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Polymer Clay Citrus Cane Tutorial

Fruit salad anyone? I've currently been making citrus canes to slice up and embed in clear resin pendants, but I can see the worth of these canes in many different applications.

I've got five different citrus types here: lemon, lime, pink grapefruit, orange, and blood orange. There's also other variations that you could make work very nicely!

Translucent polymer clay
White polymer clay
Polymer clay in rind color
Polymer clay in fruit pulp color
Cutting blade
Pasta roller or acrylic rolling tool
Parchment paper

Let's get to it, shall we?

Begin by conditioning enough clay for six wedge-shaped sections in your fruit pulp color. Here I'm using a bright lemon yellow, and I've got four completed. Keep your fruit segments equal in height and width. If it helps to create a large circle first, cut into six wedges, and then soften the edges, feel free to do so.

Now that you've got your evenly-sized six fruit segments, we're going to create the membrane on the outside of the pulp. In this photo, I'm using translucent clay with the tiniest dab of white mixed in. Run through pasta machine on smallest setting, or roll out evenly into a thin layer with acrylic roller. Note that I'm only wrapping the internal V shape of the wedge. The external edge of the sections will get wrapped together at the end. Trim away the excess translucent clay from the edges of each wedge.

Roll out a small snake of white clay, approximately 1/4" in width. Cut the rounded edge of one end to make it blunt, then cut the snake to the length of the wedge. Arrange the wedges in a circle around the center white cylinder.

Squeeze six wedges and center white cylinder together until there is no air trapped between the pieces, then wrap with translucent clay rolled out on the second setting on your pasta machine, or to an even thickness of between 1/8" and 1/4" with your acrylic roller. Wrap translucent clay around lemon segments, then press out air bubbles. Trim overlapping clay, and any clay hanging over edges.

wrap in rind color
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The final layer is the rind of the citrus. Here I'm making a blood orange cane, so my rind will be a deep reddish orange tone. Your rind should be at least as thick as your membrane layer that was just added, if not thicker. I often go with twice as thick a rind layer for definition as the cane is reduced.

It's time to begin reducing the cane. Keeping solid pressure toward your work surface and working from just outside the edge of the cane toward the center, start squeezing the cane evenly on all sides. Occasionally press straight into the work surface, and don't forget to work evenly around the edges of the cane to prevent distortion.

continue reducing cane
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Once you have reduced the cane down about halfway, I tend to cut half the cane for later. You can always reduce a cane further later on, but once it's reduced, it is as large as it will be without distortion.

In this picture, using the pink grapefruit coloring, I have one end of the cane reduced to the final size and one end reduced to the size for storage.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Using a polymer clay cutting blade, slice thin pieces off your finished canes. Lay out on parchment paper and bake according to your polymer clay brand's manufacturer instructions.

Citrus slices are so cute, they can be embedded into resin, glued to scrapbook pages, added to jewelry pieces, or used as miniatures.

I hope you enjoy making these fresh little wonders. They even look like they would smell good!

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