Make a Polymer Clay Peace Lily
Polymer clay is a fairly recent discovery of mine. It came to my attention last year as I watched the explosion of home-based enterprise brought on by the impact of COVID-19. All of a sudden, it seemed that my Instagram was flooded by the work of amazing creatives, who perhaps had never had the time to dedicate to their beautiful art before. I began to see jewelry of all shapes and sizes being crafted by this amazing material. There were bold shapes and colors, intricate designs, and the most beautiful botanicals I had ever seen. I knew that I had to get my hands on some and discover what it could do for myself. I was not disappointed. The versatility of this material is amazing, and it is so forgiving. It’s basically play dough for adults, letting you shape and reshape as much as your heart desires, not losing its elasticity or malleability until you make your final decision and bake it in the oven.
I use Sculpey Premo clay, which I find great to work with. It takes a little bit of working with your fingers to get it to soften up, but that added firmness means that you can create intricate details which hold their shape as you mold. I bought Sculpey III for my daughter to use, which is much softer. It’s good for kids who need a softer material, but I wouldn’t recommend it for general use.
These lilies are gorgeous and can be used for so many different projects. For this one I have turned them into a pendant for a long necklace, mounting them onto a brass bezel cup. If you don’t have access to something like this — or you’re just impatient to get started — I have also made a very similar project where I made my own pendant with a polymer clay circle and mounted the flowers directly on top. If you are going to do this don’t forget to leave a small hole in the top to pass a connector ring through. You can make this with a toothpick or something similar before baking.
What you will need for this project:
- Polymer Clay of your choice
- Sharp knife
- Small rolling pin
- Heart-shaped cutter (the size of this will be the size of your flower)
- Baking paper
- Jewelry hardware
Step 1: Take the color of clay you will use for the petal of your flower. I have made them in pure white before, but this time I decided to use a pearl white. Massage it until soft, then roll it out to about 2mm thickness. Cut as many hearts out as you would like flowers.
Step 2: Take the color that you will use for the stamen of the lily. Massage until soft, then roll it into a long thin tube. Cut small pieces off, approximately the length of the heart. Roll the tip of each of these into a point at one end, then lay them on top of each heart with the pointed end lining up with the point of the heart. The bottom of the heart is the top of the flower.
Step 3: Gently pick up the heart, and roll the curved pieces toward each other to join. Carefully press the seam together and rub over it with the back of your fingernail to forge a strong union.
Step 4: Now for the stems! Roll the stem color out into the same type of long tube you made for the stamen. It’s better to take your time with this and constantly move your fingers around to avoid indents and keep it all a uniform size. Cut it into pieces as long as you would like your stems to be. This will depend on what your end use is, and how big your flowers are. I recommend making them about ½ – 1cm longer than you plan to use to allow for trimming. To attach the stems, gently press one end into the base of the flower. Try to keep the front side of the join neat, but you can merge the two colors in the back as much as needed to really fuse them together.
Step 5: For this project, I wanted a bouquet of lilies, so I made five individual flowers with the same length of stems to arrange together. Once I was happy with the arrangement I trimmed them all to the same length.
Step 6: I like to make a binding for the bouquet, so I chose a different color to make a twisted rope. Once again, roll it out into thin strands. You will need two individual strands to make one rope. Place them together and gently twist, keeping the pressure even down the length of the rope. Take your time; you can always twist a little tighter if need be, but if you over twist you will likely have to start over. Starting from the back of your bouquet, wrap it once or twice around and trim off the excess. This is why it’s handy to have a very sharp knife — you can slice through the clay without putting any pressure on or distorting your flowers.
Step 7: Finally, mount your flowers where you would like them. Fill your bezel cup with your background color if you’re using one, and gently press the flowers into it.
Step 8: To cook! Most brands of polymer clay differ in their cook times. Sculpey Premo recommends half an hour at 130ºC (266 ºF) for every 6mm thickness. Place your pieces onto a baking sheet in a preheated oven and cook for the required time according to thickness. Once they have cooled after baking they will be hard and ready to use!
- Use baby wipes to clean surfaces or your rolling pin to avoid cross-contamination of your colors.
- Crosshatch the backs of your pieces before pressing them together to ensure better adhesion.
- Use baking paper as your work surface. The clay won’t stick to it and you can use the same sheet to cook your pieces in the oven.
- Use a toothpick or the tip of your knife to gently push the clay out of the heart cutter if it gets stuck inside.