Forging Children’s Poppies

Children’s Poppy Making – Tools and Process

The Tools

The anvil tool that we use is similar to a leaf-veining tool, it has a hardy shank to locate it on the anvil and a hold down screw that pulls it down onto the anvil and stops it bouncing or moving around. The veining chisel is made of medium carbon steel (EN9 or 070M55) all the rest of it is made from standard Mild Steel.

It has a set of 3 bottom tools that fit into a square shanked holder (20 mm sq.), one veining bottom tool, one cupping tool and one centring tool. The hinged support part of the tool is angled back to allow the arm to be moved out of the way (hangs down at the heel of the anvil) so the other bottom tools can be used in the holder.

Texturing tool mounted on anvil

Texturing tool mounted on anvil

Dimensioned sideview of the tool

Dimensioned sideview of the tool

Hold down screw; Bottom tool holder; Texturing bottom tool

Hold down screw; Bottom tool holder; Texturing bottom tool

Cupping swage; Centering swage.

Cupping swage; Centering swage.

Children’s Poppy Blank


The stock blanks we are using are laser cut in Belgium from 2 mm thick Mild Steel.


Seed heads are 12 mm dia x 19 mm long with 5.5 mm dia hole in centre, the 6 mm dia stems are driven through the seed head (when hot) the end is mig riveted on, then heated and headed (mushroomed out), then reheated and stamped with the texture tool. Note: This method is quicker and easier for me than drawing down as I do not have a power hammer and I have 500+ to make. The plain 6 mm dia stem is 255 mm long before fitting the seed head.


Above: A Finished Stem and Seed Head; The Texture Punch (hardened); The Heading Tool with 30 mm square shank (The loop handles are to lift it off the anvil for quenching and stem removal) – it gets very hot in use!

The children do not make the stems but they do fit them to the petals by driving the stem through the centre of the heated petals.

Children’s Poppies – The Forging Process

The children first forge down the outer edges of the poppy petals with a straight or cross pein hammer, this thins down the visible edge and adds a first layer of texture (this is an extra part to the process and the photo shows an as forged petal before we did this extra stage and shows the thicker edge which we are now trying to eliminate). The extra texture also adds to the final look.


The next stage is to add the main texture using the Texturing (Veining) Tool.

A Ball Pein Hammer is used to cup the petals and to dish the centre.


The bunch of poppies shows some edge thinned and some not, as well as as-forged and shot blasted ready for finishing. As can be seen the depth of cupping varies on each poppy but the texture is fairly consistent. The initials of the child are added to the back of a petal with a 5 mm high stamp (This is done cold after quenching and does not show through on the front).