Category: Tips&Tricks

Making Baseball Canes and Slice Beads

Let me preface this with: I am no sort of sports person. I initially made baseball beads because a customer wanted some. This tends to be the reason I make a lot of the stuff that wanders off from rose canes or little flower beads. This tutorial is a high level walk through of making the cane. It assumes you can do a Skinner blend and are comfortable reducing or working with odd shapes. The beads are what I call slice beads. Each bead is a slice off the reduced cane. I drill holes after baking, typically, but you can punch them before you bake. You can bake the cane and slice the beads while still warm as well.

To make the shade on your baseball, mix a very light grey. Skinner blend the light grey to white and then turn it into a plug. If you don’t care about the shading, skip right along to adding the red “cord”.

Shape your plug into a half circle with the darker part on one end of the half circle. Cut the half circle into 3 parts. The middle section will be where we add the stitching. Slice the section in half and line the inside with red rolled out to midway on the pasta machine (in my case, yours may vary).

This gets you the sandwich with the red in the middle. Cut that in 7 parts, without mixing it up (we want the shading to stay in it’s place). Line each of the sections with a little of the red and then reassemble. Roll the cane to smooth it back out to fit back into your half circle block.

Reassemble your half circle chunk. Reduce it until at least 3 or 4 inches in length. Cut that in half and assemble it into a full circle. Voila! Shaded baseball cane. Reduce and use for all your baseball needs. In my case, beads for a good customer!

Scrap Clay Remix

scrapclayremix

This is the part where I wonder what the heck I got into. There’s a post on my blog from years ago titled 10 lbs of scrap clay. And it’s got stuff all neatly rolled into thick sheets and tucked into a shoe box. I have to laugh at Younger Me a bit… this tub was between 30 and 40 pounds of crumbs, packed tightly so that it stayed tub shaped when I upended it. My mission is to turn at least some of this back into usable material again. I did the same last year. I try to every year. And this may be the year I put 5 smaller buckets there instead and separate the crumbs by colour way right off.

First part was to break that up and set out wax paper for chunks to get organized by rough colour ways. Some of the most mixed bits went right into the clay patty pile to get rolled into sheets for usage as bulk fill. The piles that are organized by colour ways are ready to turn into projects. pics of things you can make with scraps

Made with Scrap Clay

I don’t use scrap clay in enough things – you might have guessed that because I have piles of it – but I do use the colour crumbs here and there. I make swirl beads and pendants, mirror image beads, scrap clay mokume gane and Stroppel cane things. I use the mud layers to build up forms and fill pillow beads. The canes and MG cover stuff like Easter eggs and rocks. I’ve made things straight out of scrap clay and then painted them but they’re not pretty yet so no showing those off.

All this to say, you’re going to make scrap clay. No matter how awesome you are with polymer clay. So it’s definitely worthwhile to pick a method to store and deal with this stuff. If we’re keeping score, I got through 23lbs of clay with this sort. There’s a little over 30 left in the tub so my initial estimates were way off. Sigh.