Mixed Media Wire Leaf Charms | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Wire Leaf CharmVid #204: “Learning about the wire work for me has become a natural extension of what I do with polymer clay.” ~Elisabeth-S

Here is a neat little jewelry finding you can make… that has big potential! I know, I know, I say that about all the techniques I share with you on this blog. But it’s true!

Last summer I showed you guys one of my art bracelet creations called, Seeds of Change. This was a “let-your-hair-down-and-do-whatever-comes-into-your-head” type of projects, done strictly for myself. It’s the kind of thing an artist has to do every once in awhile, just to let the creative juices flow, unencumbered.

A component of that bracelet was a wire and polymer leaf which sprouted out from the center of the piece. A few of you have asked how to make those cool leaves… so I thought it would make a wonderful thing to share during this Spring season, as the leaves on the trees and plants are opening and change can be felt everywhere.

Cindy – Beautiful art bracelet with a wonderful message. I love the writing around the clay disc and the little leaf sprouting up. A sign of hope. ~Cheryl-H

Cindy, I’m so happy that you spread your wings and let your heart go free! Knowing you “let go” while creating this makes me appreciate it all the more! It’s lovely, and has some VERY COOL features, indeed! I tried making something along the same lines as to your wired leaf a few months back, but I wasn’t nearly as successful! (Using wire with raw clay was trickier than I thought.) I would love to learn how you did it (leaf headpins, you say? Smart and cool!) ~Phaedrakat

Coming up tomorrow (Friday May 20th, 2011) in the Vol-036-3 video at the Polymer Clay Library, I’ll be demonstrating how to make the wire component of these neat Wire Leaf Charms. Then in next week’s Vol-036-4 tutorial, I will take the lesson further, by showing how you can add polymer clay to create some fabulous mixed media charms, pendants and other jewelry elements.


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-036-3 Wire Leaf Charm:

  • Flame Torched Copper Headpins 3″ long (20 gauge). For slight variations, you can use any type of wire or headpin in 18g – 21g, that is at least 3 inches long. Any wire smaller than 21 gauge will be too flimsy for this project. You could also use a much longer length of headpin to make a larger leaf shaped charm, if you wish.
  • Round Nose jewelry pliers (not hardware store type pliers).
  • Flat Nose or Chain Nose jewelry pliers (again, no hardware tools).
  • Ruler (optional).
  • Flush Cutters (optional).

The full version of the Vid-036-3 Wire Leaf Charm video, will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday May 20, 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.


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The full version of the “Wire Leaf Charm” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-036 Back Issue Pckg.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Nowhere can you have – video tutorials (very professionally done), recipe colors, help when you need it, and so much more. You can post your creations too. This is a super friendly site! O.K. you lurkers – for only $9.95 every 3 months, you too can join us. Please consider this an invitation!! ~Patt-W

Thank you very much for your videos. They are really helpful. It was money well spent. Sincerely. ~Sharon-D

Cindy, I feel sorry for the people who don’t subscribe to your website, they are really missing out. ~Bonnie-K

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Wire Leaf Charm video tutorial:

  • See several examples of charms, pendants and earrings that were made using the Wire Leaf Charms.
  • Discussion of the tools and techniques needed to create this simple and stunning wire jewelry finding.
  • Learn cool ways you can use these charms to make links and chains.
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with other unique jewelry designs of your own using these leaf charms.

The full version of the “Wire Leaf Charm” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-036 Back Issue Pckg.


Learning the wire work for me has become a natural extension of what I do with polymer clay.
  1. Fran R, 19 May, 2011

    What a great idea ! I really like making the headpins and this looks like such an excellent way to use them.

  2. pollyanna, 19 May, 2011

    oh my goodness!!! How fantastic is that. It’s something I’ve been hoping to learn…..is it Friday yet?

  3. Lisa F, 19 May, 2011

    I can’t wait to return tomorrow….Thank you so so much!!!
    Take care!!!!

  4. pattw35, 19 May, 2011

    More wire -yeah! PC and wire are natural partners. What a pretty piece this is going to be – anticipation ……………….

  5. Maria, 19 May, 2011

    Interesting! The wired leaf charms with the polymer clay remind me of the fun art projects I used to do with my artsy grandmother in my childhood. We’d take wire bent into a similar shape like Cindy’s and dip it into this gooey stuff that then dried and became translucent. I don’t remember what it was called. I wonder if anyone can tell me what we used?

  6. pattw35, 19 May, 2011

    @Maria: Maria, maybe it was Mod Podge. It has been around forever. Just a guess

  7. DJ, 19 May, 2011

    @Maria: Maria I remember some stuff called “Petal Dip” , at least that’s what I called it as a kid. It formed a film of plastic over the open loop, and you waited for all the wired petals to dry. Then they were all wrapped together with stamens and floral tape. I remember it had a really strong/toxic smell too…probably why it’s not around any more. Does this sound like what you and your grandmother worked with? I haven’t thought about that stuff in ages!…had all kinds of blue and magenta flowers in my room after completing and wrapping the petals.

  8. Maria, 19 May, 2011

    @DJ: DJ, I think that’s what it was! I loved making those flowers. They didn’t last long though, because it was so easy to put holes through them. Yeah, you’re right, they did have a toxic-like smell to them. Ah, but what wonderful memories! I am positive that had she lived longer, my grandmother would have been crazy about polymer. She had trained as a nurse back in St. Petersburg, Russia, during WWI and served on the Romanian front. Later, during WW2, she served as a simultaneous translator at the displaced persons camps, as she was fluent in over 6 languages. Then in the US,she painted, she did pottery , she wrote plays. Too bad Premo wasn’t around then! : )

  9. Phaedrakat, 20 May, 2011

    Cool, Cindy! Thanks…I can’t wait to learn how you made the wonderful polymer leaf on top of your Seeds of Change bracelet. I can tell these leaf charms will be a useful thing to learn. I love the samples in the preview…some beautiful items. I agree that wire & polymer go VERY well together. Can’t wait to make little polymer/wire dangles!!!

    @Maria: Funny, I have some of that stuff! I bought a couple kid’s “Pretty Petals” craft sets about a year ago. They were on clearance, so I thought I’d give ’em a try with my neice…I also wondered if they had any “jewelry project” potential. Unfortunately, the boxes are still sitting in a craft bin…along with a zillion other craft/art supplies I’ve “wondered” about, but haven’t gotten around to testing/playing. Perhaps I’ll actually bring them out now — thanks for reminding me! ~Kat :-)

  10. Phaedrakat, 20 May, 2011

    @Maria: Maria, I forgot to say what a fantastic woman your grandmother must have been! So many talents…I’ll bet she’d love polymer clay, too — would’ve been a master, no doubt! I’m glad you have so many happy memories of her, and time spent crafting. I must say, I’ve got some wonderful ones of my own “crafty” grandma. I’m off to sleep now…have a feeling I’ll be dreaming of my childhood, and my dear GM… :-D

  11. Cherie, 19 May, 2011

    The leaves are really beautiful! I’ve done some flowers in wire and made earrings but haven’t tried adding clay yet so I’m looking forward to this tutorial.

  12. Cherie, 19 May, 2011

    @ Cindy – would you be doing a tutorial on writing on polymer clay? I’ve used my Creative Memories marker on baked clay and then re-baked it. I’m wondering what pens/ink do you use and do you write and re-bake?

  13. Cindy Lietz, 22 May, 2011

    @Cherie: Sorry I missed this before Cherie. Yes I will put ‘writing on clay’ on the list for potential tutorials. There is a little bit more experimenting I would like to do though, with different brands of pens, so I can give you all the best options. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can get that out to you all.

  14. DJ, 19 May, 2011

    I agree with pattw about polymer clay and wire, these charms are a fabulous combination! Can’t wait. = )
    I like Cherie’s suggestion too, regarding a lesson on writing techniques on clay as well…love it, I think it’s a really unique surface treatment. I’m in, if there’s a chance for this too. Thanks again Cindy and Doug for yet more inspiration to look forward to!!

  15. Sandra J, 19 May, 2011

    I’m soooo looking forward to this one too. I agree with other comments, those who don’t subscribe are certainly missing out on wonderful stuff.
    Thanks Cindy. Here in New Zealand we are coming into winter now, so to hang on to spring with all my might, I’m going to make these.

  16. Pam, 19 May, 2011

    Looks awesome, can’t wait! Is anyone going to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee in June?

  17. Helen Sperring, 19 May, 2011

    Oh Wow!!!!!!! This is just what I’ve been working on for at least a month now. The leaves are really cute and I can’t wait to see this tute. I love charms, wire and polymer clay together. I’ve been working on key charms and trying to figure out how to make them stronger with wire. The keys are very small and they keep breaking, so I’m trying to make them stronger with wire. I’ve made wire keys and clay keys but cant get them together. Does anyone have any tips? Next, I was going to try that mesh they have for clay to make it stronger. I love all these new things coming from the best teacher on line…………….Luv Ya, Honey

  18. Cara L, 20 May, 2011

    Cindy I really enjoy your wire work because you explain it so well.
    If you could possibly do more in the future I’d be thrilled. The links are a really great idea. I’ll be using that one this weekend!

  19. Catalina, 20 May, 2011

    Just one word – awesome!!!!!!! Now I have to get busy on making my own head pins. Did anyone put in a request that the days be 48 hours long? I really need more time :)

  20. Silverleaf, 20 May, 2011

    Oh I remember Petal Dip too! I used to volunteer at an after-school club for kids aged 7-11, and they had a cupboard full of craft stuff, including Petal Dip in loads of different colours. You had to dip about a million times to get it thick enough and even then it was pretty easy for it to tear but it did look great.

    I’d totally forgotten about it, so thanks for bringing the memory back. :)

    Cindy, I’m amassing a collection of “silver leaf” jewellery which I wear because it’s a great way to get customers to remember my business name! I have various different styles and I can definitely see this technique adding to my collection. It would be really easy to modify this a bit to create a central vein in the leaf too. Thanks!

  21. Brenda, 20 May, 2011

    These are much similar to the links that I made in my chain that I used for the Mixed Media Art Sheets Technique necklace. Looking forward to seeing how to add the clay as well, especially the the liquid.

  22. Elizabeth S., 20 May, 2011

    I’m having Manny make sure the house insurance is up to date-it will be worth the risk to try once again to master those headpins with my trusty little torch. Gosh I love this! The pieces are exquisite!! I can’t wait to see how to apply the clay to the charms.

  23. Peggy Barnes, 20 May, 2011

    WOW can’t wait to try this one. You can get several of this weeks ready and
    get your brain a whirling and a twirling, spinning and a winning because come next week it’s going to be BRAIN FULL of choices. Just think you are going to want your brain to run wild for a change. Just imagine all the possibilities.
    WOWSA- WOWSA – WOOOO- HOO Let me tell you I need brain exercise as much if not more than other exercise. This is just one of many reasons I LOVE and am so addicted to Cindy’s tutorials. JUST ONE.
    I will be ready to fill these little babies next week Cindy. So for now all I have left is a VERY BIG THANK YOU & MANY UUUGGS, PEGGY

  24. pattw35, 20 May, 2011

    Isn’t this an addiction to love? PC and wire ! I have a bunch of copper headpins ready to go. What fun – can’t wait til next sneak peek !!!

  25. Ed Johnson, 20 May, 2011

    I’m a “brand new member” TODAY

    I’ve “tried” torching the end of Copper 18 gauge wire with a small “butane” torch to get the end to melt into a ball.
    All it does is anneal the end of the wire.
    Any suggestions???
    Thank you Ed Johnson

  26. Cindy Lietz, 20 May, 2011

    Thank you everyone for you kind comments! I love hearing your creative family stories, so keep ’em coming!

    I hope you have a lot of fun with this tutorial. If you don’t have the torched headpins, you can just use plain wire instead. It is not quite as fancy, but it still looks good. Get some charms made up this week so you are ready for next week. I think you’ll be surprised how many options there are for these funky little charms!

    Also some time back, I did a post that featured 6 free videos on how to torch your own headpins. So if you need a refresher, check that page out, I’ve linked to it by my name.

    @Ed Johnson: Welcome! Nice to have you here! The problem with trying to torch that heavy of a copper wire with a butane torch, is that it just doesn’t get hot enough. So then you end up just making some nice soft (annealed) wire.

    Like I just wrote to a Nettonya in another thread… my favorite torch is just a propane one is generally used for soldering pipes. You can get them at any hardware store. You know the kind where you screw a torch nozzle onto a small camping propane bottle. A basic kit will cost about $17 and the refill tanks are only about $4. It gets nice and hot, so you can ball up copper wire easily which can be trickier than balling up silver wire. It is not as dainty as the little butane torches, but they will give you the best bang for your buck!”

  27. Elizabeth K., 20 May, 2011

    @Ed Johnson:
    Hi Ed
    Saw your comment about the annealing of the copper wire when you made a head pin with copper wire.
    Cindy showed us where to find out info re making the ball on the end of the wire.
    It was one of our 5th Friday times. You will find this in the April 2010 after the Vols 023, and being the 5th friday it is in the list as Making Your Own Jewelry Head Pins. I know because I have just looked it all up to revise myself on making the copper head pins.
    It is self explanatory.
    If you were not a member then, maybe Cindy can give you some help.
    hope this helps. Bye
    Elizabeth K.
    P. S. I feel like Phaedrakat, who could always find things for us.!

  28. Linda K., 20 May, 2011

    @Ed Johnson: Hi Ed, welcome to the group. You’re probably using a torch that isn’t powerful enough for wire as thick as 18 gauge to get hot enough to ball up. I had problems with my little torch on 20 gauge copper wire, but I was finally able to get it to ball up when I pointed the flame up and held the wire straight down into the flame. Even then it was kind of tricky to get it to work and I think it’s a little more dangerous that way.

    I’m not ready to get a bigger torch yet–my husband still doesn’t know I have the little one :) I figure what he doesn’t know can’t make him crazy, LOL. Of course, he has a flame thrower that he uses to kill weeds in the driveway…talk about overkill! I keep expecting him to set his shoes on fire. I wonder if there’s a way to dip my wire into his flames while he kills the weeds…

  29. Cherie, 20 May, 2011

    Just reading through this blog and everyone’s memories made me think of my mother. She and my dad are in India and i miss them but I skype with them everyday and I have a webcam so I can show them my designs. I learned so much from my mom and dad. Both of them are artists, my mom an art and craft teacher and dad a fine artist. We got TV the year I married 26 yrs ago and no internet either. I learned to make dolls with left over scrap materials, how to knit, make crepe paper flowers, to draw and paint (I should have done more in that area) and so much more. Yes, they are such wonderful memories.

  30. Elizabeth K., 20 May, 2011

    Hi Cindy and all,
    this video with the wire and polymer clay is so interesting.
    I love the links used in the necklace, it has given me so many ideas. all that is needed now is lots of practise to get those wire leaves looking like Cindy does them.AHMM! Always looks easy, but does require practise.
    I dont have a butane gun, but I think that is next on my list of equipment.
    Thanks again Cindy for your interesting, easy to follow video.
    Elizabeth K. XXXX

  31. Linda K., 20 May, 2011

    Cindy, not only do I love these wire leaves and your technique for making them, but this video gave me a bunch of “aha’s” as I looked at several things from “outside the box.” I do a lot of wire work independent of polymer clay and this video has opened my eyes to a number of ideas about how to do things a little differently or to solve problems that have been annoying me for some time!

    Thanks again, Cindy and Doug for a great job!

  32. Kathy G, 22 May, 2011

    Awesome! I’m looking forward to next week.

  33. Karonkay, 22 May, 2011

    Very excited to do the next lesson. I have made my head pins so am ready is it Friday yet?

  34. Janice W, 22 May, 2011

    What kind of headpins did you say you used?

  35. Cindy Lietz, 26 May, 2011

    @Karonkay: That is so great to hear! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and are now ready to add some polymer clay to your charms! :-)

    @Janice W: I used hand torched headpins for my tutorial, but there are other options. Please see the supply list above, for more info.

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