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Catch a wave brooch

Dive into an improvised approach to making polymer clay color blends
Catch a wave brooch hero
Embedded pearls and a patina of paint highlight the undulating shapes in this brooch. 3 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄4 in. (89 x 83mm).

The harmonious hues and wavy shapes in this piece are all about the unpredictable nature of the ocean surf. For optimal results, remain open to surprises as you mix colors, sculpt the clay, and assemble the pieces to make this brooch.


  • Polymer clay, 2-oz. (56g) package of each:
  • White
  • Pearl
  • Green pearl
  • Blue pearl
  • Craft wire: 28-gauge (0.32mm), 6 in. (15.2cm)
  • Pearls
  • 10mm, drilled
  • 10–12 5mm, square or round, flat, center drilled
  • Pin-back finding, 1–11⁄4 in.(25.5–32mm) 


  • Pasta machine*
  • Tissue blade
  • Clay-shaping tools
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers: chainnose, roundnose 
  • Needle-nose tweezers
  • Oven*
  • Cardstock
  • Liquid polymer clay
  • Flat-tip paintbrush (optional)
  • Acrylic paint, brown (optional)
  • Sponge (optional)
  • Polymer clay sealer with clear, satin finish (optional)

*Dedicated to nonfood use



Catch a wave brooch 01
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Catch a wave brooch 02
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Make color blends. Condition each color of clay. Run white clay through your pasta machine on the widest setting, and then lay chunks of green and blue clay on top of the white clay [1]. Without folding it, run the clay through the pasta machine again. Keeping the most interesting portion of the blend on the outside, fold the clay as in a Skinner blend, and run it through the pasta machine [2].

Catch a wave brooch 03
Photo 3
Catch a wave brooch 04
Photo 4

If the outer edges of the clay become ragged, trim them, and continue to fold the clay and run it through the pasta machine until you achieve a blend that you like [3]

Repeat steps 1–2 to make another blend. For a slightly different effect, make an accordion fold in the clay before running it through the pasta machine [4].

Catch a wave brooch 05
Photo 5
Catch a wave brooch 06
Photo 6

Repeat steps 1–2 to make a third blend, using the darker colors sparingly so that the final blend will provide a contrast to the first two blends [5].

Make the waves. Select one of the darker blends, and roll the clay into a log so that the entire blend is visible [6]

Catch a wave brooch 07
Photo 7
Catch a wave brooch 08
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Cut the log to the desired length of one of your main waves, and then taper one end of the log to a dull point. Make a rounded shape on the opposite end. Use a wooden sculpting tool or your finger to smooth the raw seam of cut clay [7]. Curl the rounded end of the log. Use a pointed tool to define the eye of the curl [8]

Catch a wave brooch 09
Photo 9

Holding your blade at an angle, slice a bit of clay off the tapered end to reveal the pattern within the clay [9]. Smooth the cut end with your fingers. Repeat steps 6–8 with the other two color blends to make two more waves that are slightly smaller than the first one.

For complete project instructions, click here to download & print this PDF

FIND MORE: brooches , polymer clay , pearl

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