” examples I include at the beginning of each tutorial, are just ideas that you can use or not use. These videos get archived in your personal library account, so you can refer to them over and over again for future inspiration.

    Since you now own the course and all the back issues, you will find out that I have already taught how to make most of the beads I talk about as samples. I have shown how to add cane slices to a bead, how to make cube beads, tube beads, round beads and football beads.

    In the videos you have, I have wrapped clay cane slices around all sorts of different styled beads. In fact, coming up in next week’s Heart Shaped Bead Tutorial, I will show you how to add cane slices to a heart bead that will give you lots of ideas for using your Tribal Cane.

    Like I said the other day, “Make the bead (or cane in this case) and the purpose will come. This is how you practice and learn about the material at hand. One step at a time. Once you’ve made the cane and then look around again at the videos you already have, you will see, you won’t be in the dark anymore! :-)

  24. Carolyn, 08 January, 2010

    Cindy – What video teaches us how to reduce square canes?

  25. Carolyn, 09 January, 2010


    Tribal Cane by Carolyn Fiene

    I guess I just had to conquer my fear of making a mess of the cane by reducing it with the squeeze, pull, tug, squish method. I had thought there was some other method when reducing square canes, but I guess not. Here is the result. Not bad for a beginner if I must say so myself!

    Cindy, you are a large part of a totally new phase in my life and I thank you for that. Below is a picture of my clay station.

    Carolyn Fiene Workspace

  26. Elizabeth K, 09 January, 2010

    Hi Cindy ,
    thanks for the answer re seeing more of you
    yes that was a good explanation of the why and how you do your videos. I am satisfied with that. i did maybe see that at the beginning of my time here and had forgotten and was just sitting here watching and thinking how nice it would be to see you occasionally in the video.
    You are so right as to how people look when they present themselves in Tutorial videos, I have seen that.
    I’m off to make some Tribal Canes
    see you later
    E. XX

  27. Cindy Lietz, 09 January, 2010

    @Carolyn: I am so proud of you I can hardly stand it! You did an excellent job! Not only did you get on it right away, you faced your fears and did it anyways. I bet you learned a ton from the experience! Your clay station looks awesome btw. Looks like you have all kinds of wire working and leather stamps? for you to make lots of wonderful jewelry. I am so glad to be part of your new journey. You are really an inspiration!

    @Elizabeth: Thanks for your comment. I am glad you now see the challenges of having to ‘put my face into’ the shots. I will do the odd video with more than just my hands in it, but that will be more for the commentary type video rather than the tutorial type. Let us know how your tribal cane goes. Have fun with it! :-)

  28. Elizabeth K, 09 January, 2010

    Hi Carolyn you did wonders love your cane.
    I have yet to get to it

  29. carolyn, 09 January, 2010

    Cindy – Know that your hands and your work surface are most important. The other day I watched a video where the demonstrator worked ‘in the air’ so that her face could be seen … bad job! You do such a great job with your videos – even to being careful that your left hand doesn’t get in the way of the photo. Sometimes it is cute watching you contortion that hand around! And, Elizabeth, we do get to see her face on these blogs … though I think she’s changed hair color since this shot was taken!

  30. Jocelyn, 10 January, 2010

    Carolyn! What an adorable warm cozy nook for clay you have set up! Great job on cane reduction too, if that’s one of your first tries.

  31. Nancy Reddick, 19 January, 2010

    Hi Cindy,

    Tribal Cane Jewelry by Nancy Reddick

    I anxiously wait for Fridays to come, to see what new wonderful video tutorials you have waiting for us. Each week you amaze me with something completely new and challenging. I have really enjoyed your tutorials on tribal canes and beads. I just can’t say thanks enough to you Cindy for your wonderful style of teaching us this craft. Thanks again, Nancy

  32. Cindy Lietz, 19 January, 2010

    Beautiful work Nancy. Thanks so much for sending in your photo and for your kinds words. I’m glad you are enjoying the tutorials.

    If anyone wants to see more of Nancy’s work, click on the link by my name to see jewelry she made using the faux bone carving techniques from the Vol-019-4 video tutorial.

  33. carolyn, 22 January, 2010

    Cindy – I’ve really got the bug now!

    Tribal Cane Scrap Clay Beads by Carolyn Fiene

    Not only did the Tribal Cane turn out well, but just look at what I made just with scrap ends from making that cane. This is the reason that I have so few scraps for bead cores and Jupiter beads. I just keep making things until the scraps are all used up. Some of these I plan to use for those key fobs – hopefully to appeal to men – but, hey, we’ll sell to anyone who wants to buy! I’m having a grand time experimenting with PYM II also. That is one FANTASTIC product! Even being snow bound with nothing to do but play with clay and PYM II, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! Anyway, just thought you’d like to see my “Waste Not, Want Not” collection. Carolyn

  34. Cindy Lietz, 22 January, 2010

    Very nice Carolyn. Thanks for sending in this photo. It’s almost like scrap clay is something that should fall under the oxymoron category… as in how could any clay be considered to be scrap? It has so many creative uses.

  35. Cindy Lietz, 23 April, 2010


    Polymer Clay Tribal Purse Bead Project by Lisa Whitham

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Tribal Cane Beads), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Lisa-W. 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.

  36. tantesherry, 05 October, 2012

    Hi All
    wanted to say 1st thank you Cindy for such a well thought out cane – what you did w/ the burnt umber…totally smart

    I wanted to do something I’d not tried before – something from my back log of older videos and the Tribal Cane hit the spot

    had a real nice afternoon :) thanks again – Sherry

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