July 1st, 2017 is not only Canada Day but the 150th one. I decided to write up – properly, I mean – a tutorial for a Canada flag cane to celebrate. Happy Canada Day! This cane makes great little slice beads as well as being useful pretty much however you want to use canes.#canada150

This tutorial doens’t have any blends but it is picky. Use a stiff tissue blade and be careful about your cuts. On the other hand, the crooked, slightly warped canes I’ve made were still identifiable and kind of charming.

Set Up

Step 1: You’ll need about two packages each of red and white clays. I used Premo Pomegranate and Premo White. A tissue blade, a roller, a pasta machine, scissors and a print out of this document for the template shape.

Step 2: Print out the Canada flag template document at actual size. For the tutorial, it assumes the middle section of the top two flags on the document are about 2″ or 5cm across.

Step 3: Cut out the the maple leaf from the flag. I also cut the stem off at this point so that there’s an almost flat bottom to the maple leaf.

Making the Maple Leaf

Step 4: Open and stack the red clay packs on each other. Press them together to get them to stick to each other without trapping air.

Step 5: Cut the red clay into a 2″ or 5cm diameter square so that your maple leaf fits well on it.

Step 6: Stick your template to the square, with the bottom of the leaf on one of the edges. If it wiggles add a dab of white school glue to the clay stack and the paper to temporarily stick it down. You can wash or scrape it off after.

Step 7: Pick a spot to start at – I recommend across the top, cutting the extra clay off – and start scoring lines. Use a ruler to make sure the scores and shallow cuts follow around the block. Make your slice.

Step 8: You’ll be cutting away the red clay from the template so that the revealed part is the maple leaf. I’ve numbered the order I made my cuts in.

Step 9: Once you have the revealed maple leaf, more or less as you want, lift the template. If you used a bit of glue, rinse that off.

Adding the Background

Step 10: For adding the background white to the cane, I did it the same way as above except that the parts you slice away will be what you keep. Stack the 2 packages of white clay and make sure it sticks together. Cut it into a 2″ or 5cm diameter square.

Step 11: Stick the template securely on your stack again. Like last time, pick a starting spot. Score lines and cut as neatly and simply as you can.

Step 12: These are the cuts I made – axactly as I did for the red – but you should work it out the way it works best for you.

Step 13: I worked back and forth between cutting white pieces and adding it to the red maple leaf stack.

Step 14: Add a little filler white if you need to, using white clay strings, nubs and a needle tool to tuck it into tight spaces.

Step 15: Once you have the white surrounding the cane on three sides, we’ll build up to the stem and add that in.

Step 16: Roll out sheets of white and red clays on the thickest setting of the pasta machine

Step 17: Cut the white clay into strips the size of half the bottom of the stack. Lay them until they come up to where the stem will go.

Step 18: Place the stem strip.

Step 19: Build the white up on the other side

Step 20: Lay a layer of white, on a thicker setting of the pasta machine, all the way around the whole maple leaf and background stack.

Step 21: Compress all of the layers so the white is nice and smooth and the cane is well squared.

Adding the Bars

Step 22: At this stage, I tend to reduce this white square, cut it in half and put half away for later. I reduce the cane until it is 1″ across using a combination of pinching, squeezing and pulling evenly on each side. You can use a roller to roll down the length of the sides of the cane, rotating between rolls. Don’t squish the corners or roll the actual cane.

Step 23: At this point, I add colour bars on each side. If the middle portion is 1″ wide I add about 1/2″ or a touch more of red on each side. Press the red in firmly so that there are no air bubbles.

Step 24: Compress your cane, smoothing it out. You reduce this cane the same way you do other square or rectangular ones – careful squeezing and pulling and using a roller and a flat surface.

This cane makes great little beads – what I mostly use it for.