My latest cosplay accessory commission was a brooch for Irisviel from the FATE series. I was excited for this because it would have a wooden texture, and it’s been a while since I worked trying to give something a faux-wood effect. It’s one of my favorite things to do. If you’re interested in making your own brooch, I’m going to post my progress photos here with a guide. This guide will focus more on the patinating (varnishing) the wood effect rather than the whole molding.
For reference, here’s a close-up on Irisviel’s brooch:
And here is the brooch that I made. Note that the ribbon will be added by my client herself, so I did not include it. Also, the camera seemed to dislike capturing the exact colors of this brooch; it certainly has more than one color in person, but anyway:
You will need the following materials:
- Brown Polymer Clay
- Red Polymer Clay
- Black Polymer Clay (optional)
- Texturing tools (needles, toothpicks, etc)
- Liquid Clay / Glaze Gloss (optional)
- Brown, White, and Black acrylic paints
And you’ll also need most tools you need to work with polymer clay: acrylic rollers, an oven, etc.
STEP 1: DRAW A TEMPLATE ON PAPER
As I did for the Eye of Horus Locket, I drew a template on paper first. I consider it an essential these days. Firstly, you need to do it to get proper estimations on how big or small you want the item to be. It’s good to have an actual measure or template of the item before you proceed to making it. Making a template also helps you maintain accurate lines and a balanced shape when you mold as opposed to just going out there and molding without a reference.
STEP 2: USING YOUR TEMPLATE, MOLD YOUR CLAY
Get your brown clay and red clay, condition it, and mold it, following the measurements on your template. I tried to give it a 3D raised effect as opposed to full-on flat, but could not give it the ultimate height at the point, and I was not sure it would have looked good either. I opted for something relatively thick, relatively flat, but not entirely.
STEP 3: TEXTURE YOUR CLAY
Take your texturing tools. It can be anything from a toothpick, needle, pin, or anything similar you have lying about at home and then using the pointed tool, make “scratches along the brown clay, making sure they follow in “wood” patterns. Remember that wood “scratches” aren’t too uniform. (Also pardon the blurred photo.)
Here is a clearer photo of the unbaked brooch next to a toothpick and a Q-tip. I always have q-tips/cotton buds on-hand for my projects and some rubbing alcohol; I wipe them along the surface of my clay works to smooth out stubborn fingertip marks.
STEP 4: BAKE YOUR BROOCH~
Bake according to your clay’s instructions.
Here is the baked brooch. Remember that clay often changes its color when baked and reveals its true color. The shade I used was Chocolate Brown, a staple I had because I used to make a lot of food clay pieces. So, yes, this brooch now looks like a block of chocolate. Ugh, now that I mention it, I’m craving. T.T
OPTIONAL! I added a thin layer of black clay to the underside of the brooch. I often do this for my clay pieces; i just vary the color of the “backing clay” It reinforces the creation, gives it more thickness, and most importantly for me creates a smooth finish for the backside. When I work, often I concentrate too much on the front that the back becomes a mess with various things from my clay mat stuck there that I didn’t even notice get there. (in this case, it’s random pieces of red clay) So I covered it all up with black and then bake again.
I removed the loose “powdery” things that built up from texturing the piece with a brush too, so I can have a smooth surface for patinating. I can’t just leave it looking like a chocolate block, yummy as it looks.
STEP 5: PATINA and GLOSS
Patina is some sort of “varnish”. I learned about this technique from a polymer clay book I own. It’s basically putting a wash of acrylic paint–usually brown–over your clay creation and then shortly wiping it away again. The result is that the paint stays in the creases and in some areas, highlighting the details of your work, and giving it an antiquated look.
In the above photo, I’ve put a wash of white, over the entire brooch, and then a wash of black to one side (just to illustrate the difference). For me, wood has always been a combination of light parts, dark parks, and the black scratches. Since Irisviel’s brooch is darkwood as well, I was unafraid to mix in more black than usual wooden textures would have.
Here is a finished photo of the brooch, patinated, and then glossed. I also sanded it a bit at parts. (Those are white rabbit clay pieces below, ignore them :3)
Hope this guide helps~! Feel free to share this guide to, and if you ever found it useful please tell me~
To leave you all a little something, here’s a photo of the brooch from my client with her Irisviel figure looking pleased. (?) I can’t wait to see her cosplay!