General info re making turquoise
....chunks + paint/grit added for matrix
....other ways to create turquoise
........other materials too
....more tips
, chips
Websites ( various types of turquoise)
....real-turquoise links

... basic techniques
.......mica clays
....more on faux wood (+ bark, knots, gnarled, carved, etc.)
Websites (wood)
Surface techniques for grain


General Info. re making turquoise

Real turquoise can have a lot of different looks, depending on where it's from and how it's been treated (or not treated).

It can be different colors or shades
..... Arizona turquoise is often much much more blue than Chinese turquoise, which is paler and greener, for example
.....you might want to go with zinc yellow if you add yellow to a blue to simulate turquoise stone ...cadium yellow is warm and a bit to the red side of yellow, so your mixes with it will be a bit browned down, where zinc yellow is a cool yellow and a bit toward the blue side of the spectrum. Anna

Turquoise can also differ in the amount of matrix (that's the dark stuff, or veining) running through it.... and can even be without matrix, esp. for smaller pieces.

Turquoise runs in veins of rock which also carry copper -- that's where the green comes from in fact, the oxidation of the copper.
.....So using copper metallic clay or copper leaf or copper paint or copper powder with turquiose, besides having a cool effect, is actually rather authentic.

.....most of the finished turquoise pieces described here can remain nuggety, or they can be created (or ground) perfectly smooth (if sanded long enough, or beginning with rough sandpaper --or can even be sanded into new shapes)
......even if nuggety, it's still generally wet sanded and buffed on the high areas.


chunks with paint, grit... added as matrix

lesson, from Desiree McCrorey, 07-96) ......NUGGET-type, antiqued after baking
a. Mix equal amounts of white and (Fimo Classic's) LightTurquoise until well blended and conditioned.... Add yellow to taste.
b. After desired color is obtained, let clay rest/cool, then place mixture into food processor. Process until small clumps form. Dump out onto work surface.
c. Gently press mixture into small nuggets, being careful not to press too hard. The nuggets should have gaps, pits, etc. Even with holes, however, the nuggets should be strong, sturdy.
d. Shape nugget to desired form. At this time, make any holes in the nuggets, if you plan to string them.
e. Bake pieces at 250 - 265 degrees F for 15 - 30 min, depending on size. Let cool.
If using raw umber acrylic paint, smear each nugget with paint, making sure the paint gets deep into the pits, gaps and crevices of each nugget. Use a stiff paint brush, if available. Before the paint dries, gently wipe off surface excess with a paper towel. Let paint completely dry. To quicken drying, heat in oven for a few minutes. Let cool.
g. Starting with wet/dry sandpaper (grit about 240), lightly sand your piece under a small stream of water. If a water flow isn't available, dip the piece and sand paper into cool water frequently. Next, use paper grit in the 300's.
h. Continue lightly sanding with grits 400, then 600. If you can locate wet/dry sand paper of higher grit values (800, 1000, 1200), advance through those as well. Rinse thoroughly. Let piece dry completely. Then (buff) polish the surface using a muslin cotton polishing disc until the surface has a high shine.

lessons on 2 veined turquoises with mica powders & black paint, from Elizabeth
nuggety faux turquoise with dark veining
...she uses several shades and brands of blue and green clays, chops in food processor,
...adds 2 gold mica powders, chops .....adds black Neopaque paint (acrylic, heat- set)... chops
... with gloves on, she removes some (now black) crumbles, presses them into a ball shape
....lets sit a few hours to firmly connect
.... bakes, then wet sands (lots of water) to remove most of the black ink
smooth turquoise bead with black veining, from Elizabeth
...follow above directions, but after pressing into a ball shape.... roll into a smooth ball (or other shape), let sit a few hours, bake, wet sand
http://thepolyparrot.com/faux_looks.pdf (requires Acrobat Reader)

Desiree's more advanced turquoise lesson .....this time, the simulated dark portions-veins will be made up of soft clay
...... plus then also SCULPTING-CARVING the turquoise into a pendant or SHAPE lesson)
......color ratio for clay : light turquoise, white, yellow
...process the turquoise-colored clay in a food processor till it's nuggety.
........moderately compress the nuggets into desired shape (in this case, like a big square with a hole in the middle)... leave some gaps, holes, between nuggets... bake.
...soften some dark clay for the veins (anthracite --dark grey with glitter-- and/or brown and/or black clay, perhaps with a bit of gold mica powder if no anthracite) with mineral oil
.........smear the prebaked turquoise pendant piece with the softened dark clay, schmushing the clay into every crack and crevice, then coat the surface with the dark clay ....bake again.
....Now comes the hard part (if you want a different shape)
........chisel, cut, carve, or whittle out your pendant from under its dark coating. (I know, it sounds weird and it takes a bit of time, so patience is vital).
....Then a thorough sanding is critical to smooth the pendant's surface.
.... Lightly smear the pendant with raw umber or burnt umber paint for aging effect.... Wipe/rub off excess.... Bake for a few minutes
.... Then, wet sand lightly with a 600 or 800 grit, let dry and polish (buff) using a muslin cotton polishing disc until your piece has a high shine.

Kathy H's lesson on making nuggety turquoise with lots of black matrix (raw turquoise colored clay, chopped, then covered with black acrylic paint.... black then possibly a bit of gold embossing powder added... nuggets pressed together and firmly over a pre-baked core of clay... baked... sanded down to reveal turquoise
...she also shows a nice onlay of nuggety turquoise used on the bottom of a pendant, and a small turquoise bowl

Janine's mosaic-looking turquoise
....several shades of blue-green clay...with a bit of gold mica powder and embossing powder in them... plus black and brown paint on the chopped bits.
1. Make 3 or 4 (or more) colors....turquoise blue, blue-green, translucent with blue-green, etc. Up to you what colors you want to use! 2. Also have some black, or black-brown, and some black-brown with a little gold-y Pearl-ex to give some sparkles.
3. Take some of the turquoise or green or blue-green colors and mix in some Verdigris embossing powder. Experiment with any embossing powder that is close to your colors, like Turquoise or Verdigris.
4. Chop up all your colors into different sized bits. It's nice to have a variety so that when you put it all together you have variety on your piece of "turquoise."
5. Apply a mixture of black and burnt umber acrylic paint to each pile of clay color. You can water down the paint a little, so it's not too thick. Don't make it too liquidy. 6. Let the clay and the paint sit for awhile. I found it was harder to put together the different pieces when the paint was still wet and goopy. It was easier to get it to stick after the paint has tried.
7. Gather bits of clay and gently press together. You should not be too concerned about it looking mis-shapen or anything like that. Maybe think about some areas being bluer, and some parts being greener. Add in some areas of black or black/brown. Take a look at some real turuqoise pics to get an idea of what you might like to make.
8. Gently form into your shape. Don't worry if some bits are sticking out, etc.
9. Bake at recommended temperature for your clay..... 10. After baking, take out, cool.
sand and bake:
....for taking off a lot of clay at a time, get some of that drywall screen mesh "sandpaper" to roughly sand into the shape you want. ....goes much faster! (be careful to not get your turquoise piece soaked with water --e.g., with a donut shape I made, I found that the water weakened the piece and some parts would start to fall apart; maybe it was that particular piece, or my baking. I just advise against really soaking the piece)
....go through a number of grits of sandpaper....320, 360, 400, 600, 800....what you use should depend on the finish you desire.
... buff on a buffing wheel, or with some denim or something like soft cotton material. Jainnie

Adria's lesson on mosaic-looking turquoise cane (with veining):
...mix together 1/2 turquoise (Kato clay) with 1/2 white & green (Kato) ...or Premo turquoise alone.
...separate in 3 parts... let cool at least 10 min (frig, if want)
...pull, break off, and/or rub the clay from each lump to create a pile of many small, irregular pieces in various sizes (if lumps gets too warm, switch to another lump)
......add both black and burnt umber acrylic paint onto the pile...toss pieces (on waxed paper) with wet paint till covered
......sprinkle on a small amount of well sifted, black potting soil, or peat, etc.
......spread clay out and let sit till totally dry to touch, at least 1 hr.
...press pieces firmly into a square log (or any shape you want, if not a cane)
...let sit a little while....reduce if you want ....slice cane
...apply slices to anything (or could use in other ways)
...if you have unfilled cracks after baking, push more paint and soil into them with a stiff brush ...wipe off with damp paper towel, and rebake 10 min ...wet sand and buff

Adria's half-rod turquoise bracelet (see Adria's mosaic cane tutorial link in paragraph above)
.... I rolled out a log of scrap clay, about 1/2 inch in diameter... I covered (a scrap sheet/) with my very thin cane slices (overlapping and pasta machining) and rolled it smooth ...(then applied over the scrap log?)
... using a piece of butcher's paper, I pressed down along the log, pinching slightly and smoothing to make the shape (rounded outside, flat inside)
...then I wrapped it around the wine bottle and sliced off the excess
...I added liquid clay for extra strength and smoothed the ends together, then I cured it! sanded and buffed Adria

(...see other ways to make this type of bracelet in
Jewelry > Bracelets )

Other Ways to Create turquoise

all-clay (no paint, etc.)

Nora Jean’s lesson on through-and-through-veined turquoise
(can be sculpted or shaped, etc., without losing veining):
...she puts blue, green & "granite" (black, white, translucent) clays in a food processor at the same time, ending up with nubby chunks
...looks like she then combines however many chunks she needs to create the size sculpt or mini-vase, etc., she wants to make

I mixed three different shades of blue-green clay
...then I combined them in chunk-ettes with very thin sheets of clay in greenish-black and gold for the veining.... (they're not "true" turquoise, but I get comments and questions every time I wear my necklace.) Tina

I created my own turquoise recipe since I had no idea how anyone else did it. . . . I used Turquoise FimoClassic clay, and then mixed a rust brown clay .... I added a small amount of the rust brown to the turquoise and mixed until it was like I wanted. Martywil

other materials

black? sand with burnt umber paint is what Tory Hughes used in her class to get that earthy look in her faux turquoise (and amber)...Sherry B.

shred some tissue paper (or was it paper towel?) and generously paint or dribble black acrylic paint on it ....let it dry.... then knead it into the turquoise colored clay ... bake... sand and buff
......Jean's lesson on using shredded tissues:

(I tried) crayon shavings of blue, green, a touch of orange, a whisper of gold, and black in sculpey III translucent (haven't ordered any premo bleached trans yet). Bingo! This looks great! I rolled it in black shavings at the end.
.....The only problem is that using this many crayon inclusions *seriously* weakened the clay, and the larger bead broke where I had it strung on the wire for baking, so I'd recommend this technique for cabs or smaller beads..... I then had to sand to smooth away the rough broken spot, which resulted in losing most of the black veining I had made by rolling it in black at the end. :( ...I would also recommend texturing your bead before baking. nicegirl512

You can get good results for turquoise with translucent watercolors mixed with rubbing alcohol.
....also, Pinata inks are alcohol based, and when dry mix beautifully with the translucent clays. Carolyn

More Tips on turquoise

Personally, I think it's important to make the turquoise nuggets FIRST, and add the matrix after.
......(You can bake the turquoise then add the matrix for the most dependable effect, but at least make the nice rounded nuggets first.)
The reason for this is that in real turquoise, the nuggets form and the matrix fills in around it, in the NEGATIVE space (meaning the shapes of the dark stuff are more star shaped or something -- concave? -- than the more rounded nugget shapes).
.....I don't think it would be as effective, for example, to chop both the turquoise and the matrix color in the food processor together -- the shapes would be the same, and some of the accuracy of the look would be lost
........ of course, this only counts if you are going for the realistic look -- if you want your own version which doesn't have to be authentic just cool, hey -- go for it!!!

Blue paint makes a good patina for turquoise . . . Syndee

Go get some drywall sandpaper and you'll find you can really 'shave' the piece into shape! So when you are forming your shape, first be sure to wash your hands. Press together just enough to get the shape, and to try to get the clay to stick. If it's bumpy, don't worry, you'll sand it down with that drywall sandpaper! Janine

(we accidentally burned our turquoise beads . . . ) However, all is not lost. My granddaughter applied some Rub 'N Buff to some of them and Lumiere paints to some others. I mixed some Pearl Ex into some Fletco and painted that on. We also left some of the blackest ones plain but sanded, buffed and varnished. Now we have some fair looking onyx and some other interesing looking metallics. Virginia in PA

bicones…Oh, yeah -- I also wanted to say that turquoise makes really great biconal beads -- you know, you roll the ball of clay with a flat object parallel to the work surface until you have a bead with two points -- the nugget shape stays long, the edge and flattens a little on the cone sides -- these can be stunning (see Beads > Bicones).

Making Turquoise INLAYS

Baked, flat-ish tiles (cut from a sheet of faux turquoise --or faux coral, or wood, etc.), or irregular bits of turquoise, can be embedded into raw faux ivory (or any kind of clay sheet or piece)
...tiles are often tiny triangles or rectangles, but don't have to be
...the whole piece is often antiqued after baking with burnt umber paint so that the slightly depressed area just around the tile is more delineated, and dark

Or. baked nuggets or even tiny turquoise molded shapes can be embedded into raw clay instead, or surrounded with a rope framing, etc.

Jeanne's turquoise nugget (not flat) inlaid into faux ivory

Helen P's inlaid chips of faux turquoise, coral, etc., pressed into faux ivory pieces
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=4530485&uid=531344 (---middle of page...click on all 3 photos of faux ivory)
Suzanne's faux? turquoise (& faux wood) embedded in faux ivory lid (black framing for each?)
Helen Ps' turq. and other chip inlays
Desiree's lesson on impressing inlays into faux ivory (see bottom photo for sort-of turq.)
Julie B's onlay of flattened, nuggety turquoise with heavy veining between chunks... on a bead of faux ivory
http://www.azpcg.org/members/julie_blankenship.htm (click > arrow till see all photos... click to enlarge each)
Tory Hughes’ carved/inlaid into ivory (Vol.2), also onlay (Vol.9)

Dayle's various inlays
. ...see Faux--Ivory for most examples of inset turquoise tiles and more instructions for inlaying them

Faux inlay could also be created by using turquoise clay (or a faux turquoise mix of clays) as backfill in stamped or carved depressions (after baking)
(...see more on backfilling in Carving > Backfill)

Or use crumbles of turquoise clay as inlay... with liquid clay coating on top to hold in
...I have seen jewelry where a (sand-textured) mixture of a semiprecious stone (like turquoise or coral) is mixed with epoxy, and inlaid into a depression in the surrounding metal. You see this frequently with Mexican silver jewelry (it is a good way for the jeweler to use up fractional pieces of stones).
...I've duplicated this look with intentionally cured polymer clay that I have ground up.
...place the crumbled clay (more or less?) where you want the inlay to be
.... cover this with a mixture of thinned liquid clay (half Diluent) ...mix it all together ....and pat it into place
(If you want a smooth surface for the inlay, after you have mixed the crumbles and solution, pour a thin layer of 1/2 and 1/2 liquid clay-Diluent over the crumbles mix so that you have a smooth layer of the fluid laying on top... if you don't have this smooth, top surface, you'll be sanding forever --I learned the hard way). Celeste

WEBSITES for all turquoise

Jeanne’s faux ivory & turquoise jewelry

Tory Hughes interview (one photo includes some turquoises)
Karen O's turquoise in jewelry
Tanya's smooth veined turquoise beads
Brigitte's fine veined turquoise
kpanner's nuggety turquoise
Kellie's nuggety turquoise(s) beads, flat on the outside (one color, and also several colors)
Diane V's smooth turquoise with lots of black, shaped as bear amulet
Debbie J's various turquoise examples ...nuggety flat turquoise pendant, smooth tube beads, spacer beads, etc.
Adria's "carved" turquoise goddess amulet (photos gone)
Greg's various turquoise (and face) (website gone)
Judith Skinner’s turquoise, jade, coral, ivory, etc.
(aol polyannie website gone, but someday at judithskinner.com?)

for Egyptian faience or "fake turquoise," see also Faux--many > Faience

real turquoise

Kathy G's real turquoise donuts, many with a lot of black
and with little black
http://www.rockhounds.com/rockgem/articles/turquoise.html (lots of info)
many photos of real turquoise (Google's image search)
....pictures of real turquoise, you might try browsing eBay in the Jewelry & Gemstones category. Thalassa
... great book from the library about turquoise ....Turquoise Treasures (The splendor of southwest Indian art) Photography by Jerry Jacka. This book is soooo inspirational and with very good pictures of turquoise!! Cristel



Add a touch of metallic clay to all of the colors you use for creating wood blends. The sheen imparted by adding a touch of gold or copper makes the realistic effects more acute. Katherine Dewey

Jeanne R's mini Finnish sauna scene . . . wood plank boards are very different colors of brown

Tracy VanB's wondeful faux wood BOH, with faux pewter and dings
Gini F's cool little BOH with (marbled?) faux wood, embellished with faux pewter

Basic Techniques

....I really like a transluscent pale yellowish color like Cernit's # 27 Champagne for faux wood - it seems to have a little depth when baked (because Cernit has translucent in it naturally)
Before stamping on the solid colored clay to create faux wood "carvings," I use flesh-toned clay, then antique with thick brown paint. Lisa

..To create the look of ebony, a dark wood with the grain so fine it's not visible, blend a bit of brown Granitex with Black clay. The brown fibers soften the appearance and dull the black. Katherine Dewey

(marbled) Here are the wood grain recipes I give in my making polyclay miniatures book. To get full size wood, just don't marble the colours together too long.
Mahogany: 3 parts dark brown + 1 black + 1 ochre (also a touch of red if the dark brown is a cool colour.)
Light Oak: 3 light brown + 1 dark brown + 1 ochre
Pine: 1 ochre + 1 beige + 1 white
....You take each colour, form a snake and then twist the snakes together, fold, roll, fold again, etc until the streaks are the right width. I have had people think these mixes were real wood many times. Sue Heaser

I have also extruded strands of clay through the clay gun ....and laid those out next to each other, and then run them through the pasta machine ...and it looks rather like wood grain. Patty

Suzanne's lesson on using strands, but also creating it with a more complex grain
...for light oak, combine gold, pearl, white, and ecru. Use translucent and yellow ochre for the strings.
...for driftwood, combine silver, pearl, gray, ecru, and cobalt blue. Use translucent and black for the strings. Suzanne

A variation of the faux ivory" technique of thin striations can be used for faux wood
..Marie Segal showed us this way::
...... take 4 shades of brown... stack them in a block light to dark... press down on the block to thin it
.......cut stack in half, stack again, press... repeat until you get the grain you want
.......then cut thick slices from the block, butt them together, and then put through the pasta machine to join.
o make what looks like wood grain, you can make somewhat imperfect faux ivory
.......by alternating layers of translucent, with an even mixture of white and champagne Fimo (rollling thinner, cutting in half, stacking those two, and rolling again, etc.--Tory Hughes' technique), only stop reducing before the lines are almost invisible as you would do for ivory.
...... after baking, stain more heavily than for ivory with burnt umber acrylic paint, or whatever, then wipe/rinse off excess. (If intentionally going for wood, you could make knots in the design, too, as a cane technique.) Staining with paint is key, though.
(any little marks you make, deliberately or accidentally, will take more paint and give an antiqued look.)
Nora Jean' has many faux tiger eye stone lessons for canes, colors and beads that can also look wood-like... many with thin striations, but some different

Donna Kato creates a striped log of three different greens, then twists it, compresses it, runs it through the pasta machine so that the stripes are perpendicular to the rollers creating a variegated stripped sheet.)
....if you substitute browns for the greens, you can create wonderful wood patterns.
......to make straight grained(or wood) , simply roll logs of varying shades…Stack to form a single cylinder and roll rapidly between your hands, then twist and compress to form a striped log with the stripes perpendicular to the long axis of the log. Flatten and run it through the pasta machine so that the stripes are perpendicular to the rollers.
....This last technique is a variation of Donna Kato's. You can use it (her method for making malachite) to make wood and ivory as well. Her book, The Art of Polymer Clay, is one of the best. Great photography, concise text, and beautiful work. Katherine Dewey

pulling & more contrast
I do a lot of wood work and have found the nicest comes from more contrast)
...start with about 5/6 colors black, a warm brown, copper, ocre, gold ...mix some tones you like but don't forget to leave some contrast
.......(if it is the Northwest or a damp climate, etc., add a mossy green).
...Mix all very well, and roll into snakes making your dominant color/colors larger, and highlights smaller.
...lay them in a random bundle with 5-3 of each color
...start pulling (this is where you want them all mixed well and the same consistancy)...if the log is too light for your taste, or too dark, then add additional snakes, but roll them back to size.
.... It will begin to look like wood but if you plan to work it alot, stop early before the colors blend into each other.

(....see below for how to use this final product to create knots, swirls, etc.)

What I do to simulate wood is basically mokume gane done with various shades of brown, or brown and white/offwhite. My supereasy mokume gane technique (based on Donna Kato's) is this:
Make sheets of 2 or more colors. If you want to add a metallic gleam (I don't for wood) , add imitation gold leaf on top of each sheet and roll over top (or put through pasta machine) to secure gold leaf onto clay. Layer the sheets on top of each other. Cut this combined sheet in half and lay halves on top of each other. Cut a strip off of the side of this combined sheet and roll like a jelly roll. Put this "jelly roll" under the sheet (spiral design facing up) to push up a "hill". With tissue slicer, cut off slices of this hill. From time to time manipulate the "hill" so that slices will look different and more like natural wood. The slices should look like they have concentric circles or rings like you would see in wood. Apply these slices onto object or onto another sheet of clay.

Claude's lesson on making wood, swirls, and knots.....using four shades of brown, in layers;
.....for lots of swirls in the grain: after flattening, cutting, and restacking a few times, indent one side of each two stacks in 4-5 places (across the stripes) with a small rod and place stacks together
...for knots in the swirls: do the indentions but then place dark clay logs into them before joining the stacks
http://www.chez.com/creabijoux/interieur/ATELIER/10_lecon.htm (click on l'Atelier, then click on "Du "bois" polymère" for lesson...it's in French but the photos are clear enough to understand)

I had a happy accident that turned out a nice wood look (using a jellyroll cane)!
... I used Fimo translucent and added a little bit of gold clay to it. .....Then put it through the pasta machine till I had a nice slab of it.
..Then I put a layer of gold foil on it and rolled it up into a jelly roll cane... I was trying something from a Donna Kato tape. But I didn't like the slices!
...So I absentmindedly cut part of of the jelly rolls the long way
..... and that was so cool looking that I laid long slices next to each other onto a switchplate and it REALLY looked alot like wood.
... I think it would've looked more like wood if I'd added a bit of brown to the translucent... or even 2 tints of brown, and just marbelize instead of mixing completely.

When I needed weathered wood for a sculpture, this is the method I used:
.......stack slabs of white, black, translucent, brown "granitex", raw sienna clay ...then compress it slightly.
.......twist, fold, and compress the block... repeating this process about 5 times to partially mix the clay creating a marbled block.
.......roll it to form a log.... then twist the log to create a striped spiral log ...and compress
.......use a pasta machine or roller to make a flat sheet of clay from the log, rolling it so that the stripes are perpendicular to the roller (the width of the striped log will be the width of your sheet of wood).
......cut into planks.
.......white and brown embossing powders were then worked into the white and black clays. It is a method I still use. Katherine Dewey
...what about those wonderful ridges and gullies that weathered wood gets? I figure some part of the wood is softer, and decays easier, it would stand to reason that softer wood was the innards and the harder stuff was the bark.
.......then after a plank is cut off your trunk, score the lighter parts with some clay tool, barring that I'd lay it on something textured to get ridges, a bamboo sushi matt might be good. Nora-Jean
Gwen Gibson's various fauxs, especially aged wood beads and carved aged rock

bamboo (using opaque or mostly opaque clays)
...the best tutorial I have seen is by syndee holt & Marie Segal in Expressions magazine, Jan/Feb 2003
.......the color was that perfect light beige/green ....and great faux growth lines and textures
.......the article also lots of different ways to use the bamboo from surrounding a votive to beads to windchimes! Karen
...Kellie's faux "bamboo"--ivory... (possibly ivory technique used for grain lines??) (website gone)
bamboo (using metallic clay)s:
... "holographic
bamboo".......take a double thickness of metallic or Pearl Premo
..........lightly slice across the top with a wavy blade, leaving it looking slightly corrugated
........ then use the edge of your blade to make random marks across the ridges
..........run this through your pasta machine

...NoraJean's lesson on "faux abalone" would make a good sheet of bamboo if gold mica clay were used instead?
.......she creates a sheet of thin stripes, then folds them almost accordion style but tilted so each fold shows a wider edge... then flattens, adds a backing clay to thin the pattern, flattens again... folds again, flattens again
...NoraJean's lesson on making a sheet of bamboo with square canes
of mica and translucent clays (with several wraps)
.......Skinner blend of translucent-black-burnt umber, to gold... rolled into spiral cane gold on inside...wrapped with layered sheets of the two colors...cane squared... then cut & stacked in strips...each square cane concaved a bit...flattened
... Annie's faux bamboo (mica Skinner blend) cane (website gone)
sculpted bamboo
...NoraJean's lesson on making sculpted bamboo for a bracelet

using mica clays

James L's various wood grain effects using mica clay
... I rolled out a whole pound of just gold Premo until it was all smooth and shiny....then I stacked sheets into thick block.... I cut slices off the block...and poked dents or put bits of gold onto the front or the back of these pieces....then ran them through the pasta machine to smooth them out. .....the direction the block is sliced.... how thick it is.... and which way it goes through the rollers has everything to do with how it looks. James L..

Fimobob's lesson on creating realistic wood grain with mica clays
....use any of the mica containing clays (see Mica)
....he creates the different shades/colors of wood with Premo Gold mixed with just enough Pearl, Red Pearl, and/or Green Pearl to darken or lighten it.
.. roll each sheet in pasta machine till shiny, then roll into log; really twist log until twists are ~ 2 mm apart.
...roll through pasta machine ( log lying along rollers) in same direction till as thin as you want
(see more below in Parquet)

Daphne's mica wood-look http://www.polymerclayhaven.com/guild/ktapcg/micaswap.htm (PCH gone)

Donna Kato's tapered, sliced ingots? . . . alternated, uneven, mica layers
. . .or simply squashed Skinner Blend logs stacked many times?.... look like unfuzzy caterpillars or grubs, or wood

NoraJean's various uses of mica clays (which look like faux wood)

*Denita's woven-look box, covered with rows of chevron shaped sheets of twisted mica logs (some silver twists are used as warp/weft lines)...looks a lot like wicker !
http://djoneofakindcrafts.com/micashift.html (see more on this twisted technique in Mica > Mike Buesseler)

Jeanne R's lesson on applying shavings from mica clay ghost impressions. . . one of the bead photos resembles tiny faux wood tiles, or even a honeycomb (very dimensional effect)
...could use all kinds of shaving shapes too

...see mica clay bamboo ideas just above also
(see also Mica for Mike B's football-shape technique with wood colors)

..other methods above could also use one or more mica clays

parquet, etc.

Btw, when speaking of wood...
--marquetry is decorative work in which elaborate patterns are formed by the insertion of pieces of material (as wood, shell, or ivory) into a wood veneer(after a comparable piece has been removed?), the whole of which is then applied to a surface as on a piece of furniture (for more on marquetry, see Pietre Dure in Mosaics)
--parquetry is decorative work in the form of (usually geometrically) patterned wood pieces pieced together ....especially for floors

Both of the above use color and shading to give a 3D effect. . . .

..Bob Wiley's lesson on creating a parquet effect with his faux wood from different shades and shapes of clay, puzzle pieced together
(not actually inset, but built like crazy quilt pieces... .see more on that kind of thing in Sheets of Pattern > Crazy Patch):
....make a straight cut across one sheet of clay and lay it on a base sheet ...make a straight cut across a second sheet of a contrasting wood shade... then butt it against the first ( #2 abuts only an outer area of #1) rolling it down to avoid bubbles (he cut 2 sides of #2 before laying, or cut the second side of #2 after laying?) ....for the third and any other pieces, cut them to fit the two straight sides of the previous ones (using a template to help?) ... press together gently with flat rubber shaper if necessary.... cut final shape and bake (be sure to orient the grain "stripes" in different directions for the best effect)
.......the cuts can be curved rather than straight, or be cut from the interior (as with an inset)
more of Fimobob's beautiful geometric wood parquet and onlay examples.... all browns, and colored
Bob Wiley's necklace, other jewelry, and his Jacob's Ladder (cascading clacker toy) tiles

...Tonja's similar faux wood pendants, but highly colored
...Cheryl's similar highly colored faux wood pins... one textured... and added fine glitter or mica??
http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/claypen_pins.html (click on 3 photos in top row --Cheryl)

I made parquet patterns for pins in my own playing around with the gold (Premo) clay with mica in it by using tiny striped canes... I arranged slices of the canes into patterns...... I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life, however, it looks so much like wood that people all assume it IS wood! And when I start saying: "No, look at this! IT's all clay! Gold clay!" they just smile and look completely baffled. Valerie
...Valerie's egg made with gold mica Premo and black --not faux-wood, but illustrates the coloring
http://www.homestead.com/falczx/Eggs.html (gone?)... now at http://www.vaharoni.com ?

More on Wood ....including bark + twigs + knots + gnarled + "carved" wood

I've been doing Marie Segal's trick of cutting the "dead face" of a block of stacked layers with the wavy blade. WOW...what a different kind of (mokume gane) it give me. All kind of 'wavy' and ripply like the grain in wood. Carolyn

wood or bark texture
...create large striations in the raw clay with a dental tool or spatula... then draw a toothbrush along the direction of the grain ..... follow up with alcohol to soften the sharp edges, if needed. Dan P.

Before baking, I lightly score lines to simulate wood grain .... after baking, I apply brown acrylic paint and wipe off the excess (antiquing).
ou might also use a stencil to help with the grain effect. Provo Craft makes a "Crisp 'n Clear" stencil (41-8151) called "Bricks, Rocks & Wood." Michael's carries them.

How about making a large polymer rolling pin "texture" mold-sheet that you had impressed over real wood, rolling it over the gray or brown raw clay
...antique by washing over the surface with diluted black acrylic paint and wipe off surfaces.

Kim Cavender's weathered wood ...heavily sculpted-textured, then antiqued (as cuff bracelet)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimcavender/2570835574 (see others in photostream top right, as well)

bark . . use your multi-needle hair tool or a stiff-bristled flat brush (or an old toothbrush) to create a striated pattern.
. .. soften this effect with alcohol.

I would take my colors, I used about 4 because of it being bark. I then made snakes different widths and lengths and also I didn't line them end to end, I would make some … Roll them, ( making sure they don't twist too much, keep them pretty much straight, after a while you might want it to twist, just a little) this you have to keep working it until you like it, but I roll and fold in half, roll/fold roll/fold. This gives you the grain.
.....to get the knots...... fold it in a 8 shape but don't have the ends touch right in the middle, have them off centered. Make it a loose figure eight. shape one of the ends to look like this @ sort of. But not so pronouced.
Take some scrap and roll/fold, do this maybe 3 times and flatten the clay and look at the design. You'll see where the ends have the curve where it was folded. If you do the loose figure eight in different parts of the snake and then flatten, I hope it will look like the grain in wood. . .

I haven't tried this yet, but it seems like really thick, very dimensional bark could be made using the sides of a stack of torn clay sheets... in other words, tear down the side of a sheet of a fairly dry clay like Fimo Classic (or leach it first), which will leave a rough and uneven edge... then tear off as many layers as you'll want... stack them together, or use slightly different browns/grays ... then use the torn sides your surface, trimming the back sides away to the depth you want. DB

next I'll try a large layering of thin pasta strips, and roll a thick old log from it
... then I'll core out some areas on that log and insert reduced "branches" making my knots in the wood
....cut lengthwise (?) for is that not the way trees really are, rings running down the trunk, cut lengthwise, with knots only being the bases of branches? Nora Jean

Jill Willich's amazing bark and twig figures made from faux bark (Old Sap) .. with lots of texture, graining, knot ends, etc.

Debbie J's crooked smooth twig beads (with holes across bead near top, for hanging many from necklace)

Alexandra's barky tree ...burned out ...cutout facial features... many birds in what's left of branches

*Annie's fabulous tree & bark (website gone)
Valerie's scene plaque of tree/leaves/flowers/vines http://falczx.homestead.com/PCC2001.html (gone, but here's a similar one:

Irene's birch bark slabs ... ivory slab distressed then antiqued (and sponge painted a bit?)

real textures of many different kinds of bark
... photos enlargeable too (might also be interesting to make transfers of these textures)
...I like to get inspired by looking at daily calenders by Sierra club.

bark lesson using torn marbled sheets overlapped on a base sheet
...marble several bark-like colors together depending on the color wanted ...don't forget grey tones!
...roll out the sheet on a medium setting, and leach it between two sheets of heavy cardstock for several hours or overnight
...take the sheet and rip it in thirds.
...one sheet leave alone, one sheet texture with sandpaper, and the last sheet texture with whatever - texture sheets, balled up aluminum foil, real bark...this sheet is REALLY textured.
...tear the sheets into small pieces (I like long and skinny but all shapes work)
...layer these pieces over a scrap clay base for the tree or twig (layer, smoosh and even roll some peices up to make them thicker)
.......if I want my bark to have a lot of "shingle" to it (think pine tree), then I make sure to leave some edges free.
.......if I want a smoother look I lay out the torn peices with less overlap.
...When it looks mostly right, texture it again to get rid of finger prints - usually with sandpaper and stylus.
...Bake . . . .then antique with acrylic.
And for white birch bark try layering a pieces from a mix of whites and pieces from a mix of black and dark browns. Smooth the white layer and make the dark layers really bumpy. Turns out pretty cool. chelliebell

Lynne's beautiful "faux Ukranian birch bark" boxes
...cane slices and onlays made from of diff. shades of brown, cream, reddish brown etc., used as embellishments
http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/claypen_tins_boxes.html (click for enlargement)

"carved" wood
... I think I discovered a new technique! As you know I'm working on a mini town and the first building is the church. This is for the bas relief wooden doors for the church. I wanted them to look like carved wood, but knew that there was no way I could bake a hunk of clay with wood grain and then carve it to get my design. . . .
This is the method (lesson) http://www.heartofclay.com/pc/tutorials.htm
-- First I made a very plain relief sculpture (of Christ with arms open).
-- Second, I made snakes of clay and built them up on his body as if folds of garment.
-- Third, I used strips of faux wood cane and carefully laid a pattern over the entire piece with the exception of hands and face as they will be "faux other material or painted wood". Strips were gently pressed into the folds.
-- The face and the hands are just roughed in. Also I may use some finish to rub in grooves to show more relief. Here's a close-up...
........... I normally draw out a pattern and put under glass when I start this kind of thing. I usually use Cernit for bodies and it is very hard to smooth out and get quick definition---but I got some of Jack Johston's Pro-Sculpt and I can tell you that this is a superb clay for sculpting especially in relief. I don't have to have any pattern as you can just go to it. Jeanne

Kevin Buntin makes 3-D "carved" wood heads (with pine cones as hats and moss for hair)... don't know if these are real wood or not, but could be done as faux wood too... color could be added in the same ways we'd color the suface of a flesh-colored face

using copper metallic powder in the depressed areas of stamped or carved black clay is a bit reminiscent of flat carved wood too

(see Carving, for Turning (baked polymer) on a Lathe ...... and Covering > Veneers for making veneers to cover wood)

Jeanne R's woven reed round box and lid (for mini "sewing supplies").. made with twisted ropes spiralled like Balinese Filigree over a form

Jeanne R's sauna walls using contrasting planks of wood color

Tommie H's rough-hewn, light-colored wood plank, used as a background for a transfer

for that dead haze effect in the distance, I just did a 2" forrest scene, and covered the back trees with VERY thin translucent tinted with green... I doubted it would work, but baking brought out the colors and it is spectacular.

(see lesson above on "pulling & more contrast" for recipe... then:)
......for gnarly branches (my fav) then pull very thin, and twist a bit
......for flat finished wood, pile ropes in flat manner (rather than round), and then roll or till you can run through pasta maker, but doing so will lose actual texture of grain. I've attempted to add grain, and found it looked horrid, so I usually roller lightly, and not at all if going for actual tree. .
......you get nice options for knots and branch spots if you twist and push together, rather than pull, esp. for actual trees.

Lorie's gnarly branches http://www.polymercafe.com/feat_of_clay/follett.html

"knots" (in wood or bark) are just bulls eyes, only smaller. Nora Jean
....to create her knot-looking clay, Heather P. uses bullseye canes with multi wraps of various browns and translucent
(..I first made the basic grain with snakes from my colors of different widths and lengths, but didn't line them end to end… roll them making sure they don't twist too much, keep them pretty much straight... after a while you might want it to twist, just a little.... then roll ... fold in half... repeat, repeat)
..... to get the knots from that basic grain...... fold it in a loose figure 8 but don't have the ends touch right in the middle, have them off center... then shape one of the ends to look like this @ sort of, but not so pronouced.
....you get nice options for (exterior?) knots and branch spots if you twist and push the ropes together, rather than pull, esp. for actual trees.

thin slices from canes can be used to to create "pictures" by being onlaid onto a clay base, then flattened into the clay
......can simulate things like branches, vines,stems, trunks, leaves, flowers, cones, etc.
Jana's faux wood "branches" with dogwood-like flowers
(see many more flowers, leaves, and vines especially in Canes-Instr > Flowers > "Slice Painting" flowers & leaves)


more Websites for wood

Nora Jean's lessons ............on various faux woods
... also putting wood grain in molds for faces, etc.
Marie's lesson using stacks (and ripple blade for knots/rings)... dark wood and blonde wood
Barb's lesson on making wood with stacking bits and strips, rolling, chopping, thinning, rolling, and cutting planks (to make bucket)

Teri's bucket and grain using Barb's lesson
CreaBijoux's lesson on making wood (stacks of Fimo's terra cotta, caramel, clear chestnut, white...with indentations)
http://www.creabijoux.com (click on Atelier/Workshop in the upper bar, then on Du "bois" polymère at bottom)
Sara's wood-like beads (gold Premo, black)
Paulo's faux dark wood shapes for necklace (stamped and antiqued with raw sienna acrylic paint and incense ash) (if these aren't supposed to be faux wood, they could be!) (website gone)
Shelley Attwood's faux dark, bone/ivory/wood rock pendant with carving

Varda's dark faux wiid barrette, with textures, lines... dark antiquing in one area almost looks like wood is burned
Lynne S's faux vines wreath
Kate's faux wood barrettes, with onlays
Kathy G's faux wood hinged frame for pin (part like slats) --impressed and antiqued
NOW AT? .... http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/AlbumList?u=4153008/1017001248-001509.html
Jeanne R's wood hut (back of) with one knot

real Bodhi tree beads

Surface Techniques
for wood grain

These are not caning or sculpted clay techniques.
...Instead they change just the surface of clay (or paper, fabric, etc.) to resemble the graining found in wood.

--In general, a base color is applied to something, and left to dry (dry coat)--(or the original color of an area is left as is.
--Then a glaze (a translucent color of some kind) (wet coat) is spread over the base color and manipulated while still wet by drawing tools/combs down it, dabbing or streaking with dry brushes, spattering, etc.; the new layer is left to dry.
--Other layers can then be added, or a final color can be used and mostly wiped off to "antique" the finish or to change its predominant color.
...use for a single surface, or cut into shapes or strips for onlay, marquetry, mosaics, etc.

Some possibilities for the wet coat could be:
...opaque colors could be used instead of translucent "glazes" (opaque LS, or Diluent-clay pastes, e.g.?)
...inks, powders on raw clay or powders mixed into clear sealers, tinted LS or varathane, even possibly crackle medium . . . or anything wet or movable)

....a wood grain tool ("rocker," "wood grainer") (large, curved, rubber "stamp" on a handle, with raised, concentric, half-circles)

This tool can be used to make faux wood grain with nested curves, knots, and straight grain.
...the tool is pulled down in one stroke over a section of wet glaze, etc., while being rocked slightly, and leaves a convincing wood grain pattern... if the tool is rocked a bit more, it creates a knot
... the strokes can be overlapped on a previous line of graining

... paint will accumlate in the grooves of the tool, so remove every so often

... there is a notched edge on the tool which can be used to give a tighter grain? .
...may come in different sizes?
...the rubber stamp part may be removable to use by hand... rolling it tightly will produce a finer grain?

other "combs" and wood graining tools:
....A hardware store tile-layer's adhesive spreading tool (flat, notched) allows you to comb paint on clay (especially interference paints) (Elise Winters showed that)
http://www.plaidonline.com/productDetail.asp?itemID=30124 (Multi-Purpose Comb, notched edges)
...Martha says you can make your own comb by cutting into a rigid material such as plastic, rubber or even cardboard (or use a rubber squeegee or a potter's rib), creating regular or irregular teeth or V-shaped grooves along the edges
...or bevel the end of a piece of corrugated cardboard with a razor knife. This will expose the ripples in the cardboard.
...could you tape several of those rubber tipped shaping tools in a row (or pencil erasers, shaped or not) then use as a comb?


other looks/techniques:
...for a softer effect, go over the still wet, combed areas again lightly with a clean paint brush, flogging tool, or rag . . . or use cheesecloth over the tool before combing
....and /or, add a final color "antiquing" to soften or actually change the color

....if used with an applied color which is the same but slighly ligher to the base color, the effect can look like moire silk fabric http://www.generalpaint.com/silk%20moire.htm
...spatter the piece, then drag a dry brush through the spatters to create grain (this gives complexity, ages, or simulates certain types of wood)
...drag steel wool through wet glaze (more subtle grain and looks good for wood seen up close).
...flogging ...there are specially designed flogging brushes but a regular paintbrush will work. ..take your dry brush and pat while dragging it across the piece, creating a delicate small grain that can look very realistic when viewed closely.(can also be done over already painted grain pattern).
...pushing firmly down on bristles near the stock of the brush a very coarse effect is obtained. By pushing lightly on the tips a very soft antique is achieved.
...faux malachite finish..use a rag to apply the paint, then drag a piece of corrugated cardboard gently through the paint, wiggling it side to side to create the striations of malachite.
.......or Paint on a glaze in very dark green. Take a small piece of torn cardboard and scrape circular shapes into the glaze. Back up with a lighter colour green.
You might also use a stencil to help with the grain effect. Provo Craft makes a "Crisp 'n Clear" stencil (41-8151) called "Bricks, Rocks & Wood." Michael's carries them.

...more detail on some of the techniques
http://mmd.foxtail.com/Archives/Digests/200206/2002.06.05.05.html (tips on faux wood grain, with other tools)

CORK ...& corks

How would one make a cork for a champagne bottle? Lori
I think there should be a number of places to buy corks, esp. from some of the scientific or bottle suppliers; check this page for some possibilities: http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/supplysources.htm

As for how to simulate corks with clay, there are a few considerations first. Will the corks always be out of the bottles (and need to be only approximately the right size), will they be in the bottles, or will be be both and removable? If they're always out of the bottles, fit won't be a problem.

.... looking at the patterns on a small cork I happen to have right here, I think you could use striations of two light beigy-browns (running up and down the cork), with perhaps some random marbling of those two colors here and there. The top of the cork shows tinier striations. There are also uneven dings all over the cork which you could simulate by pressing on the cork shape before baking or scratching/gouging after baking with various tools; then antique them with a brown acrylic paint. Some of the dings are considerably darker than others, so you could perhaps use a darker brown or black for some of them.
(You could also roll your sloped log in some light and dark brown specks to simulate the dings before baking.)
I might also suggest cutting the top and bottom ends of the cork off *after baking* since a cork's shape is so sharply defined. If they will be for pins and you want sort of a bas relief effect, you could also cut them in half lengthwise after baking and use each separately for pins.

If the you're making acutal corks which will be in the bottles or need to be removable, this might get a little more difficult. In making stoppers for my small glass and plastic Bottles of Hope, I noticed that a really good removable fit can be made by making sure there is no clay covering the interior and top of the glass rim; otherwise you can't make as tight a fit, or the stopper will always need to be oriented exactly to the slight variations in the clay on the rim. What are you using for the bottles? If glass, then you won't have that problem.
BTW, the clay stoppers I make for the tiny glass bottles *seem* to expand a bit in baking and don't seem to go back into the neck as far as they did before baking. I don't know how to explain this since if anything the clay is supposed to shrink a bit with baking.
At any rate, a cork should be as evenly sloping on the sides as possible to look right, so maybe that won't matter as long as you leave enough inside the bottle to begin with.
If you want to check out some of the BOH or other glass bottles that others have made, here are a couple of pages with links to them: http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/BOH.htm and http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/covering.htm#glass. Diane B.