DIY Copper Christmas Ornaments (and Holiday-themed Jewelry):

Make personalized gifts for your friends and family.

Festive holiday themed copper blanks + Colorful patina on copper

= Super cute gifts for under $5!

I found these great shapes through Twisted Turtle Studio

This artisan-owned studio offers lots of great copper shapes.  I typically think of copper blanks for jewelry making.  But she also offers a selection of ornament-size blanks that make fabulous hostess gifts for the holidays!

(Learn how to get a coupon code for 20% off your first order!)

Holiday themed copper shapes: bulbs, ornaments, gingerbread men, snowflakes

We’ve got a free tutorial showing you how to achieve fabulous patinas on copper blanks: 

Our Colorful Copper Earrings mini-course shows 3 options for a colorful patina on copper using liver of sulfur.  The lessons are specifically for earrings, but you can totally use the same technique to add patina to festive holiday shapes.

This is perfect for beginners.  You don’t need to have any experience.  Everything is explained step by step and all for free.  This is our way of welcoming new makers into the fold and setting you up with a fun project you’ll be proud to show off to your friends and family.  You really can do this!

You’ll need some supplies, but there’s a comprehensive list in the instruction bundle.  Most of the items are common for anyone interested in making jewelry.  So, you may already have them – or it may be a perfect excuse to get started with a new hobby.

Here’s how we made our samples:

The following progressions follow the lessons from the Colorful Copper Earrings Mini-Course.  All the details are in the free mini-course.  I highly recommend you watch the actual course videos.  This breakdown showing you the steps with the holiday themed samples allows you to see how the same techniques were used.  Hopefully this helps inspire your creativity!  There are lots of copper shapes available to choose from – including fabulous shapes and sets for jewelry designs.  Learn how to get your coupon code for 20% off your first purchase from Twisted Turtle Studio.

Option 1:

These Christmas bulb shaped copper blanks are perfect candidates for a simple graduated color design with the patina.  The large version will make a beautiful DIY Christmas ornament and the smaller size makes great DIY copper earrings.

Christmas bulb shaped copper blanks are sanded, filed and have holes punched.  Ready for DIY patina on copper

First the copper blanks are prepared:

  • Punch holes
  • File the edges
  • Sand smooth
  • Scrub clean
DIY Copper Christmas ornaments have been dipped in liver of sulfur to get a colorful patina. Looks like the Christmas bulbs are glowing.

Next they’re dipped in the liver of sulfur at varying depths to achieve an ombre coloration to the patina on the copper.

DIY copper Christmas bulb ornaments with liver of sulfur patina have been sealed to protect the patina

The colors soften when the copper shapes are sealed with lacquer to protect the patina.  A simple loop of curly ribbon works great for hanging the Christmas ornament, and the earrings just need a pair of ear wires and perhaps a couple of bead dangles to add to the festive feel.

Option 2:

Copper Christmas ornament shaped blanks look fabulous with bright copper highlights accenting the shapes.  This is also a great way to personalize each ornament with holiday wishes or perhaps the year.  You can do something different on each side if you like.

Copper Christmas ornament blanks are ready for the patina

First the copper blanks are prepared:

  • Punch holes
  • File the edges
  • Sand smooth
  • (Optional hammered texture)
  • Scrub clean
Sharpie marker resist applied to copper ornaments to create bright highlights when dipped in liver of sulfur patina

Use an ultrafine tip Sharpie marker to draw a design where you want the copper highlights to be.  The marker acts as a resist – preventing the liver of sulfur to color the surface where the marks are.

Bright hues with copper highlights create a patina painting on the copper Christmas ornaments

Use the same dipping technique to achieve a variegated color hue on each piece.  Then use alcohol to remove the resist (marker) exposing the bright copper.  I dipped the middle one again – just half way – after removing the resist for added interest.

Rich colors are sealed with spray lacquer to protect the patina on these copper Christmas ornaments

Again, the colors soften when the copper Christmas ornament shapes are sealed with lacquer to protect the patina.  Simply add some curly ribbon to hang them.

Option 3:

A gingerbread man offers the perfect use for the dark accents and rich bronze hues.  I’ve chosen a small size to be a focal for a silver chain necklace.

Gingerbread man copper shape with holes punched in the hands for jump rings

First the copper blanks are prepared:

  • Punch holes
  • File the edges
  • Sand smooth
  • Scrub clean
Sharpie marker is used as a resist to create dark accents in the patina on the gingerbread man copper blank.

Use an ultrafine tip Sharpie marker to color in any areas you do not want to be dark accents.  The marker acts as a resist – preventing the liver of sulfur to color the surface where the marks are.  With this option it looks reversed when the marker is on the copper.  Try outlining the areas you want dark and then color in around them.

Bright hues with copper highlights create a patina painting on the copper Christmas ornaments

After the first dip allows the exposed areas to go all the way to dark in the patina, the resist is wiped away with alcohol.  A second dipping achieves the rich bronze tones.  I used an all-over dip for this gingerbread man, but as you can see the edges of the shape get darker which works out really well.

Option 3 lacquer sealing the patina on copper gingerbread man

When the lacquer is sprayed on this double dip method, the bronze hues seem to become richer in tone.

Tips for filing and sanding die-cut copper shapes …

The biggest difference between using these die-cut shapes as opposed to the shear cut simple straight-edge shapes used in the earring course is in the process of finishing the edges.  Just like above where I provide an “addendum” to the course on how to adapt the patina method for using the holiday themed shapes, here are some additional notes about the filing and sanding process specific to die cut shapes.

Artisans use pancake dies along with a hydraulic press to cut shapes like these being offered through Twisted Turtle Studio.  And some at-home makers use simple shape cutting die sets like disk cutters with just a heavy-duty hammer.  Either way, this type of cutting process can leave a flared edge on the underside of the metal blank.  The more intricate the shape, the more prevalent the flared edge.  Christy (at Twisted Turtle) does a nice job of grinding away any excess metal for you, but there’s still some differences in the process for filing and sanding (especially the under-side) this type of shape.

Here are my top finishing tips for you:

  1. Select needle files that suit the contour of your shape. The half-round shape I recommend for my shear-cut straight-edge blanks will take care of most areas, especially because there’s a sharp corner on either side as well as the flat and rounded profiles.  But you may also find a round needle file quite helpful for some tight areas.  Learn more about files …
  2. File the edges perpendicular to the flat surfaces. If there are flares of metal at the bottom edge, you can try knocking them off with the file angled about 30 degrees from the flat surface of the under-side.
  3. Sand the back side starting with rough grit emery (like 180 or 220 grit). I really found the refillable belt sanding sticks helpful for this task because they provide some solid resistance to help evenly smooth the edge.  In a pinch you could glue a strip of emery on a paint stir stick to achieve something similar.  Check out my tool reference listing for sanding sticks.
  4. Once you start sanding with a rough grit, you need to work your way through the grits from rough to fine. Use each grit in a linear fashion until you achieve a uniform surface – scratched from the grit, but uniformly scratched to look like a satin finish.

If you come across areas where there is a deeper scratch that’s not sanding away with your current grit, go back to a rougher grit to work it out and then progress through each grit again.

If there’s a pucker or slight dimple (common near holes from the punching process or near the edge of the underside on die-cut blanks) Sand it as smooth as possible with the sanding sticks first, but then it will likely blend even more with just a folded piece of emery paper because you can press into the contour better.  The 3M sanding sponges will make it even nicer after the emery paper.

Emery Paper Grit Guide:

  • 180 grit – rough – used for smoothing heavily scratched or textured sheet or if you are looking to remove a fair amount of material (I like to have this on hand – but I don’t use it very often)
  • 220 grit – also aggressive – used for smoothing heavily scratched or textured sheet
  • 320 grit – still fairly aggressive (I honestly often skip this grit)
  • 400 grit – this is often what I start with – if there’s any scratches it doesn’t smooth, I use a 220 grit and then re-visit with this 400 grit.
  • 600 grit – a perfect choice when your metal is in good shape. This may be your best bet – no need to use something more aggressive if you don’t need to.  If there’s a blemish it doesn’t smooth, then use the 400 grit and circle back to using the 600 grit after the 400 grit.
  • Many jewelers stop at this point, especially if they’re using polishing compounds with buffing equipment – but that’s not likely for many hobbyists creating at home.  However this is commonly when I switch over to using the 3M sanding sponges unless my surface is really flat and I am seeking a high-polish finish in the end.

Here are some other related resources for you …

Simple silver chains for layering showing two samples - one with a pendant and one with a horizontal bar focal component
Clear-coat, lacquer, Glaze, and wax for sealing copper jewelry
Graphic =Tips for Designing Earrings - Topics: Balance, Symmetry, Size, Scale, Proportions, Viewpoints
DIY copper earrings with Christmas bulbs and bead dangles and a gingerbread man chain necklace make great handmade Christmas gifts
Christmas craft tutorial samples: Copper ornament shapes with a colorful patina created using liver of sulfur

Interested in making your own copper Christmas ornaments?

 

The instruction bundle for the course has everything you need to have fun creating your own colorful patina on copper shapes.  Including a comprehensive list of supplies and tools you’ll need.  You can watch the course videos ahead of time and then reference our sample process above to help inspire ideas for how you’ll personalize your gifts. 

You really can do this!  And it’s lots of fun!

Plus, patina parties make for an excellent holiday activity/tradition …

Many people have holiday traditions where they get together with friends or family to bake cookies.  So, why not start a holiday tradition of making handmade gifts together?  You can add dates on your ornaments to commemorate the year, starting a series for your loved ones.  Using the liver of sulfur techniques to create the patinas is easy enough for a complete novice, so it’s a creative activity you can all enjoy.

Get a 20% off coupon code for copper blanks from Twisted Turtle Studio

1)  Bookmark this page so you can reference it again easily.
2)  Click on the button below to link over to the mini course.
3)  Watch the intro video to see what the course is all about and how to proceed.
4)  Enter your name and email to get the written instruction bundle delivered to your inbox.
5)  Shortly after you receive the course information, you’ll get an e-mail with your Twisted Turtle Studio coupon code.

Then visit Twisted Turtle Studio to view the various shapes available in her Christmas category.  (She offers lots of other great shapes too!  Be sure to look around and try other filters within the metal shapes category.)  Christy has been very generous in allowing me to share this student code with you even though the patina on copper course is free for you.

Want to learn more about how to design your own jewelry using a colorful patina on copper ?

Images of various projects created using liver of sulfur to create colorful patinas on copper jewelry blanks

There’s a follow-up course …

Design Your Own Guide: Colorful Patina on Copper

This course includes informative video modules featuring:

  • an exploration of various dipping approaches,
  • where to apply resist for your desired result,
  • discussion of basic jewelry design principles and drape,
  • and how to make guides and stencils to apply your resist with ease.

You can gain access to this course (as well as the rest of the course library) by joining the Jewelry Classes with Jen Learning Center.

For just $19 you get access to the Design Your Own Guide, plus …

  • Build Your Foundation – Our beginner level jewelry making journey to welcome you into the fold as a jewelry maker
  • Our Signature Course: Measuring Charts Made Easy – Hone your forming skills as you build a library of patterns for components you’ll be making with consistency and ease.
  • More than 30 project tutorials
  • More than 20 fundamental lessons

And the library is always growing! 

When you join, you have the option to pay monthly or annually (for a better deal).  You can cancel at any time.  So, there’s very little commitment.   

Are you already a member of the Jewelry Classes with Jen Learning Center?

Be sure you are logged in, and check out Design Your Own Guide: Colorful Patina on Copper now!