• Imagining History

Make an Anglo-Saxon Brooch - Learning & Craft Activity for Kids

Updated: May 10


The Anglo-Saxons were skilled craft workers and worked with a huge range of materials including textiles, ivory, glass, metal and paper. But the Anglo-Saxons are particularly well known for making jewellery. In fact, their jewellers and goldsmiths were admired worldwide for their great skill.

Anglo-Saxon jewellery was worn by both men and women. Men often wore decorative belt buckles. Women wore bracelets, rings and necklaces (the most expensive silver and gold necklaces were worn by women of high rank) with beads made from glass and amber. Women would occasionally wear jewellery hanging from their waist to show that they were head of the household.


Some jewellery was worn for more than just decoration. Brooches, for example, had a practical purpose; they were used like a safety pin to fasten clothes together. Men wore brooches to secure their cloaks. Women would wear a basic linen under-dress that was covered by an outer dress called a “peplos”. This peplos worked a bit like a pinafore and was pinned in place by two brooches, one on each shoulder.


The Anglo-Saxons made their brooches out of metal, such as gold, silver, copper and lead. The metal would be worked into intricate shapes with a hammer and often engraved with ornate patterns and illustrations. They often inlaid gemstones into the metal for decoration, such as purple amethyst, orange amber and red garnets. Other decorative metalwork techniques included colouring metal with enamel, gilding and metal plating.


Learn how to make your own Anglo-Saxon style brooch (that you can actually wear!) with this fun and easy kids craft activity.


Make an Anglo-Saxon Brooch



You Will Need:


Plastic Circle Yogurt Pot Lid

String

Scissors (Always get an adult to supervise when using scissors)

PVA Glue - We used Craft Planet PVA Glue

Tin Foil

Sequins or Gems - We used Kids B Crafty Mixed Sequins

Badge Back or Safety Pin (Yep, you’re going to need an adult about for this bit too!)

Sticky Tape - We used Sellotape Original Golden


Step 1 – Create a Pattern with String

  • Using string, create a pattern on the top side of your yogurt lid

  • Trim your string to the desired length and stick it to the lid using PVA glue. You may need to hold the string in place while it dries

  • You can create any pattern you like – why not check out the photos of real Anglo-Saxon brooches above for some inspiration. These brooches often feature repetitive or mirrored designs

  • Tip: When creating circles with string, we found it easiest to use a piece of sticky tape to attach the two ends of string together before sticking it down to the lid with glue

  • Leave your design to dry.


Step 2 – “Embossing” - Cover with Tin Foil

  • Cut a square of foil, a few inches larger than your yogurt lid

  • Cover the entire yogurt lid and your string design in PVA glue

  • Carefully cover the yogurt lid with the tin foil, making sure to gently press the foil down into the gaps between the string in your design and around the edges of the yogurt lid

  • Tips: We found it best to start sculpting the foil from the centre of the lid first, then move outwards from there. You could also sculpt the foil over your design before you add the glue, so that you have an outline to work with when you come to gluing it down

  • Any tears in the foil can be patched by gluing a small piece of tin foil over the tear

  • Leave to dry.


Step 3 – Add Sequins/Gems

  • Use PVA glue to stick sequins and gems onto your design

  • You can cut the sequins into different shapes to create more detailed designs

  • Tips: We used sequins in reds, purples and golds to look like garnet, amethyst and amber gems. Try mirroring your designs on the left and right of your brooch for a more authentic Anglo-Saxon look

  • Leave to dry.


Step 4 – Attach a Badge Back

  • Use sticky tape to attach a safety pin or badge back to the reverse side of your brooch

  • Now you can wear your Anglo-Saxon brooch.




Here are some of the craft materials we used to create our Anglo-Saxon brooches:













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