Friesen Friday: Polymer Clay Phoenix Tutorial

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Polymer Clay Phoenix Tutorial | The Friesen Project of 2013 on KatersAcres Blog


It’s Friesen Friday! Shout & throw up banners, get out the clay and start to play!


How-To Overview

[NOTE: This tutorial used to be a PAID tutorial offered by Christi, but has since been retired.]

As part of my agreement with the new paid tutorials with Christi, this tutorial will not be a full tutorial but rather a vast overview.  You can also use the free Fancy Bird Tutorial as a guide to create this Phoenix. I will also tell you my trick (that differ’s from Christi’s) as I did not have “chunky” glitter in my arsenal of supplies.  Here’s a few of my “in process photos” of my Fiery Phoenix project.

Using the Gold Leaf

Phoenix Project In Process by KatersAcres

The biggest thing that I did different from Christi’s Fiery Phoenix tutorial (available for purchase on her website) was instead of using chunky glitters at the end of the project, I used gold & bronze leaf.  In order to get that rich crackled effect, I added small pieces along the main piece of my design.  Then I rolled it into a ball and finally finished by shaping it.  This allowed the leaf to move, stretch, crackle, and add a gorgeous shimmery effect to my Phoenix.  (See the photos at left to view the cracked effect left behind by randomly placing tiny bits of leafing.)

Why I Loved The “Richness”

Phoenix Project In Process by KatersAcresThe gold & bronze leafing left an incredible “rich” look that I would not have achieved with just straight glitter alone. In addition, once all my curls and swirls were added, I added a “feathering” detail to the curls to give the piece movement and a bit of a professional touch that the piece did not have without it.  On the eyes I added some texturing with my needle tool and ultra fine red glitter.  In addition, I added some red perfect pearls and some gorgeous duo red & blue pearl ex powders as slight accents in key highlight places.  To add to the interest, I also added 3, 12mm Swarovski bicones and a hammered sterling silver round.  Although I made this piece as a focal bead or ornament, I am going to put a pinback on the bird’s back to make a huge and awesome brooch for my black pea coat that I will wear this winter.

A Note on Supplies

Often as artists we don’t delve into the “awe” of supplies.  We like to get away with something because it’s “cheaper” or more “economical.”  While sometimes this works to our advantage, sometimes it does not.  In the case of most of the birds from the Friesen Project this year, their richness and beauty demands a beautiful accent.  I challenge each of you to find a gorgeous bead, accent, crystal, or something spectacular to use on your Fiery Phoenix from Christi Friesen.  Don’t just make this “another bird” but rather make it an awesome bird!

Fiery Phoenix | Artists Laurie Grassel, Shannon Winters, Patty Schneider, & Melody Crisman
Fiery Phoenix | Artists Laurie Grassel, Shannon Winters, Patty Schneider, & Melody Crisman

The Friesen Project

The Friesen Project is done in conjunction with Christi Friesen. All tutorials are retaught here with her expressed permission. Please make sure to read about the project here, and get answers to the most common FAQS here.

See you next Friesen Friday,

Until then, Happy Claying,


4 thoughts on “Friesen Friday: Polymer Clay Phoenix Tutorial

  1. And I love that you will wear him in the winter. should bring a spark of warmth on a cold snowy day.

  2. I cant wait to try this. I spent my money on Christi’s other tutorials, but I have and old “Two Turtle Doves” tutorial. I don’t have big glitter, but do have gold and copper leaf. I thinking with a color change the turtle doves can become rather fiery Phoenixes. thanks for the inspiration Katie. The other tutorials I could not resist were the Steampunk Whale, gorgeous. and the Icy Polar Bear pendant. ;D

  3. I really want to get to this one. It’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the colors of the phoenix and feel it’s fire in the air. I don’t know if I have a spectacular focal bead, but I’ve got lots of colors and ideas and I DO have the chunky glitter. I’d love to work with the leaf, but the extra money’s not there right now. It’s in my future plans, tho.

    1. Shannon – This is a gorgeous project and Christi’s is so much MORE fabulous than mine. That’s awesome you have chunky glitter … I have glitter but it’s not chunky, it’s ultra fine. I understand about the leaf, every once and awhile you can get it with a coupon at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, that makes it less than $4 a pack!

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