Basic tech, General info
...Shaving ....Flattening
The Variations:
...leaf .... foils
...metallic powders
...paints..... inks
....clay, no leaf
....metallic clays

...squashed canes & grids

...stamps & tools
...texture sheets
...sanded mokume
...folded brain
FAUX mokume ... jellyroll mokume
Videos, DVD's


Basically, mokume gane is the polymer clay technique of layering very thin sheets of contrasting clay into a thin stack... distorting the stacked layers so they are no longer totally flat... then, usually from the top of the slab, shaving off small thin slices (or most all the upraised areas if stamped-textured) to show the rings and swirls (or patterns) produced by the distorted layering
.....the remaining stack may be flattened and used, or the shaved-off bits can be placed on another surface or base sheet.
.. many variations on this technique have also been created!

Nan Roche, in "The New Clay," was the one to introduce the idea of using clay to simulate the Japanese metalworking technique "mokume gane"
...for that version, she:
.....made 6-8 thin layers of opaque clays (she used 3 colors) into a stack less than 1/2" tall

.....pressed a pencil or knife up from underneath the stack to distort it
....shaved off the parts that had been thrust upward (from the top)
........Nan's 1998 brown-black-white sheets at bottom ...(plus & someone else's sheet using brighter clay colors)

......Jayne H's sandstone-looking mokume with shades of brown, beige and red ...

PRONUNCIATION ...& INFO: The name "mokume gane" came from a Japanese metalworking technique which uses layers of metal rather than clay and Nan Roche kept the term when she first described the technique using polymer.
….."actually, it should be pronounced moh-koo-meh-gah-neh (...say it sorta fast --most Japanese words have no stressed syllables. . )"
.......Japanese has only 5 vowels ( A, I, U, E, O) .....
(a) ah ....(i) we ....(u) soon--pronounced with no forward movement of the lips ....(e) get ....(o) old re the original "mokume gane (metal)

some "natural" mokumes (agate, etc.)

General Info for all variations of mokume gane

There are various techniques for getting this result, and they are sometimes named after the person most associated with introducing it.

The order of the layers in a stack will make a difference to the final result.
...for impressions made from underneath, the color of the layer used on top (if not entirely shaved off) will generally become the "background" (most seen color), and any impressions made will show the topmost layers of the stack as the outermost layers in the final pattern shapes (?).
...for impressions made from the top, most of the top layers will be removed, but their colors can be seen in the underlayers is the original stack was cut and restacked on itself (?)

(If you cut down the side of a mokume block rather than across the top, you'll just get stripes and not the mokume effect . . . although a few of the techniques on this page do make cuts that way... e.g., wavy blade cuts, stacks with ink between the layers, clay with metallic powder inclusions, Desiree's sea plants, Donna's jellyroll ...a cane cut on the diagonal).

(Remember that some people refer to metal leaf as "foil"... it can get confusing --foil is the plastic-backed metallic sheeting)

Shaving (the stack)

Generally, the clay stack has thin sections removed from the top with a long and flexible blade
....using a sharp and clean blade will allow for better cutting
clean the blade every time it seems to drag, and/or use a release like cornstarch on it may be necessary to use a newer blade
...the thinner the shavings cut from the mokume gane block, the less distortion there will be (when using stamps, etc.) ...and the more translucence if you're using translucent clay.
(...for info on slicing and on avoiding blade drag, see Canes-Instructions > Cutting Canes)

The shavings can later be placed onto a base clay sheet (or onto a clay shape such as a bead)
.... they are flattened together and into the base clay with a roller, by rubbing over a sheet of parchment paper, or by rolling in the hands (see Flattening below)
Or the remaining stack can be used instead of the shavings (which may also need some flattening).

It helps to keep the stack from moving around while you're shaving it if you stick it down on a slick surface like a tile or acrylic sheet... this will hold the sheet flat and to the surface so that it can be shaved more easily..

...the blade can be held in both hands, very slightly curved, so that it's middle can shave just a bit of clay off the top of the mokume stack which is laying flat on a work surface),1789,HGTV_3352_1944361,00.html (click on Fig. D)... not mokume gane stack though
OR: (especially if the upper surface is textured):.....keep the blade flat... as parallel to the surface as possible, with the clay flat on a work surface (brace your elbows/forearms on the table). ..shave off just the finest shave that you can do. It takes a little while...just keep shaving to reveal the colors. Helen
......Nora Jean shaving a very thin (only 2-layer) stack which was textured with a texture sheet
OR: ......lay the mokume stack on top of a curved or domed surface, then shave away on it with your blade held straight (rather than curved) ...this gives more control and can also yield more consistent slices can also use a ball of baked clay, an old hard rubber cat ball), or maybe a wooden bead. Helen
......I also use a small piece countertop with a bullnose edge (rounded, like a tongue depressor).... I put my mg sheet on a piece of deli wrap, then slide it over the rounded edge as I take slices off.. Marla (could use rounded tile edging too?)
..... I use one of those black film canisters .....but have also used a small china bowl
It's easiest to shave bits off a textured clay sheet for ghost-image mica or off a mokume gane stack if you drape it over a large jar... I like the big straight-sided Safeway salsa jars
........ one advatage to a large jar is that you can stick your nondominant hand in the jar for even more control. eorgia
...I put a marble underneath my stack, curve the sheet over the top of the marble to make a hill. Slice off as much as I want...though I try not to cut all the way through. Elizabeth
.....someone holds the stack over her index finger, then shaves with the other hand (be careful though!)
.........then the end of the blade will be used rather than its center... I tried it and it worked pretty well.
OR......I use a cheese plane to take my slices from the final mokume stack.... not as dangerous as the blade
....this also gives a better chance of cutting a larger, complete slice from the stack, if that's what you want --this is not easy to do with a blade. Amanda Rose

By varying the depth of each shaved cut (from very deep to very shallow) different shapes will result ... e.g., round, oblong, or irregular shapes. Elizabeth

You may want to warm up the clay slab before trying to press down around the balls so it will be really flexible.

It's best to shave your layered slab the same day you make it.... I had some leftover slab and tried to use it about 2 weeks later and I didn't get very good striations. Helen
... I have a suggestion for speeding up the mokume process! (I never seem to have the patience to wait hours and hours for my clay to settle and firm up before I start cutting into my stack, plus I've got it stuck to my table top so I can't stick in in the fridge to firm it up). ....What I do is cover the clay with a piece of plastic and then slap one of those flexible ice packs down on top of it to help it cool and firm up..... and if my stack gets mushy while I'm taking slices off, I just take a break and put the icy pack on it again. Ginny B.

If you plan on laminating more than one layer of slices on each other, smooth the surface in between doing additional layers . . . cheap tracing paper (or parchment) works well as a barrier between the polymer clay and your burnisher (back of a spoon, bone tool, or printmaker's etching burnisher). Lindly

Use a wavy blade to slice any of the mokume techniques ...either cuttting straight down the sides and placing the slices turned on their sides before joining (like faux ivory or ikat) (the stacks could be taller and fatter, or not) . . . or cutting across the top like traditional mokume gane . . . or at angle.
...Pamela's mokume gane cut with wavy blade?

Instead of shaving the top of the raw clay stack, you can wait till after baking then sand or grind the entire top layer(s) off to reveal the underlayers (see below in Sanded Texture Sheet variation).

Flattening the shaved stacks

Some flattening is usually done after shaving... this can be done before baking by rolling over with a roller, or by pressing down with a large flat surface, or by putting through a pasta machine (at the widest setting possible to flatten any hills and valleys)
...pressing down flat (rather than passing through a pasta machine will better retain the proportions of the patterns since a pm will stretch the pattern more in one direction (..that sheet can then put through on a smaller setting for the next pass though)
...if you don't want the design to get larger when it's flattened, add another clay sheet to the back of the shaved and flattened sheet first before passing through the pasta machine (on the widest setting possible)

Nora Jean compares a sheet that's been textured & pretty well shaved (on left) with one that has then been flattened (on right)
.....another of her sheets used black, gold, and translucent (& burnt umber acrylic paint?) mix.

This process of texturing and shaving (and flattening) can be done more than once as well:
.....after texturing a stacked sheet then shaving it and flattening it smooth, Nora Jean then impresses the smoothed sheet with the texture sheet again (in slightly different orientation), and shaves a second time...bakes.
... she then sometimes uses a mix of translucent clay mixed with Burnt Umber acrylic paint to press into the baked indentations, then rebakes

a somewhat similar, very cool, effect can be achived by stamping-texturing (an often solid-colored) sheet of clay, then coloring its upper surfaces with paint(s) or metallic powder(s), etc..... and then flattening it
(see Kris's lesson for one example )


BETWEEN layers

Leaf (metal)

The next big idea to come along was to put metal leaf in between the layers of clay.
...the clays used can be all translucents, all opaques, or some combination of the two.

NOTE: some blackening can occur when using copper leaf (only in mokume gane?) ... it may be the result of Future coming in contact with partly exposed copper leaf on clay (....for details, see Leaf > Sealing, Tarnishing)

opaque clays & leaf

Tory (Victoria) Hughes' technique first used opaque clays with metal leaf, I believe
. . . she stamped into her stack from the top, and generally used the remaining stack for her final sheet

(see much more on using opaque clays and leaf for mokume gane, below in Stamped)

tinted translucent clays & leaf

Lindly Haunani was the first person to build upon the idea with metallic leaf but use only translucent and tinted-translucent clays
....... the leaf fractures a bit when it's flattened to eliminate the seams

When tinted-translucent clay colors are used, don't use colors which are opposite on the color wheel'll end up with browns, or colors which are toned way down because they will mix visually when one color is seen through another color ... Lindly always used analogous colors to avoid this.

.... I use 5-7 tints of clay made from 3 adjacent (analogous) colors on the color wheel ...(e.g, blue green, blue, blue violet; or blue violet, violet, red violet; or yellow green, green, blue green).
........I do not use black or white clay (or other opaque colors) in order to obtain maximum translucency
....create a very thin sheet of translucent clay which has been tinted with a small amounf of one of the range of colors this for all 5-7 sheets a sheet of metal leaf between each layer (often use silver) (..."top" of stack will be color you want to show most) balls of plain translucent clay underneath bottom of stack sheets down around the balls from the top ... (top of stack will look quite lumpy)... cool stack
.....take very thin, random slices across top of stack
...Can use both remaining stack, and and/or lay
the slices on another sheet of translucent
...Can also add thin logs or shapes of tinted or plain translucent clay to areas of the final sheet if needed
Lindly's lesson: (green, yellow)
Kris Richards’ lesson on her version of Lindly’s mokume technique (end result, using layers of gold and purple)

....(to begin lesson, click on bottom image)

Elizabeth's lesson on her version of Lindly's translucent and leaf mokume gane (requires Acrobat Reader)

Dorothy G used mostly monochrome tinted translucents, with silver leaf

On a 12-color color wheel (which has 3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors, and 6 intermediate colors between the primary & secondary colors, like red-orange, yellow-orange, etc.)
.. . take any five analogous colors (those which are side by side on the wheel) and use a small amount of each to tint the translucent clay..... The colors go together beautifully! Barb

some TIPS:
1) Lindly color recipes for the color challenged:
Lindly recommends 3 colors adjacent on the color (wheel) mixed into 6 tints. . I am colorphobic, so I tried to be scientific. I got very nice results (similar to her colors) with:
(FIMO colors) magenta, 4 pts magenta + 1 pt violet, 1 pt magenta +1 pt violet, violet, 1 pt violet + 1 pt blue, 4 pts blue +1 pt violet
2) 10 oz. FIMO Art Translucent
3) Conditioning and blending translucent with other colors:
Run the translucent mix through the pasta machine IN THE SAME DIRECTION each time. Otherwise you get too much plaquing. If it isn't blended on the outer edges, fold both edges inward vertically and keep going. (Picture the way a staple bends in).
4) Getting the clay thin: Lindly says she does it on the thinnest setting (#7?) Kids, don't try this at home unless you are really good at it! I got it through at 6 and managed to smooth out the wrinkles nicely. #7 attempt still being cleaned out of the innards of my machine, and YES I have tried everyone's tricks!
5) Putting on the silver leaf: Lindly says "Smooth gently." I say, make &%$#@ sure you smooth out every air bubble from the silver sheets, or you get messed up later when you try to slice. Use violence if necessary!!
6) "Rolling hills": The balls in her photos look pretty large, but it is harder to get cool images if they are too big. Make sure you have hills and not mountains, or you will get to the center of each hump before you have been able to reveal the in-between patterns.
7) Look at photo #8: does that look like 5 1/2" square? I didn't think so. I think she cut it. If it's too big, it can be awfully hard to maneuver. Try cutting your loaf into 4 pieces and work smaller. Less boo-boos that way.
8) When slicing: She suggests putting it on lightweight paper to be able to rotate easily. That seems to work for her because she slices with one hand (photo #7). For me, a two-handed curved-blade slicer, it was "slip-slidin' away!" I anchored the entire thing to a mini piece of acrylic, which I anchored to my work surface with a wad of clay which I could reposition when necessary. Ahhh!
9) Major slicing alert: Alcohol is not optional! When you slice, little pieces of foil get stuck to the tip of the blade with each slice! You may not notice them until your lovely new sharp blade starts ripping through your hard work like a steak knife. Have a rag saturated with alcohol right there, and wipe between EACH SLICE. ..

Some colors of metallic leaf (not foil) will tarnish over time if not sealed (see Leaf >Sealing > Tarnish for more)...."silver" is okay though
.... some clays cause this more than others too.... and oils from hands can quicken the process
Vicki’s post on all kinds of combinations of clay and leaf (and which ones TARNISHED), from 6-20-98 though,4&rnum=2&

I just use plain (uncolored) translucent clay with my leaf when doing mokume Lindly style
.... I do layer that over a color underneath though(that way the leaf is protected by the translucent but is still colorful ... and it wouldn't hurt to put an ultra thin layer of translucent over everything to protect it even more). . . Wire4Clay2
...Susan's lesson on mokume gane with plain translucent and gold leaf (..... no colored clay underneath ...and also no distortion of the clay stack before shaving)

see also Dotty's lesson on using tinted transcluents with layers of acrylic paint between, below in Paints

FimoSoft's Transparent clays (pre-tinted translucents in 5 pastel colors) are very transparent, but they still have to be used very thin! (...may not want to mix them with regular translucent or other colors for max. translucency()

I grab two or three colours I think look really good, but by the time I tint them and then bake the finished piece I tend to get "ickky" colour combinations (also because the colour changes once again during baking). Working on alizarin crimson to grey now. Petra
...I think the problem with the combinations that you chose is that they're far apart on the color wheel, and they're too different in value (light/dark). . . orange and green and purple is a really vibrant color combination, but when the colors are put together into one pad of mokume I can see where it could be too busy. . . and yellow and red is a good progression, but red is so much darker than yellow that the contrast would again make it appear busy. Julia

One way is to use all cool tints, or all warm tints (...if you mix warm and cool you'll get mud). Valerie
....I like doing a few colors that are grouped together on the color wheel and only put a small amount of that color into a larger portion of translucent clay. It's about 1/4 the richness, once it's mixed, as the original opaque color that I used.
... Remember, it's about 1/10th color in the translucent mix to make the more subtle.

I have used purple, violet (looks like magenta), ultramarine blue, fuschia (a brighter, vivid pink), and they looked fantastic together. I used silver foil inbetween the colors and tried to graduate from the darkest to lightest colors. When I constructed the slab, I went through the series of dark to light (through the graduated colors) at least twice.

Try gold, copper, and pearl clay...with gold leaf.

purple, magenta (or violet) and turquoise
... I also added a touch of pearl to each mix of color/translucent to give a little more twinkles/sparklies.Marcella

I used layers of translucent mixed with gold, silver, and FImoSoft's White Snow (which is very glittery)
...then a top layer of pale blue pearl with translucent... and added copper clay balls underneath... (gold leaf between layers). wadham97
(looks like kind of like earth and clouds)

I can suggest a quicker way to audition the colors for your mokume gane by using a Skinner blend (idea from Sue Heaser's book, and maybe also from Donna Kato):
...Take a sheet of translucent, about #5.
...Use slivers of your chosen colors along the bottom edge and make a sheet of Skinner blend... Almost no color at all--not decent sized triangles.
...Then lay a piece of foil on the blend and roll the blend into a jelly roll with one color in the middle and another outside
...Slice thinly on the diagonal.
...If you like, put the slices throuh the pasta machine to break up the foil and thin out the color.
It is pretty in itself and should tell you how the colors will look without investing a lot of clay. Becky

I found that using white clay provided a reflective backing for light to come back up through the colors.... just like in oil painting, where you paint on a white colored ground:
I layered white clay... then two sheets of silver leaf, a sheet of colored translucent.... two sheets of leaf, translucent, and so on. Four sheets of translucent, all together, eight of leaf, one bottom layer of white. .
Roll these layers together... the double sheets of leaf will make them want to slip and slide, but, they also keep the leafing from looking "spread too thin" in the final product. Brayer them down, really well.
. . . Now, put your marble underneath, curve the sheet over the top of the marble to make a hill. Slice off as much as you want... I try not to cut all the way through. I vary the depth of the cut from very deep to very shallow, round, oblong, irregular shapes, and I set aside the pieces that I cut off.
When the whole sheet has valleys cut into it, I roll it down with a brayer, again, and then cut it so that I can put it through the pasta machine. I put the pieces (pretty side up) on a piece of scrap or a piece of solid color clay, and bray that down and send that through the pasta machine, too, first in one direction, then the other, in a thinner setting. When I'm done, I've got a LOT of MG, to cover beads, pens, tins, paper mache, etc. Ziggybeth

Try also putting the slices thinly on a dark background, too. I make eggs this way with black, metallic black, navy and other dark backgrounds around the egg first. They are very elegant.

I like to make a long Skinner blend going from translucent to an opaque color and (then cut it into sections)...I layer translucent (between the sections?) from bottom dark to top translucent, with a silver or gold (leaf?) between every new shade. Kerstin

Foils (metallic plastic)

(see Leaf for more info on using leaf and foils ... as well as their differences)

The kind of leaf that's most often used with mokume gane is the *really* thin stuff with no backing or plastic coating, although you can also use those kinds if you burnish them and remove the backing ...otherwise it will be too thick and tough.
....It should be the kind that is extremely fragile in your hands, not the kind you would need scissors to cut. When I was looking at foils in Michael's I was confused by the Renaissance foils ...The good stuff at Michael's is by Houston Arts. . . . The kind of foil I see in stamping stores for use with embossing fluid is not the sort typically used in MG. Ginger
...It sounds like Jones Tones or Renaissance foils - you can use those in mokume gane. . . the kind of foil that's used in Kris Richards' lesson is a very fine leafing foil - very fragile and light - you can barely handle it without making it tear. It's made by Houston Art or Magic Leaf, (etc.) Elizabeth
.....However...I have also used the Renaissance foil (and other similar, backed foils) to make mokume gane . . . .it was all I had available and I liked the effect it achieved better then the fake gold leaf. It was a pain to apply though. You have to burnish it really hard and I applied it more thand once . Deb

Try adding different colors of foil in the same loaf. . ..

Try making a stack of layered translucents using Jones Tones transfer foils (see Leaf) between each layer and slice it across? with the wavy blade like you would Mokume Gane. Lay your slices on black clay and you have a neat dichroic mother of pearl the left over sheet through the pasta machine and there you will have a very nice mother of pearl sheet for a pendant...

(see also Laukkonen's method with black paint above)
(see also Tess' method with Lumiere paints or Pinata Inks above)

metallic Powders, etc.

You can put powders in mokume gane layers as long as you don't cover the entire layer with powder (powders are very effective release agents, after all, and if you cover too much the layers won't stick together). . . just cover little spots on several layers. jjjjami

The key to making the sheets stick together is to compress them with your fingers before cutting.... as you compress, thinning each layer, the mica particles are then spread out more, exposing more clay. Then they stick. This is like crackling metal leaf. . .the exposed clay enables the sheets to stick together. Donna Kato

I've used many things for mokume.... metal leaf, jones tones foils, embossing powders, pearl ex, glitter, and Lumiere paints with the Pinatas for mokume. They are amazing, and I am a total convert. Tess

Elaine had some great, colorful and intense metallic powders (Powdered Pearls). Roll a thin, thin sheet of translucent. Dust the pearls on the clay. Cut and stack. Compress the stack so that the sheets stick together. Push from the top or bottom. Slice and you'll get a subtle mokume gane effect - like watercolor! .
... Did it with Pearl Ex powders too, but they don't have the intense color that the other stuff does. Donna

I have used PearlEx in mokume gane but was not happy with it until I began to mix it with TLS. So, you will 'paint' your layers of PearlEx onto layers of translucent....also try layers with Magic Leaf in between TLS/PearlEx and translucent. It is dynamite. I will be writing up this technique and others. Dianne C
Jami Miller told me about putting a layer of Pearl-ex mixed with acrylic gel medium in your mokume stack. You probably would get more intense color this way, whichever powder is used. Randi

Donna Kato had some colored powders with her at our retreat.... D'UVA chromacoal powder (acrylic powders, heat fusible)

...she mixed them into the titanium white Genesis paint and used it in her mokume gane. It was a really neat effect. Geo in MI

iridescent powders mixed into translucent clay ...yield a shimmery, glittery, metallic glow with great depth

People used to say you could only see the interference powders if they were on the surface of the piece, well I disagree. I have many pieces that have interference powder covered by translucent (in mokume gane) that is refracting light just as it would on the surface. jjjjami

(more examples of using metallic powders, embossing powders, and powders in carriers, etc. are on this page)


Various kinds of paints (and inks) can be used in (or on top of) mokume gane stacks ...acrylics, oils, heat-set acrylics, and heat-set oils
...but the acrylics need to be allowed to dry completely before incorporating into a stack.

Tory Hughes …paints acrylic paint on sheets of clay, stacks them, and then impresses objects into the stack for the mokume effect… Ellen
And don't forget the Gwen Gibson style (of mokume) either---kind of like Tory's only she uses paint on top of some of the thin polymer sheets before making the stack---gives a very interesting added effect. Roni (how different?)

Dotty's lesson on using metallic & interference acrylic paints between the layers (of tinted translucent clays)
I use metallic acrylic paints.....I haven't had the opportunity to take a workshop with Gwen Gibson but I have a technique that may be like hers...if not, we'll just call this the Casca Method (the name of my jewelry line)
......I prefer DecoArt's Dazzling Metallics in Champagne Gold (my favorite!) and Brilliant Silver (there are other Dazzlings I use but these I keep coming back to).
.......I also love Jo Sonja's Artists Colors. but they are sometimes difficult to find...if you can locate them pick up her Burnished Copper...nothing like it!
(lesson) 1.Condition translucent clay mixed with a pea sized piece of colored clay...
2.Roll through successively smaller sizes on your pasta machine until it's ready for the number six setting.
3.Lay the number six setting sheets out on waxed paper. Use the acrylics straight from the tube or bottle and paint on a thin layer of color. Use a wide brush and don't worry if you've got wrinkles in the clay sheet, they won't show up in the finished sheet. Put on another layer in a cross wise direction. Let paint dry completely.
4. Stack sheets on top of one another and press together to adhere all layers together. Proceed as you would with regular Mokume. Carolyn Sadowski
..when using paint on translucent clay, lay the slabs down with the paint side down (this way the paint will show through the translucent)
....the translucent should be very thin, but not too thin (#5-6) because you will be stretching it more when you are working the stack. Cindy

(for using thinned acrylic paints like Dahler-Rowney's Pearlescent Acyrlic "Inks"...see below in Inks)

I've found you can use glitter paint (acrylic?) as well between the layers as long as the particles are fine and you make sure that you press them together well so that they don't seperate. Carolyn
...or use FimoSoft's glitter "metallic" clays. Suzanne

(not exactly mokume, but Laukkonen 's lesson on making faux abalone, using black (oil or acrylic) paint on each mini-stack-block of layers, indented with fingers, re-cubed, then cut on side, not on face (or cut with wavy blade). . . (gone... published in Faux Surfaces book)
...use same idea as this for lighter mother-of-pearl, but don't use black paint, and don't mix black into the pearl or silver clay.
(...more on this technique and similar ones in Faux-Many > Abalone/Mother of Pearl)

heat set oil & acrylic paints . . . (Lumiere, Genesis)

Genesis are heat-sel oil paints
are heat set acrylic paints (in metallic-pearlescent-iridescent colors
...very thin bodied)

Our guild . . . tried using both the Genesis and Lumiere paints.
...Both work quite well, but we did notice that the Lumiere paints tended to produce more crisp lines, while the Genesis yeilded more diffuse or feathery lines. Both are beautiful depending on the look you want. . . Heather

From what I understand Lumiere Paints stretch (and), won't crack easilyin the pasta machine. Valerie
...I had that (stretching) problem at first, but... I think I started letting the paint dry *less,* if that makes sense (iIf I let it dry overnight, that's when I have the problems). If I let it get just barely dry, it works fine. Tess
for crackling Lumieres and/or using them for mokume gane, I'd recommend that you dilute them about 1/2 and 1/2 with water before you apply them to the raw clay sheet, and then apply thinly --this will eliminate a lot of the body of the paint so that it can crackle or thin itself across the surface of the clay as you manipulate it instead of stretching so much (there is so much mica in the Lumieres that diluting them does not seem to remove any of their sparkle).. and when applied to a white base, I don't believe the colors will even appear to fade down with dilution....they will lose their opacity though ...applied to black base clay, they will not appear as intense as the full-bodied paint.
--too thickly applied, and the dried Lumiere paints are the devil to cut through neatly from the top of a mokume gane stack. Elizabeth
...I constructed an MG stack using translucent clay and black, white, and silver Lumiere paints. I layered the resulting slices over white clay and applied a sheet of this to a glass jar. . . Heather

Heather's marble-look mokume with Lumiere oil paints and translucent (covered votive) (website gone)

I used Lumiere paints in my mokume (they're highly pearlized)...
....they're all gorgeous... they look like some exotic agate, especially the rectangular pieces in the Mokume Gane album (website gone).
....I like the stamped MG, too - with greens and browns and warm-toned leaf, it tends to look like some exotic agate. Elizabeth

Tess' lesson on using 8 small clay rectangles of diff. colors, on which she puts various Lumiere paints and Pinata (alcohol-based) inks, also adding drops of Pinatas on top of the wet painted inks (because the colors bleed into interesting shapes and add great depth of color)... she allows them to sit no longer than 30 min, then adds leaf here and there before stacking, cutting and restacking sev. times (she presses down pretty hard in between re-stacks to create waviness); then she cuts her stack down the side with a wavy blade (gone)
...but her similar mokume gane paints and inks and translucent clay stacks are shown here (after distorting? and smoothing though)... and she simply slices large flat bits off the top of the stack with a non-wavy blade

The reason you can use oil paints in clay, liquid clay, and raw canes is because you bake them, and that sets the paint. I saw Donna Kato use oil paints in a mokume Gane technique on Carol Duvall. She said that the oil paints cure in the heat of the oven and there is not a problem with degradation
.... Polymer Clay Express says this about the Genesis brand oil paints that they sell…they work very well with the clay, because it doesn't dry by itself- it must be cured similar to polymer clay..
...5 min. at 250º will cure Genesis .. you can use your oven, or an embossing gun, or the special gun or curing boxes that are sized specially for canvases.
...for clean up, use soap and water or 91% alcohol. If you make a mistake, you can remove the paint from cured polymer until you cure the paint."
I have heard (or maybe I read it) that oil paints work this way (don't remember if this applies to ALL oil paints) very well with clay AS LONG AS YOU BAKE IT to cure the paint. Chryse

Have you tried the Genesis paints, too? Some of those are very transparent, even though they're intense and saturated... put on a rubber glove and just tap the paint all over the surface. The Genesis doesn't "dry", so it doesn't create a firm layer of paint between the translucent sheets. Totally different looks. Elizabeth
....Donna Kato's lesson on mokume gane made with Genesis paints... dabbed here and there on sheet of translucent clay
...a sheet of metallic leaf is added and a final thin sheet of translucent clay
...the painted sheet is cut and re-stacked to create an 8-layer mokume stack
...the stack is then impressed deeply with a something
...shavings are then taken randomly from the top, and placed on a base clay heart shape,,HGTV_3238_1383760,00.html
...Donna Kato had some colored powders with her at our retreat. I'm pretty sure this was the brand - D'UVA chromacoal powder ...she mixed them into the titanium white Genesis paint and used it in her mokume gane. It was a really neat effect. Geo in MI.
...There's a little bit of "squishiness" involved as you stack layers with Genesis paints in mokume gane for making faux abalone, so (make your paint very, very thin and) be ready for messy hands, but the overall effect was just about what I wanted. Gillian & Jeanne R.


Pearlescent: Daler-Rowney Pearlescent Acrylic) inks...
NOTE: these are actually thinned acrylic paints, which can behave like "inks"
....I used Daler-Rowney inks for a crackle effect mokume stack...I was inspired by Allison Ingham. Mia
...she tints translucent clay with premo Pearl colors for 4 sheets, and uses regular Premo yellow clay with a bit of yellow Pearl Ex for another sheet... each sheet is then painted with a similar color of ink . . . the ink is allowed to dry which will cause it to begin cracking (the thicker the ink, the bigger the cracks . . . she suggests putting the ink on thinner so that the stack will be easier to cut).... she then stacks the inked sheets, then makes curved, angled cuts to remove small pieces... most of these she curve-slices again to use as bits for covering base beads (the bits will look like small, 5-layer, curved-rainbows)
...Mia's lesson
...I love my pearlescent inks. Once you start playing, you won't be able to stop. One thing I found, is if the ink starts pooling (you'll understand what I mean when you start playing), so use a stiff flat brush to put the ink on. When you do that you will actually be making micro lines in the clay and the ink stays there better.
....In general, using different brushes to put the ink on gives different effects. NF

After the clay and ink (which kind?) have set for awhile, Elise recommends slowly heating it under a warm heating pad (low heat for a short time..just re-introduce watmth to it) Carolyn

Alcohol-based inks (Pinata, Ranger)... very concentrated color:
...Ooo!! I have made the most gorgeous (if I do say so myself) gane with the Pinata inks... they glow when sanded and buffed.
...I've used many things...metal leaf, jones tones foils, embossing powders, glitter, pearl ex, and Lumiere with the Pinatas for mokume. They are amazing, and I am a total convert. Tess
...Jean's examples of mokume gane with Pinatas

(see also Elizabeth's lesson on using alcohol inks with crackled metallic foil for mokume gane, below in Stamped)

You can use the heat set types of rubberstamp ink (to tint clay!) . . . be aware, however, you can't make layered mokume gane pads with them and let them sit. From experience I have found they will bleed into one another. But if you're using within 24 hours, go ahead and do MG or jelly rolls and then BAKE to set the colors
--the heat set inks I use are from Ranger Industries. Carolyn

(see more on pearlescent and all other inks in Letters & Inks > Inks for Tinting)


Making the clays themselves more complex or different can add complexity to the mokume pattern (use the resulting sheets as you would for any other mokume technique.)

clay (no leaf)

Nan Roche, in "The New Clay," was the person who introduced the idea of using clay to simulate real Japnese mokume gane ...for that version, she:
.....made 6-8 thin layers of opaque clays (she used 3 colors) into a stack less than 1/2" tall

.....pressed a pencil or knife up from underneath the stack to distort it
....shaved off the parts that had been thrust upward (from the top)
........Nan's 1998 brown-black-white sheets at bottom ...(plus & someone else's sheet using brighter clay colors)

......Jayne H's sandstone-looking mokume with shades of brown, beige and red and various shapes of impressions

metallic clays

I love (regular) mokume with Premo metallic mica clays! The results are so rich. . . .I often use the combination gold, copper, black, or silver, black,& a metallic color. Irene D.
..... I especially like how the premo metallics work as they refract light differently with each slice off the mokume stack. . . . I finished these beads by sanding the living daylights out of them. . . . . I used the premo green metallic mixed half and half with gold metallic - I learned this in Mike Buesseler's class and love the muted olive-y color. Julia S.
...I prefer to make my mokume gane with metallic clays. (Using tinted translucents result in pastel colors, and I'm just not a pastel person!). Because the metallic clays are opaque, I don't bother using silver or gold leaf because the effect isn't as pronounced as when using translucents. Irene

(Tory Hughes' mokume gane is composed of translucent and metallic and opaque clays, layered with metallic leaf in between ...see below in Stamped for more)

Btw, if you use only one sheet of mica clay, then distort the surface with a stamp or a texture sheet (or draw into it), then shave off the top parts (or sand off after baking, it will create a holographic illusion called the mica Ghost Effect (see Mica > Ghost Effect for lots of info on this technique)

Also, the FimoSoft metallic colors (with very fine glitter throughout) make very cool mokume gane. Suzanne

inclusions in clay

Deborah's mokume with rose petal inclusions & foil (website gone)
Melnik's beautiful mokume bullseyes effect, made with metallic clays or inclusions??? (website gone)

iridescent powders in translucent clay ...yield a shimmery, glittery, metallic glow with great depth
....lesson: . . . I rolled all the colors through a #5 setting on my P.M
....used a sheet of gold first, then a translucent with powder inclusions (
sometimes two different translucents), then a black...(then repeated at least 4 times)
.........each time I put on a black layer, I'd impress it with differnt things to push the black layer down into the other layers.
....I took some fairly thick slices off the top
diagonally, and then kind of wadded these underneath the block to distort the rest of the layers.
....then I began cutting very thin slices of the top and sides to arrange them on a base sheet of gold. Tinidril


Donna begins with several constrasting colors of clay. She marbles them, rolls the result into a sheet, and cuts 4 equal-sized rectangles from it, which she stacks together. (She flattens the stack, curves it, then cuts off thin slices, sometimes overlapping the cuts, and uses as is or covers a bead base.)

I made the vessel out of marbled CFC, 1/2 gold, 1/4 red, 1/4 scrap (muddy brown). After it was well marbled by twisting, I ran it through the pasta machine. The basic form was #1 thickness, and I veneered it again with #5 thickness. During baking, slight air bubbles rose between the veneer and the pre-baked base layer, so that when I sanded it very lightly (did NOT sand through the veneer to the under layer), the mokume gane effect appeared. Now the little vessel looks like water-spotted, streaked copper. LynnDel

mudpile (scraps, twisted, often with leaf)

Ziggybeth’s photo lesson on this beautiful technique (using mostly translucent scraps and regular translucent clay and leaf)
....she takes scraps & old canes (mostly comprised of translucent tints, with more naturally translucent colors and some Skinner Blends, with a few opaque colors --removing any black, brown, etc. if she wants the colors to remain really bright)
.... she forms these scraps into a loaf, then twists it a few times, reforming into a loaf again
....then she cuts 4-8 slices a quarter-inch thick and puts each through pasta machine on #1, then on # 4 or 5 in the other direction
...(or, an alternate way to get loaf?... rolls the scraps into logs...stack these logs and roll into a long log, then fold it once or twice. Flatten some and roll in an opposite direction to the lines, then form into a fat log. ...Cut log into a few very thick slices and roll each through pasta machine; cut each into a rectangle & run through again at #4.)
...Top each sheet with leaf, then a layer of translucent ....stack all together.
...Use a finger or a marble, etc., to force up parts of the slab, then cut off slices in circles, ovals, etc;
...overlap slices (onto a sheet of white or scrap clay), or use the base slab.

mine looks yuck most of the time....too lumpy and bumpy and the foils disappear. Any tips on how to get the foils showing more and how to make the surface more smooth?? Dianne C.
....If you use translucent clay sheets in your pad, you should have the foils showing thru. . .
...Also try running your slices thru the pasta machine first before applying them.
....You can also use an under layer sheet of clay, apply the mg slices to that, and run the whole thing thru the pasta machine or use a brayer to smooth. Geo
...when you take slices, if you put them onto waxed paper and then place another sheet of waxed paper over top and then roll them with an acrylic roller, they will smooth out nicely without spreading too much. Dotty

squashed canes

I did a accidental variation (of texture sheet mokume gane) using a cane... (I had made some Skinner blend jellyroll canes wrapped in black....i found on pc polyzine (which turned out very cool). So last night on a whim, I ran one through with a texture sheet and then sliced off the tops. It was really cool. So I made a whole new cane and repeated. rosey63
made a row of 4 lengths cut from a Skinner blend spiral cane then squashed the rows flatter ...textured with a texture sheet before shaving

Donimique's automatically-wrapped canes (made in clay gun) used as squashed and textured pad for mokume gane
...she lays a number of fat auto-wrapped extrusions (diff, but same general colors) into 2 (offset) rows
...presses the rows into a rectangular pad to create a flat stack
...textures each side of the pad (with long rectangular stamp in this case)
...then shaves the top areas to reveal the patterns
more examples:

squashed "grids" of Skinner blend cane logs

Jenny Patterson came up with a great way to get complexity in a stamped mokume sheet (which she calls " Hidden Magic ")
. . . this technique can create actual bands of color, or just more complexity of color, over the sheet in the shaved areas (depending on how deep the cuts are and where they are) ....also, since she uses a top sheet of black, black can show up as a background color wherever the top sheet is not removed
... she creates a 5x5 grid of black-wrapped, Skinner Blend logs, and arranges the colors in diagonal stripes; she squashes the resulting squared cane while on point --from two opposite corners
... she then adds a thin sheet of black on the top and a thicker one on bottom, stamps into her sheet, and slices off areas here and there see more on the squashed grid technique, see Donna's Crushed Ikat and Mia's Rainbow version in Canes-Instr. > Ikat
for more on color orientation and grids, see also Trip Around the World quilt pattern in Canes-Instr > Quilt


Nan Roche introduced the idea of using clay to simulate the Japanese metalworking technique in her book The New Clay... for one variation, she:
...made 6-8 thin layers of opaque clays, using 3 colors, into a stack less than 1/2" tall
using a sharp gouging tool or knife, she then cut down into the stack 2-7 layers deep
...removed the gouged & cut clay pieces, creating long valleys all the way across or oval pits
...then flattened and used the slab

Kathleen Amt uses the approach you speak of ....carving into a layered loaf, and spreading the clay. ...some very beautiful and subtle effects are possible.. . .She uses opaque clays in very thin layered sheets and uses a linoelum cutter to carve out, or simply scores the clay with a sharp knife. When the sheet is put through the pasta machine the under layers will show through in a very subtle way.

When I took Gwen Gibson's class at Embellishment, she showed a way to make "Lazy Mokume Gane." . . .basically you layer 3-4 colors of your choice, of varying thicknesses if you wish, lay the sheet flat on the table, and bend the tissue blade to carve off layers of clay at varying depths, leaving the bottom sheet intact. The pieces that you carve off can be placed upside down on half of the clay that you don't carve. You finish by running the entire sheet through the pasta machine at #1 to even it out. Beautimous! …

I've been using wood carving gouges and can get more controlled and smaller slices . . . the "V" and "U" gouges are very easy to handle and give nice results. (using these also means I don't have to push balls of clay up through the mokume gane pad or bend it over a curved surface, as with other mokume methods... I just keep it flat and carve away).


Tory Hughes' mokume gane is composed of layers of opaque , translucent, & metallic clays, I believe, with metallic leaf in between ...then textured from the top with various tools like furniture coasters, pen caps, (screwdriver tips) anything which might make an interesting imprint on the clay (before taking the slices).
...she used the resulting slab, I believe
Tory Hughes’ Mokume Gane video (see "Vol. 6" photo)

Nan Roche's technique of using stamped stacks of opaque and metallic clay layers... gives extra depth and sparkle after shaving
...Nan's & Barbara McGuire's lesson on using a "sandwich" around black (stack of copper, black, silver)... which is cut in half and re-stacked before impressing
...Linda Goff's many-colored images done with Nan's technique
...Jean S's beautiful Egyptian stamp mokume (black, gold, cherry red) (click on Stargazer, for close-up)

Judy Belcher's video lesson (and text) on making stamped mokume gane, shaving away the upraised portions left by the stamp... then flattened in pasta machine and a backing layer added (colors in lesson diff. from colors of example)

Karen L's mokume stack made from all mica clays (pastels of blue & purple made with Pearl, plain Pearl, & topped with gray made w Pearl... 18 layers, 1/8") before texturing and shaving (disc and bits used to frame translucent ball face drawn on with oil pencils),1789,HGTV_3238_3314063,00.html

Cassy's texture-impressed mokume & ghost image lentils (all mica clays?)
... ...

(When a similar impressing and shaving technique is done with only one layer of mica clay --i.e., it's impressed with stamps or texture sheet, then shaved-- it's called the "ghost image" mica technique . . . for lots on that technique, see Mica > Ghost Image).

stamp marks made from the front and back:
....Layer the clay sheets.
...Then I poke something down into the stack from the top creating a topigraphical kind of landscape in the clay.
...I poke five holes up from the bottom with the end of my paint brush
........then I fill these holes with same or contrasting clay or scraps with foil in them, etc. . . .
...Then I poke down from the top into the clay (again?) with the paint brush handle, flea comb, wavy blade, whatever comes to hand until I have stratified the clay and caused it to move out of it's original position.
...I continue to squeeze the block sides in toward the middle gently to close up the holes I might have made . . . then let it rest awhile, etc. Carolyn

Elizabeth's lesson on making mokume gane with crackled (plastic-backed) metallic foils, alcohol inks, and translucent clay ... she distorts her clay only by impressing a grid into the top of it with a credit card, then flattening before slicing

Barbara McGuire's mokume gane, with some variations (for covering makeup brush handles)
...on the show she made only one shaved cut off the top of her stack.. straight across, fairly shallow
...her layers, from bottom: a thick sheet of blue; then thin sheets of: white, leaf, translucent,white, blue, leaf...she left a sheet of leaf on top "so it would be easy to deal with"
...then she impressed or rolled various tools (wavy rotary tool, square brass tubes, end of large paintbrush, etc) into the top few layers,,HGTV_3241_1373469,00.html

Jenny used a squashed grid of Skinner blend logs, plus a top solid-color layer, to stamp into.... for info and examples, see above under "Clays"

I think the layer order makes a difference if you're doing the rubber-stamp-then-shaving-off technique . . . the top layer becomes the outline layer of the shape and I think stays a little more dominant. . . . I actually like to roll them (with roller or pasta machine?) after they're shaved off --it blends them almost too much, but you get really subtle blended colors at the edges between the colors of the original layers. . . . I also seem to do better if there is a bigger difference in the value--one that's pretty light and one that's pretty dark. Maureen

Or add a plain (or top) sheet, then use a Dremel to grind the patterns into the baked multicolored layers like Scratch Art . . would leave a dimensional surface though

Rubberstamps can also force things like leaf, foil, paint, or other polymer clay down into the base clay sheets in order to leave color in the depressions... these are sanded off after baking, or shaved off when raw

the slab of layers is also pressed into the "negative" image sheet (molds) in Nan Roche's 1999 video Special Techniques in Polymer Clay. Some top areas are sliced off and are laid onto another base.
...Irene's photos of making this kind with impressions from a small cutter

Jean S's beautiful Egyptian stamp mokume (gold, black, cherry) (click on Stargazer, for close-up)

Susan S's lesson on non-shaved mokume gane effects... she uses a doubled stack of 5 colors (10 layers)
... pokes into one side of the stack with a tool --metal rod in this case --(on its corners too for variety)
... then she either presses the deformed stack into a cube shape.... or she also makes a log from the cube and twists it before forming it back into a cube...
....slices can be taken off from any direction... concentric swirls can still be seen

Texture sheets (bought or made) can also be used to impress patterns in the mokume stack, see below in Texture Sheet below.

Stamps & Tools for stamping

You can also use one or more rubber stamps instead of using a texture sheet to make an impression in the stacks of clay . . .
...use stamps that are as deeply etched as possible... use thin thin sheets of clay in the stacks ... it makes a difference if you're using a negative or positive stamp in what it will look like when finished

Any kinds of things, of course, that will make impressions can be used as "stamps" too (see the Stamping page for loads of ideas)

Cindy's mokume made from various tool impresssions . . .one of them is a fork and one is a knife ... I was really surprised at how much I liked silverware for tools. The fork has really square teeth and I like the look of it. Cindy
...use a wavy blade as one of objects that you press into your layers. When you make your slices, the wavy blade makes a neat pattern that shows 'wavy' .Dianne C.
...the bottom "feet" of a Pez dispenser can make some really cool MG impressions in a thinner pad, which can be cut and stacked for further effect. Laurel

I love wooden printing blocks for mokume gane techniques for that reason. They are usually much more deeply cut, and often because they usually are cheapo things imported from India, they have some really cool ethnic paterns and designs. don't know if you have any of those around in the US at all. I can't see why you wouldn't though. Emma

Helen Hughes' article/lesson on "inlayed" gane, using a small cutter like a stamp (pressed into a stack) to create an outline, then using tools to draw/impress details inside the outline (and outside for framing interest) before making her cuts across the slab.

Helen also created a mokume shape within a contrasting mokume background using two different mokume stacks... she cut a shape from both stacks with the same small cutter, then switched them ... putting the cutout shape from one stack into the matching hole of the other (before adding details). e.g., separating a butterfly from its background, etc..

rubber stamp or other texture sheet patterns can force things like leaf, foil, paint or other polymer clay into base clay sheets to leave color in the depressions... these are sanded off after baking or shaved off when raw (if necessary... also see Stamping > Powders)
Nan Roche's Luminous Lacquer . . .she forces gold leaf into black clay with a stamp... then translucent liquid clay is applied and rests in the depressions.
...After baking the surface is sanded leaving the impressed material in the the lower areas, surrounded by a background of base clay color
...some punched foil cutouts are used as well ("translucent extruded cords and sheets" used?) (gone)

Texture Sheets

(for info on buying or making your own texture sheets for this or other tecniques, see Texturing ).

I find this way of doing mokume SO much easier than the one of pushing stuff up under the clay, then and slicing off bits can also get finer detail in the pattern this way
. Jenn

There must be thin layers of clay used for this to technique to work well (especially near the top of the stack where the shavings or sandings will be done) because the texture sheets don't make impressions that are very deep (cutting them will reveal only the topmost layers)
...could use only two colors though, as long as they end up as many alternating layers of those 2 colors

Also, the height of the final layers sheet (textured) should be short enough to allow many layers to be revealed when shaved, but high enough for the blade to shave easily (or put the textured layers on a thicker base sheet to give more height-thickness)

silastones' lesson on using 3 colors and a homemade texture sheet of many depressed hemispheres
...stack is: red, red, green, black... texture sheet used on black side
...when sheet is shaved, get "bubbles" of red surrounded by a ring of green on a black field (used as covers for tube and round "bubble beads")

kellie's first texture sheet mg ....on Altoid lids
Kathy W's texture sheet mokume gane on an inro

Kellie's lessons on texture sheet mokume gane
....this technique was taught to me by Tom Plattenberger, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart!
(...let me warn you about all those tiny shavings and slivers of clay you slice off... I should have cleaned off my work surface first, because now I have these clay crumbs on everything!)
lesson on using 4 colors (16 final layers... texture sheet with cobblestone shape impressions)
basic lesson on using 2 colors (16 final layers... and texture sheet with round shape impressions)
1. roll out a small sheet of each of 2 colors on the thickest setting on your pasta machine (mine was 2.5 x 3.5")
2. stack the red clay on top of the white clay, and run thru pm on thickest setting.
3. stack green clay on your silver sheet, and run thru the pm.
4. place your red stack on the green stack and run thru pm.
5. slice this sheet in half, stack and run thru the pm.
6. repeat step 5 again. you will have 16 layers of color now in your sheet of clay, even though it is hard to see they are so thin.
7a. lightly spray texture sheet with (water). I used the cobblestone sheet for this ornament.
Place your sheet of layered clay red side down on your texture sheet and run thru the pm on thickest setting (run it through on the negative side of the texture sheet --the side that makes the positive impression. NF).
7b. Let the textured clay rest for a while before moving on to the next step.
8. using a very sharp flexible tissue blade, start slicing off raised areas of your clay. I do a small area at a time to make sure I don't go to deep. you can always take off more if you need to. try to get it as flat as possible, but you can run it thru the pm to smooth it once you are happy with your results. (this part similar to Ghost Image mica technique)
9. slice your mokume gane sheet in half.
place a thick sheet of red clay (run thru pm on thickest) between your mg sheets. be sure that your mokume is facing out on both the top and bottom of your stack of clay.
10. use cutters to cut out your shapes. I used a diamond cookie cutter and a canape teardrop cutter. I pierced the teardrop, top to bottom, like a bead. and I made a made an indention(hole with needle tool) in the top of my diamond, and the bottom.
11. bake at recommended time and temp. when cool, sand and buff. I started at 320 grit and worked my way up to 1500 grit. and then buffed with my polishing wheel on my dremel.
12. make your dangle first. using a head pin, put on beads that match, and your teardrop mg bead. bend the headpin over to make a loop.
13. I shaped a headpin around my needle tool for a big loop, and then superglued the loop into the hole at the top of my ornament. then I superglued a small loop into the bottom of my diamond. I attached my dangle to this small loop. this ornament is about 5 1/2" long, and about 2" wide. kellie
.......(Dangle Christmas Ornament colors used are all Sculpey III, red #083, green #022, silver and pearl white.)

I used 2 shades of Kato blue clay, plus Kato white .. I'm experimenting with layers at #1 (like the 16 better than 8)
.. run it through the PM with the texture plate
...I use my flexible blade and shave off the raised parts till I've exposed all the colors (if you shave deeper than that, you'll get less pattern)
.. to smooth the sheet and enlarge the pattern, I start running the shaved sheet through the PM again, at #2, then #3, then #4, and then #5.....rotating it as necessary Nae

Jen's lesson . . . . I used 2 or 3 marbled clays + a couple solid colors + a translucent
....Make a thin stack (each layer 5 or 6
on my machine) . . . then, run it through at #1on the pasta machine
...Slice in half and stack one on top of the other.... run through again at #1. . . . .repeat one more time (total of 18 layers?).
....I put a texture sheet on top of it, with the the bumps of the sheet facing up.... then ran both slowly through the pasta machine at #1.
...Then I carefully peeled off the clay, and used a flexible blade to slice off the bumps.

JENN: It's important to line up the bottom of the clay with the bottom of the texture sheet when you start, as rolling it through will squeeze the clay up a bit
.......also pass them though slowly to make sure the texture sheet won't slip.
... tap the blade frequently on your work surface to keep the thin shavings from building up
....when slicing, work only small areas at a time and work your way around the piece....if you go too fast , you take off too much, but with a little patience it took less than 5 minutes to get all those teeny tiny swirls.
....if the little shavings want to stick to the clay after you cut them off, just dust your fingers with a bit of cornstarch and rub across the clay, and they'll roll up and come right off .
....if your room is too warm, you'll want to chill or rest your clay a little before running it through the pm with the texture sheet so it doesn't mush all over, and also chill before shaving.

... you can shave either side, or both sides, of the textured sheet (if textured deeply)...they'll make different patterns.

I like to use Pearl Ex on the sheet and stack as a release (rather than water or cornstartch) and also as another effect
.... doesn't take much. I put a light coat with fluffy brush on both. Sarah

I did a accidental variation (of texture sheet mokume gane) using a cane
...I had made some skinner blend jelly roll canes wrapped in black.... I flattened into a strip to make a jellyroll cane i found on pc polyzine (which turned out very cool).... last night on a whim, I ran one through with a texture sheet and then sliced off the tops. It was really cool. So I made a whole new cane and repeated. rosey63

One way of making animal skins is using plastic texture sheets with a mokume gane technique:
.... stack two or three thin colors of clay and run them through the pasta machine with a texture sheet, then shave off the high points from the top layer
... I use the cobblestone texture sheet for giraffe skin, and other sheets work well for zebra, tiger and leopard.
...experiment with putting the right color clay on the top, and with which side of the palstic sheet to use. Jeanne R.
(for caned animal skins, see Canes--instr.& types > Animal Skins)

(see also more on making illusion bumpy skin for dragonskin or other scaley skins using this technique in Sculpting--Bodies > Scales & Dragon Skin)

texture sheets (like stamps) can force things like leaf, foil, paint, or other polymer clay into base clay sheets in order to leave color in the depressions
... these can then be sanded off after baking, or shaved off when raw

Sanded textures or stamped areas

(sanding done after baking, rather than shaving raw clay)lay)
...Tom Plattenberger creates a big slab sheet of mokume gane, with the ridges and all, and then cures it .
.....After baking, he sands the whole thing with a bench grinder(!), to reveal the patterns . . . so it is smooooooooooth!
...Tom uses all kinds of metal grates, and screens, and whatever. all finds, to get his texture. (website gone)

I used a # 4 setting on the pasta machine, and especially deep stamps.
...put baby powder on a washcloth and pat the stamp on the cloth before each stamp. stamp nearly through the clay (lifting several times helped reduce sticking)
... With the sheet still flat on the table, gently push the clay back ...try to close the grooves rather than squashing them flat.
...using a tissue blade, cut curves (?)
Sand.....when you start sanding, there will be no pattern evident because all the pattern is inside the clay
....start out with coarse sand paper.... I use 120 grit drywall sanding mesh with cold water the pattern emerge(...the colors still won't be fully evident) .....then shift down to 220 (still dry sanding)
... then 320, 400, and 600 (all wet) .... I then gloss it by coating with Future. Flint

Nora Jean's sanding of baked texture sheets, many like cobblestone

see also Nan Roche's Luminous Laquer made by sanding down a sandwich of black clay with gold leaf (forced down into clay with stamp) covered with a thin sheet of translucent...baked and sanded (above under Stamping and Tools)

OTHER manipulations with stacks and shaving

folded "brain" (brain cane)
(mokume gane stack version... with translucent & leaf)
....make your mokume gane layers fairly thin out of different shades of the translucent clay with foil (leaf) between each layer. Do not make the overall stack very thick.
.... I then use a heating pad that I've measured not to exceed 100 degrees F (don't have a clay warmer) to prewarm the clay blank.
.... I (make it long and thin?)... take it and begin working it into folds...
.... and then squash the whole piece together until it is about twice as high and half as large as it will look like a model of a brain! (work it so that it merges, but try not to work it so much that the foil cracks too much).
....let it cool a bit and then take your slices.
The thinner the initial piece, the more intricate the slices will be. ....if you've merged the folds well, it will come off in really neat sheets.
the layer you remove it at gives some cool effects also.
....when you apply the slicings, turn them upside down! ...the foil is slightly cupped this way and will help "reflect" more light out - improving the transparent effect.
...after baking, take it straight out of the oven and plunk it in some ice water - when you sand and polish it you will be amazed at the improvement in the transparency. author??

...or do the same but don't use leaf... or add little indentions before folding for extra realism (those will be the creases)

(caned version)
Carl J's brain cane... he seems to make a multiple Skinner Blend which he pasta machines (across the colors) into very long strip... he also creates a long thin strip of white, sandwiched by 2 blacks... then he layers the two strips together (adding other strip blends or a second multiple blend on the other side of b&w?) ... folds the strip many, many times (in every direction possible)... then forms into a long cane for slicing

(see much more on folding techniques similar to this in Canes-Instr. > Folded Canes)

HILLS and VALLEYS (more on)

(When you press the balls into the bottom of the block, the clay will distort but the balls will distort more and essentially flatten out.) You don't necessarily need big hills and valleys to get a good MG look. Depends on what you want. . . sometimes you are going for subtle, other times you want deep depressions by patterned items. Ginger (requires Acrobat Reader)... to see one example

(to create my hills) I poke five impressions up from the bottom of the stack with the end of my paint brush...then I fill these holes with same or contrasting clay or scraps with foil in them, etc . . . . Carolyn

Instead of using little balls of plain colors of clay to make the hills underneath …take the uneven edges you get when rolling out the layers, trim them off the mokume gane loaf, roll them up like odd shaped spiral canes, and use THOSE for the "padding".

It might be possible to use the brass stencils that embossers use to create hills and valleys (or actual patterns) in the clay by pressing it down on a stack of clay layers before slicing off the upthrust areas.

What about using clay gun extrusions, or even taller, 3-dimensionl shapes, to build a pattern or picture either underneath or within the stack?
-- for example, using ropes or letter cutters to create lettering; or scenes (mountains/moon/e.g.);
--or graphic patterns such as rows of separated squares, concentric circles, different shapes/stripes (like African quilts)?
It would also be fun to combine that technique with some of the other mokume techniques like leafing/powders/paints, mica or other clays with inclusions, marbled clays, standing-on-edge folded stripes as for folded canes, etc.. DB

Using pads of baked scrap clay (and also plastic erasers), I recently carved some simple pictorial and abstract designs into them with linoleum cutters.
then I pressed thin-layered colored clay stacks into my carvings
...then sliced off the raised areas. Looked nice -- sort of a variant on sgrafitto -- Georgia
OR . . . .use a mold or deeply etched texture sheet of some kind?

Or, add a plain sheet on top, then use a Dremel to grind patterns into the multicolored layers like Scratch Art . . .could then fill with liquid clay, or leave as a depressed pattern?

MULTI-technique loaves
(lots of techniques in the same stack)

...i used all fimo (the old stuff) and layered it like so:
white translucent w/blue jones tones, glitter pink translucent, 24K gold leaf, clear translucent, solid white, yellow translucent, copper metallic powder, clear translucent. . . .took some little plastic kitchen tools circa 1960's for making those fancy tiny sandwiches (canape cutters?) and cut thru the stack from both sides at random. then i picked the stack up, mooshed it all back together, twisted it a little and pushed my thumb in here and there. then i put it back on the work surface and slapped it hard a few times to kinda even it back out. then i sliced the whole thing up one thin cut at a time by dragging my tissue knife just under the surface in random spots. Sunni

I had beginner's luck using a minimum of clay colors (just white and translucent) layered with gold foil (or leaf?), pearlescent blue and pearlescent red acrylic inks generously dusted with PearlEx's red/blue interference powder. The finished effect always reminds people of clouds floating in a blue sky. Sadly, I have yet to obtain a decent photo that conveys the sparkle and depth. Desiree

Understand that there are no hard and fast rules with MG. This just happens to be the way I am doing it at the moment, but I change it on a whim. I may change the sequences and put the foil on one side of a layer one time and another the next, make one layer thinner than another,etc.
....First I start building a block of MG. I put down a double #1 layer of bleached translucent. The rest of the other layers vary in thickness depending on my mood.
If I want the foil to stay fairly intact I do #7 layers. If I want a bit of cracking, I do #5.
Then I mix my colored translucent colors, usually between 3 and 7. I've found that with adding the Pearl or other matallic clay, the Lumiere Paints, and the Pearlescent Inks, I have actually cut down on the number of different saturations I use because the paints and inks give it more pop.
Roll the darkest color to the thickness you want and put it on top of the translucent.
Then add a layer of foil and then a layer of translucent.
Then perhaps paint some Lumiere Paint on top of the translucent.
Sometimes I add a thin layer of pearl about now.
Now the next less saturated color, maybe a little PearlEx or Powdered Pearls or some Pearl paint, a layer of foil, translucent, etc. until you have made it as many layers as you want.
I usually reduce the (stack) down a bit to make it thinner.
Then I start impressing things into the cane from the top. I am using my Kemper cutters(with a piece of plastic wrap between the cutter and the clay to make the cutter push the clay down not cut it so much), my leather stamps, and various other strange tools.
Let the (stack) rest a bit until the clay cools off. It's easier to slice if it's not completely cold but it's not hot either. Make sure your blade is either new or completely clean. If it starts to drag a bit, I dust the blade with a bit of cornstarch.
Slice the cane as thinly as possible. If you have impressed down from the top, some of the little bits may fall out but don't worry. Just try to keep them around the cut piece, or leave them out for a nice hole, or add them somewhere else. Layer the cut pieces of MG on whatever you want.
Sometimes I paint the base with Lumiere paint or the inks.
I try to get at least two or three layers of MG on before I stop. |
Some people like to put them through the pasta machine to thin them but I don't like to. Then I press down on the MG, trying to get it as smooth as possible. Then I add a complete layer of #7 translucent over the piece. I do this because I will end up sanding and I want a buffer zone between the sandpaper and MG. I am baking at between 285 and 300 degrees(you are going to have to translate that into Celsius) around a half an hour. Then immediately take the pieces from the hot oven and drop them into ice water. Then I sand the pieces until the translucent layer is almost gone. I like to buff the pieces before I put on the Flecto or Future but I'm not sure it is really necessary. I have heard that it is a good idea to wear gloves to keep hand oils off the foil so it won't tarnish. That's it. Kathy G.

Denise in Austin has a number of unusual mokumes using a little of everything before shaving

"FAUX" Mokume ... jellyroll mokume

jellyroll mokume
......Donna Kato's method is completely different, and very nice.
..... she makes a long, very thin sheet of translucent clay
......lays a sheet of foil on it ...then rolls it up into a spiral-jellyroll cane.
......then she takes slices at an (steep) angle (and places those on another surface). The results are beautiful ~ Dotty

Elizabeth does a jellyroll cane too, but she adds a multiple Skinner blend --translucent of several tints-- ( on top of her metlalic leaf and very thin translucent clay sandwich) before rolling it up (requires Acrobat Reader)

Could do with multiple-wrapped bullseye canes as well (see just below ... "to fix a mokume sheet...".)

OTHER ideas, Misc.

I try to fix a mokume gane sheet that's just not working out well.... I'll add slices from a bullseye cane
....I make the bullseye cane (using the same colours as my mokume stack)
....then I'll cut very thin layers of the cane at various angles, and lay them on the mokume sheet wherever they're needed
... l give the final sheet a run through the pasta maker, and then often have something usable

("floating leaf") . . . I like to use layers of translucent clay separated only with gold and silver leaf ...and NO color ---then the slices can be put on ANY color clay, and it'll show through. Its very versatile! Sarajane
(bit like "floating" translucent canes ... see Canes-Instr. > Translucent)

I've been using little mokume slices on top of sheets of Premo bleached translucent to cover votives. . . rolling the sheets out to a #5 on the pasta machine so they cover well but remain pretty translucent after baking. Amazing what these things look like when lit! Carolyn

Another idea I thought of was maybe doing mokume gane with fall leaf colors, adding a little copper leaf, rolling it flat and then cutting leaves out of it with a cookie cutter. . . . (a word of caution...some copper leaf tarnishes drastically even when captured in the polymer clay. Reaction with the pigments in the clay? After a couple of hours your Mokume Gane block is a sad muddy mess and it continues to change over time. Lindly H. (see Leaf > Sealing/Tarnish for more)

Slice only little dots off of your mokume stack, turn them over and press them back on). This is a nice way to get a more complex surface than just the marbled effect.

Tonja stamped her finished mokume gane with tiny Asian letters... then backfilled with gold paint?

For my first mokume gane try, I had not understood that the slices had to be horizontal and thin, so mine were vertical and thick. ... a mistake that turned out well. Claudine
*Claudine's beautiful triangular pendant shapes of mokume hanging from necklace.. (gone?)

Paula's Damascus Ladder pattern made with a stack which had been distorted with a tool (from above), then twisted (the rectangular piece) .. see Sheets > Damascus Ladder for more)

Desiree used wide slices from the side of a mokume-type stack (without balls underneath or other distortion?) to make "sea plants" (using metallic clays, Pearl Ex and bits of finely chopped black)
...this was from a collage of scraps from a cane .... I still can't figure out how I did it! .... I do know it involved 2 Skinner blend strips. Desiree

for using "torn" bits of a thin Skinner blend sandwich sheet to apply to a base sheet, etc. to get pleasingly irregular edges, but also the colors of the under layer(s) showing along all edges which were torn (Watercolor beads)...see Sheets > Flattened Shreds & Bits
http://cgpcyOfPendants.jpg and

Celie Fago’s ? (by Linda Goff) . . . and and Oct 99 (gone)
Celie’s?? . . . Krista's mokume things based on class with Celie (sort-of random veining ....or adding layers of metallic leaf with translucent & metallic clays?) (look at bottom of page)

If ashaving technique similar to mokume gane is done with mica clay alone (impressed with stamps or texture sheets, etc., then shaved), it's called "ghost image" mica (see Mica > Ghost Image).

skygrazer pressed part of her finished mokume gane sheet (over a small wad of white clay) into a small horse mold
...this left the outer area unpressed but the horse in relief on top
... skygrazer's cabochon-shaped turtle "shell" made from mokume gane pressed into cabochon mold

I have sometimes gotten cracking when I mix clays for the layers of mokume gane ... i.e. Premo mokume gane on Kato background clay. Laurel
...(see loads of info on cracking in Heads > Cracking)

I had old stiff sheets and sheets of pc "fabric" that I'd made a year ago which I forgot all about...when I tested them last week they cracked when I touched them. So today I 'excited their molecules' by smacking them between their saran layers until I'd hit every inch of each. I used both an acrylic rod and then switched to a rubber mallet. I must say IT WORKED like a charm.... I later used a lot of them to make mokume gane (slabs) after they were softened up. Carolyn
...(see more in Conditioning and in Canes > Old Hard)

Try also embellishing the final results of the mokume sheet.

Or using cutters or blades to cut out pieces from the sheet to use for embellishing other things
nenuphar's strips and dots of mokume gane used to embellish a stick incense holder


--Tory Hughes, Mokume Gane, (Gameplan)
-- Lindly Haunani, Tantalizing Translucents (Mindstorm)
--Nan Roche, Special Techniques in Polymer Clay
--Donna Kato,
Tips Tricks and Techniques in Polymer Clay (double DVD,
--Gwen Gibson, Ancient Images (Mindstorm)



Sarajane's mokume barrettes
mokume gane examples, at PolymerClayCentral
Lindly Haunani's class on mokume gane techniques (& photo of Lindly, Nan & Jody ganes)
Elizabeth's lessons on 3 types of mokume gane (requires Acrobat Reader)
Dillon’s bright-colored mokumes
Jayne's sandstone looking mokume sheets on background framing sheets
Squiggy’s mokume gane (click thumbnail with yellow & black bead)
Linda Goff's mokume in pins, with wire
Dotty McMillan's mokume cabochon (translucent with silver leaf)
Skygrazer's tinted mokume and leaf pens

Polymer Clay Central’s mokume gane swap

Kat's unusual mokume gane tins ("leather" or aged ?)
Jewelry Crafts: "rolled" mokume gane, bead instructions
Shelley's several mokumes (one very heavy on leafing) (gone?) (gone/)
Kat‘s mokume using different glitters and Pearl Dust (gone?)
Maggie's powders in mokume gane (gone)
Melnik's mokume light switch cover w/ bullseyes & spirals underneath (gold, rosy purple)
(website gone)

Joanie’s mokume and non-uniformly-covered eggs
(website gone)
Claire’s mostly mokume eggs & vessels
(website gone)
Gloria‘s free-form mokume
(website gone)
n‘s non-leaf mokume box & eggs
(website gone)
*Debbie Anderson's horizontal strips eggs, one with different mokume ganes/fauxs
(website gone)

2000 Mokume Gane Swap
(website gone)
Trina's mokumes with wire hangers
(website gone)

(see also: Translucents, Leaf, Powders, Lettering&Inks, Stamping, Texturing)