Millefiori is Italian for "Thousand Flowers." Originally a technique used for making decorative glass works, a similar process can be used to make designs in polymer clays, such as Fimo and Sculpey. These materials are perfect for beads, earrings and other jewelry, as well as for adorning pretty much any object that can be put through the oven at 265 degrees.
Using the Millefiori technique, a long tube of polymer clay is created. Each slice of this tube is a copy of the original design. In keeping with the Thousand Flowers translation, I will show you how to make one of the most basic Millefiori designs, a flower pattern.
***UPDATE 5/4/10: If you make this project, post some pictures in the comments below. I'll send you a patch!***
I like Fimo Classic. A lot of people like Sculpey (which is much easier to find at brick and mortar stores, and usually cheaper) or Fimo Soft, as these clays are much easier to work with in the short term. Fimo classic really has to be worked a lot with your hands to get it to a malleable state. However, I find that the softer clays, especially Sculpey, smear when you cut them--even after being refrigerated. Also, the more vibrant colors have a tendancy to rub off onto your hands and contaminate the paler shades. This is still a problem with Fimo Classic, but much less so. I also think the colors are better overall with Fimo, even Fimo Soft, but that's just a subjective opinion.
A good craft store will have a lot of different shades to choose from. I prefer to buy primary shades and lots of black and white and mix my own. That provides a smoother color gradient and greater control over the end result. Also, it's way cheaper that way, and mixing the colors gets the clay worked to a usable consistency.
For this flower, I've chosen a green center with blue petals on a white background. It's a good idea to pick a high-contrast background or it will be hard to see the boundaries of the petals.