May 5th, 2006 I demonstrated a way to make an ivy leaf to some fellow clay enthusiasts – super slow cam day and so that wasn’t the most useful demonstration. As promised, though, here it is written up as a mini tutorial.

What You Need:

  • a 3-4 ounce Skinner blend of your ivy colour, grading light to dark, into a plug. I used Fimo Classic’s ‘Green’ to Fimo Classic’s ‘White. I toned the green with translucent and a little grey coloured scrap clay, about 1/4 of the green in total OR
    an existing leaf cane, in the same quantity. If you use that, skip to ‘From 1 Point to 5’
  • 1-2 ounces of a darker shade of the ivy colour, in my case dk. green
  • translucent or background coloured clay, amount depending on how complex a cane you want to make
  • tools: pasta machine, work surface, blades

Instructions for Skinner blend plugs can be found on my Skinner blend plug page.

Blend Plug to Simple Leaf

Take your Skinner blend plug and shape it to a simple half oval shape so that the lightest shade is at one end and the darker at the other. The easiest way to do this is to round the plug slightly and then press it against your work surface, flattening one side of it.

Roll some of your contrast colour out to a medium setting on the PM. On my machine, that’s a 4. Cut two veins into the plug, at a slight angle. We are aiming for half of a simple leaf cane with this. Insert two sections of the dark shade into the cut plug and heal the plug.

Compress and stretch the plug until you have a length about 3 to 4 inches long. Cut this in 2 pieces. Roll a bit more of the dark green on the pm to the same setting to make the center vein. If you prefer thicker or thinner veins, here’s the time. Insert it between the two and heal the leaf.

You should now have a simple oval leaf shape with a center vein and two small veins on each side of it. The one in the demo I left un-outlined but you could easily outline it in the dark colour right now. You’ve now got a simple leaf cane you can use as is or proceed onto our Ivy leaf.

From 1 Point to 5

The ivy leaf I am demonstrating here is a five point ivy – the center part is the cane we’ve just made stretched a little taller. The rest of the cane is reductions of that leaf arranged around the cane and a little section of dark green tucked into make a ‘stem’.

First, reduce and stretch the simple leaf to a good length, maybe 6 inches. Cut in half and put aside half of that for the center section. Reduce the remaining part again, to 9 inches. Cut that into 3 approximately 3 inch pieces. Set two of those aside, these are your ‘medium’ leaves. Reduce the final, smallest piece to about six inches and cut in half. These are your two smallest leaves. This should leave you with five 3 inch pieces.

Stretch and flatten the center section slightly to get the center shape. Do the shaping for the two medium pieces and lay them the length of the center shape, pressing firmly in. Finally, take the two smallest sections, shape and fit them in, slightly pointing down from the other sections, to make the last points of the ivy.

If you intend to outline your ivy, as I’ve done, roll some of the dark green to a thinner setting on the pm. Carefully wrap the cane, pressing it flat and popping air bubles as you go. Once you have a neat wrap of the cane, trim the edges and clean it up.

Background for your Ivy

I packed my ivy cane in translucent clay but the choice is yours of course. A background colour will make the cane much simpler to reduce and work with.

On this cane, I wanted a small stem coming out from the bottom center and leaning to the side. So I wrapped the translucent around the cane a few times, leaving a small gap on the bottom where I wanted the stem. After a few layers, I took a short sheet of the green, made a triangular stem shape and plugged it in to the gap. I continued wrapping with translucent and packing rods of it in until I had a shape I could safely reduce.

Design Considerations

Some of the cane I made into round, single leaf, cane. Some I left leaf shaped. Some I reduced and combined to form ‘sprigs’ of ivy. Depending on your project any or all of these might be best for you!

Round, leaf shaped and sprig of ivy canes.


Some beads & pendants I made with these canes