Mini Rose Tutorial

This guide will show you how to make your very own copper rose. This version is smaller than the ones I made a while back and the ones that I sell on my Etsy store . I will soon have these smaller ones listed as well at a price of $35 instead of the full size $60.

I was able to get two sets of rose parts out of one 9″ by 12″ sheet of copper.Copper Sheet I normally use a 6″ wide roll of copper flashing but this is what I had on hand. One difference between the large and small roses is the number of parts. The large rose has six parts plus the stem; the small rose has only four parts plus the stem. This means more can be made out of a sheet of copper and they can be made quicker.

Some basic tools are used to make these copper roses. I use a set of three aviation snips: left, straight, and right cutting. Having all three available really makes the cutting easier. I used a MAPP gas torch for this one but I highly recommend a propane only torch since it will burn cooler. The MAPP requires strict heat control to avoid getting things too hot for the solder and flux whereas the propane takes longer to heat things up. I chose lead free silver solder but anything will work really. Flux is a must with the type of solder I used. The solder I picked up was a 1lb roll of Oatey lead free silver solder. I don’t know what percent silver as it doesn’t say but it is standard plumbing solder. The flux is maked as Oatey No. 5 Lead Free Solder Paste. Both can be found near the plumbing section in the store. Regular needle nose pliers are used to form the shape and to turn the petals back after assembly. Round pliers can be used to minimize marking the copper but I haven’t noticed a need for it yet. Finally, wear leather or heat resistant gloves when doing this as a lot of the shaping work is done by hand. Gloves would not be needed if you are willing to let everything cool down after soldering each piece but it will add quite a bit of time to the process.

Big Rose Parts Small Rose Parts

The first step is to download, print, and cut out the patterns. I only have the large size available for download right now, but the small rose is made by printinParts Traced onto Copper Sheetg at approximately 70%. Once the patterns are complete, trace the shapes onto the copper sheet. I have used a permanant marker before and would not suggest it as it is hard to clean afterwards. A dry erase marker works great because what doesn’t get rubbed off during cutting will be easy to wipe off when assembling the rose. Cutting of the pieces is not critical – get them to the proper shape and size and everything else will work out. If there are sharp areas on the edges, file them down if needed but most except the last set of petals will be hidden once bent back.

Once the pieces are cut out, drill a hole the same size as the stem in the IMG 2119center of each of the parts. This will allow each of the petal parts to slip onto the stem. The end of the stem needs to be upset a bit to keep the petals from sliding off the end since it is assembled while hanging upside down. Upsetting the end can be done by clamping about 1/4″ in a vice and bending to 90 degrees or by hitting the end with a hammer to flatten a short section.

I didn’t have a vice handy so I used the next best thing – channelocks and a rubber band. The entire assembly needs to be supported upside down to allow for easy soldering. Soldering can be done with the parts standing up correctly if supported adequately but I had issues with solder running down the stem piece which will prevent the rest of the pieces fitting correctly.

First Fold of First PetalsFirst Petals Folded

Put your gloves back on, it’s time to bend some metal. I fold the whole petal up as shown in the first picture then bend in the corners. Don’t worry about getting it exact at this point as there will be lots of tweaking throughout the process. Continue around, folding up and bending in corners. Once all are folded and bent, it should look similar to the picture on the right above. If it is a little loose, give it a squeeze to tighten everything up. You can see in the picture above I didn’t worry too much about rounding corners or cleaning everything up. No need to do all that extra work if it is going to be hidden anyway.

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The process is the same for the next set of petals. Slip the blank over the stem, solder it down, and bend it up. This set is easier to get the right shape because it has the underlying layer to bend around. Once again, give everything a squeeze to tighten it up.

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Last set of petals in place! The process is the same as the other two – slip, solder, fold. This set of petals will show on the outside of the finished flower so make sure any scratches or other marks will be folded to the inside. Discoloration isn’t a big deal because some of it rubs off while bending and some of it adds to the look, but if you don’t like it, a scotchbrite pad can be used to clean everything up after heating. Notice on this outside set of petals the corners are rounded off and everything is looking good – this one will be the outside of the flower and will show.

IMG 2140 Last soldering step! Attach the star that will become the small leaves under the flower. In this picture you can see the flux prior to heating and soldering. The key to soldering with flux is to get things hot enough to melt and flow the solder without boiling the flux away. There is a fine window where the flux is liquid, the metal is hot enough to melt the solder, and everything will work great. If you overheat things, clean it up and start over. Sometimes I found re-applying the flux as I was heating it would be enough to keep things working. Don’t use the flame to melt the solder directly. Let the metal come up to temperature, remove the flame, touch the solder, then use the flame to draw the solder around. The molten solder will flow where the heat is as long as the metal is clean and fluxed.

You will also find that heating the copper will soften, or anneal, it. As you bend it around it will work harden again. This can be reversed by heating it again.

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The photo on the left shows the first steps of forming the flower. It really is as simple as grabbing the edge with the needle nose pliers and bending it down. Don’t worry about tearing the metal. It is pretty tough and if it does happen it will only add to the look. These two pictures also show the small leaves underneath. There is no correct or wrong way to bend things, just give it a bend and see how it looks.

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Gradually work around all of the sets of petals bending the edges down. It will take some force towards the center to make it work. We will also open it up a bit in this step which is why we made sure it was tight earlier. While folding the petals up you should have had some kind of pattern while working around each set. This will be just the same, pick on petal to bend back then move on to the one just inside. Just as in a real rose, there is no perfect look. Keep going until it looks good.

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Once this step is complete, you have a copper rose! You can see in the center in the picture to the right that some of the smaller petals tore a bit. I also like to give everything one final squeeze to tighten all of the petals back up after working them.

My final step is to put a red pom-pom in the center and put a few drops of rose oil on it. The oil can be found on Amazon and is intended to go in an oil warmer.

I haven’t yet attempted to locate a vase to display these smaller roses in but for the large one with a 12″ stem, I found some red glass vases at Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

Stay tuned for more tutorials coming soon. I will be working on developing some other flowers as well. Once I get those perfected, I will get them up here.

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