Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On slicing fimo canes

When I first posted about my receiving a big lot of fimo canes on eBay from a Hong Kong seller, quite a few of you responded with questions on how the heck these things were used. So I thought I'd attempt a little tutorial on how I slice fimo canes since my method is a bit different than a lot of the ones I've found on YouTube and on other blogs.

The first question on slice thickness I've already answered but I'll repeat it: you can slice them as thick as you want and, if you have the right blade and reasonably steady hand, you can slice them practically paper thin. You might not want them paper thin because when they are very thin, they are translucent and have a tendency to curl up when glued on the nail and covered with a topcoat.

Here are a couple of slices of fimo leaves as compared to the thickness of a dime. The thickest one is a bit more than a third of the thickness of the dime. The thinnest is probably no thicker than a sheet of paper. As you can see, it's a bit more of a challenge to keep a uniform thickness slice to slice and even within slice. (I have a shaky hand and am lazy; a determined perfectionist could probably get them perfectly thin and even.)

Most fimo canes are about 2-2.5 inches long. I can cut about 80 slices per inch.

The second question is what to use to slice fimo canes. I originally started with an exacto knife but that tended to warp and smudge the designs. I then turned to a tissue razor I had bought off of eBay awhile back for other artsy-craftsy activities. (Individually, on eBay, they go for a couple of dollars the last time I checked but I managed to get ahold of a pack of ten that came with another 50-fimo-cane lot.)

Tissue blades are very thin and pretty sharp. And had the unfortunate tendency of nicking the sides of my nails while I sliced. They cut through these canes beautifully and I think they're worth the investment for how easy they'll make cutting through the fimo.

As I already mentioned, I feel like I slice fimo slightly differently than other people who have blogged (or vlogged... is that term even really used?) on it. The method I've seen most commonly was slicing the fimo cane as if it were, say, a cucumber... but smaller. That is, use one hand to steady the cane and the other hand to slice. Having questionable vision and often shaky hands, this was a miserable method: I got a lot of half-hearts and quarter-flowers and uneven shards of My Melody's face. So I switched around my technique to increase the stability of the blade while cutting. It's not fool-proof (as you shall see) but it works much better for me.

Excuse the bad photo but this was the best photo I got to show you how my fingers are placed:

1. Make the cane face you so you can keep an eye on the progression of the slice.

2. Decide how thickly cut you want the slice and position the blade.

3. Use both hands to hold the blade on either end of it (using your thumb and pointer finger). Optionally, use your middle finger to hold the cane steady behind the blade.

4. Push down slowly and evenly. Pay attention to try to insure uniform thickness and don't be afraid to slightly adjust the course of your blade if it starts to look like you're not going to get a complete slice... which I did not do for this next picture:

Oops! This is a mistake I made far more in the beginning than now but I was unsuccessful in my half hour endeavor to get a good photo of my slicing off a good piece of fimo cane. But you guys get the point, right? :)

5. Finally, remember to rotate the fimo cane so that one side doesn't get too flat. For instance, if I were to continue slicing this kitty face, I'd flip it onto its ears and cut a few slices like that before rotating it to the side of its face again.

Understanding that this is not the most clear or helpful tutorial ever, I made a short video just showing you the action of slicing the fimo:

I love slicing fimo! It's my new nervous activity: when I'm super stressed, I start slicing away. I even bought some organizers to accommodate this new quirky, compulsive sub-hobby. (Woohoo, dollar stores...)

Isn't it so cute? I have these grouped according to some logical system that makes sense to me (but may be weird to everyone else): "designs that come in circles", "flowers", "smileys", "fruits", "hearts", "teardrop/almond-shaped things that can be leaves", "things with faces", "cute and rectangular-like objects", "bugs and butterflies", "non-fruit food", "vaguely pentagonal shapes that can be stars or flowers".

Some of these look like they were sliced quite thickly but almost none of them exceeded the thickness of half a dime.


"Things with faces"

Anyway, I hope this post helped somebody out. :)

Like this? Click below to let us know!


yardsticks 4 lunatics said...

WOW! I just got a big lot, but on Amazon - STUPID EBAY (yes, I'm yelling) has me blocked for that freaking Paris court crap....maybe I can get this, though.....Lovin' me some fimo!


Lucy said...

Aw it looks like you're decapitating that little cat in the cutting pic!

Thanks for this, I love the look of fimo but have been a bit reluctant to buy it because of the chopping needed (I'm SO clumsy, I'll definately lose a fingertip) but this has spurred me on!

Vixxan said...

Thanks for posting this. I have been trying to figure out a good way to use these. This was very helpful. Thanks

Rhea said...

Thanx you for this video, I was still figuring out the canes. i couldn't get them thin enough.

mKat said...

I think the canes are super cute and I've been wanting some ever since your first post. But I have to ask... would you wear these out of the house? I'm not sure I could. :)

flinty said...

@yardsticks: Oh, the LV stuff going on, you mean?

@lucy: LOL!! Oh man, I didn't even think of that. The post seems pretty gruesome now.

@vixxan & rhea: you're welcome. Have fun with them!

@mKat: I've not worn full-blown fruit salad on my nails but I have used small flowers and stuff as accents on a single nail in a regular mani. Stuff that could be easily mistaken for a sticker. Because that's so much more sophisticated than fimo. My mind works in weird ways.

mKat said...

LOL... fair enough.

I think they look great. I really, really like them (though I think I prefer the flowers over the fruit or faces). I'm just not sure I'd know when I'd overstepped the sophisticated vs tacky border... :)

Do you recommend any particular ebay seller?

flinty said...

I'm pretty sure that with fimo, one is almost always closer to tacky than sophisticated. When nail art goes 3D... it's a thin line. ;)

The eBay sellers I've had good luck with (great products, price and reasonable shipping times for their distance): beautylifenail (has some questionable feedback but some of their lots include tissue blades) and bundlemonster (who claims to be in Hawaii but I suspect it comes from China anyway).

Laura said...

This is great! Thanks so much for doing this post. I ordered some fimo pre-sliced last year and it was too thick. I might give it another try after seeing this! Thanks!

D:) said...

More fimo posts! MORE!

Rebecca said...

lol "things with faces!"
I would probably never use fimo on my nails but I loved reading this post.

Get Nailed said...

These things are so friggin' cute. Thanks for doing the tutorial on cutting, I've been hesitant to buy because I keep thinking I'll squish them!

flinty said...

@Laura: I originally thought of ordering the presliced ones but suspected that they might come a bit thicker than I'd want. Getting the full canes was a leap of faith that I'd be able to figure out how to slice them as thin as I wanted: it turned out that I don't even like them when they're as thin as I can get them! :)

@D: LOL, I love how much you enjoy the fimo posts.

@Rebecca: I'm glad you enjoyed it. I used to like looking at OTT fimo designs on other blogs -- thinking I'd never do it myself -- but then I started playing with it. Who knows, I'll probably end up going outside with a whole Sanrio opera on my nails one of these days...

@Get Nailed: They're actually hard to squish. They are soft enough to cut with a sharp blade but it'd take a bit of effort to squash one of them flat with the palm of your hand.

Öykü said...

I'd never had the patience so I bought the pre-sliced fruity ones. Love them!

mKat said...

I love that this is your "nervous activity". My bf already thinks it looks as though I'm performing some drug related activity when I depot or press eyeshadows... (spoon, candle, knife, mixing medium - check!) I can only wonder what he'd start to think if I sat there with a razor blade happily slicing away. :)

(I still really love these things though!)

flinty said...

@oyku: ooh, have you taken pictures of any manis with them?

@mKat: LOL, I've thought that myself when depotting eyeshadows. :) Actually (at the risk of being waaaaaay TMI) I think my SO worries about my enjoying activities with sharp blades. I used to self-injure so I think there's a part of him who suspects that I maintain hobbies that involve sharp things just so I have easy access to them. :P

mKat said...

You should tell him the blades are there to keep HIM in check. ;)

(At the risk of sounding insensitive, mainly because I'm not entirely sure how to respond to your confession, let me just say I hope/I'm glad you're over it.)

The Student's Guide To Nail Polish said...

I was wondering how you attach these to your fingers and stop them peeling off? I use regular clear nail polish but do you use nail glue or something?

paola berti said...

ciao, dove posso acquistare solo le lame? grazie

d00m said...

Soooooo cute!!!I want some fruit slices!(Decorating cell phone cases in a style called Deco Den and selling charms/pieces sometime) I also like them for nails,but haven't gotten the chance to use them yet (no canes!XD).Aren't Fimo canes used for beads too?

kt_gray_3 said...

This is a GREAT post. So many Fimo Cane cutting tutorials look terribly dangerous! Yours seems to be the safest so far - I'm definitely going to try this! I love your way of storing the slices, your sorting system is brilliant!

I'd love to know where you get your canes from? And how you fix them to the nail?

Katie x

polishednotperfect said...

OOOh just found this whilst trying to research canes as I;ve never used them before. Thanks for the helpful info!!

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