Blue Flower Earrings – A Jewelry Making Project Using Premo Sculpey

Blue Flower Earrings

Hydrangea earrings inspired by a recent Martha Stewart TV craft show episode:

The other day, Martha Stewart had clay artist Diane Phillips of DK Designs demonstrating how to make  faux hydrangea flowers. The clay she was using was a 24 hour air-dry polymer clay called ClayCraft by Deco. I have not tried this product yet, but it looks to have a papery texture and does not require baking.

The method Diane used to make the Hydrangea blossoms was very simple. First she rolled the clay into a teardrop shape and snipped the rounded end with scissors to form the 4 petals. Each petal was then flattened and shaped with a round toothpick. Finally a little white piece of clay was added to accentuate the flower’s center.

She combined a whole bunch of these little individual polymer clay flowers to create a brilliant blue, faux Hydrangea blossom. Beautiful! Complete details for making this polymer clay flower arrangement are in the book: Clay Art for All Seasons

Although I have not held the book in my hands yet, it looks like there are some gorgeous projects in it… many of which would be adaptable to polymer clay jewelry making projects.

Of course after seeing the technique demonstrated on Martha’s television show, I had to try it out. Using Premo Sculpey instead of the air dry ClayCraft product, I ended up making the set of blue flower dangle earrings shown in the above photo.

For more flower jewelry inspiration, tips and ideas, here’s some links to other project photos and instructions:

And now a question… I’m curious to hear some opinions on whether you feel it’s OK to copy a technique you see demonstrated on TV, and then use it create your own stuff… like what I did with my Blue Flower Earrings? Is it copying? What about if I sold this jewelry project on Etsy? Be honest… I’d really like to hear your opinions!!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor



  1. Krista B, 26 August, 2008

    I think Desiree from DesiredCreations said it best in a polymer clay group I am a part of. I love how she put it, and agree with it. Although I am not very knowledgeable on copyright issues.

    "Copying something you’ve seen, for your own sake, is flattering and generally fine. I think, or at least hope, the intent of the artist would be to copy to learn the techniques. Then, as an artist, you’d want to create your own look (and in most cases it would difficult to not create your own look), since it wouldn’t seem terribly rewarding from an artistic standpoint to always mimic what someone else does."

    "If you see something or take a class where you make projects, unless otherwise stated by the designer/instructor, it should be fine to copy – for the purposes of learning, etc. And if those techniques and styles contribute to you making your own thing, it’s good form to credit the artist."

  2. donna, 27 August, 2008

    I think we all get ideas from what we see. No one crafts or creates the same way, so no one’s flowers or whatever will
    ever be the same. I think artists and crafters are always challenging themselves to make something they have seen theirs.

  3. Garnie, 27 August, 2008

    Taking a design/technique that has been aired on television, posted on a website, printed in a book, etc., and “doing your own thing” with it is not copying..
    Personally, nothing I’ve ever tried to “copy” ends up looking anything close to what it started out as anyway:)

  4. Cindy Lietz, 27 August, 2008

    Thank you so much for your opinions girls! I know that what is original and what is not can be a big topic for debate.

    Love to hear more on this. How does everyone else feel?

    Cindy’s previous post..Premo Clay Flower Pendant Necklace Project

  5. Andrea Dimmick, 27 August, 2008

    As you’ve adapted this to make youre own project I don’t see any problem,though the copyright issue is confusing.I recently wanted to exibit a painting in a judged show,only to be told it couldn’t be accepted, as it had been produced in a class[basicly following the tutors original painting,even though the finished piece wasn’t an exact replica].Most crafters/artists adapt their work from many different sources,this dosen’t nessecerilly mean they’ve gone out of their way to copy.

  6. Tina, 27 August, 2008

    Opinions vary so widely. There has been so much discussion about copying and for certain there will be more. I feel to copy someone in order to learn is totally acceptable, such as from a workshop, tutorial, magazine. To copy and sell is a whole different story.
    Techniques are supposed to be non-copyrightable, but there have been stern exceptions, and it seems that certain techniques get names attached, like Skinner blend or Natasha Bead, that are perfectly fine too use but who remembers who taught the first “-“, thats a tough one. When we use a technique its hard to say on our creations: This piece incorporates Judith Skinners blend, Mokume Gane ala so and so and Pinata technique by so and so and my own special blablabla. Nobody does that. If we make a certain flower, a rose…well, a rose is a rose but can still be interpreted in many different ways including with all the techniques I just mentioned. I could go on and on, but am sure others will have a lot to add, lol. Be happy and create was pleases your own self.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 27 August, 2008

    This is a big issue, because where do you draw the line. For example, Donna Kato uses a lot of black and white stripes in her work… so does that mean if you use black and white stripes in your work, you’re copying?… No I would think not.

    But if you were to make a pod shape, in the same colors and configurations, make a squiggled black and white line on it… would it be copying then… probably.

    But what if you take her class (I have not had the pleasure yet, but many of you have.) and have a piece that looks like hers and a customer wants to buy it? Do you say no because it’s copyrighted? I have no idea.

    As a teacher I need to be as creative as possible and come up with as many ideas of my own, if I want people to follow me… and I do.

    I have also learned a lot from a ton of other people. Should I be able to share that with you all or is that something that I have to keep to myself?

    I can see why so many are confused!

    Cindy’s last post..Bead Mosaic Jewelry Brooch by Polymer Clay Artist Naama Zamir

  8. Tina, 27 August, 2008

    I agree with you Cindy. It is extremely confusing.
    Many artists like Donna Kato have a distinct ‘signature’ style, but I doubt she invented the black and white stripe or a squiggle. The hard part is that we all strive to find our own signature.
    I think we develop this with time and with the help from each other, whether by lessons or by visual inspiration. Then, when comfortable, we add our own spin onto what we have learned. I think your Blue Flower Earrings are creative and not a copy because you didn’t recreate the whole blossom, but made flowers and turned them into earrings.

    Gosh, I have books from the late 80’s and some of those styles in there remind me of what I see being created by established artists today! Reinventing the wheel?

    Techniques are so plentiful now, we could probably fill a dictionary just dedicated to clay and although we ‘try’ and credit names to famous quotes every time we write them… a silly thought here, but imagine if we had to credit every single author for every ‘single’ word ever written? Who wrote what word first….?
    The ‘fear’ of creating something that may look like someone else’s work or may get compared to someone else’s is something we all have to learn and live/cope with, and it can even happen unintentionally, I’ve seen it happen many times. It’s a tough nut subject.

  9. Cindy Erickson, 28 August, 2008


    I believe that we all have the right to take anything we see, hear about, or imagine and make it our own. In the case of your Hydrangea flower earrings, they are a copy of nature. In order to look like the flower they are, they need to look like they do, and you accomplished this. Yes, you saw and used a technique that made copying a Hydrangea somewhat easier than perhaps another technique, but you made your own Hydrangeas. If I were to paint a picture of your Hydrangeas and include them in a bowl of Orchids, would this mean that I “stole” your Hydrangea idea? No, I think not. Many people in the world have painted Hydrangeas before, and they were not copying each other…they were copying Hydrangeas!!! :) If I use the same color combination that another painter used to paint her flowers, it does not mean that I have copied her idea. I have simply used what might be a more popular color combination for Hydrangeas :)

    Taking someone’s work that was done by their own hand, and then claiming it as our own, is of course, a very wrong thing to do. But emulating someone’s work, and then making it into our own is just simply creating from inspiration.

    Well, this is my take on the subject, anyway! Thanks for asking our opinion.

    Hugs to you, Cindy Erickson

    PS…I love your Hydrangeas!!! :) :) :)

  10. Keri Lee Sereika, 28 August, 2008

    Interesting questions….I agree with the idea that we get inspiration from all over the place and so unless it is exactly the same it is not a copy….it is inspired by perhaps but when you use different supplies and do your own thing…well then how can you say it is copied much less the same?

  11. Cindy Lietz, 29 August, 2008

    Thank you so much Krista, Donna, Garnie, Andrea, Tina Cindy, E. and Keri Lee!! Your opinions are very valuable to us all!

    Love to still hear more on this! Anyone else have something they’d like to add?

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Polymer Clay Projects – Large Beads From Mokume Gane Covered Wood

  12. Monique Spencer, 11 May, 2009

    I think we won’t know the practical answer until somebody tests it in court! If an artist believes that a piece has been directly copied and sold and sues the coper, well, s/he would have to prove that the original work was unique, I think.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 12 May, 2009

    You are probably right Monique. I’m sure most people (unless there is big money involved) would rather keep it out of court, though. Too bad there not a little wand you could wave over a piece that would blink if it was considered a copy! :-)

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