What is this "mica shift" stuff?
Sort-of basics
Which clays work?
Mica powders, flakes, tiles
Some good color combos
Mike Buesseler
Pier Voulkos -- Invisible Canes
Other techniques
Ghost Image
...gen. info
...stamps, texture sheets
...shaving ....sanding
...other tech's

MICA effects

The metallic clays (gold, silver, copper ...as well as the red/blue/green metallics of Premo brand) have a special property (sometimes referred to as " mica shift ").
....The pearl clay of some brands also has the same property, and can be mixed with regular clays to achieve many more mica-laden colors (adding too much of a regular color clay, however, will limit the mica effect)... the resulting mixed colors will be lighter and less saturated or actually tints/pastels).
.... the tinted pearl-based clay (mica-based ...which I used for my thin appliqued slices) seems to be more opaque than most clays- not surprising, with all that mica in there, I suppose. Alan (therefore the thinness of the slices wasn't a problem when laying them on a darker clay)

These particular clays contain small flat flakes of mica, which after manipulation allow them to appear as either of two tones of the basic color used.
...If the particles in the clay have been "aligned" (with all their wide sides flat and facing the same direction), light is reflected from the clay in that area and it will appear to be very bright, shiny and pearlescent.
...If, however, the mica particles are randomly distributed thoughout the clay, or if the aligned clay is placed on its side so that what's seen is the edges of all the flakes, very little reflection will occur and that area will appear darker, dull and not pearlescent.

Using these tones next to each other can create patterns which are made from just one clay.
.....with this mica shifting, you can actually make a surface which looks incredibly dimensional (and holographic), but which is actually perfectly flat . . Julia
.....most people want to touch the surface of the clay at that point, unable to believe that that it really is flat <g>.

When you first open a package of one of these clays, the mica doesn't look very impressive ...the clay is usually dark and flat appearing.
When you slice off a piece and put it through the pasta machine though, you'll begin to see the beginnings of a brighter look.
If you then fold it in half and run it through over and over, the entire surface of the clay sheet will look shiny.

I've heard that the new Makin's pasta machine leaves a fine grain patterning in mica-containing clays put through its rollers

The mica particles in the clay can be aligned in various ways . . . by pressing them, stroking them, or pulling them.
...The whole depth of a clay sheet can have its particles aligned by repeatedly passing it through a pasta machine (folding it over in half each time), or rolling over it with a brayer. . . Pier Voulkos also pulls and restacks ropes of clay, repeatedly, to align the mica particles.
........ the whole depth of a clay block can have all its particles aligned by cutting and stacking layers from an aligned sheet (see ingots below).
...The surface of a bit of mica clay or a cane slice with mica clay in it can be rubbed with a finger, or rolled over with a roller to flatten the particles.
.........using baby powder while doing this is good too (however, if you try to sand those areas after baking, you will erode that surface and expose the deeper mica flakes which are not laying flat, creating dark spots ...sand as little as possible anyway...Elissa (to avoid going too deep, past the point where the alignment is best)

The basic special effects possible from using mica clays were introduced by 3 main PIONEERS, as far as I know:
...canes --slices from which are taken, sometimes applied to sheets ...Pier Voulkos
...blocks (or "ingots") of stacked sheets of aligned clay --- cut into thick slices and recombined, even in different orientations... can be cut apart, or twisted... other surface techniques.... Mike Buesseler

..("ghost image") ...sheets of thin layers can be stacked --then stamped or otherwise impressed and shaved to reveal the patterns beneath the surface ...Jami Miller

The clay brand which contains the most mica in its metallics and its pearl clay is Kato Polyclay (though it has so much that it's a stiffer clay), followed by Premo . . . and some of the new FimoSofts --Mar.03 (now it's all of Fimo's? --Nov. 03)
. . . .the old Fimos and Sculpey III, however, had/have very little or none, and don't show much effect).

You can enhance the mica clays (including the "Pearls") by adding translucent to them (can't use Kato clay alone for this though....must at least mix with Premo).... what that does is to spread out the mica particles and that enhances the way the light catches it. . . . another great "stretcher" for the mica clays is Premo's Base clay.
...mixing Premo bleached translucent into Premo gold in the same manner, and then mica shifting it? It's fantastic! caneguru

Jody Bishel's quadruple steps for lots of depth & richness in stamped/molded gold clay... she "antiqued" in crevices with burnt umber acrylic paint for deeper definition...then highlighted with gold Pearl Ex in varathane.... lastely, sev. layers of TLS to cover all...baked.

To some extent, mica clay can be made from non-mica clays by adding mica powders. You'd want to use the clearest clay you could as the base though because that will allow the mica particles to be seen deeply from the surface (for more on doing this, see below under "Powders & Mica flakes, sheets/tiles")

WHAT is this stuff called MICA? (.....the technical stuff, for those interested)
are a group of minerals composed of layered sheets (of silicate tetrahedrons).
. . .
Mica comes in two main forms...muscovite is a shiny & silvery, especially in sunlight where it reflects the light (biotite is black).
. . .When just one layer of mica is flaked off, the layer is transparent.
...some uses include heat-proof windows on heating stoves and cooking ranges... it has a very high melting point and it a good thermal insulator; used in irons where other insulators would melt and in the electrical and electronics industry.
...Other uses include Christmas card glitter and anit-fouling paint for marine ships (paint with mica in it flakes off and prevents barnacles, etc.


some Basics

(see more details & lessons below)

mica stack 'ingot' (a Mike B term): a square or rectangular block of mica clay which has been created by stacking sheets of mica clay which have been run through a pasta machine several times to align the mica flakes in the clay
If you take your aligned sheet of gold clay and cut it in half, then again, each time stacking it on itself, you'll end up with one slab or block that's very shiny on top..... If you cut straight down through this slab, you'd see that the side perpendicular to the shiny side is a darker almost brown, and not reflective like the top. Julia

Kellie's various "mica shift" effects from just marbling, twisting, folding, etc.... or putting strips or chunks together

lesson on making a simple striped sheet by cutting a thick sheet of aligned (shiny on top) mica clay in narrow strips (height and width must be same), then turning every other strip 90 degrees so its darker side is up (yielding a dark-light-dark-light-dark-light...sheet)...sheet is used as a background only here

making a striped block:
....you (can) rotate your aligned stack by 90 degrees so the bright gold face is on the side, not the top.
...cut a slice from that 'ingot' so you have the gold showing along one edge.
...stack the gold edge, then add a sheet fresh off the pasta machine until you get a striped loaf.
........Depending on how you make your cut you can get obvious stripes or subtle stripes. Nan
. ..Krista's striped ingot loafs, etc. (the rectangular beads at top http://www.nwpcg.org/photopages/may2000.shtml
....Mike's ingot slices actually using two colors of clay as well (stacked and alternated so that both colors shift), in this case; the colors are alternated by color and orientation before cutting?
*Irene's lesson on using a stack to create a very thick mica sheet and layers.
.. .. she then cuts into strips, turning every other one 90º (creating thick stripes), flattening, then using this sheet to cover a scrap shape
Donna Kato's tapered, sliced ingots? . . . alternated, uneven, mica layers . . . look like unfuzzy caterpillars or grubs, or wood

Ginny's lesson on a mica shift jellyroll cane (spiral), made by rolling cut strips of pasta machined clay laid next to each other,on top of a flat sheet of pasta machined clay . . . also shows how to get the dark sides for a cane
Blyn's spiral cane of different colored metallics, cut into thick slices then flattened and applied to a tin (one slice shows the gold outer wrap very dimensionally

Roll a sheet of the clay (I especially love the gold) until it is shiny. You can thin it down to about a #3 on the pasta machine or leave it at the #1 setting. Then roll the clay into a spiral (or jelly roll) cane (with a sheet of another clay?) . Slice thin pieces off and place them on another sheet of the same color of pearl clay. ("invisible canes")

You can also just roll a simple log of the clay and slice off thin pieces and place on the clay sheet. Try overlapping some of them. Then roll once thru the pasta machine on #1 setting. Then add a few more slices. Roll thru again. If it looks like enough, you can then roll down to a #2, then #3. You will see that the cut surfaces are duller than the rolled surface. This causes the illusion of depth. After baking, wet sand very well and buff.

Try this with all the different gold cane (patterns) you can think of. Remember: it is the movement through the pasta machine that causes the slices to become gold-looking. They will distort, but this is part of the plan. To minimize complete distortion, don't change the settings too radically...go one at a time.

I have also added little strips of regular clay between some of the layers. That can produce an interesting contrast with the very translucent clays. Kat

Mica clays extruded from a clay gun .... this is just a guess, but it seems like the center of the extrusion would have it's mica lined up perpendicular to the length of the barrel since it's being pushed and scrunched by the plunger (not sure how well though)... but when the clay actually gets pushed through the opening in the disk, the outer parts would get pushed parallel ... so if you cut a cross section of a log, for example, maybe what you'd see would be a very shiny center and a dull outer wrapping (with the center getting a bit duller toward the wrapping)?? ... but the exterior of the wrapping would be shiny???

If you apply an aligned sheet to the surface of a bead, you will be able to sand a lot more vigorously without sacrificing the brilliance. Elissa

I ...am having trouble making a seamless joining on beads with mica shift patterns... where I join two pieces, the seams are darker....
...example---I use the texture sheets and remove the top layer of clay to get design. Smooth it by running through the pasta machine. I then wrap the mica shift sheet design around a tube bead. Where the design meets, I make a slant cut (tried both angles) or butt together. Even though I have matched the design perfectly, the overlap of the joint has a line either light or dark according to the cut. How can I avoid this? Jeanne R.
...This is a good question. I think that most of the time when mica clay patterns are used, they either extend past any edge one might see (e.g. on a pendant), or become part of the pattern as when stacking canes together for more complex canes or acting as a frame/definition line on the edges..... I guess I'd try to bevel the top edge to be joined as thinly as possible, and/or stroke or press something/anything that might help before or after joining. But I'm not sure that how the dark gold can be avoided in a stretch of shiny gold. How about those of you who do pens with one sheet of manipulated mica?
...Here are more possible solutions:
.....cover each cane slice with plastic wrap or patty paper and rub with your finger
....use a pottery scraper to slice through (the ends) ....since it's dull, it pushes the mica down as it cuts so it remains shiny gold.
....in closing those seams between my pieces, the cut surfaces should pe pressed together, NOT smushed. If you smoosh them you will get dark spots where the mica was disturbed, instead, stretch the clay... Flint.
....stroking darker areas can restore the shininess and re-align the mica flakes sometimes.
....Donna Kato butted her ghost image sections together ....a disc was cut out from the butted-sheets with a small round cutter, and then replaced with a gold disc cut from another ghost sheet,,, but since the sections were of diff. colors, the seam may not have been as obvious?
http://www.katopolyclay.com/gallery/autume_leaf.jpg ...full lesson on Projects page (via Acrobat Reader) http://www.katopolyclay.com/projects.html

Which clays work?

Kato Polyclay:
......Donna said that they put extra mica in the metallic & pearl clays to give it a heavier metallic/mica shift but because of that it is a little harder to condition and is a little drier (crumbles more easily). I really didn't find it all that difficult to condition ... you just have to be aware of it. catbyte
...The Kato metallic clays have so much mica in them that I have heard Donna say you can mix them 50/50 with translucent. I've done that and still get a significant mica shift effect. Lenora
~Vernon told her that ... the mica effect of the metallics and pearls carries over even when only small bits of them are mixed with other colors!
...I played with my Kato Gold the other night and am LOVING the way it holds the shift! It ran thru the pasta machine several times and the shift was there to the bitter end! That's 5 times thru the machine! I've always had to "under-touch" ALL the other golds I've worked with because the shift would disappear. Laurie in Utah
.......I cut off a 1/2" chunk and ran it thru the pasta machine...without even warming it in my palm...and yet, it holds up like Classic FIMO does (after it's been fully conditioned...). Laurie
...The Kato Clay metallics have much more mica in them than Premo which is why they appear more dry. Donna ...showed samples of the metallics "diluted" with translucent. Mixing 50/50, or 1 part metallic to 2 parts translucent still had a very pronounced mica shift effect. Lenora
...The silver Kato clay is really lovely. Donna was doing some mica-shift projects with it which were stunning. Dotty
...Has anyone tried sanding the Kato Clay yet? I've been experimenting with faux mother of pearl and used Kato Pearl. I covered some pens and found that it was soooooo hard to sand, gunked up the sandpaper (on the mica-containing clays only??). . . almost like sanding something coated with TLS . . .Kathy
..The grit wears off my sandpaper very fast when I'm sanding it and it doesn't seem to work as well as it does with the other brands. I use 220 to start with and I'm thinking of getting some even coarser for the first sanding. Trying to sand mica shift stamped things flat takes forever....I just picked up 150 grade sandpaper today and I'll see how that does...Dystini
Another possibility - quite a while ago Donna mentioned she was sanding Kato Clay dry, no water. Might work better on the big bumps. Linda (wear a mask? Kathy)

I still prefer Premo's Gold (over Kato Gold), but I love Kato's copper and silver. (It's a color and texture difference.) I think the mica particles are little showier in most of the metallic Premo; maybe they are larger than those in the Kato?? Because of this, I may go back to using Premo Pearl white. Jayne

A blend of Kato and Premo translucent works like Premo-only does, and can be stretched (so the mica particles are stretched out and the light catches it even better)...and has a mica shift wherever I press on it ...a blend of Kato mica clay + Kato translucent combination holds its shape better and has a uniform color and shimmers a little more, but won't stretch. There will certainly be times I'll prefer the Kato, it just depends on the effect I want. Leslie

The Premo gold has the MOST mica effects in it (until the Kato mica clays came along).
.....followed by Premo's copper, silver, blue and green ...with red being the worst :) JAN @

the "PEARL" clays (especially Premo and Kato Pearls... see below for Pearls in other brands)) have mica in them also
....(Premo has plain whitish Pearl... and also green, blue and red "Pearls")
...plain Pearl clay is really nice because you can mix regular colors in with it and make some nice mica-shiftable pastels as well (see Pier's pages of mixed pastels below in "Pier & Invisible Canes".
.....you will still get the shift, according to Mike B, if you don't use too much of the opaque (colors mixed into the plain Premo Pearl clay)...he told us to experiment. I've mixed 1/4 opaque lavendar with (his) "platinum" (see below) to good effect..... while I didn't ingot the color, I still got a nice effect. Trina (website gone)
...Premo plain Pearl has no pigment (all you get is a fairly translucent clay with mica in it)... the reason is so that you can tint it whatever color your little heart desires. You can add a little white, or you can add any other color - it is made to be flexible. Jami
...I noticed that the one heart I have made of Kato was considerably whiter than the ones made of Premo! In comparison the Premo looked almost yellowish. kae lyn
....I like some of the yellow-greens and some of the blues-greens MORE with the Premo than with the Kato... in those cases, its yellow caste is a plus..... It's nice to have access to use both Premo and Kato. Anita


(some don't work, some do work but perhaps not as well as Premo & Kato above)

some FimoSofts do work, some don't:
DO: Gold FS11, Copper FS27 , Silver FS81, probably Metallic Pearl FS08...plus Sapphire Blue FS38 and Emerald Green FS58, and Ruby Red FS28 (DON'T: other FS colors may have "Metallic" in their names, but contain no mica--only glitter)
those either do reasonably well --or may have finer-grain mica particles or less total mica since at some point it's been reported that they produce a weaker mica effect .. (however, not sure what the situation is now ... and/or that may have been truer in the past than it is now)

Cernit's "pearlescent" colors
....Cernit's mica clays don't mica shift as vividly as Premo & Kato, but they still are LOVELY.
...best results come from colors that have lots of Pearl White (#110) added to them. PöRRö
......(so the effect of their plain Pearl is probably stronger than their colored ones)
Sculpey III metallics & pearls will do some of the same things, but it's a lot more subtle than the Premo.
I especially like the greens. JTAFT

some of FimoSoft's "Metallics" do not work at all.... those colors have glitter in them, not mica!

(Fimo Classic no longer makes metallics or mica-containing colors
........Fimo Classic's old (discontinued?) "anthracite" did do well for "invisible" canes though. Faun

(mica) Powders ... Flakes... Sheets-tiles

Mica is a naturally-occurring mineral (a silicate), and has unique high-temperature (fire-proof, non-flammable), electrical (low heat conductivity, etc.), mechanical, and optical properties
...occurs as tough, flexible, very elastic(?) sheet-like flakes (pressed into "blocks") which can be split apart into transparent thin sheets... low toxic

Mica powders, flakes, granules, and sheets are used in various ways by crafters, in industry, and in other ways.
...may be used as additives and fillers for pearlescent effect... also in cosmetics, paints, soaps, and used with rubber stamping, papermaking, fused glass, etc.

photos and some suppliers of powders, .flakes (var. sizes), granules, and sheets (tiles)
http://micasales.com (info, and all kinds of uses)
http://www.craftiestuff.com/micaflakes.html (flakes colored with a "non-toxic pigment")
http://www.craftiestuff.com/mica.html (mica powders and mica paints, including interference)
http://www.stampstruck.com/mall/perfectfxpg.asp (Perfect FX brand of powders, granules, etc.)
.......(see a few more just below)

...or try a paint store....we got them from Benjamin Moore, I think, for our ceiling (paint?). ehl

To make your own "mica clay," you can actually buy mica powders and flakes yourself, and add them to translucent clay --or Premo's Pearl? clay
....can also break or grind flakes (and granules?) to any size you want
....Dianne C's lesson on usi
ng mica powders in translucent clay to create mica effects (Pearl Ex & Powdered Pearls... proportions used were 1 block Premo bleached translucent (better than other translucents) clay to 1/4 rounded teaspoon mica powder;
........mixing 2 mica powder colors (here, Gold Dust or Gold Dust mixed with a color) seems to enhance the mica shift properties. .

flakes....some of the Perfect FX "powders" (see link just above) are 3 sizes of flakes and granules, and will produce the same "shifting" effects when used as an inclusion in clay
....they also
give a different and attractive effect to polymer clay work
..."mix into any natural, paper, or polymer clay for beautiful marblizing effects...."
.... i find that even the flakes are 3 sizes ...gold flakes come in med and large; the Antique Pearl are as large as 1/2". Maize, Wedgewood, Brick, Lilac, Willow and Apricot each have flakes, granules and powders mixed together so if you have one of these colors, you can get an idea of the range of sizes. Gold Dust and Copper Grande are examples of what I would call granules to powders and probably the most "powdery"...not like the very micro fine Pearl Ex powders, but more grainy...like a grainy embossing powder. But, it is mica.
... the Sparkling Champagne and Simmering Crystal are good examples of granules...like salt on a pretzel rod or sugar that you'd use on top of Xmas cookies. Stardust small and Stardust med actually are two different sizes of granules. This mica is -- at least to me -- simply amazing. Dianne
...I'm sure art stores carry them.

... it doesn't stick to the clay (if laying on raw clay in more than one layer)
.I don't know what the point of mixing it as an inclusion because then you lose the mica quality of it
.......(if flakes are used, in translucent clay, then all the flakes will need to be aligned in the same orientation for the mica properties-"shift" to occur)
... I've just started doing collage on paper for greeting cards and I can see where the stuff might be useful there.
....it could be glued on though, and then a finishing varnish applied so the laminations don't "shed." Jacqueline

tiles... (sheets of mica which can be split apart into individual "leaves") are natural mica (many layers compressed together)
....these can be used as mixed media with polymer clay in various ways
.....can be torn, cut, and even trimmed with fancy-edged paper trimmers
....highly heat resistant, acid free and lightfast..... splitting the layers apart will increase the quantity
...pressed flowers, pictures, photos and stamps can be sandwiched in between the delaminated layers, which can then be re-adhered using Perfect Paper Adhesive-Gloss, Ah That’s Great Tape, or UTEE (or the tiles can be adhered, possibly mosaic style, to other surfaces using them)
....can use techniques such as painting, collage, stained-glass effects, embossing and debossing...
http://www.usartquest.com/products/index.html (click on Creative Essentials, and then on Mica, then on More Info)
... to find more lessons (cards, lampshades, etc.), go to http://web.hgtv.com/hgtv/web/advancedSearch (choose the Carol Duvall Show, then enter the word mica, and sort through the results)
..transfers onto mica tiles ....Mica Tile Transfer Technique (lesson) using USArtQuest's Duo Embellishing Adhesive and their Studio Paper
...."Studio Paper"... a transfer paper accepting most inkjet inks ...ink will not dry onto the surface, allowing for easy transfer of photos and reversed text....durable enough to be used several times, with only a gentle wet wiping in between transfers
(can also be used as a palette for oil paints, acrylics, solvent-based inks ... paste paper techniques, monoprinting etc ... or protective worksurface
...Duo Embellishing Adhesive (like "sizing"? or white glue? or Tack it Over and Over?) ......a traditional glue when wet, but dries tacky (then it's repositionable) ...transparent, water soluble, fast drying, acid-free...adheres to glass, paper, plastic, wood, mica and other surfaces.
..Perfect FX Mica "Embossing" Tiles ...3 sizes: Regular - 2"x5", 1/2 oz bags, Really Big - 5"x7" 1/2 oz., Grand Effects - 8"x10" (2 tiles)
.......the pale rose-colored tiles have a clarity which make them suitable for “windows” and clear embossing techniques....the greener colored pieces have rusty areas of organic growth patterns within them and these darker pieces are perfect for mosaic and stained glass effect)
http://usartquest.com/products/ (3 sizes of tiles...click on "Creative Essentials," then scroll down and click on "Mica")
..The Dragonfly wings are made from (regular) mica tiles. I bought the tiles at a rubber stamp store but you can order them from USArtQuest.
I do not use wire on the wings. I know it looks like wire but what I did after stamping the wings (tiles) with the permanent ink is to cut the wings out, then separate them by putting my nail between the tiles and splitting the wings.
Then I mixed some Duo yellow-green and Duo pink-blue Pearl Ex with some Perfect Paper Adhesive and spread a small amount of the mixture between the mica wing layers. Put the layers back together and stick them into the clay body of the Dragonfly and bake. Note: Mix the two above colors separately before applying the mixture to the wings. Do not use too much of the mica powders with the adhesive. It takes a very small amount of powder.
After baking the Dragonfly I used a gold leaf pen to outline the wings with the gold edging. Matilda Colf
Matilda's plate necklace using mica tile (website gone)
Shellac-Bond mica tiles ... (shades of amber) many layers of regular mica tiles, with shellac in between each layer... various shades of amber....hard and stiff, but can be bent with a heat gun, as well as cut, punched, drilled, scratched, painted, inked, embossed, etc.
http://www.twocraftyladies.com/page6.html and http://www.twocraftyladies.com/page62.html (click on mica FAQ's on left)
...Carol Duvall shows using shellac or regular bond mica tiles to make a luminaria, nightlights, sconces, transers, etc.... to find them, go to http://web.hgtv.com/hgtv/web/advancedSearch , choose the Carol Duvall Show, then enter the word mica, and sort through the results

see more on all mica powders and flakes in Powders > Mica > Suppliers/Brands.... and other places on that page

see more on mica flakes, glitters and other inclusions on the Inclusions page

Some Good Color Combos

One other thing with the Premo metallic colors.
I found that if I get the gold, the red, the copper, the blue and the white, I could mix just about any color I wanted.
....I find the mica shift with the copper is better than with the red, but when mixed with other stuff gives about similar results. NF

Pier Voulkos' samples of colors achiveable by mixing Pearl clay with regular clay colors . . .and her invisible canes
http://www.clayfactory.net/pier/PIER1.htm (click on all 4 pages)
I work in layers (pale gray pearl base with translucent over on top, then straight pearl), which makes for neat effects....
...rub the pearl to align the mica (baked inbetween )... adding a gloss of Varathane makes the pearl pop (I was trying for mother of pearl so it's not what I planned but I really like how it turned out.) 10more

Barbara McGuire's samples of metallic clays (Premo's blue, green, red Pearls) mixed with regular clay colors, themselves, & some plain Pearl)
NoraJean's many things made with a blend of red Pearl, blue Pearl and green Pearl with gold for a rainbow cane (bright pearl colors!)
http://www.norajean.com/Biz-Archive/ColorCards/Samples/Card-004.htm (esp. pages 4, 5, 6)

Here are some of my favorite color combinations...and they all seem to work just fine to achieve the hologram effect:
1 part plain pearl to 1 part regular purple makes a pearlized purple
....then 3 parts of this to 1 part red pearl (makes the coolest magenta color!);
1 part green pearl to 1 part blue pearl (makes an "Hawaii ocean" color);
1 part green pearl to 3 parts gold (makes a funky limey-olive green);
3 parts gold to 2 parts black (makes an 'antiqued brass' color);
2 parts gold to 1 part red pearl (makes a rusty-orange);
....3 parts rusty-orange mentioned above to 2 parts black (makes a bronze color);
...3 parts gold to 1 part rusty-orange mentioned above - then 3 parts of this to 2 parts black (makes an antiqued gold' color)
I've now actually got an entire color palette (about 150 diff. colors) that I made using only Premo pearl colors in various combinations and in various ratios.
(I've been doing a variation (a little different technique but same effect) of this 'invisible cane' or holographic look for a while, having no idea there was a name for it! As I started to read this thread, I realized that it's basically the same thing. Anyway, I've had good luck with this method using all the pearl colors I've tried.) Kris

(Mike B's "platinum"--- see just below)....I prefer the silver Premo mixed with an equal amount of pearl --it's a nicer silver, IMO. You could also tint it slightly by adding a little regular color with the pearl. Irene
I just wanted to add that you should make sure that the sliver clay sheets you use have been run through the pasta machine so that the mica is "shifted" to where it's nice and bright. And, after the piece is baked, if you sand it, and then buff it, you'll be surprised at how "silvery" they are. Dotty

To get gorgeous undertone of age and warmth, I combine Premo's Gold clay with a bit of Premo's Raw Umber clay --about 4-1 in favor of the gold.... it makes an absolutely stunning Skinner blend, and also a great mica shift). jilla

.....for many more recipes and examples of colored metallics, see Color > Metallics & Pearly

Mike Buesseler's mica techniques

(see much more, and Mike's definition of an "ingot," above under sort-of Basics...many of the things under Pier's Techniques below probably belong more here since they start with ingots, but many of the same things can be done with blocks created either way)

*Mike Buesseler's many examples of using mica clays in all kinds of ways
teacher Mike B at San Diego guild class... photos
of stacks, lockets, twisted beads
*Mike B. --lots more beads, leaves, etc.! (website gone)
another Mike B class (CAPCG Retreat) (website gone)
(Mike's bio and some pictures) http://www.npcg.org/milehigh/retreat.html (gone)

In Mike's Magic of Metallics class,.Mike will discuss the properties of Premo metallic and pearlescent clays, introduce the concept of "foliation," ingots, chatoyancy, and explain the special properties of (mica clays)and how they can be used to produce a variety of dazzling, shimmering metallic effects.. .
...Mike's video covers the same things "Mastering the New Clays: Metallic Clays" (no longer easily available--boohoo)

slices of holographic, wobbling dots
--make stack of 5-6 layers to equal a square cane
--cut down the stack lengthwise (middle?)
--then cut other sides, leaving just the core
--can take slices (crosswise) and butt them... or slice or reorient in diff. directions
--or can then put twist through pasta machine (like Pier is developing?)
Ziggybeth's wobbling dots slices? cover a box

long holographic bead...with illusion of stripe down the center
......(VERY neat illusion!) ......
these beads look like they're lit from inside! Elizabeth
Make a Skinner Blend sheet of any metallic colors, shading light to dark
Roll up into a cylinder, lightest color in the center ...(works with solid rectangle too)
Then cut a section, say 2" long. ....and stand it on end.
Cut slabs/slices off the outside of the section, making the log into an octagon
....Sanding and buffing are an absolute, almost, with these to bring out the effect, but be careful, you can lose the shape in sanding (make sure to use a flat bottom container to sand on).
.......Every part will be deliciously glassy. . . .these beads aren't on the video. I didn't have them then. Mike
......for that particular holographic bead I used a Sk.blend of gold to a gold + burnt sienna mix. Mike
... the slices you cut off of the holographic beads are way to cool to throw away…I roll those up, inside out, into more beads. Mike B.
http://thepolyparrot.com/mikeb.html (green beads---gone now--will be back?)
(see Sculpting/Body > Eyes for flattening the slices somewhat to use for animal eyes)

stack of graduated mica layers for (beads)
..Krista's mini lesson on making Mike's tall, octagonal-cut beads
....from each side, the bead looks like a stack of 10 layers of graduated golds ...(when turning the bead, the lighter gold will be lower down, on the next side--stepwise mica gradations).
...(he begins with squares of metallic clay.... stacks them in 2 repeats of 5 (=10)... each square is rotated in the horizontal plane relative to the one above it (and below it)... he trims off the extruding corners of the stacked squares to create a tall octagonal-sided bead)
...more examples of how the octagonal-cut beads could look ...now probably in a link on this page:

4-sided, "football"-shaped bead
on cutting this shape bead by Desiree
(based on Mike B. class)
Linda G's football bead with mica shift http://www.nwpcg.org/photopages/may2000.shtml (gone)
....(see more in Beads > Football)

I NEVER use plain silver. I always mix silver with pearl 50-50.. I call it Platinum. So, mix platinum with anything to lighten and brighten it.
Think of gold as yellow. It will yellow anything you add it to...(I wouldn't bother mixing gold and blue. You just get an odd (but nice) green.). . . If you mix a fair amount of platinum into any othermica clay, they really coordinate well.
....Be careful adding (too much) non metallic clays. Some things will kill your metallic, like white. STAY away from white. It's too opaque...
...color combos: Premo purple and platinum is great, and Platinum and magenta. Mmmm.. . . About 50-50 on those, maybe less with purple.. . . I'm not sure about fluorescents?.....might work. Mike B.

I usually work in one color until I know what I'm doing.

stroked with tools to make patterns visible in aliged mica surfaces
.......I used used implements to drag out a starburst over an individual spiral cane slice, etc)
...Elizabeths' examples of Mike Buesseler's "dis-aligned" mica surfaces, but dragging implements across the face of aligned mica, or here even poking holes... beginning with thinner slices from the ingot or other aligned clay will be more definted and contrasty than beginning with thicker sheets, etc... (or could make the decorative layer, then adhere to a backing sheet without pressing on the design too much)
stroking raw mica clay will make areas back shiny again, after distorting the surface so that he less shiny bits show in dragged patterns)
I've made a guide for stroking lines in clay by making a photocopy transfer on my gold clay, then using a stylus or a needle tool to trace over the lines
...bake... then sand the surface to get rid of any remaining transfer lines and to make the clay flat (you might also be able to wash the ink off with water, alcohol, or some other solvent. Bob

(which technique?) ... It's not a texture sheet that makes the design, it's a method he teaches in the video. I just changed it a little bit, so that where he used one large "palmetto" shape, I made lots of little ones all over. It's hard to see from pictures on a monitor, but the surface is not textured, at all. It's very smooth, having been run through the pasta machine.
This shows the back of one, tilted in different directions to catch the light…. It's all clay, no Pearlex except for the rose-leaf transfers, inside. The colors are a saturated teal to a muted plum, which he uses in a lot of things. Now that I've sort of got an idea of the mechanics,
I think I'll jump out on my own, next time. I'm thinking it would be really neat to put a baby picture in the locket part for my daughter or make one for my Mother with an old tintype transfer in it. Zig

2 round ropes, twisted into one (but stay dimensional)
....Jeanne R's created a mini woven reed round box and lid (for mini "sewing supplies").. made with twisted round ropes spiralled like Balinese Filigree over a form

twisted_square ropes, used in various ways:

...put sheet of clay through pasta machine till mica is aligned and shiny
...cut long square strips (of the same width, if you need many strips), beginning from any side
(......these strips will be shiny on two opposite sides, and dull on two opposite sides)
...gently twist the square logs

Kellie R's lesson showing how to prepare a sheet of mica clay, then cut and twist strips (+ later flattening them)

If you start with a Skinner blend sheet instead of a plain color and cut your strips from that, these twisted square ropes are especially pretty (...or can use back-to-back sheets of different Skinner blends)

Twisted strips can be (summary):
.... used to cover bead bases, or anything else
Mike called these "beehive" beads when he covered core bead shapes of raw clay completely with twisted ropes, in Jewlery Crafts (DB: find example)
....... laid out as Balinese Filigree patterns
...flattened into another clay surface which is flat or dimensional-- (in free patterns, or rows, etc.)
...used as framing... or for alphabetic lettering, etc
...made with one sheet of aligned mica clay... or 2 sheets of diff. aligned mica clay colors joined into one sheet
......(or the colored sheets could be solid non-mica colors, Skinner blend sheets, etc.

Mike Buesseler's twisted-square log beads ... larger square log (from thicker sheet) than usual, and each bead has just one twist

Flo’s small twisted gold or silver square ropes used as frames for pins with transfers ("double-matted"--also crackled leaf)
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=297873&uid=155794 (click on Pins, near bottom)

Claire's twisted strands for Balinese Filigree using mical clays (on egg)
......I made a rainbow skinner blend using Premo fuschia, zinc yellow, and cobalt blue, and then combined a strip of the rainbow with a pearl/silver blend (Mike Buesseler "platinum"). http://pic2.picturetrail.com/VOL9/125958/222697/8583348.ptp (gone?)

(Matilda's twisted pastel colored beads, not mica though) (website gone)

a dimensional faux wicker effect can be created by laying the twisted ropes in contiguous row.
....(for a similar technique, with many variations and not necessarily using mica clays, see Onlay > Balinese Filigree)
*Denita's woven-look box, covered with rows of chevron shaped sheets of twisted logs (some silver twists are used as warp/weft lines)...looks a lot like wicker !
http://djoneofakindcrafts.com/micashift.html (gone)

flattened twisted square ropes

Elizabeth's lesson on cutting and twisting the strips, then wrapping them around a raw clay ball, and rolling in hands to flatten into surface and completely cover bead base
Kellie R's lesson on twisted, flattened mica clay (squared) logs, as onlay --stripes

Kellie R's lesson showing how to later flatten twisted strips)
Mike B's mica clay logs, wrapped around a ___shape, then flattened and sanded
Kellie's examples of twisted, flattened metallics, as onlay on tins, in two colors --stripes and spirals
http://www.kelliesklay.homestead.com/Tins.html (red and gold, on left side of page)
beautiful egg with mica clays? in stripes ... or one is burgundy mica, the other gold glitter clay?
Clayfreak's lesson on twisted square rope of mica, embedded into sheet of clay to make a letter "B"
llamamama's onlaid twisted-log scrolling http://llamamamasclay.homestead.com/Gallery2.html (gone)
Tatercat's small, flattened (or partly embedded) silver and gold twisted ropes in radiating pattern

Kat's sheet of flattened twisted ropes... cutout of cat shape taken from it (then features added) (gone)

In the eggs at my site I used metallic clays for it.... then I used a piece of glass to press them down smooth.... then I sanded the bejeebers out of them. Joanie


for more uses with Skinner blends (...various canes, and pleated, etc.)
...and also for stenciling around with metallic powders (leaf pins + reverse masking)... see

I have also extruded (square or round?) strands of mica clay through the clay gun and then laid those out and run them through the pasta machine and it looks rather like wood grain... (see much more in Faux -Turquoise & Wood > Wood)

(not mica)...How does Mike Buesseler get such a smooth area around his trim?
. . . . about the trim on my lockets. I'm happy to share what I can. Although it's mostly a matter of just attaching a thin, fairly narrow strip around the edge of the locket (or whatever) . . . . the important part, with metallic clays, is to consider that the edge showing will be dull if you CUT it. So, I use a simple trick borrowed from sewing, I think. I use a rolled "hem" approach. As you prepare the edging, running it through the pasta machine, always fold the piece lengthwise in half. This means that one edge will have that fold --a rounded look--showing. That is the edge that must face out. When you lay the strip around your piece, make it flush with the face of the piece, them trim it off in the back. Mike B.

Pier Voulkos & others---"Invisible Canes," etc

(see more on these techniques above in sort-of Basics)

*Pier Voulkos' invisible canes (these are made only with Premo gold)
http://www.tinapple.com/oldsite/pv (canes are bottom right, standing up in box... some sheets made with them bottom left))
Pier's mixing of even more colors possible using Premo Pearl with small amounts of other colors added)
http://www.clayfactory.net/pier/PIER1.htm (click on all 4 pgs.)
Pier's bead shapes in necklaces by color of invisible canes
Pier's various patterns and colors + box veneers
Pier's box veneers, one with inlaid contrasting mica patterns
James L's examples of various mica effects
catbyte's invisible cane barrettes (one with multi colors) (website gone)

The are a million tricks, finesses of hand, and 3-D manipulations which Pier teaches that open up an amazing world of holographic illusion.
..... When you touch them you can't believe they are smooth!

Pier Voulkos’ basic method:
...rolling one mica clay into a long rod..... cutting and stacking the subsequent rods
...then pulling the stacked rods to form another long rod..... repeating the process.
...She then places conditioned and aligned rods perpendicular to each other to create her canes (the mica plates in the clay aligned with the X axis will shine, while those aligned along the Y axis will not) ...she calls them invisible canes, because the effect isn't immediately visible when looking at the end of the cane)
....the pattern will be visible only when slices from the cane cut, then applied to a base sheet, and run through the pasta machine.
(she and Daniel made some veneers using this technique ...see Covering > Wood > Veneers)

(so.... make thick sheets or loafs by stacking similarly-aligned sheets--mostly Mike's ingot method?.... or by laying logs next to each other after stacking and pulling --Pier's most common method)

Pier's technique for creating the multiple effects is loose....just keep playing aroung and around, and rolling and rolling. When you get things you like, use them. The rest you just crumple up and roll again.

mica canes are not reduced (or only a little?)

Thin slices from these canes are laid out on sheets of clay (metallic or not), then run through the pasta machine to get patterned sheets of clay, according to Pier's technique.
...use very thin slices
be sure and press thicker slices into the clay before passing through the PM or the slices will become fairly large (and maybe distorted).... that may be okay or not depending on the look you want

At any rate, the designs will be basically visible in the cane ends, but not glaringly so.
.... At this point, you cut paper-thin slices of your cane(s), and lay them carefully on the gold sheet.
....Run it through on #1, and then #2, and then #3, and you will see that each time the design gets more shiny.
....(When your base sheet begins to get too thin, back it with another #1 sheet, and begin again at #1).

Now begin to play and get even more depth!
...After rolling the base sheet with your applied slices through at #1 and #2, add another layer of slices to them.
...Keep rolling and you will see that the bottom-most layers of cane slices get more and more shiny gold, while the upper layers are progressively browner.... this gives the incredible depth effect.

If you are combining pieces of clay, you can run them through the pasta machine, turn the piece 90 degrees, then run it though again on the next lower setting. Your design will get bigger but not completely distorted.
....(If the sheet gets too thin, just back it with another piece of clay and keep going Nanette

The one thing I've found about doing these is to keep the metallic "cane" pretty small otherwise you end up with a humugous-sized slice (to apply to your base sheet). catbyte

roll out the clay many times to align the mica, continuing to roll and fold in the same direction. Then you set aside some of the sheet to be used as a base on which to apply the cane slices, and use the rest to make canes that are either checkerboard, jellyroll, striped, etc, all by alternating the directions of the sheets you are combining.

(some of Pier's invisible canes made with gold mica clay, standing on end in box
http://www.tinapple.com/oldsite/pv )

Canes are made by alternating the directions of the aligned sheets (or stacks) combined ...some techniques are Mike B's:

bullseye cane (traditional way)....butt-wrapping sheets around a core, each one alternating the direction of mica alighnment

bullseye cane (actually a spiral cane) (slices will have dark center + bright perimeter)
...run the sheet of (mica) clay thru the pasta machine about 10 times
...roll this sheet out thin... then roll up into a log. Kelllie

solid disk cane/log ....roll up an aligned sheet by itself, and get slices of spots to apply to other sheets

checkerboard lesson :
....align mica by passing clay thru pasta machine till nice and shiny
.... cut sheet into squares, all the same size
.....stack all the squares one on top of the other and press them together to make sure there isn't any air in-between. You want to get a stack that is at least an inch high, but higher is better. Roll out more clay if you have to and try to get your stack as high as it is wide.
..........You now have a square gold "brick" (Mike's "ingot"... Pier prob. did with her pulled logs? )
....Cut the stacked brick into four equal squares.
....Turn over two of the squares to the "dull" side and leave the other two shiny, and place them in a grid (the 2 turned over should be on opposite corners)... you now have a 4 -square checkerboard with two bright squares and two dull squares.
.... Reduce (?) your brick down to a smaller size for a cane you can slice.
NOW, you can just cut off pieces and put a hole through them for squared beads.
....or, you can slice off thin pieces and place them onto another sheet of gold and then roll them through the pasta machine on a #1setting.... then turn the piece a quarter-turn and run it through the machine on a #2 setting
.... continue this, adding thin slices and reducing the size by adding backing sheets, until you get a patterning you like. Dotty

I had been experimenting with the gold clay here, and when I got to Ravensdale I found that I was actually doing "invisible caning!" . . . To cane with gold, you basically roll out sheets of clay, and then stack or roll them with the grain running in different directions.
... In this way you can create striped, checkerboard, spiral canes, etc. You do not reduce these canes...it is correct that this would realign the mica and ruin the design. dzeffren2 16 Oct 1998

Another cool Pier tip:
....take your crumpled scraps.... compress them into a loaf
....then take slices from the loaf (the micas inside will appear in cool random patterns!)
(apply to a sheet of clay, etc.)

For the "wood grain" sheet effects on my cubes, I rolled gold Premo out until it was all smooth and shiny.
...I stacked sheets into thick block ...I cut slices off the block
...I poked dents in the slices, or I put bits of gold onto their front or back sides...then ran thru pasta machine to smooth
(the direction the block is sliced.... how thick the block is.... and which way it goes through the pasta machine rollers, all decide how the final result looks) James L..

for a crosshatch pattern, I laid the dark sides of thin strips I'd cut from the edges of my #1-thickness aligned sheet onto a sheet of backing clay

for a circle-within-a-circle effect, I rolled two different sizes of logs, then laid a smaller slice atop each larger slice
....then to make a "bullseye" pattern, I placed teeny little dots to go right in the middle of the smaller slice
(then I flattened it all into the backing sheet with a brayer)

Donna Kato's "nautilus" pattern (lesson) --a sheet of snail slices
(mix of techniques from Buesseler & Voulkos --Carol Duvall show at HIA)
....the cane part can be made with a Skinner Blend of metallic clays, or without:
...most important is to use metallic clays (the slices reveal the chatoyant effect) Georgana
...(I couldn't make it come out right, but this is what I learned from Donna later:) She told me how to form it and to roll it in one direction only. Oh, and if your using Kato Metallics, use 50% Translucent,and a wee bit of black. (this technique is on Donna's project page, she uses red instead of gold.) Karen O.
WITH S.B....http://home.att.net/~reserved/katovisit02.htm (gone)
...start with a skinner blend of 2 metallic colors ....roll up into a light-to-dark (or vice versa) jellyroll log.
......stand log on end, and slice off 4 sides of the block (gives an essentially square log)... round up the square.
......start rolling at one end only and the log will begin to twist (keep rolling until the entire log is twisted and one end is narrower than the other (tapered).
.. to create the nautilus, starting with the small end, roll it up (on the work surface)... (flatten it some to even heights?)
...stand snail on edge... and cut very thin slices off the whole side.
...put slices on a thin sheet of backing clay....run through the pasta machine
...add more slices....(keep doing this until you have the sheet looking the way you'd like). Suzanne,Sue,Lenora
..Donna suggested using the lesser-quality slices on the bottom (when covering the base sheet), keeping the better quality slices for the top. Jean/PA
.... At Shrine Mont, Donna did a Skinner blend from gold to copper. Lenora
... (Donna just cut the clay right off the block and used it straight from the package! . . .but ...I did try this this morning and found that the technique worked best if I conditioned the clay... so I got the mica all lined up ...cut and stacked the sheet to make a loaf.. then cut my chunk off the loaf...that way the slices were completely warmed up and subsequently went through the pasta machine with the sheet much more smoothly. ...Doing it like Donna demoed...I did get some tearing of the base sheet… she was under hot lights and her clay warmed up very quickly though. Sue

Pier makes her own colored clays for this technique by mixing a bit of regular colored clay into Premo Pearl (at least 25%, according to Mike B.?)... (see website just above for her examples)
...I'm still experimenting with coloring Pearl clay ...there are major differences in addition rates between pearl coloured with Alizarin Crimson and say, Ultramarine. (I expected that the yellows would need far more than reds to show sufficiently, which they do, but didn't forsee such marked differences between two intense ones like Ultra Blue and Aliz C.) Alan V. ..red is really strong...
......pearl clay seems to be more opaque than most - not surprising with all that mica in there, I suppose (so the background didn't show through even with a thin slice over it). Alan V

OTHER techniques

folded canes ...I covered an egg with slices from a folded cane
--I started with an egg covered in just plain black.
--I rolled a layer of translucent at the thickest setting
--Then rolled the (Premo) gold at about a #5, just thick enough to be easy to handle.
--folded the sheet
this way and that into a log?
--smoosh or smear the cane slices slightly as you press them on....this results in a great feeling of depth bec. when mica clays are that thin, there is little space between the mica layers so the variances in the gold lines comes from the smooshing when applying)
--Bake, sand, buff. --very elegant.. . . Sally (website gone)

folded slices... run the sheet of (gold) clay thru the pasta machine about 10 times
...roll this sheet out thin and roll up into a log (will give a bullseye cane, where slices will have dark centers +d bright gold edges)
...I reduced half of this log, so I can have two different sizes (one big, one small) to work with.
...Slice off a thick slice, and run it thru the pasta machine on a #3. ...apply this slice directly to the egg.
...Take another slice off one of the logs, fold it in half and run thru the pasta machine on #3.
....Butt this slice up next to the other slice on the egg. ...and after baking, sand the crud out of it, and buff. Kellie
Kellie's lesson: http://polymerclaycentral.com/satinegg.html
more examples of Kellie's folded-slice eggs
...Yes, that was Kyle's egg that inspired you.... He was 5 when he made it. ... I gave him all my gold scraps, which he proceeded to mush and smoosh as only a 5 year old could, and then placed them on the egg. I smoothed it out for him and baked it. Claire

NoraJean's lesson on making a molded face with gold (or other mica) clay ...which is a problem because dark sides can show when clay is cut or manipulated... so don't drag your tool over the face to move stuff (roll it instead, leaving the surface intact)... roll any cut edges under... make cutss at an angle so the edges are not visible from the top side, carefully pull out areas of clay out to fit into depressions in the mold (rather than just pressing in a smooth ball, etc.)

Bob's lesson on making some faux wood (thinly-striped mica sheets, for cutting into inlays)
....he rolled up a sheet of pasta-machined clay into a log... twisted it a lot
... then ran log through p.m. parallel to the rollers, on thinner and thinner settings till stripes were distance apart he wanted

slicing a stack of layers with a wavy blade:
...Run a hunk of Premo metalic through at #1 over and over until it is the same color front and back.
....Then cut and stack, keeping the direction of the layers the same, untill you have a "block" let it rest for a while ("ingot").
...Stand the "block" so the bright gold side is facing you.
...Cut a slice with the wavy blade ....cut a few more slices a little thicker than a #5 setting
...Now run the slices through the P.M. on #5. (with the ridges running up and down.) SURPRISE!!! Marg Laurin

Mindy's wavy blade crosscut in mica clay (then flattened)
...also Denice's fold back technique made in mica clay with a wavy blade
......she cuts down into a thick sheet of mica clay at an angle --45 degrees or less-- to cut a row of troughs
......but doesn't complete the cut.. instead lays the removed troughs onto the blank clay below the cut, creating 2 "rows" (positive + negative impression)

The nine (patch) block... Karen Scudder demoed it for us at the little retreat (lesson) (website gone)
....Basically... she made skinner blend logs with different metallic colors & Pearl (2oz's each).... rolled them through the pasta machine till the were skinny & looooong.... then rolled them up into shaded canes.
...She made nine of them in various shades & colors...
... then stacked them. One row of three... two on each side of that... one on each side of the last two. If you look at it from the end, it looks like a skewed square.
... You then proceed to squish that down flat enough to fit through the # 1setting on your pasta machine and run it through.
....Then you fold that long piece up accordion style.
....Then you press THAT block into a long rectangular log.... with the end being a square about 2 inches or so across. Don't twist it.
.... Then you cut off a 2" hunk of it and start slicing it, down one of the NO FOLDS sides, with a wavy blade.
It's an amazing effect... really deep and complicated looking. ...I don't think this one is a proprietary technique... I'm pretty sure it's okay to share it at this point. I sure hope so..... Joanie

Kathy G's mosaic with various mica shift tiles
NOW AT? .... http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/AlbumList?u=4153008/jewelry.html NO

Irene's the one who showed the mica bargello demo . ...patterns made using only ONE color of metallic clay & using the mica shift manipulation to create the patterns. Way cool!!! Joanie
(website gone)
(website gone)
(see more on bargello technique in Onlay/Bargello)(website gone)

(see Canes--Instr. > Damascus Ladder/Hologram/Helix plus Crushed Helix . . .for making very interesting sheets of patterned clay (using mica clays partly or only if you want) from twisted stacks which are cut lengthwise and joined (plus other variations)... look at Alan V's photos; Cristie calls hers hologram technique)

~I also use the gold canes on their own as regular canes for things. In my own playing around with the gold clay, I made tiny striped canes . . . Just alternate the layers' directions as you stack, and when you slice you will have some bright gold and some brown layers. In this way I have made parquet pins that look so much like wood that they are almost not worth making because people say, "Oh. A wood pin!" …Donna in St. Louis
....~I have also extruded strands of clay through the clay gun and laid those out and run them through the pasta machine and it looks rather like wood grain. Patty

As far as using the (the metallics) gold in regular cane work, you are right, Crafty. The gold will be brown, especially if you have reduced it. While you can roll a sheet in a way so that a sheet of gold in a cane will stay gold when sliced, this only works if it is a simple wrap with NO manipulation or reduction.. . . (For example, you can roll a sheet of gold, turn it sideways, and wrap a cane with it so that the mica runs AROUND the cane, not up and down it. When you make slices, you will have a bright gold outline around your cane. That could be really pretty, now that I think about it!!

pressed-chunks sheets of clay
...chop up some clay (mica or pearl-mixed clays will show a more 3-D crumbly look), then run it through a pasta machine or brayer it flat . . the edges will be very ragged, and the sheet will look stonelike
. . Here’s what I would try. Condition your clay. If it very soft and sticky like Premo leech it a little first. Roll it out to the thickness you want. Then chop that sucker up all around the edges. It looks to me as if individual pieces/chunks were pressed back together. Not sure if you should texture before or after the chopping. Denise
...your theory about large chunks scattered onto a (base) sheet sounds good . . . Catherine

Mica shifting can be used as a decoration for one-colour beads. One of the easiest way to do this with Cernit is to mix pearl white and tiny amount of any metallic colour. Then just chop it to pieces and take a lump from that pile to form a bead. PöRRö


When I've worked with metallics in canes, I've found that once it's all applied to the surface, I press the cane slices with my thumb, not enough to really squish, but the shine will come up. Then smooth, bake, and sand... Metallics are hard to cane with, but can be very rewarding... . . pressing with my thumb has lined up the mica enough for me to sand the heck out of them, without losing the shine. I tend to alternate a bit, so parts are shinier than others, simply because i like the variation. But pressing has worked well for me... Nae

some people at Ravensdale caned with gold, reduced it, then had different ways to slice and shine up the gold.
....Marie Segal says to cover each cane slice with plastic wrap and rub with your finger...the wrap keeps the image from smearing.
...Another nice person whose name I forgot made a fish cane with gold scales. She said she used a metal pottery rib to slice through the cane, and since it is not sharp like a real blade, it pushes the mica down as it cuts so it remains gold. The downside
to this is that you do lose some of the sharpness of the rest of the design, which is also being pushed down! But it wasn't a major smudge.

I like being able to smooth things while looking down through the tube to see what's happening on the surface of the clay. I was working with some of Mike B's mica shift stuff, and I got a lot less distortion of the designs using the (acrylic tube) roller instead of running the slice of "ingot" through the pasta machine and it disturbs the mica alignment a lot less! You can't see well enough through those solid acrylic brayers to see when you've used too much pressure, or to see if you need to add a little more. zig (or a straight-sided drinking glass) (see more in Tools/Brayers)

One more thought: sanding and buffing, or varnishing with Varathane, is what brings out the true depth of these pieces. Make something totally gorgeous, and it will be DOUBLY beautiful when shined up. That's the extra bonus of these projects! Donna in St. Louis
. . . I make beads, stroke them smooth, then dip them in Future...let dry a bit, then dip again. Leave them to dry completely overnight (this seems to set the acrylic somehow), then bake as usual. You will be amazed! It's best not to do this with white; it tends to yellow just a bit if you don't watch it like a hawk. You should try it with mica shift...!! Kelly

...pearl clay seems to be more opaque than most - not surprising with all that mica in there, I suppose (so the background didn't show through even with a thin slice over it). Alan V.

GHOST-IMAGE mica effects

The ghost-image technique with shaving was introduced in Jewelry Crafts magazine by Jami Miller(.... accidentally credited there to Judi Maddigan), though Mike Buesseler had done some impressing of mica clay before

Ghost images are made by impressing textures or stamps into mica-containing clays which are shiny, having had their mica particles aligned
.for best results, Jeanne R.suggests not using sticky clay (leach if necessary), and dusting clay sheet with powder or other release before impressing
...to reveal the "bruised" images still present in the clay, the upraised parts of the impressed clay sheet can be treated in two ways:
1. shaved off before baking
2. sanded smooth after baking
........if the upraised parts are shaved off while the clay is raw, those shaved bits can also be placed onto other clay (sheets, balls, etc.), then flattened by hand rolling or in a pasta machine
....these methods create a holographic image or pattern, which is inside the smooth surface of the resulting clay (...magic!)
stroking raw mica clay can make areas shiny again
....sand and buff after baking to get the most shine, or at least use a clear finish

After shaving:
1...the shaved sheet can be flattened completely and used
2...the shaved bits can be placed onto another sheet (or ball, etc.), then smoothed
Kris' lesson on making ghost image mica surfaces (postcards) both ways (using a texture sheet)
....... (she uses rubberstamp texture sheets, so begins with very thin clay run through on the thickests setting of pasta machine with the rubber sheet)

(...see above in "Sort of Basics" for more info on dealing with mica clays, possible problems, etc. )

Pier Voulkos' "invisible caning" technique (above) should not be confused with the "ghost image" technique,
....invisible caning is actually creating canes which have the mica layers aligned differently for their component parts.... slices from these invisible canes can be laid onto clay sheets then flattened in pasta machine, or just used alone in other ways.

The technique can also be used with non-mica clays, but then it's sort of like "texture sheet mokume gane" in which layers of any clay are stacked before the sheet is textured/stamped/manipulated and shaved (see Mokume Gane for more)
.... just use at least two layers of any clay
....also make sure your impression reaches down to as many layers as you want to show

plain Pearl clay can be lightly tinted with regular clay colors (or inks, etc.) and still retain the special "shift" effects
...many colored pearl colors in samplers by Pier Voulkos:
http://www.clayfactory.net/pier/PIER1.htm ... click on all 4 pgs.

stamps & texture sheets

Kellie's lesson on making ghost image mica surfaces with a texture sheet
Christie's video lesson on making ghost images in tinted Pearl clay with a large stamp --shaving begins at about 11 min (YouTube: MrsWright75, "Mica Shift Beads")
sculpey.com's lesson on shaving a sheet made with texture stamp + using a Shapelet to cut a shape from it
Donna Kato's lesson on making a ghost image tiles for a bracelet with a large stamp

Donna Kato's ghost image gold, copper and black pendant made with spiral stamp (....a disc was cut out from the butted-sheets of brown and copper with a small round cutter, and then replaced with a gold disc cut from another ghost sheet http://www.katopolyclay.com/gallery/autume_leaf.jpg
...full lesson from Projects page http://www.katopolyclay.com/projects.html (need Acrobat Reader)
Margaret D's lesson on making ghost image sheet with a stamp, using ArmorAll (as a release), then covering a pen blank
http://www.geocities.com/mwdonnelly/arts/techniques/polyclayghost.html (no pics)
Jeanne R's lesson on simulating a woven fabric using ghost impression technique & piece of plastic canvas... produces a coarse to fine (depending on texture sheet), even-weave, grid-like pattern

.......for miniatures esp, may want to flatten gridded sheet in pasta machine thinner and thinner to create less definition
(....for making "bumpy" dragon skin this way, etc., see Sculpting--Bodies > Dragon Skin )

Joanie's ghost image pins with embedded rhinestones and another stone?
Grant D's various elegant pieces with tinted pearl clays ghost images using texture sheets, sometimes over Skinner blends
http://www.diffendaffer.com (click on Portfolio... then on Vessels, Jewelry, and Beads)
Cassy's bracelet tiles with ghost effects created in tinted Pearl clay with stamps

The deeper the stamp or texture, the better the ghost image!! (the easier to shave)
......unmounted stamps or texture sheets are better, and can also go thru pasta machine if desired
...press clay hard into stamp or texture sheet to get deepest and most complete impression

A thick sheet may work better to stamp or texture on
.....Donna Kato folds over a # 3 thickness sheet to get a thicker sheet

When I push the stamp into the clay the (mica) plates get tilted ...so the angle at which the light will be reflected back changes with its orientation.
. . . farther away from the stamp, the mica is barely moved, but the closer to the stamp the more it is tilted . . . so (when its done) it looks like a curved reflective surface even though the surface is sanded completely smooth. Flint

Wait until you see what you can do with metallic clays with those texture sheets...I used Premo's gold and silver. Ran the clay through the pasta machine in the same direction a number of times to get the mica to lay all in the same direction.
...Then ran the clay through on the same setting along with a texture sheet - I used one of the finer textures to see if it would work- using Armor-All for the release agent.
...Then peeled the the texture sheet off and ran the clay through the pm again at the next smaller setting.
...Then ran it again but on the next smallest setting from last time.
You will get a flat surface but, have optical illusion texture happening because of the displaced mica particles. Very subtle, but, very cool.
If you want a stronger effect, run the clay through with the texture sheet, but instead of the same setting as you ran the clay through by itself, move down smaller by two settings. This increases the texture pattern on the clay because the clay stretches over the texture sheet. . . . Hold the clay onto the texture sheet when it first comes out of the pasta machine or it will move off the sheet and not work.
... I then made my own texture sheets to run through the pasta machine after finding that this worked really well! Meredith


I did 2 layers of mica clay .... gold Premo on green Premo.... I'm amazed at how rich it looks. Jean/PA

Can also mix non-metallic color layers with metallic ones... or use all non-metallics:
...Barbara McGuire and Nan Roche's lesson on using 3 colors (copper, black, silver on top)
...... roll through pm at thickest setting... cut and restack ...thickest setting again ... stamp ... shave
...I took a thin pad of clay made up of alternating blue and gold sheets (paper thin), and did the same thing with the stamp
....... when I cut away the top layer of clay, I got this beautiful design of the stamp (ivy) which had a couple outlines in the blue and gold.
....... I was able to roll over (flatten) the slab and still see the design
.....I also looked at the reverse side of the top layer that was cut off, of course that is beautiful also.

"bamboo"... another neat use for the wavy blade
....take a double thickness of metallic or Pearl Premo ...lightly slice across the top 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.... the disrupted mica makes it look like holographic bamboo

Jeanne R's lesson above also loosely bunches the shaved bumps (from using a plastic canvas texture sheet), then applies them to a clay ball which is then smoothed to create a crackled-looking bead http://www.heartofclay.com/pc/fauxfabrics.htm
.....same ?...sensewhim's (Erika's) crackleware bead lesson --http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~ewebrigh/polyclay (website gone)

Grant D's "ghost & texture" beads made from his (unshaved? or re-textured?) ghost mica sheets? ...over a core


I used the blunt end of some tiny canape cutters to make impressions in a sheet ... stars all over it.
.....one tip for pressing down on double-sided cutters is to go to the kitchen counter department in a home center store and pick up a few of the formica samples. I use these to press down on my cutters. It saves my fingers from becoming irritated and sore. (I also use these to store unbaked little holly leaves and other small, flat things)

I used the corrugated cardboard from the lightbulb boxes as a "texture sheet"
....I also cut out all kinds of geometric designs from them, glued them on a postcard, and ran them through the pasta machine.
....works great (and when they get dirty or bent up, just throw them away. Linda

Kris uses rubberstamp texture sheets to make postcards both ways (shaved sheet flattened and used, and shaved bits placed onto another sheet (or ball, etc.), then smoothed ...she begins with thin clay and the rubber sheet, and runs them through the thickest setting of pasta machine (lesson gone)

I made my own texture sheet... a flat latex mold that I made by painting Latex Rubberon a rubber stamp
...... (that's the rubber latex stuff model RR people use, from hobby stores --one company that makes it is Woodland Scenics)
.......just paint a few coats (onto your stamp), letting it dry in between (but don't do the coats too thick)
.......then peeled it off .....(let it cure for awhile)
...then I ran it through the PM with the clay (it didn't stick to the clay at all!!!!... no release agent needed)
...then I did the usual shaving off of texture and smoothing with the PM. .Anna

(....see more on making your own texture sheets from various materials in Textures > Making your own)

Grant Diffendaffer's class (also showing photopolymer plates being made, and ghost image being shaved)
...Grant's texture sheets were made with blacklight and Photopolymer rubberstamp making kit (from Artisan's Choice) ... Grant now sells texture plates
...sunni's review of another Grant class, which she loved

Grant Diffendaffer's 2 DVDs set ...."Marvelous Mica Clay" ......3 1/2 hr ... $40
.....overview of mica clays ...ghost imaging tech's... making seamless veneers ...beads ...methods for creating and using texture stamping plates
......also color mixing, application of veneers to glass vessels, bead drilling and stringing, etc.
...I have really enjoyed it. (I had read his article in Bead and Button, but it hadn't quite clicked for me)... the video is very organized and easy follow ...in addition to his pendants and vessels, he goes through a couple of other interesting techniques for mica. ...he also covers using Buna cord and making a ball and loop closure. It's $40, but it is 3-4 hours of instruction, and seemed fairly priced for what's in it. Most of the video is very good with a couple of times where the focus isn't great, and the annoying soft music that I found very distracting at times. Melissa


What causes the cool ghostly images appearing in your flat clay is the impressions that have been made either UNDER or OVER the mica clay sheet
.......Then the topmost layers are shaved off in VERY thin slices (Jami has a mighty steady hand!) until the indentations are level with the top surface.
. .....You now have a perfectly flat surface with a ghostly image "holographed" into it.

This sounds like what Chris Nichols showed us at Shrinemont this year.
......(she first ran the gold clay thru the pasta machine till the mica chips were all running the same way)
..... then impressed it with well, whatever (....she poked holes, drew lines, did a herringbone impression ... you can even run it through the pasta machine with a texture sheet).
....then she shaved the very tops of the impressions
.... but she laid the shavings themselves upside down onto sheets of scrap clay too
.....then ran the shaved sheet through the pasta machine on #3
....After sanding and buffing, she came up with a "smooth as glass" item that looked for all the world like it would be rough to the touch! Absolutely remarkable!

..Nora Jean shaving a 2-layer textured stack sheet (not ghost image) flat on work surface (blade flat & parallel)
1. http://www.norajean.com/Tins/WaveShave-CloseUp-001.htm...2. http://www.norajean.com/Tins/WaveShave-CloseUp-005.htm
...Grant D. shaving a textured sheet while it's flat on a work surface, with blade held fairly straight from one end (ghost image)
http://www.pbase.com/stargazer/image/14119936 (..top area of photo has already been shaved)
....It took a bit of practice to get the "shaving" down, but since the ghost image is all one color clay, i just put it through the PM again and (started over) until i figured out how to shave the bumps off pretty uniformly on the entire sheet.. Jean S.
...My advice is to start with small (2-3" sq.) sheets when doing the shaving so that you can get used to the very precise shaving involved…and don't worry if you shave too deep at first
...I use a cheese plane to take slices (from a mokume gane stack, or from ghost image mica?).... not as dangerous as the blade, and you have more chances of cutting a complete slice, which is not as easy to do with the blade. Amanda Rose (make sure your distortions/pokes/etc. are very deep though)
...some people bend the blade slightly (holding it with both hands) while shaving a sheet that's flat on the work surface
http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/crafting/article/0,1789,HGTV_3352_1944361,00.html (click on Fig. D)
.......(but this is often more suitable for mokume gane stacks which aren't evenly textured, and where you may want to remove the clay more here or there)
...I think it's easiest to shave bits off a textured clay sheet if you drape the sheet over a large jar. (I like the big straight-sided Safeway salsa jars; they also make good forms for cuff bracelets and bracelet beads). ...the outward curve means you don't have to flex your blade while slicing
.......you can also stick your nondominant hand in the jar for even more control. Really helps with ghost-image metallic effects as well as with mokume gane. Georgia
....(see more on curving the clay to shave it in Mokume Gane)

In brief, I rolled out a sheet of pearl green #4 on my pasta machine, rubberstamped a pattern with a deeply carved stamp. (Put baby powder release on a washcloth and pat the stamp on the cloth before each stamp, pressing almost all the way through... lifting several times helped reduce sticking.. (on a piece of patty paper).
...then I pressed it back mostly flat (by pressing seams back together?, NOT rolling over) Flint

At Ravensdale, I saw people also placing a sheet of gold clay on top of the texture sheet (which had been laid flat on a table), and then rolling over gently to impress the image firmly into the BOTTOM of the sheet (no pasta machine)....then they begin slicing away thin layers until the image is revealed. Both of the ways to do it work great.

I had segments of cut clay to join together... in closing those seams between my pieces, the cut surfaces should pe pressed together, NOT smushed (if you smoosh them together, you will get dark areas at the seams where the mica was disturbed; so instead, stretch the clay
. . . . if you find this too dificult, you can cut the ends off and leave a patterned band, and replace the end with a contrasting solid color #4 sheet.) Flint
....see more solutions for joining mica clays seamlessly above in "Sort of Basics"

sanding ........(as opposed to shaving)

The upraised areas can also be sanded after baking, rather than shaved off before baking......this can result in a more even removal of the top clay, or more removal of clay in just the areas you want revealed the most.
(...see Mokume Gane > Texture Sheet and Sanded for more)

Run the clay through the pasta machine a bunch of times to line up the mica flakes: ---------------------------
....press the sheet onto a texture plate, or impress it with a stamp (preferrably one with good deep ridges) /\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\ (...now some of the areas of mica are at a different angle than the flattened ones)
....now you can either slice off the top, or just bake and sand afterwards

....since the pattern of deformed mica runs down through the clay, you can sand without losing the holographic effect. Jami Miller

I applied the segments (to my egg) with the stamped side down ...and baked.
......when you begin sanding, there will be no pattern evident... all the pattern is in the bulk of the clay so you'll have to sand down a ways
.... start out with a coarse grit ( I use 120 grit drywall sanding mesh with cold water.... watch the pattern emerge (the colors won't be fully evident yet)
.... I shift down to 220 (dry)..... then 320, 400, and 600 (all wet)..... then seal
........one neat thing is that the mica flakes tilt upwards as they reach a line, so there appears to be a dished effect in the spaces.. . .
.... I used the geometric stamps sold to be used with Friendly Clay, which seem to be especially deep.
....clays: Premo Pearl green worked really well. Pearl Red worked less well and (old) Fimo didn't work well at all Flint

After baking, I use really coarse sandpaper to get down to a smooth surface, then through finer grades to auto finishing grade (don't know the grit, I think it's 1500). . . Then apply Varathane or Future and it will just explode out at you.
.....I sand when I have only shallow impressions (and I only shave off a bit with deeper impressions). Beth C.

I put some clay (zig zag shapes) on the sheet of gold, then put it through the pasta machine.
... I covered an egg with that sheet, with the side I had put the extra clay on against the egg.
...(the design doesn't show up at this point at all... only after baking & a pretty heavy sanding does the mica shift become apparent.)
......I've even used this method to write mica shifted words... Claire


other techniques ...with ghost image

Tonja's lesson on making a basketweave ghost image by weaving strips of mica clay (vertical & horizontal), flattening them with a brayer, then putting through pasta machine on top of a base sheet of the same color mica clay (diff. from Jeanne's basketweave ghost image above)
......what would it have looked like if the base sheet were a different color and the flattening done after adding it?... would it peek though?

.....roll a number 4 or 5 sheet of unbaked mica clay (I used gold)
....place it on a number 1 or 2 baked sheet
....rub the raw sheet smooth so the metallic flakes are aligned and it shines (?)
....Now.... draw a picture on the raw clay layer, disturbing the alignment and creating darker lines and patterns in the clay.
for freehand drawing, I use a tiny ball point stylus pressed repeatedly into the clay (clay pointillism?) - Beth C

...to keep the lines clean, Wayne uses a piece of plastic (Saran warp , sandwich bag, freezer bag, etc.) over his raw clay to "draw" lines of hair or other things onto his sculpts ...lift tool between each stroke... the thinner the plastic, the finer the details (could use
a ball point pen, non-sharp tapestry needle, ball ended stylus, or other tool)

What I have done is to photocopy the image do a tranfser of it to the raw clay
... using a stylus or a needle tool, trace over the lines in the transfer....bake, and then sand the surface
...you might be able to wash the photocopy ink off with water, alcohol, or some other solvent. Bob (fimobob)

cheater's ghost image... Adria has a lesson on making faux ghost images by stamping clay, completely covering with metallic powder, baking, then backfilling in the stamped impression with liquid clay (she also coats the whole top)... if more is needed, repeat after baking


*Mike B's stuff at Zig's site --stripes, hinged plates, etc.
...more of Mike's stuff
*Denita's many kinds of mica effects (on eggs)
Bianca's star shape cutouts, made from ghost image mica sheets in Pearl colors

Tonja's gray (mica) clay with Skinner blend of yellow to pink bright pastels
PCC's mica shift clay Play Day (many kinds of mica effects)
various mica effects (mostly gold) at ClayPen
Tonja's mica effects... one with layer of multi-Skinner blend of pastels under a layer of silver?... others monochromatic
NoraJean's various mica techniques (chevrons, basketweave, stripes, onlay)
http://www.norajean.com/Biz-Archive/Japan/Inro-GoldCrimson/003.htm (+ subsequent pages)
Heather's flattened mica effects on a tic tac toe board & pieces (website gone)
sensewhim's various mica effect beads (website gone)
Varda's mica chess pieces and board
*Christine's (Xtine) mica and other leaves
Tinidril's mokume gane using translucent clay with iridescent powder inclusions in a stack.. .adding gold and black clay among the layers (details in Mokume Gane > Metallic Powder Inclusions)

Desiree's "sea plants" slices, onlaid on translucent (....Premo gold cut lengthwise + finely chopped black clay, Pearl Ex copper).

Dianne C's "mica tiles" (?), peeled or powdered and used as surface embellishment w/ Flecto
http://www.nvo.com/wdpstudio/listings/view.nhtml?profile=listings&UID=16 (gone, new address at artintheattic?)