Copper-Poly Flora Fusion Brooch By Christi Friesen


It’s time for something fun!  And who better than Christi Friesen to lead this adventure?  Here she shares how to combine metal clay and polymer clay in a beautiful mixed-media brooch.  We love the lush colours.  Imagine making a version for yourself in fall colours. We feel very inspired and we hope you do too!

Project Level: Beginner/Christi Friesen_BEAUTYIntermediate
Author: Christi Friesen
Editors: Jeannette Froese LeBlanc, Margaret Schindel and Joy Funnell.

Project Materials and Supplies

Copper metal clay (I used COPPRclay available through PMC Connection.)
Polymer Clay– green, blue (optional) and copper (optional) (I used Premo! Sculpey® Accents in Bright Green Pearl, Peacock Pearl and Copper)
Copper wire, 18 gauge (plus 20-26 gauge, if desired)
Mica powder (e.g., Jacquard® Pearl Ex powdered mica pigments), copper color (optional)
Acrylic paint (optional)
Matte- or satin-polymer clay clear coating or sealer (optional)
Epoxy adhesive
Pin back finding

Tools, Supplies and Equipment:

Polymer Clay: In this video Christi introduces polymer clay–with the warning that it may be addicting!
And one more thing you might like: “Wow, It’s Awesome” clay shaping tool, available on Christi’s website: (optional)

Metal Clay: Below are all of the items we could possibly think of that would be useful for metal clay… you don’t need everything.  Find what suits your work. Here’s a link to a great starter kit.

Basic Metal Clay Set Up_Page_1

Basic Metal Clay Set Up_Page_2



Project Step-By-Step

Step 1

STEP 1: Create the copper clay pod base. Oil your hands lightly and pinch off a piece of copper clay about the size of an almond. Form it into a teardrop shape [1]. Pull and pinch the fat end of the teardrop so it looks like a short spear tip [2] (this will be the stem end of the pod) and then pierce a hole through it with a needle tool [3].

Step 2

STEP 2: Add copper clay snakes to create a flower bud. Roll out a thin snake of moist copper clay a little longer than the pod and taper both ends so they’re pointy [4]. Brush or spritz the pod with a little water and press the snake onto it so that one of the pointy ends extends past the tip of the pod. Add more snakes one at a time to cover the pod, moistening the protruding ends and pressing them together lightly to create a stronger structure at the tip. (If you want, you can make a few of the snakes shorter and curve the ends against the body of the pod, as I did.) Brush a little water on the ends of the snakes near the widest part of the pod and blend them in smoothly and seamlessly [5] with your favorite clay shaping tool. This turns the pod into a flower bud.

Step 3

STEP 3: Dry, fire and finish the flower bud. Let the completed pod [6] dry thoroughly, keeping an eye on it to make sure all the snakes remain firmly connected. If one of them detaches from the others as it dries, reattach it securely with slip. When the flower bud is completely dry all the way through, fire it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Unfortunately, I went to bed when Cindy fired our pieces, so you’re on your own with the kiln!) After the fired flower bud cools, burnish it with a wire brush and water, with a drop or two of liquid dish soap to lubricate the bristles. This will bring up the bright copper color on the high points and make them pop against the darker kiln patina on the recessed areas. To make the high points really “pop”, sand them lightly with a fine-grit sanding sponge [7].

Step 4

STEP 4: Add a wrapped wire stem. Thread a length of 18 gauge copper wire through the hole in the stem-end of the flower bud and bend it tightly roughly 1” (2.5 cm) down from one end [8]. Use pliers to squinch the wires closer together (yes, that’s the technical term) [9]. Then, starting at the base of the flower bud, wrap the entire length of the new wire stem with more copper wire. I used a slightly thinner wire (20 gauge) around the base of the flower bud and continuing down the doubled end of the stem wire, and an even thinner wire (26 gauge) to wrap the remainder of the stem for a tapered effect [10]. See how nicely the copper wire wrapping helps make a smooth transition from the wide, sculpted copper flower bud to the slender copper wire stem [11]? Set the flower bud (on its stem) aside for now.

Step 5

STEP 5: Make the polymer clay leaf. Now comes the “fusion” part where polymer clay is added to the copper for a dynamic duo! For my brooch, I added a couple of curving green leaves and then another leaf from copper-colored polymer to mimic the copper floral bud (I know that’s cheating, but I’m okay with it!). To make the green leaves, you can use any green polymer that you prefer. Or you can stack some colors like I did to make a nice striped leaf. Just condition and roll out some clay, cut it into strips and stack them up in whatever order you like. The layers can be of different lengths, if you want. (I made the blue layers shorter than most of the green layers so that the tip of my leaf would be all green.) Then trim one side of the stack with a sharp clay blade or tissue blade to reveal the striped cross-section [12]. Squeeze one end of the stack with your fingertips so it tapers to a leaf-shaped point [13]. Use a sharp blade to cut a thick slice from the stack (about as thick as a silver dollar). Pinch the edges of this slice to make them thinner. Once you’re satisfied with your leaf shape, set it aside.


Step 6

STEP 6: Add a twisted copper wire tail to the flower bud stem. Metal and polymer don’t stick together permanently without some kind of mechanical connection (or adhesive, of course). I find it’s best to embed the metal into the polymer with a twisted wire tail so that the polymer can lock the wire in place after it cures. So take some copper wire, wrap it around the wire-wrapped part of the flower bud stem and start twisting. (No, not you, the wire!) When the twisted wire tail is about ½” (1.3 cm) long, trim the excess wire with cutters [14].

Step 7

STEP 7: Attach the polymer leaf to the copper wire stem. Take a little wad of conditioned green clay, wrap it around the twisted wire tail and squeeze it so the twisted wire is embedded firmly in the clay. Then press the clay-wrapped wire tail so it lays flat against the wire stem [15]. Lay the flower bud and stem diagonally across the polymer leaf so that most of the bud extends past the tip of the leaf and the clay-wrapped wire tail is against the leaf. Press the clay wrapped leaf firmly against the leaf with your thumb to connect them [16]. Use a clay tool to gently smooth the edges of the clay covering the wire tail into the surrounding clay so that it integrates seamlessly into the face of the leaf. (I used one of my favorite tools – the “Wow, It’s Awesome” tool. It’s just as awesome with metal clay as with polymer clay.) Fold one edge of the leaf gently over the wire stem to give it a more natural appearance [17].

Step 8

STEP 8: Add more polymer leaves (optional). At this point you can add more leaves, if you want to. I decided after I got home that I wanted to add a copper leaf to this design. If I had thought of it during the Pajama Party, I would have made it in copper clay. But since I didn’t, I decided to make it out of copper-colored polymer. You can attach additional polymer leaves by pressing them firmly onto the bottom of the first polymer leaf. (If I had made the leaf out of copper clay, I would have made a hole in the base and attached it with a polymer-wrapped twisted wire tail.) Adding thick coating of copper-colored mica powder to the surface of the copper-colored polymer does a good job of mimicking the look of copper clay [17]. Press in a few lines to look like veins, if you want to. I also added another leaf made from another slice of the green and blue clay stack, curved it and curled the tip and then pressed onto the other side of the original leaf. Then I added a dusting of copper powder along the edge of this leaf to tie it into the copper [18].

Step 9

STEP 10: Cure the polymer clay. Preheat your polymer curing oven to 275ºF (130ºC) and cure the piece on an index card or baking parchment on a ceramic tile for 45 minutes. Let it cool completely before touching it.

Step 10

STEP 11: Finish the brooch. If you want, you can use acrylic paint to add an antiqued effect by brushing on the paint and then wiping it off the surface with a damp sponge. If you do use mica powder or acrylic paint accents, protect them by sealing the clay with a matte- or satin-finish clear coating. Attach the pin back with epoxy adhesive and let it dry. Now doesn’t that look multimedia marvelous?

About the Author

Christi Friesen is an award-winning artist, who works in polymer embellished with multi media. Her work has been showcased in numerous books, magazines and exhibits. She is the author of ten how-to books on creating with polymer clay. She teaches throughout the world, using humor and positive energy to encourage her students to stretch their creativity, technical skills and artistic confidence. Find her online:

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