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Polymer Clay Anglo-Saxon Style Brooch

The gold-lust comes upon me when I look at the Sutton Hoo and Staffordshire Hoards!

I love the intricacy of the brooches, hilts, and the belt buckles that would satisfy the heart of any Texan.

Most of the work is cloisonné done with gold.

The enameling is expensive, and, as I tell my students, I haven't sailed up a river and invaded a monastery recently, so I'm short on gold.

For our purposes--understanding the design work of the era--polymer clay suffices.

In the costume design-focused classes, we made Anglo-Saxon style brooches from polymer clay.

We also used a product called Swellegant from artist Cristi Friesen. Swellegant is a metal paint that can be patinated for an ancient look.

This is a polymer clay pendant example I made based on an Anglo-Saxon brooch. I used brass Swellegant for the gold color.

As with all projects, I recommend making a sample first and taking pictures of your process so your students see the experience from your perspective.

If you mess up badly, you'll be able to empathize with your students or even decide this isn't a project you want to pursue BEFORE you start.

  1. Polymer clay (Sculpey Premo. Color doesn't matter)

  2. Rolling tool (markers work)

  3. Tile or freezer paper to keep the clay separate from the desks

  4. Cookie cutters or biscuit cutters: 2" diameter or so

  5. Toothpicks

  6. Swellegant patina

  7. Paintbrushes

  8. Foil pans and tin foil

  9. Brooch pins



  1. Introduce the art via See-Think-Wonder or similar questioning format.

  2. After looking at several cloisonne samples, have the students draw simplified versions of the brooches.

Day One

  1. Soften the clay

  2. Roll out and cut the clay

  3. Use the leftover clay to roll out thin strips for the design work

  4. Layout the thin strips on the pc circle and use a toothpick to attach the rolls and the base

  5. Cook the clay (follow the instructions on the package)

Day Two

  1. Paint several layers of Swellegant on the cooked piece

  2. If desired, use the patina (follow the instructions and have a separate brush for the patina! You don't want to ruin the metal)

  3. Once dry, glue the brooch pin to the back of the piece.

  4. Write 1-3 paragraphs describing how the piece reflects the original artwork and how it was modified to fit the medium.

Ideas, questions, comments? Let me know in the comments section!

36 views4 comments


Melanie Knight
Melanie Knight
Apr 05, 2021

These are beautiful! A great idea for a craft project.

Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Apr 05, 2021
Replying to

Thank you!


Oh wow! This post is so brilliant! I love this sort of thing and replication of real items is great because of the research etc. Thanks so much for this!

Amy Bright
Amy Bright
Apr 05, 2021
Replying to

I follow a man in England who does actual replication, and I'm so in awe! I'd go over just to visit his shop: Danegeld Historic Jewellery.

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