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Make A Beautiful Butterfly Cane From Basic Canes

Making a butterfly cane may look difficult, but it isn’t. All you need is to make some basic canes and then put it all together. They do not have to be authentic, like a real butterfly wing. You can mix and match colors as you please. I find that the greatest challenge is to get the right hues so that the cells don’t disappear because they are too much alike. However, the colors are separated by black veins, so even that is not such a big problem.

You can make the butterfly cane as simple or as complicated as you like, and needless to say; it is a great way of using old canes.

When the butterfly cane is done, you can use it to create lovely three-dimensional jewelry, like pendants or brooches with fluttering butterflies sitting on it. If you use a soft brand of clay, you may have to put the cane in the fridge for a while before you cut the slices, as they tend to lose the lovely wing shape quite quickly, so if you have access to different brands, use a firm clay.

The butterfly cane in this tutorial is only one wing of the butterfly. I learned this from Donna Kato’s book, The art of polymer clay millefiori techniques and it is actually brilliant. You do not have to wrap the butterfly in clay like you see in many canes. You just cut thin slices of the cane and apply it where and how you like it. You can use the same cane for the front wings and the back wings, simply by reducing some of the cane for the small back wings.

To make three dimensional butterflies, cut thicker slices and apply them to a small tube, which will be the body of the butterfly. Then place it wherever you need it. Bend the wings a little to make them look more realistic.

What you need:

Step 1:
Condition the clay well. Make two continues Skinner blends
A: White pearl and peppermint
B: Apple green and brilliant blue
Step 2:
Run Skinner blend B through on the thinnest setting so that you have one long strip from blue to green. Roll it up into a jelly roll starting at the green end. Wrap it in a thin sheet of black clay.
Step 3:
Run Skinner blend A through on the thinnest setting, but lengthwise, not from one color to the other.
Cut it in strips and stack it with the light sides on the same side. Then roll it up from dark to light. Wrap it in a thin sheet of black clay.
Step 4:
Roll white clay into a log and wrap it in black clay. Reduce all three canes. (In the photo the white and green cane has been cut in two)
Step 5:
Flatten the green and blue cane, cut it in three parts and stack them. Reduce the stack, cut it in two and stack the two parts.
Step 6:
Shape the green stack cane into a triangle.
Roll some black clay into a log. Cut it in three and flatten two of them. Add them at the end of the green cane.
Step 7:
Cut the peppermint cane in 5 parts and add them to the end of the black you added in step 6.
Step 8:
Cut the white cane in 9 pieces. Flatten some and leave the other ones round. Add them at the end of the cane.
Press the cane well together and reduce it to the size you want. Shape it into a wing shape and it is ready to be used.
You can make more cells if you like, and also wary the size and width of them if you want it more authentic to a real butterfly wing.

Here are two other versions of the butterfly cane:

And here is a butterfly on a bead:

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