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Handmade Scrapbook Embellishments – Polymer Clay Tutorial


Making your own scrapbook embellishments by hand can be really rewarding.  Recently, I’ve been experimenting with polymer clay to make scrapbook embellishments.  Things like flowers, leaves and buttons. Although, I can’t guarantee the clay is acid free, you can still use it on pages with digital photos (so you have them backed up elsewhere) greeting cards and also other mixed media and paper crafting projects.

There are a wide variety of colours available in polymer clay, including some of the bright colours you see in the examples below.  You can also mix them together for even more variety.  Some of the petals in the flowers shown are done using clays I mixed together.  Some of the manufacturers of polymer clay include Fimo and Sculpey.  You can purchase it from Michaels and other craft supply stores.

If you’ve never played with polymer clay before, I encourage you to give it a try.  The medium is so versatile and fun to work with.  Even my 4 year old loves to play with it.  He has his own little stash of my cast off scraps that I let him make things out of.

Working with polymer clay is a lot like making cut out cookies or pie crusts.  You can roll it out and cut it with cookie cutters even if you like.  Just make sure that any tools you use remain dedicated to clay. You cannot transfer them back to using with food items.  There are specific tools you can get for polymer clay at your hobby store like rolling pins, small metal shape cutters and shaping tools, but you can also use other things you may already have around.  Things like an x-acto knife, pop bottle lids, a glass bottle (as a rolling pin), straws, toothpicks and charm shapes can be used as moulds and shape cutters as well. 

One tip I should share with you is about preventing sticking.  Once you work the clay and warm it in your hands to make it pliable, you will find that it may be somewhat sticky.  To prevent the clay from leaving bits behind on your rolling pin, dust it with a little baking soda, flour or talcum powder.

Make Leaves

1. Warm some green polymer clay in your hands to warm it and make it pliable.

2. Roll it out fairly thinly using a rolling pin or glass bottle.

3. Use a metal charm (dusted with baking soda) to make an imprint in the clay.  This charm is from Red Lead PaperWorks.

4. Cut the leaf shape out using an x-acto knife.

5. Set aside on a parchment covered baking sheet to be baked according to manufacturer’s directions.

Make Flowers

1. Warm some medium pink polymer clay in your hands to warm it and make it pliable.

2. Roll it out fairly thinly using a rolling pin or glass bottle.

3. Use a small cup or bottle lid to cut a round shape in the clay.  Set aside.

4. From a lighter shade of pink polymer clay, prepared as above, cut out a smaller round shape using a pop bottle lid or another object.  Place this smaller circle on top of the medium pink circle. Lightly press down so they are attached.

5. Roll a snake shape from a dark shade of pink clay.  Divide it into 6 portions by cutting it with an x-acto knife. 

6. Form each portion into a small ball in the palm of your hand.

7. Press down evenly around the larger medium pink circle.  I used the bottom of a water bottle lid to do the pressing.

8. Do the same ball technique with another shade of pink and press them down evenly in between the formerly done balls.  

9. You have now made two layers of petals.

10. If desired, use a toothpick or other tool to make little holes through the centre of your flower.  You can leave it to look like a button centre or make dots all over.  Additionally, you can outline the petals, as shown, with little holes using the toothpick and also insert tiny glass beads into some of the holes.

11. Set aside on a parchment covered baking sheet to be baked according to manufacturer’s directions.

Make Buttons

1. Warm some coloured polymer clay in your hands to warm it and make it pliable.

2. Roll it out fairly thinly using a rolling pin or glass bottle.

3. Use a small cup or bottle lid to cut a round shape in the clay.

4. Use a slightly smaller circular lid to make a slight indentation just inside the outer edge.

5. Make two or four holes in the centre area of your button so you can actually use the button and attach it with thread.  You can use a toothpick or special clay tool for this.

6. Make miniature sized buttons by using the end of a straw as a cutter!

7. Set aside on a parchment covered baking sheet to be baked according to manufacturer’s directions.

** For a shiny finish, you can glaze any of your polymer clay creations after they are baked.  As well, you can paint them for added interest.

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  1. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    What a wonderful tutorial… too cute! TFS

  2. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    Do you REALLY use baking soda? I’ve always read that one should use cornstarch to prevent sticking?

  3. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    Yes, you can use baking soda, cornstarch, talcum powder, baby powder, and even flour. I happen to use baking soda. 🙂

  4. jennifer b.
    June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    this is fantastic! great job w/ the clay!

  5. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    These are so adorable!!!! I love the colors and your buttons!!! Thanks for the tutorial..

  6. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    Aweeesome stuffs Angie ~!!!!
    I loooove the result and…coincidently …just got some as well to try !!

  7. Andi
    June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    Oh, I am so glad Scrapscene posted this again! I thought I had saved it. Anyway, these are absolutely adorable and I cannot wait to make them! All I have right now is Paperclay, so that is what I will use for now.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    How do you avoid getting fingerprints on your clay? Do you have to sand each item after baking?
    I tried using lightweight (surgical type) gloves but they still have wrinkles in them and they’re HOT.

    Would love to hear how you handle fingerprints if you work with bare hands.

  9. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    I don’t have any suggestions for the fingerprints issue other than smoothing it out before baking – maybe someone else does?

  10. Nora
    June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    Thanks for this page! Wonderful!! 🙂

  11. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    Great tutorial, Angie. As you can see it’s still getting attention. Thanks for all you do and share with people.
    Coleen in Ukraine

  12. June 1st, 2009Posted | Permalink

    Thank you everyone!

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  2. […] did a tutorial post the other day on Handmade Scrapbook Embellishments – Polymer Clay Tutorial and since then have more ideas to share with you using this medium.  I hope you will give […]

  3. […] we posted a tutorial on how to make polymer clay flower embellishments for scrapbooking.  Also, there were the crocheted flowers and also the […]

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