Striped Jelly Roll Polymer Clay Cane
Let’s learn to make a very basic polymer clay cane called a jelly roll cane. It’s a very simple one and a great one to learn to start your caning skills. Here’s what you need:
- Two contrasting colors of polymer clay. A 2 oz. package of each color should be plenty.
- Tissue Blade
- Pasta machine or acrylic roller.
First, you want to condition your polymer clay well. If you need to learn about conditioning, you can go here.
- Using half a package of clay, roll out your two sheets of contrasting clay on your pasta machine on its thickest setting or use your acrylic roller. A pasta machine will make them a consistent thickness.
- You will now want to make two matching rectangles of clay. If they don’t match perfectly, that’s ok. You can lay one on top of the other and trim them.
- Place the one sheet on top of the other being careful not to trap air in between. Start at one end and lightly press the sheet as you lay it down to avoid air bubbles. You can then take your acrylic roller and gently roll just the very end to flatten the sheet to a point. This will be our starting point for the roll.
- Begin your roll by rolling up the flattened end carefully and tightly. Take your time and keep it even as you go. You don’t want any air trapped as you roll so go slowly.
- Keep rolling until you get almost to the end. Before ending the roll I like to trim the sheet at an angle, making the inside color slightly shorter than the outside color. This makes for a better finish.
- Using your finger, smooth out the edge. You now have a basic jelly roll cane! You can stop here or…
Let’s Add Stripes!
- Using the other half of each package of clay, I have rolled out two more sheets on the pasta machine at its thickest setting and trimmed them. I decided to make them each a double thickness for thicker stripes. You can do this or just use a single thickness. Place one color on top of the other and trim if needed.
- Cut this piece into three even pieces and stack them carefully.
- My stack was a little uneven so I popped it into the freezer for a few minutes. I like to do this before trimming a stack if my clay is soft. If you try to slice off small amounts when the clay is soft, the blade will drag down the clay. I then cut thin slices lengthwise to get striped sections.
- Cut your stack into slices. We will use these to wrap around our jelly roll cane. Place them along the outside of the jelly roll cane lengthwise.
- If your striped pieces aren’t as long as your jelly roll, that’s ok. Just trim the jelly roll. Save the trimmed piece for later.
- If you get near the end and see that a full slice won’t fit, trim a slice and add what you need to fill the space.
- In the photo above, I decided I needed just two more stripes to fill the gap. So I took a full slice and trimmed off two stripes.
- You will need to add an even number of stripes to keep the colors alternating on the cane. Gently roll your cane to attach the stripes. Then let the cane rest before reducing.
It is very important to let your cane “rest” before working with it further. This means to let it cool off. Your hands will make the clay soft as you work with it. If you try to slice it or reduce it’s size, it will become distorted. I learned this the hard way. I worked for hours on a butterfly cane and reduced it (which means making it smaller in diameter). I was anxious to cut into it. The image came out very distorted. The jelly roll is simple in design and won’t change much but if you slice it while it is warm, the tissue blade will drag the clay down.
That’s It – A Striped Jelly Roll Cane!
A cool variation of this is to use a Skinner Blend as your inside color. You can learn this awesome technique here.