Making gifts is one of my best moments in life. Making something that can last forever is icing on the cake.
I choose brass shim stock to make my Poinsettia Flower Brooch.
I decided to make this one less than two inches in diameter.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Brass shim stock – .004 - .006- .008 - I luck out finding this material. It just happens to be in a tool store for machining application. I would believe any thin brass would work. It does not have to be machinist materials.
Needle nose pliers
Heavy stock paper – 110 pound or index cards
Tin snips – hand held - large shears, med weight, small weight
Nail polish Red, Green (I interchange terms off polish paint and coating - I think of them as the same)
Leather (optional) - I have also used crafters foam, soft wood -
Bar Pin – 1-inch length - three hole - dark coating
220-emery paper (some call it sand paper)
Side cutters (aka wire cutters)
10/0 yellow glass transparent seed beads
Adhesive – clear transparent flexible waterproof non-flammable - aka glue
Wire – craft wire 26 gauge
Drawing stuff – pencil, eraser, black maker, ruler
Modified nail punch –Ground end of nail punch to make a hole punch
Step 2: Ideas and Drawing of Pattern
I looked at several Poinsettia plants and flowers - drawings/pictures. It looks as though the pedals and the leafs have the same pattern.
The best way I can describe my pedal and leaf design is an opposable two-thumb mitten.
I tend to leave my flower designs a little sharp. It is easier to cut out the metal with sharp angles. What I take into consideration is that after I coat the metal, the edges will soften. The design is put down on heavy paper stock and cut out with household scissors. These cutouts will be used to trace the patterns onto the metal.
I am using two sizes to show the growth aspects of the flower.
Note: the metal ruler was cut in half for ease of use.
I added a scanned outline of my design - patterns/templates
Step 3: Preparing Shim Stock and Transfer Pattern
The shim stock that I have comes in rolls; I first need to cut workable strips. I used large grey hand metal shears to cut the strips.
I am not sure if the brass is coated for storage; but it does need to be sanded to accept the paint. I use 220 emery paper to scuff the surface and this will also take off any tarnish or coating. I use good household dish soap to clean the surface from hand oils and process dirt (I do this several times through the complete process).
Once scuffed and cleaned, I transfer the pattern over using a marker - tracing around the card stock cutouts.
Note: I like using different thickness for flower pedals; on a real flower the newer developing pedals tend to be smaller and thinner. So the larger pedals are made from .008 and 006, the smaller pedals are made from .004. Make extra pedals and leafs. It is not that critical to make in different thickness. Most people do not even notice the change in thickness. It is just something that I do.
Note: I like using makers on brass over pencil, because sometimes I solder. The pencil lead will actually act as a block to the flow of solder, so I try to make it a habit of using makers on my metal projects.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Patterns
To cut out the patterns from brass I used:
Household scissors on the .004 thickness brass
Medium weight snips on the .006 &.008 thick brass.
I used 220 emery paper to take off any burrs - followed up with dish soap.
I did a quick stack of the pedals and leaves to get an idea of how many I will use.
2 large pedals
2 small pedals
Note: Just a brief explanation on the brass shim stock I used; A shim is a thin piece of material (in this case brass), typically used to fill small gaps between things. I use shims mostly to make my projects but I also use them to allow things to slide better (mostly metal on metal).
Step 5: Adding Holes and Details
I placed bottom leaf over the bar pin and marked for three holes.
I used a modified nail punch as a hole-punch, to punch out the metal for the wire assembly. Three holes in the bottom leaf, one hole in the balance of leafs and pedals.
Note: I took a standard nail punch and ground off the side taper towards the contact end. The nail dimple in the face, along with grinding off the side taper creates a nice hole-punch. When I purchased the nail punch, it came in a set of three different sizes. I used the 3/32 punch.
Following the hole punch; I added the veining details. I used another trick of using a hacksaw blade. The blade creates dimpling along with adding the vein. I feel it adds a little extra to the pedals and leafs.
Note: Break an old hacksaw blade in half. The teeth towards the end of a blade tend to be still good. Use the rounded end, so you do not get the digging effect of a sharp end (unless you want this affect).
The process of hole punching and veining creates a nice curl look to the leaves and the pedals.
Step 6: Coloring – Coating - Painting
There seems to be an endless variation of color shades of poinsettia flowers.
I did some testing of greens and reds on a scrap piece of brass shim stock. I picked what I thought was a nice combination of green and red. I also considered matching the yellow glass beads i was going to use.
Note: The coating I use is nail polish. The nail polish adheres quite well to the 220 surface.Nail polish is also great because it comes in so many shades and colors.The small size is nice so no big disposal issues. Nail polish also comes with its own brush – no cleaning of the brush. Well enough about nail polish.
I do not put down a surface primer – just brush polish the on, one side at a time. I use my spare brass to set the wet pieces on so not to stick to the paper. Once dried, I flip them over and coat the other side.
2 leaves - green
2 large pedals - red
1 small pedal - red
1 small pedal – red with a green center on the front
Step 7: Wiring It Together - Beading - Gluing
Using the dark craft wire: I used side
cutters to cut a working piece -- 3 ½ inches long.
I used the dark craft wire to secure the bottom green leaf to the Bar Pin. I matched the three holes that I punched in the leaf to the holes in the bar pin. I formed the cut wire into a U shape and fed it thru the two outside holes -- from the top of the leaf. I looped the wire up and over the bar pin. Then I threaded the wire around the downward portion of the wire. I used needle nose pliers to pull it all tight. I repeated the process on the other side.
I put a drop of adhesive in the two holes (with the wires) of the bar pin. Then I cut the wires just above the glue point.
Using the Red craft wire: I used side cutters to cut three working pieces -- 5 inches long (this will become the group of wires). I also cut one piece of wire to 2 inches long (I call it, the cross wire. which will act as a stop).
I fold all three (5 inch long) wires in halve; with the 2 inch cross wire down at the halve-way point. Taking the side cutters, I cut across the top of all six wires (3*2) to make them even (a group). Twisting the top of the six wires, I create a tight grouping for threading.
I feed the group wires, up from the bottom of the bar pin's center hole and through the first green leaf; until the cross wire hits the bar pin's hole. Now I start threading the other components: the second leaf, then two large red peddles; then the small red pedal and last the small pedal with the green center. Push all the components down against the bar pin.
Pull apart the six-wire group. I bend the individual wires over the side of the pedals - just to help keep the components tight against the bar pin. Take one wire at a time and put a slight hook at the end - This is to fish out a yellow glass bead from the container. Once you have one bead on the wire; push the bead down to the center of the flower. Do this for each wire.
Position the beads how you would like them. Put a drop of adhesive on the top of each bead. Once the adhesive has dried - use the side cutters to cut the wires just above the beads.
Rotate the leaves and pedals to your desired end position.
Flip the flower over exposing the bottom of the bar pin. Put a small drop of adhesive into the center hole, creating a lock on the components positioning. Cut the extra cross wire tails near the adhesive.
Step 8: Final Flower Brooch and Examples of Other Shim Stock Flowers
The brass shim stock poinsettia turned out to be the perfect size --- 1 ¼ inches in diameter.
I also provided a few photos of the other flowers (brooches) I made.
The one rose, I made a silver bee (on a post) to secure the pedals and leafs together.
The other rose, I used the wire and bead method to secure.