Unbaked canes assembled into a veneer. Notice the red pattern inside maroon band.

I made these two canes last December after watching Cindy Lietz’s Christmas Sweater Cane tutorial.  I made many things with them and learned many things in the process.

I had some red mixed with translucent, so I used it in this cane.  It was a nice, bright red. I made the maroon the color I wanted.  Neither did well in the oven. See photo below.

Notice how dark the maroon got and how the red pattern in the maroon almost disappeared.

I had to throw away several beads because they cracked when I drilled them, even though I had pierced a hole all the way through before baking.  Then I drilled starting with a very small drill, a bit bigger and a bit bigger.  I decided I didn’t bake the Kato clay at a high enough temperature. I switched to Premo for the backs and the cracking stopped.

A variety of errors. Left: messed up bead hole. Middle: cracked bead face when drilling. Right: Sanded through cane on corner because cane slice was too thin.

In the photo below, I stretched the veneer on the left wreath/donut and I don’t like how the pattern distorted.  In the wreath on the right, I simply bent the veneer, didn’t pull at it, and it looks much better to me.

Wreath on left has a distorted cane veneer compared to the one on the right.

What I learned from this:

  1. Test colors by baking them before making a cane
  2. Be wary of using translucent clay in canes.  
  3. Bake different brands of clay and drill holes to test for cracking.
  4. Don’t make the cane slices paper thin if you intend to sand them. One millimeter is thick enough to sand smooth without sanding all the way through.
  5. Clean the slicer blade often to avoid ridges in the cane slices.
  6. Make the corners on the cane as square as you can, not rounded.
  7. To avoid distortion, don’t stretch cane veneers.