Polymer Clay veneer

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

One of my favourite processes in creating with polymer clay is Mokume Gane. In this video, I use the process to create a veneer, which I can then make to make pieces of jewellery.

Here is a pendant I made using Mokume Gane:

Here is a quick summary of the process behind creating this block of clay:

  • Take three colour sheets of clay, with good contrast in the colours.

  • The three sheets are stacked (put on top of each other) and run through a pasta machine on the thickest setting; this new sheet is cut in half, restacked, and run through the machine again. Repeat again, so it goes through the machine three times in total. The do one final cut in half, restack a final time, and roll with a roller, just to make the two halves stick.

  • Press in your designs, with anything you find. Circles are good - try jam jars, or plastic cookie cutters, but nothing with too ‘sharp’ an edge – you want something that drags a bit through the clay, rather than cuts it cleanly. Try ever widening concentric circles (that effect of a stone dropped in a pond) or circles intersecting.

  • Press the block of clay back together. This block of clay is called a mokume stack.

  • Press the clay stack firmly onto your worksurface, so it doesn’t budge when you start to slice through it.

  • And finally, slice – with a sharp tissue blade (watch your fingers!). Slice across the stack horizontally – the thinner the slice you can cut, the more pieces you’ll get from the stack. Hold the blade firmly at each end and pull through towards yourself. Make sure the blade isn’t tilted downwards; if it is, it will cut a thicker and thicker slice as you go.

  • A tip: Use some scrap clay on the base of the stack; it gets harder to slice well the lower down the stack you go. The scrap clay allows you to keep slicing right through to the last of the good clay.

  • If, as you slice further down the stack, the patterns disappear, make more patterns with your tools, squash the stack back together and go again!

I love this technique - its amazing what each slice reveals

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