About Millefiori

Millefiori, sometimes called “caning,” was first created to use with glass. It was used by the Ancient Phoenicians, the Romans, and Egyptians, but was made famous by 19th century Venetians. 

In the 1970s polymer clay artists realized the technique could be adapted to polymer clay.

Traditional millefiori beads are multiple millefiori slices on one spherical or cylindrical bead, Sarah does something a little different. Sarah’s beads are a single millefiori slice, often laid flat though sometimes shaped. 

Now, nearly every necklace made by Sarah Sexton incorporates millefiori into the beads.

Butterfly Monarch Millefiori

rainbow roses

purple millefiori

Dragon Eye millefiori

The Steps to Creating a Millefiori Bead

There are numerous steps to creating a millefiori bead, here they are.


A Design is drawn

The first step is to draw a design showing what I want the finished millefiori to look like.


Layers of clay are built up

Layers of clay are built up onto of the 2-D design. The tube (or cane) of clay is then compressed to get rid of air.

unreduced orange rose cane

reduced orange rose cane03

The cane is reduced and sliced

Sarah gently squeezes the cane to reduce it to the size wanted. Then the cane is allowed to “rest” before being sliced. When the cane is sliced, you can see the pattern, hopefully as it was originally designed. 


Slices are turned into beads before being cured

Next Sarah pierces the slices to turn the into beads, and cures them. Some slices might get reshaped, as the Calla Lily beads, before being cured. 


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