- Skill Level: Basic Knowledge of Polymer Clay
- Minimum Supplies Needed: Basic Supplies & 1 Cup of Coffee
- Time to make 1 Mokume Gane Loaf: Approximately 45 minutes
This is a great polymer clay tutorial that has many uses. Mokume-gane can be used in beads, projects, jewelry, covering, and even as a background for textured and embossed pieces. Mokume-gane is versatile and offers hundreds of color combinations, color palettes, and unique design patterns, that you can not simply plan.
Edited & Rewritten: 2/21/23
- Needle tools
- Ball-tipped tools
- Other tools to indent your clay
- A piece of cardstock, teflon, or other paper to work on
- Pasta machine
- And don’t forget the most important: a cup of coffee
Choose 4 colors of clay.
- You will need 1/4 a block of each color you choose.
- Make sure at least ONE is metallic clay.
- You will be adding glitter, embossing powders, and metallic leaf to some of the clays.
- Also, grab ONE full block of translucent clay.
Condition all your clay and keep them separate.
- You can do this however you like, with your hands, cutting it into pieces, running through a pasta machine, banging on it with your roller…whatever works for you.
- If you are using a pasta machine, run it through the pasta machine on the largest setting.
Pick what you’re going to use to accent your clay.
- This will give the mokume-gane a nice texture and a surprise with every slice!
- (For the block you’ll see me make here, I used copper leaf and 2 different glitters.)
Next, put your leafing on your transparent clay only.
- You’ll notice the pieces on the right-hand side are almost completely covered with foil.
- These two pieces are covered front AND back.
- The two pieces on the left are covered (lightly) on one side only.
Choose 2 of your clays to add your glitter.
- For this, I chose pink & orange.
- I added regular sparkle glitter to the orange clay and pink glitter to the pink clay.
- Your conditioned clays with their inclusions and additives are now ready.
- Run them through the pasta machine at the largest setting.
Now stack your clays in any pattern you wish.
- I usually stack one-sided leafed transparent, color, 2-sided leafed transparent, color, 2-sided leafed transparent, color, & one-sided transparent.
- This will make the beginning of your loaf.
- This is now an 8-layered loaf.
Now use your roller and flatten the loaf.
- You’re going to put it through your pasta machine at the largest setting, so flatten it by hand as much as you can.
Run the loaf through the pasta machine
- Once your loaf is as flat as you can get it by hand, you’re going to run the loaf through your pasta machine at the largest setting.
- It will be really long and flat after running it through the pasta machine.
- Take the long loaf and cut it in half.
- Place the halves on top of each other and make a new stack.
Now cut the loaf in half (just eyeball it, no need to be exact).
- Here’s the important part….stack it the EXACT same way!
- Do NOT turn the loaf over.
- Now you have a 16-layer loaf.
- Continue to roll out your new loaf of clay.
- Cut in half and stack the same way again.
Every time you cut in half & double you get twice the layers.
- Once you double the stack (as instructed above) you now have 32 layers!
- Again use your roller to flatten the stack so that you can again cut it into a reasonable size/shape.
- You are going to continue to repeat this process as many times as you’d like until you’d get the number of layers that you’d like.
- Again you will shape the edges with your hands and cut the stack down the middle.
- At this point, you will have 64 layers of Mokume-gane.
Finishing your Mokume-gane block
- Now you have 64 layers of clay!
- This is your completed block.
- Again, roll the clay.
- This constant rolling locks the layers together and gets the air bubbles out.
- Check out your hard work!
- Look at your 64 layers of colorful, wonderful, yumminess!
Now let’s finish it!
- Squish and mold into a block with your hands.
- The constant pressure and rolling will create a thick block or loaf. It will also distort those in between layers!
- Your loaf should now be seamless with no funny ends sticking out.
Time to Create Your Pattern.
- Now take that loaf, pick a side, and poke it!
- Use whatever you have.
- Do some things deeply and some things only part way, while others should remain shallow.
Here’s what I did to my loaf.
- But…you’re not finished yet.
- Now slice through it!
- Do it shallow, halfway, deep, whatever!
- Use whatever blades you have, crinkle, flexible, straight, whatever.
Now you’re going to push it back into a “healed” loaf.
- Use your hands and push, push, push.
- The clay should be very soft by this point and push easily.
- Remember you can’t mess this up, so just push!
- Here’s what my loaf looked like after I “healed” the impressions that I made on it.
Roll over it again to seal it and take out the majority of the air bubbles.
Here’s my healed and rolled loaf.
Turn the block over and repeat…
- Turn the block over to the other side.
- Repeat the EXACT same process as above…
- In other words, do the whole thing over again.
VERY important: turn the clay so that you can see the “grain” of the loaf.
- Do not miss this step: turn the clay so that you can see the grain of the loaf.
- You always want to slice your loaf in the same direction as the grain of your clay.
- Be sure to make your slices as thin as possible.
- These slices will be gorgeously randomized and look gorgeous for pens, earrings, candle cups, bowls, and so many other design trends.
Here’s the first pattern that was revealed in our loaf.
As you cut into your loaf, you will reveal new treasures, hidden secrets, and really cool designs in your loaf.Katie Oskin
Use your Mokume-Gane to decorate pens, and your tools, to make jewelry and beads, and to make delicious home decor items like candle cups, bowls, & vases, you can make whatever your heart desires.
Here are some of the recent Mokume-Gane loaves that we have made. Notice how each and every block is different?! This is the really neat part of Mokume Gane. I’ve really fallen in love with this type of randomized Mokume-Gane and can’t wait to explore all of its possibilities!
Here’s one of the items we created with the Mokume Gane loaf we showed you how to make in the tutorial above:
***Please know that there are MANY ways to make Mokume Gane from polymer clay. This is the method that I prefer because of its intricate waves, randomized designs, ridges, and unique patterns. ***
34 thoughts on “Polymer Clay Mokume-Gane Tutorial”
Your slicing method is BRILLIANT. All of the other m-g tutorials I’ve seen advocate slicing it with the grain parallel to the tabletop. You have to force the razor towards your other hand as it braces the loaf. This was you slice downwards and no fingers get sliced.
Thank you so much! I like to do things the simplest and easiest way possible; this was my solution to that. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I should have added that before I stumbled across this blog, I sliced my finger…. luckily it was superficial but still, it put me off mokume gane. I tried your method and it worked well.
Katie that’s the best tutorial on I be seen yet. Luv how you explained everything. I’ve done this before but didn’t have all the steps you put in so it didn’t turn out as good. Thank you
Thank you so much Tracy! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it – I can’t wait to see what you create from it.
While watching YouTube videos, and Magic by Leah was one of them (she did a terrific job of Mokume Gane! several videos to prove it, too!), I happened to glance over at one of the Chrysanthemum Canes I’ve made from scrap clay. It had lots of colors, a little glitter, no gold leaf, but it just seemed to scream TRY ME. So I did, and it was a very interesting Mokume Gane loaf. And it gave me a lot more options than just as a round Chrysanthemum cane, although I did like that too.
This is wonderful! I am doing it now to cover some cans I have ready to store short tools in.
One thing I did want to ask is: I have made two dragons from the challenge with you and Christi and I was wondering a)If we are allowed to post a photo and b) if so to what site?
I have had such enjoyable time. I think I was taking my claying to serious! I am a perfections,and I thought it had to be that way with my clay. So in turn I never posted anything I did, so I am not going to grow if I don’t share and get feed back. Thank you and Christi for showing me to have fun, relax and let the crazy out!!!
That’s great! I’m glad you enjoyed it and are having fun. Join us over at the FaceBook Group to share your photos.
I tried your method and love it over all the other methods. I just started claying this week and didn’t have gold leaf or glitter so I used ” mirror” silver nail polish in place of leaf and translucent opal in place of glitter. Strong smell but worked ok. I LOVE my first block of Mokugami! I intend to incorporate the Clay into my chain jewelry!! Will add color and textures!!
Great Angel! It’s so great to have you join us here. Enjoy your looking around. I have almost 200 FREE tutorials here on the blog, so have some fun!
Great stuff – thanks Katie.
Absolutely amazing tutorial. Thank you Katie. I especially love how the ‘minimum basic supplies’ requires a cup of coffee. Too true. ONE DAY I will venture into the realm of mokume gane. One day…
Great tutorial! I learned some new stuff!
Thanks Sunny! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Mokume gane is one of my favourite techniques! I love the flexibility of it and there is no way for it to go wrong. As you said there are so many different way to do this. I spotted a couple things I can do differently thanks for the tutorial!
>Beautiful job!!! I dont remember it being so easy when I read how to do it in my book. This inspired me to go check on my clay and see if any of it survived 6 months in storage!!
>very cool! I'll have to try that sometime
>It looks like fun! Love your tutorial, Katie!
>This looks like SOOOOO much fun. Maybe I'll be able to try it sometime.
>Looks pretty neat!
>That's pretty interesting! Luv the comments on coffee, poking and blades. It looks like fun.
>Very cool tutorial!!
>Great tutorial Katie! Easy to follow, great pictures! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
>I have always wanted to try making beads. Hmmmmm I sense another project to add to the bunch. LOL
>Thanks for the info. That looks neat.
>Thank you everyone!!!
>Great photos along the way…the pens look awesome!
>great post, wonderful pics! thanks!
>Great tutorial! Would love to try it sometime.
>Wow, that is so cool!
>@Linda – It's great stress relief!
@Calliope – Thank you!
>Wonderful tutorial. Very detailed and super pictures.
>That looks fun.