Thursday, 8 October 2009

Black and white bracelet and flower beads tutorial

We'll be making black and white flower beads like these:

The technique I am going to demonstrate below, has been created by Israeli artist Edit Zoota. Make sure to check out her Flickr album and Etsy shop! Edit generously shared her genious idea with the whole world. For me (and, I think, for other caners as well) this discovery has the same importance as Judith Skinner's technique of making colour blends using pasta machine.
It is a long process, so arm yourself with patience :) You need a lot of patience when making canes. To make a neat cane you have to pay a lot of attention to each detail, do everything without a hurry, smoothen every bit of a cane...

First of all we'll make a flower cane. Cut your petal cane into a few pieces. 5 or 6 is optimum for this method. More petals will make it difficult to remove background without distorting a cane.

Roll out a medium thick sheet of dough. Wrap it around the cane.

Next we'll fill our cane with a background. It is a very important step, because the shape of your cane depends on the accuracy of your background. Since you are going to remove background you cane use just a scrap clay for it. I use this particular piece of scrap clay for background for the third time already, so it is a great economy. Make a triangular cane out of your scrap clay and fill the space between the petals. To avoid your petals getting a square shape after reducing make sure that you put enough background between petals. See how I add another layer of scrap clay on top of the triangular cane between the petals, so that the height of the background between the petals is the same as the petals.

Cover petals with clay and put a final layer around the whole cane. There is no need to save on background clay here :)

Reduce and cut the cane. I've made a few canes of different size.

Clay does not stick to the dough, that is why you can easily remove it. Remove all of the background and putt your canes and used scrap clay in cold water. Leave pieces to soak for a few hours. Three hours is normally sufficient to dissolve most of the dough.

Be very careful whem you take canes out of the water. At this moment clay is very sensitive to your finger, so be sure to hold your cane very lightly, do not rub the surface of clay with your fingers.
Here you can see, that there is some dough left between the petals. You can brush it off with an artist's soft brush. Keep dipping your cane and a brush constantly into the water.

You can remove the most stubborn dough with a needle. Very lightly, without pressing, pass your needle between the petals, releasing the dough, then wash it off, using a brush.
Leave you canes and cleaned scrap clay to dry for a few hours. Overnight, perhaps.

Now the cane is ready to be used. Cut off a few slices of it. I used embossing tools and Sculpey tools for shaping my flowers. Although, I guess, you could use thick knitting needles for this as well.

With your fingers smooth the edges of petals of your flower. Shape the slice cane into a flower as you can see it on the picture below:

Then the usual - bake, sand (no picture there :)) ), glaze and make into a jewellery.

You don't have to shape cane slices into flowers, they are just the same pretty as the simple flat slices:

That's all from me :) This post was written with a big gratitude to Edit Zoota. Edit, thank you for your discovery and for your generousity!


  1. Beautiful and so much detail. Thank you for showing us the process.

  2. Great tutorial!!! I love the flowers!
    You make wonders with this technique.
    Thank you!!!

  3. Wonderful, thanks for sharing! I love black and white and these are beautiful beads.

  4. SummersStudilo and Alice, thank you so much for commenting!
    Edit, thank you for everything! :))) For you genious mind and for your kindness :)

  5. I LOVE this technique! I've been making my canes this way since shortly after Edit's video hit the internet. And the amazing thing to me is that once they have had time to set up a bit, they hold their shape beautifully when slicing.

  6. Oh thanks for this tutorial I am always happy to learn a new way of making polymer flowers.

  7. One more comment - I notice that you put your scrap clay in the water too. I'm assuming that is to disolve the play-doh before you put it back to use. I did this at first too, then decided to try using the scrap clay with the play-doh mixed together. Works just as well! I just pull the scrap clay off the cane and put it into a sealed container so the play-doh won't dry out. I use one of the empty play-doh containers. I've used my scrap clay over and over and over again without any problem.

    I agree with you too that this is NOT a place to skimp. After I get my cane packed, I put another wrap of scrap clay rolled at the thickest setting. If you are going to go fairly small with your reducing, you might want to add another layer. That's where the extra scrap clay really makes a difference!

    Thanks for the flower tutorial. I can't wait to try this out!

  8. Arlene, thank you so much for your comment!!! I will do so next time! :)

  9. Maravilloso el blog,gracias por explicar paso a paso la realización de estas preciosas flores. Me alegro de haberte visitado tu blog. Voy a ser tu fans. Un saludo

  10. I'll try this technique, your beads are so beautiful!!!

  11. This is such a terrific tute and the pictures make it so easy for the "directionally impaired" like me to follow. Thank you for taking the time to share with this wonderful tute.

  12. I should of printed it out and taken the instructions to the table with me as I forgot and I rolled a thin layer of playdough and only put one layer of scrap round cane. I had to stop reducing as the scrap split.

    I had trouble with Fimo soft and home made playdough using this technique but with Kato and shop bought fimo all is well.

  13. great tutorial thanks
    i want to aske what are you mean ( dough)>>>> from where i acan get it can i make it at home