Copolymerization methods are used to impart specific, desired functional properties (e.g. mechanical or bioactive) to a material for targeted applications in biomedicine, food and agriculture, consumer products, advanced manufacturing, and more. Many polymerization methods exist to achieve tailored copolymer architectures. Of them, emulsion polymerization offers unique and industrially convenient features that make for easily scalable processes because the synthesis occurs in water and the latexes usually do not need further purification. Because of the breadth of copolymer architectures and thus wide range of potential applications for latexes produced by emulsion polymerization, there is great value in defining general methods for emulsion polymerizations to yield copolymers, including routes for synthesis of functional monomer building blocks, to permit consistency and optimization of these processes. Herein we present a general emulsion polymerization method for synthesis of a copolymer consisting of three functional monomers, suitable for adaptation to alternate base chemistries, curing chemistries, and functional ligands. This protocol includes the synthesis of the functional monomers glycidyl methacrylate-iminodiacetic acid (GMA-IDA) and 4-benzolylphneyl methacrylate (BPM).•Our synthesized copolymer includes a glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) monomer functionalized with a metal-chelating iminodiacetic acid (IDA) ligand, a UV-curable monomer, 4-benzoylphenyl methacrylate (BPM), and an inert hydrophobic monomer, n‑butyl acrylate (BA).•The presented synthesis route demonstrates a general polymerization method that can be modified to copolymerize alternative functional monomers to create multi-functional polymers. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.