Veneers are a staple in polymer clay creations.  I use veneers ALL the time. It is basically a decorative sheet of clay. It could be a sheet with a surface treatment (for example, silk screened or alcohol inks), a pattern of cane slices pieced together or a mokume gane slice. But it can also be simple . . . .  I mean really simple. Let me show you what I mean. 

Let’s take some Mondrian-inspired cane slices and piece them together.  
When you have placed all the cane slices up against one another you need to burnish them together. This seals the seams and smooths the surface. I use a small, smooth sheet of paper and a cut up playing card with a tape handle. Playing cards are typically laminated and allow you to move smoothly over the paper while applying a small amount of pressure.  This then becomes a veneer to be used for decorative purposes.
But let’s take this a step further. I have a stacked stripe cane that can be sliced and pieced together

I also have two solid colors of sheeted clay from the main cane pattern. These may be plain but are also veneers.
I cut and paste these veneers together to make, you guessed it, another veneer.  Use your blade to place these pieces snug up against each other.
Insider tip: make sure all of your cane slices and sheets of clay are at the same thickness, it will make it much easier to piece together.
Don’t forget to burnish these together as well!
Once we get this veneer finished what are we going to do with it? I am thinking pendant, so I find a shape I like and cut it from the veneer.
We could simply leave it adhered to a ceramic tile and bake it flat.  But lets give it even more character by baking it on a curved form. Here I used the side of an aluminum bowl.
After baking, I would smooth the edges and add a back to all of these pieces, then bake a second time. Here are the finished pieces, pendants and earrings, some flat and some curved. These are a few simple applications of veneers.
But you can use veneers in so many more ways. Wrapped around a tube bead. Used for in-lay into a wooden component. What about used in a brass channel for a bangle.

So a veneer in polymer clay is pretty common and I am sure you have already worked with them in some way. But are there any limitations when working with veneers? Well that depends, for example:

  • If your veneer has texture, you don’t want to burnish it and smooth out the texture.
  • If your veneer has a delicate surface treatment you may be limited in the way you can manipulate it onto a complex three-dimensional surface. 

This just means we might have to be more creative when applying our veneers.  Now it is your turn, go ahead and play with some veneers! The possibilities are endless!!