Hammered Copper Bookmarks | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Hammered Copper Bookmarks with Polymer Clay Focal BeadsVid #210: “I have two grandchildren who absolutely love to read and will love getting these hookmarks.” ~Adrienne-L

Sometimes the simplest of ideas end up being the most popular! I can’t tell you how many of these cool hammered bookmarks I’ve made for gifts. Just when I think I have a good number of them made up… POOF! They’re gone!

They are such a unique and functional item that’s popular with all ages, personalities types and genders. Add one of your hand crafted focal beads, slip them into a book, and you have the perfect Teacher’s Gift, Grad Gift, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthday, or Girlfriend gift. It doesn’t matter if the recipient is older or younger, casual or formal. And unlike other jewelry pieces, it doesn’t have to match someone’s outfit.

My first clay gifts proved to be encouraging this last Christmas. My family loved the hookmark / bookmarks with charms including a book at the end. ~Joyce-M

Great stocking stuffers for teacher gifts!!! Plus… a nice addition to some of my family’s presents!!! ~Kam-K

The pastors and about a hundred of us at Sierra Community Church are reading together through the Bible in a year. I thought it would be great to give each of the pastors their own personalized (book bead) bookmark. They each got one with their initial on the book. The accent beads I chose for each one, were based on what I felt was closest to depicting who they are. Anyway, Cindy, thank you so much for teaching us both the book bead and hammered copper hookmark techniques. These were not only a blessing for me, but also for all four of my pastors. It was such a delight to make them, and to choose special beads for each one. ~Carolyn-F

My daughter loves to read. This bookmark idea will make a wonderful stocking stuffer for her! Thanks. ~Maria-C

OK now you’ve got my mind going 90 to nothing!!! And me here at work instead of home in my studio! I’ve been making some of those hammered copper bookmarks that you featured a while back and needed something that was more masculine. I can also see where this would be great for doing personalized items… hmmmmm… I THINK I can see how you did these so I’m going to go home and play! ~Arlene-H

Around here we have a Pastor’s Appreciation month and I’ve never known what to give our pastors. Good idea. ~Freda-K

Love Love Love it. This is a perfect gift for me and my Grandkids to make for their teachers at school and church. Thanks again Cindy for another fantastic lesson. You are terrific!!! ~Peggy-B

These bookmarks are a great ways for you guys to use up all of those single “orphan” beads. When you only have one bead left of a certain type, simply turn it into a charm and hang it on a hammered Copper bookmark. Someone you know will love it!

Another great feature to these bookmarks, also known as hookmarks, is their awesome design. They slide wonderfully into your book over the spine and are designed to not fall out easily.

I can tell you from experience, they are also perfect for the sleepy reader. Just keep it in place while you’re reading, it won’t be in the way. And if you should fall asleep mid sentence, you won’t loose your place. I’ve even had the book slide off my bed, with the book mark still holding my place the next morning! ;-)

Although some of you would likely be able to figure out how to make these hookmarks on your own (especially if you have watched some of my previous hammered copper tutorials), there are some important design elements that I want to emphasize.

So coming up tomorrow (Friday July 1st, 2011) in the Vol-038-1 video at the Polymer Clay Library, I’ll show you some cool tips and tricks for making these very giftable Hammered Copper Bookmarks.


Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-038-1 Copper Book Marks:

  • Heavy gauge copper wire (10g to 14g)… anything lighter would be too flimsy.
  • Wire cutters.
  • Metal file.
  • Ruler.
  • Chasing hammer (jewelry grade).
  • Steel bench block for hammering on.
  • Steel wool (grade 00) or fine steel brush.
  • Round nose pliers or stepped pliers (jewelry grade).
  • Flat nose or chain nose pliers (jewelry grade).
  • Polymer clay charms and jump rings if needed. The focal beads and sample techniques shown in this week’s hammered copper book mark tutorial include:

Book Beads
Aurora Beads
Ivy Leaf Charm
Bird House Beads
Dogwood Flower Cane
Butterfly Focal Bead
Faux Stoneware
Robot Cane
Pod Beads

The full version of the Vol-038-1 Copper Book Mark video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday July 1, 2011. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Click Video Play Button

The full version of the “Copper Bookmarks” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-038 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Hi Everyone, This Christmas is definitely different than last years. Here I am sitting at my computer 5:30 in the morning with my coffee, anxious to see whats new. This past year has been full of up and downs as most of you know. But looking forward every Friday to Cindy’s wonderful Videos is always the first thing I do. She is such a kind and wonderful teacher. I know she probably does not realize how important what she did for me was. I know it made the difference on whether or not to unpack my clay or give it away. I am happy that I did not give it away. Well things are starting to happen fast here with me, and its due to the support and kindness of Cindy and every single person in this community. So if anybody reading this has the opportunity to become a member please do so. You will not regret it. I am truly lucky to have found this site. So Cindy thanks again and Happy Holidays to everyone. :-) ~Jackie-N

With some of your techniques, there is absolutely no way they would have ever occurred to me! And yet you make it so simple. I’ll say it again: where else can you get 4 video lessons at less than $4 a month??? ~Koolbraider

Hi Cindy. Geesh I’m all blushing and stuff that you used my comments in this article. Thank you. But every word I wrote is the truth. If I was asked right now what tools you would need to get started in polymer clay? I would have to say that besides the pasta machine and some clay, the best tool you could have, and the best value for your money, would be a membership to the Polymer Clay Tutor and your wonderful tutorial library. I can’t say it enough. Where were you 20 years ago when I started with this stuff? LOL. You’ve even taught this “old dog” a few tricks. Gotta love that! XOXO ~Jamie-H

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Copper Bookmarks video tutorial:

  • See several examples of bookmarks using many different polymer clay beads and charms.
  • Discussion of the tools, materials and techniques needed to create these funky and functional hook shaped book marks.
  • Learn the tricks and design elements for making a copper bookmark that not only looks good, but functions well too.
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with your own unique bookmark designs using your own stunning polymer clay charms and beads.

The full version of the “Copper Bookmarks” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-038 Back Issue Package.


  1. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 30 June, 2011

    Oh, neat! I finally bought a good chasing hammer a couple of weeks ago and now I can use it! Need to find that heavy wire, though….stores, here I come!

  2. Silverleaf, 30 June, 2011

    Every time I go to the DIY store I have to look at the copper wire – I haven’t gotten round to actually buying any yet, because the gauge isn’t displayed so I can’t work out if it’s actually cheaper than buying “real” wire online. And if I want a particular gauge for a specific project, I’d just be guessing as to whether it was right or not.

    I most likely will get some soon to try this technique though, it’d be a great way to use up some of my bead “leftovers”.

  3. Linda K., 30 June, 2011

    @Silverleaf: FYI, I made a necklace using two different gauges of copper wire. I bought one size in a bead shop, the other size in a hardware store. The links made with the hardware store wire turned brown within a couple of weeks, while the links made with the bead shop wire stayed shiny and new-looking. I didn’t think that two colors of copper was an attractive look. I guess the bead shop wire was anti-tarnish. Obviously, the copper supplier to the hardware store sees no need to keep the copper from turning brown.

    Fortunately, the beads in this necklace are not delicate, so I dunk the whole thing into a cup of vinegar and salt. After about 15 to 30 minutes, all the copper is the same color again and very shiny.

  4. Ritzs, 30 June, 2011

    @Silverleaf: Silverleaf I bought a wire gauge from silverline tools very inexpensive and will fit into a handbag I dont no if this could solve your problem. I have found it very useful, hope this helps Ritzs.

  5. Silverleaf, 30 June, 2011

    @Linda K.: That’s useful to know, thanks. The only wire I’ve seen has been the plastic-coated type so I’d have to strip it, and I imagine that it wouldn’t have any kind of anti-tarnish coating. But then I quite like that old copper look anyway… I guess Renaissance Wax or similar when it’s shiny would keep it from oxidising.

    @Ritzs: Thank you, that tool is a great idea! I’ll add it to my wish list, it would be very helpful. :)

  6. Linda K., 30 June, 2011

    @Silverleaf: Yes, sometimes I like the old look, too. I just didn’t like the old and new together. It looked like some of the links were dirty, LOL.

  7. pattw35, 30 June, 2011

    Now that the Holidaze are approaching ( some 100 days +) , it is time to think about gifties ! Isn’t this the perfect gift for anyone ? Ever need a last minute gift -well now you have one. Don’t go crazy and run around looking for something nice to give. A book-hook is the answer. Lots of orphan beads lying around, whispering “use me” ,”no use me”. They want a home LOL
    This is so practical as well as cute (pretty). Bring it on ;D

  8. pollyanna, 30 June, 2011

    I have been given several hookmarks and can’t use them becasue they do fall out….grrrrrr. this will be great. I’m a ‘rabid’ reader. then I might just make a couple of others for gift giving…..:).

  9. Maria, 30 June, 2011

    Perfect timing! My husband is remodeling his father’s house and has gifted me with a giant pile of copper wire. I just need to get a gauge measure to figure out the sizes.

  10. Linda K., 30 June, 2011

    Cindy, I’m so glad you’re doing this tut. Although I’ve made a couple of hookmarks already, there were things that I was unsure about. I know you’ll answer my questions in this tut because you’re always so thorough.

  11. Dawn, 30 June, 2011

    So funny. At lunch today I headed over to the craft store, which I occasionally do just to look around. Today I had a coupon burning in my pocket, and what did I decide on? A chasing hammer! Hehe. Picked up the bench block a couple of months ago, have tools… am ready.

  12. Mary, 01 July, 2011

    O Canada! O Cindy! Hope you and Doug and all those near and dear have a wonderful Canada Day. XX Mary P.S. I’m guessing you’ve already made a maple leaf cane, yes? Patriots would love that – yours is the coolest flag, design-wise.

  13. Tantesherry, 01 July, 2011

    What a wonderful video tutorial- makes me want to get your other wire working videos :) thanks Cindy.

  14. pollyanna, 01 July, 2011

    This is super cool. I sure have lots of orphan beads to use up.

  15. Jocelyn C, 01 July, 2011

    Agree with all, plenty of orphan beads here, and Christmas is coming…this is a perfect gift.

    Thinking of one for my Godmother/Aunt who is in her mid eighties, and still loves to read her family bible for inspiration daily. In the past, I made her a set of multi colored ribbon bookmarks so she could highlight her favorite passages, but as she has arthritic hands, the ribbons are too fussy.

    A set of these copper bookmarks, would be the perfect sturdy easy to use markers!

  16. pattw35, 01 July, 2011

    Another inspiring tute! Bookhooks are the perfect answer. I have a bunch of 12 ga. I can use. My orphan beads thank you LOL. Off to play………….

  17. Loretta Carstensen, 01 July, 2011

    We’re off to do some Home Depot shopping today, so will slip over to the electrical wire dept. to see what they have in copper grounding wire. This looks like it will be a fun gift to make for my grandchildren. All the adults in the family are Kindle or IPAD readers, so won’t work there. Thanks for another fun inspiration!

  18. Michele M, 01 July, 2011

    Great demonstration. Working with wire for some reason intimidates me. You make it look easy. I have a question, though… when you hammered the copper wire, upon what kind of surface were you hammering? Is this a large piece of metal? Where can I find something like this to do my wire work?

  19. Silverleaf, 02 July, 2011

    @Michele M: I got a granite pan trivet from a supermarket a while back – it’s about an inch thick, smooth and hard and great for hammering on.

  20. Mavis T, 01 July, 2011

    I’ve done many book marks as gifts..but they usually turn out too fancy for the men in my life, but I never thought of using the book beads!!

    That’s great for the “boys”.
    Thanks Cindy :)

  21. Jocelyn, 02 July, 2011

    @Mavis T: Fishing lures (sans hooks) and business related charms would work for men too. My Dad built subs so I’d make him some with the Ohio class submarines for him.

  22. Mavis T, 02 July, 2011

    Those are great ideas too! My hubby not an outdoor guy so much so I didn’t think of such things! Thanks ~@Jocelyn:

  23. Cindy Lietz, 02 July, 2011

    Great conversations everyone! Love to see you guys chatting away. Makes me feel like we’re all in the same room!

    @Mary: Thank you for the Happy Canada Day wishes! A Canadian Flag cane would be fun to make. The Maple leaf is a little complicated but would be simple if made using a maple leaf cookie cutter, like the cookie cutter canes we made awhile back. I agree that our flag has a cool design. Clean, simple and classic… kind of like our country :-)

    @Michele M: I know that sometimes things like metal work and working with tools can be intimidating if they are unfamiliar. Try to think of the tools you use in your everyday life. Stove, scissors, knife, blow dryer, food processor, car, etc. Once you know a little about them, they become a lot less ‘scary’ to use. These types of metal and wire working projects will be perfect for you to get your ‘feet wet’ so to speak.

    As far as the metal block to hammer on, there are lots of different things you can use. Right now I am just using a chunk of steel my Dad had in his shop. Since I have been working with metal a lot, I did decide to finally order a new ‘proper’ bench block with a polished steel side and a nylon side that sits in a rubber base, that is a little more professional.

    A lot of craft stores are starting to bring in basic metal working tools, so you may be able to pick one up there if you don’t want to order one online.

    To start with though, you can use almost anything that is hard, like the bottom of a small cast iron fry pan, or even a flat rock. There is a pro jewelry maker on the net that uses an old cast iron flat iron, as her bench block, so almost anything will work. The smoother the finish is however, the less marks it will leave on your pieces, so keep that in mind.

    @Mavis T: Jocelyn had some great ideas for men. Other masculine options are any of the Faux beads, like faux stone, faux jade and faux leather. If you do a search on those words in the box at the top of the page, you will find some good ideas. Also try typing ‘gifts for men’ and ‘bookmarks’ and you should be able to find examples of bookmarks I gave to my Uncle and my Dad for past presents. Hope that helps!

  24. Mavis T, 02 July, 2011

    Hi Cindy,
    The faux leather would be good too :)
    I’ll check out the ones you made for your guys ~ @Cindy Lietz from Cookie Cutter Polymer Clay Canes:

  25. Linda K., 03 July, 2011

    Aha! I was making this much harder than it needed to be. Thanks, Cindy & Doug, for teaching me a better way.

  26. Lisa Potter, 04 July, 2011

    I looked at Lowes yesterday for the copper ground wire. They didn’t have it. I have looked on line and not found exactly what you described. Can anyone give specifics where this wire can be found?

  27. Cindy Lietz, 05 July, 2011

    @Lisa Potter: All you need Lisa is 10 gauge or 12 gauge round copper wire. I happen to find mine in cable form at Home Depot as grounding wire, but you can order it lots of places just as a single round wire. I did a Google search for 10 gauge copper wire and found some on sale at wiresculpture.com . You should be able to find it lots of places locally too. You may just have to do a little research first.

    You can also strip the plastic on regular electrical wire if you can find that wire locally. Click the link by my name for more tips on how to do that.

  28. Lisa Potter, 05 July, 2011

    They have it at my home depot, but it is too thick. I will search around on the internet a little more. Jo Ann Fabric had a great sale this past week. 40% off the Ranger pearl powders and the Adirondack inks, plus and additional 10% off your entire order. They had some other great savings I wanted to take advantage of. I save $160.00 on that trip. (YIKES, you can imagine what I also spent!) I was doing some internet searches and came across Ranger’s ultra thick embossing powder. Watched a video about using the pearl powders with the ultra thick embossing powder that made the finish on a piece of cardboard looks so expensive. Is this good to for polymer clay? You would have to heat and melt the embossing powder on a baked project? What do you think about the melting pot?

    I also found an awesome site for products, but it is somewhere in Europe and the money is different. Are you familiar with EJR beads? It made my heart beat quicker as I clicked through their stuff.

    Soooooooo many ideas, so little time. I have made up my mind I AM making the peacock cane this week. I have my work area cleared off and the clay sitting out. I have to run apts. today, but maybe tomorrow. I am getting close to the starting line.


  29. Cindy Lietz, 05 July, 2011

    @Lisa Potter: Hi Lisa, I am not sure what you mean about the wire being too thick at Home Depot. If you mean there are several wires all spiraled together in a thick cable, that is OK. Just unravel the individual strands and you will have several wires you can work with.

    Hopefully the Peacock Cane is not going to be your very first project. That would not be the best idea. I know that polymer clay is a new medium for you and there are many things that can be tricky about working with it for the first time, that you may not realize. The Peacock cane is an intermediate level project, and there are many things you will need to already know before creating it, unless of course you don’t mind lots of scrap clay :-)

    That is why I put together the Basics course. It takes you step by step through the processes of working with polymer, so that you don’t have to make all the mistakes I made as a beginner. Please just start with the course and work through the different techniques and tutorials, before plunging into the deep end. I don’t want you to feel discouraged when your cane doesn’t end up looking like mine after all that time and money you put into it.

    I know that it is hard to start at the beginning. Easy canes are kind of boring. Making round beads and then sanding and buffing is pretty lame. You just want to get to the good stuff! But I can tell you through personal experience, that starting with the harder stuff will only waste your time and money… and confidence. You’ll find that you will either have to back track or just quit, if you go about it that way. And that is the last thing I want for you.

    I really do want the best for you. The learning process doesn’t have to take long, but it is necessary if you want to have success. Once you experience some successes, you’ll find polymer clay to be a very fulfilling medium to work with.

    Hope that helps!

  30. Silverleaf, 05 July, 2011

    @Lisa Potter: I know EJR Beads very well! Emma is lovely, very helpful and a great polymer bead maker herself – I buy a lot of my glitters, Perfect Pearls and Adirondack inks from her and I’m very happy with the products and the service. Emma also runs a clay forum too at polyclay.co.uk which is great.

    Just a quick tip about buying in different currencies – Google will work out exchange rates for you. Say something is £10, if you type in “£10 in us dollars” it will tell you what that £10 works out at in dollars. Note that this will change all the time as the exchange rate fluctuates (right now £10 = $16.10) but it will give you an idea.

  31. Lisa Potter, 06 July, 2011

    Yeah! I found the copper wire yesterday. If anyone has been looking in the hardware stores I found it at Menards. Lowes and Home Depot did not carry it in my area. It was $1.37/ft. I bought 3 feet and it has seven strands. so I actually got 7 yards for just a little over $4.00. (hehehe), the guy in the electrical department sounded offended that I was going to use their good wire for crafting…….

  32. Cindy Lietz, 09 July, 2011

    @Lisa Potter: I know, it is such a great and inexpensive way to buy wire isn’t it? Don’t worry you probably didn’t offend the guy cutting the wire. You just opened his eyes to a new use for it!

    As far as the embossing powder as a glaze. It does work and many people have used it on polymer clay, however, it is not really considered jewelry grade, since it scratches quite easily. The uv resin is a much more durable product and is worth the investment. If you live in a sunny place you can always use the sun to cure it instead of buying a lamp. But once I got my lamp I have loved using it and find EpoxyJewelry or Ultradome UV Resin from Terry Morris, to be very economical to use.

    With the pastel thing, we did use scraped chalk pastels in the Faux Stoneware Tutorial and the Cupcake Tutorial (see link by my name). Supplies like that can have many uses and are fun to experiment with.

    When you do test out any product do share your results with all of us. It is always fun to add something new to our bag of tricks!

  33. Lisa Potter, 06 July, 2011

    I found a Pastel Shaper on clearance at Hobby Lobby yesterday. It is a cup with an inverted coned screen on top for sharpening pastel sticks and catching the dust or shavings. It shows using the shavings to paint. Has any one done this and used it on clay? What would you have to add to the shavings or dust to make it bond, or would you just apply a sealer over it? I am thinking it could be a very economical way to make your own powders to use with clay. I am just getting started, but my mind is in overload with ideas!!

  34. Lisa Potter, 06 July, 2011

    Cindy, I searched embossing powders, but only saw the pears where you added the powder to the clay. I am wondering about using a heating tool to apply the Extra thick clear embossing powder over clay to emulate a resin type finish. I saw a video where it was done on cardboard. After melting the third layer, it was thick enough to stamp an impression for a very cool effect. UV resin is expensive and epoxy resin is messy and expensive too. If this works it could be a great way to get the same effect for less $$’s. That is what I like! I saw the video on the Ranger web site.

  35. Freda K, 06 July, 2011

    Cindy, My Home Depot doesn’t have the grounding wire. I’m wondering if you have to buy the whole cable or just some bundles of the gauge you want.
    Lisa: I’ve used Extra thick embossing powder on baked clay and it worked fine. I don’t think I put 3 layers on though.

  36. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 06 July, 2011

    Just a note, I found the electrical grounding wire/copper wire on large rolls on a revolving rack that they cut for you, in the electrical department, of course. I got some that was 14 gauge with insulation cover on it that I just stripped off. It was only 32 cents a foot. I also saw bare copper wire there on large rolls, 6, 8 and 10 gauge, I believe, for a good price. Going to go back and buy some 10 gauge this week to try.

  37. Rebecca (Becky) Chisenhall, 06 July, 2011

    Oops, this was at Home Depot.

  38. Beverle, 09 July, 2011

    When I first saw the listing for this video I thought, “what do I want with a bookmark video?!” Now I am embarassed to say that, as usual, Cindy has shown me the light. I have made 2 and plan to make many more. I have so many clay items that weren’t quite right for jewelry but perfect as bookmark charms. Thank you, Cindy and forgive me for my original thoughts. I am always so happy that I subscribe to your weekly tutorials. It must be difficult for you to come up with fresh and interesting ideas all the time. I love you, Cindy!

  39. Cindy Lietz, 11 July, 2011

    @Beverle: Thank you for saying that Beverle!

    I try my best to pack as many tips and ideas as I can into the short tutorials, so that even if the project seems like something you may not be interested in, there should be some nuggets of information you can use. I am so glad that this particular video turned your thinking around a little bit. It always is good to keep your mind open when it comes to knowledge.

    Sometimes, the best inspiration comes from something that I do not have interest in doing. For example, I’m not the best at sewing, so Art Quilts aren’t something I really would consider making. But I received some quilting magazines from my Mom recently and found all sorts of polymer clay ideas popping in my head after flipping through them.

    What I’m trying to say is that, even if a tutorial comes along that you don’t think you’ll like, it is worth giving it a try anyway. Just like you experienced here and a bunch of people experienced with the Cupcake Tutorial who thought they didn’t like miniature food beads, If you try it… you may just like it!

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