Creating An English Rose

One the things I enjoy when I’m back home with my parents is adding to my crafting skills.  I find that dabbling in craft and art projects is a great way to relax.  My fabulous friend Gill had been promising to show me how to make clay roses for some time, this was a skill she picked up when she first left school at 15 to work in the one of the Staffordshire “Pot Banks”.  These were the factories that were found all over Staffordshire at the time which made all the hand finished fine bone china which was exported all over the world.

So with a good supply of air dry clay she sat down with me and my mum and gave us a master class in clay rose creation.  I suggested videoing her demonstration so that I could use it here on my blog and to make it exciting I asked if she thought that she could complete it in the time it took me to sing one of her favourite songs “Danny Boy”.  So I started to play the track as she started to demonstrate the process, but you will have to play the video to see if she makes it 🙂

Gill holds demonstration classes in Stockport and I hope that you will all agree that she has quite an amazing skill and one that she makes look so easy.  So to help anyone who wants to have a go at making one of these beautiful roses Gill photographed my attempt and I have used the pictures along with a written explanation to help break down what she taught us.

Break off a small amount of the air dry clay, I found a ball shape of about 2 to 3 cms in diameter was sufficient.  Then roll it in your hands to produce a cylinder shape ( like a sausage ).



Grip one end of the cylinder between the base of your index and middle fingers. Then pressing firmly on the opposite end, flatten out the clay on the palm of your hand to make roughly an oval shape.



Take the cylinder and pinch the clay at the base of the flattened oval, then bend the top of the flattened oval shape ever so slightly before breaking away the excess clay from the base of the petal. Make sure to leave enough clay on the base of the petal to use when you add it to the finished rose.



Continue by repeating the above process making eight leaves in all.

This is the Air Dry Clay that we used.

Then taking a similar amount of air dry clay as before make another ball shape about 2 to 3 cms in diameter, Then on your work surface roll out the clay to make a cylinder about the length of your thumb.  Then place it on to your work surface and flatten it out in a rough rectangle shape.



Try to make one of the longer sides a little flatter than the other as this will be the top edge of the rose bud of your rose. Then starting at one end roll the clay a bit like a “Swiss Roll”. Then pinch the base of the roll leaving the thinner petal end clearly on show.




You then take one of the petals that you made earlier and using the excess clay left at the base of the petal attach it to the base of the rose bud that you have just made.  Then press along one edge of the first petal so that it attaches to the rosebud, leaving the other side loose.  Do the same with a further two petals, spacing them equally so that the centre of your rose starts to take shape.


Then with the remaining five petals that you have left add them using the excess clay at their bases to attach to your rose. Try to space them evenly around the centre to give a natural  look to your rose. With all the petals now in place press them together firmly all around the base, you should now have the petals in a very traditional rose shape.


Then to finish off hold the rose upside down and gently rotate the base by twisting lightly between your thumb and index finger. As the base starts to become thinner and longer remove any excess air clay by pinching through and breaking it off.



Make sure you leave just enough air clay attached to the base of the rose to allow you use it in whatever craft project springs to mind.  I’m going to use them on cards and in my box frame pictures but they look just as good painted when dried and used to embellish all sorts of things.

Here is a card that I created using the flowers that I made, the middle flower is just a rosebud, the only problem is that I now have to learn how to make the boxes to deliver them in 😉  But that is for another day ……








61 thoughts on “Creating An English Rose

    1. My grandparents live in Staffordshire and I went on a trip to the Wedgewood factory and painted a plate which they glazed and I put a transfer on a blue jasper oval plaque that I still have, very happy memories of doing that.

      Best wishes

    1. Gill hadn’t used this skill of hers until recently, she said years ago the piece work took the fun out of it but they look really good close up too and they are very light unlike real clay flowers.

      Best wishes

  1. my sister is a clay artist and she keeps telling me to just “play with it” uh, no. methinks that I might actually be able to make one of these thanks to this demo! YAY!

    1. You must have a go Annette, the trick after making a few is to keep your hands cool, don’t take too much clay out of the pack until you’ve mastered it so it doesn’t dry up, and pinch the petals in tight. Enjoy.

      Best wishes

  2. Your background music was so beautiful, Charlotte. How fun and what a beautiful craft piece you end up with. I can think of so many ways to use these beautiful clay roses but I’ve got to tell you, I LOVE your card! And many thanks to Gill for her demonstration. I adore Staffordshire! 🙂

    1. Thanks Linda, the song’s one of Gill’s favourites. I’ve made the card for a special lady I’m just going to add some leaves, luckily the clay is as light as a feather so the cards don’t overbalance.

      Best wishes

      1. Point taken. But what is a Rose by any name. It is still a rose. Thank you for your all your postings.

  3. Beautiful roses, Charlotte! You are quite the teacher with your wonderful step-by-step instructions. Thank you for sharing. xo

    1. Thank you Janice, I’m glad you liked them. Do you find any time to do many craft projects Janice? I do love to put some music on and get stuck in to one of my craft projects as they help me to relax.

      Best wishes

    1. Great poetic word Cindy, I’m sure I’m going to be using that, they are very light and dry very quickly, the trick is to make them as thin as possible without breaking the petal to get the most delicate look.

      Best wishes

      1. Ha ha I am not crafty at all, in that I cannot make things with my hands. I can barely tie a shoe! I could take awesome pictures of them though 🙂

  4. Wow, that is so beautiful…and appears so simple but also impossible at the same time. The English Rose. Love the song “Danny Boy” such a beautiful rendition.

    1. Thanks Marcus, we were going to use an English song behind it but the one I have recorded was too short in length and Gill’s fast but not that fast 🙂

      Best wishes

    1. When I was walking around the office singing the Spice Girls ‘Stop Right Now’ this afternoon I guess people wish I wasn’t so creative lol. If I give them full opera I’m a bit too loud.

      Best wishes

      1. Then they don’t appreciate what the classics have to offer or …(maybe they have a tine ear…..)

  5. Interesting demonstration of this skilful craft. You are fortunate to have a friend to teach you this creative art. Enjoyed the video! 🙂

  6. I love this post! I recently started a blog about life adventures, and one thing I am going to focus on is exploring things that make you happy. Crafting was the plan for my next post! Check it out. It’s fairly new, but their is much more to come.

  7. WoW. That is really cool, Charlotte. Right now, I’m following the Corning Museum of Glass on Tumblr. Based in New York. Yes, they make all these elaborate objects out of glass! It’s fascinating! Well done. 🙂

    1. Hi Eric, My Mum is a big glass fan, we always go to glass factories on holiday, I’ll tell her about the Corning Museum. Hope you’re well, I’ve been really busy this last week. They are really light as a feather too.
      Best wishes

    1. Thanks for visiting and i am glad you liked the roses. I had a look at some of your recipes and was wondering if you have a favourite quick and easy dish I could try out over the summer. I am looking to add to my list of meals I can prepare and cook to fit in with my schedule.

      Best wishes

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