Introduction: DIY Leaf Brooch From a Soda Can

About: Hi! I'm an Austrian small Youtuber living in the UK. I love upcycling trash into treasures, especially creating small things like jewelry and gems. Fandom related crafts are a lot of fun for me as well.

Greetings to the crafty nerds out there!

I always wanted to own the leaf brooch from Lord of the Rings, the Leaf of Lórien, but I didn't want to buy one.. So I came up with my own version!

It almost looks more movie-accurate than the bought ones too (if I do say so myself) and it is made from a soda can! I am a bit obsessed with them actually. I might have a problem.

So let's get right into it ~

Step 1: Materials

  • soda can in any colour
  • scissors (nail scissors work well) that can get dull
  • broken pen(yes, finally there's a use for them!)
  • any fabric as a surface for embossing
  • loaded hot glue gun (you could probably use clay if you don't have one)
  • wire in a silver colour (about 1 mm thick)
  • acrylic paint (metallic green, I mixed it)
  • brush
  • matte nail polish (or mod podge etc.)
  • map tack or other sharp needle
  • safety pin (or even better: brooch pin)
  • (paper and pen)

Step 2: Draw/Print a Template

Let's be honest, normally I would never do this part.

But it made my leaf look a lot less crappy. You can use references from the interenet or use my template as a guide if you want.

Here you can download a printable template if you need it:

Step 3: Cut the Can

Stab the can with scissors or a utility knife (you can let out any aggressive energy at this point) and cut out a piece that's a bit bigger than the template.

Step 4: Flatten Out the Metal

The piece will be a bit curved, so take a round object, like a marker, and use it to bend it the opposite way and flatten it out.

Step 5: Trace the Template

Tape your template to the metal with the silver side facing up.

Then take a pen and go over all the lines once, not more than that.
Remove the template and you can see that the lines were lightly embossed into the metal.

Step 6: Emboss the Metal

Now you will need an empty pen. Just when you need one all the pens suddenly work! Oh, the irony.

Go over the lines you just made, then turn around the leaf and "colour in" the spaces in between the lines to create the elevated parts of the leaf.

Repeat turning around the leaf and going over everything until you are happy with the depth and shape of the leaf, but don't exaggerate because the metal can tear if it's stressed too much.

You can cut a bit of metal away whenever the metal bends too much, but don't cut too close to the leaf. It will make embossing harder.

Step 7: Cut Out the Leaf

Now it's time to cut out the leaf shape.

This is pretty much like cutting any other material, but I find it most tricky to make all the corners look good. Also, make sure to round off any sharp edges.

Step 8: Paint

Next, we're gonna paint the leaf with metallic green acrylic colours. I mixed silver, black, green and even gold together.

Important: The layers should be thin to make the next steps work. I used no water to dilute the first coat, but for the second one you can use some to make the paint smoother.

Two thin coats should be enough - if not, apply a very thin third coat.

Step 9: Scratch 'n Seal

To get the veins of the leaf, we are gonna scratch off some paint with a map tack.

I scratched the edges first and then proceeded with the actual veins, looking at references.

To seal everything, I coated the leaf with matte nail polish (matte to get a more movie-accurate result). You can use other matte seals like mod podge too, or if you don't mind the shininess, white glue or regular clear nail polish.

Step 10: Glue on the Vines

The leaf part is done (yay!), but for the whole package we need the beautiful vines.

We need three pieces of wire, two arches that cross over and one wire that connects the top and bottom part of the leaf.

If this makes no sense at all, I recommend to watch the attached video tutorial.

Hot glue the wire in place and make sure you have enough space for a pin.

Step 11: Glue a Pin On

Then glue the pin into place as well, making sure that it still opens and closes, but is secure.

Step 12: Paint the Back

The last step is to colour the back. I chose silver acrylic paint and I think it looks almost like it has been soldered. Although I admit it still looks a bit bad, haha. But it's only the back, right?

As an alternative to hot glue maybe clay could be used. That might even look better.

Now your brooch is done!

You can also wear it as a pendant and make some for your friends, so they can let you know when they get kidnapped by orcs.

May the stars shine upon your faces!