tutorial: how to make rainbow cane slice beads

These photos are from a workshop hosted at Daft Crafts when we had our brick and mortar store in Missouri! I realized they were perfect, with a little explanation, for a quick tutorial on how to make polymer rainbow cane slice beads!

What you need:

A rainbow of polymer clay (or whatever colors you want to work with!)
Clean work surface covered with wax paper
Pasta machine
Bead tray and metal skewers (optional, you can put the beads on a flat pan but for best results, bake the beads while elevated on skewers)
Toaster oven (optional)

All tools you use with polymer clay should never be used with food - it's best to have designated pans, knives and skewers for making bead holes.

First, knead the polymer clay and soften it. You may want to wear gloves to protect your hands. This can take a while, and your hands will get very tired very soon.

Once your polymer clay is softened, roll each color flat and cut into right triangles.

Then put your rainbow of triangles in order! 

Next, you fold the triangles sheet in half, color to color (not end to end!) and run it through a wide setting in the pasta machine a few times, folding it in half on itself each time, tightening the pasta machine when your clay slips through easily.

Keep folding it in on itself! At this point the colors start to fade a bit into one another.

Keep folding the clay over and blending it through the pasta machine, tightening it to about 1/6" max, until you are satisfied with transition of color.

Once you are satisfied with the fade of your rainbow, switch from feeding it vertically to horizontal to streeeeeeetch out your rainbow! 

Next, roll out a solid piece of clay in the pasta machine until it's equal thickness to your rainbow blend, then smooth the rainbow across it. Trim the edges and start rolling the layers into a tight tube called a cane.

Once you have your cane rolled evenly to your desired thickness (it's totally up to you!), slice it into wicked cool pieces! These are called cane slices.

Once you have finished slicing your cane, use a thin metal skewer to create a hole for your jewelry wire. You can use a corsage pin for this if you don't have a bead tray with skewers like the one pictured. For best results, insert the pin half way, twist gently to remove, and insert from the opposite side so you don't leave an "exit wound" on your bead.

Check the packaging for precise baking instructions, but I baked mine at 275* for 10 minutes and viola! 

Let cool before handling your beautiful new handmade beads, then turn them into one of a kind jewelry creations!

If you try this tutorial, send us pictures! We would love to see what you make!

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