Strip Mosaic Bird Vase
- Recyled ceramic vase
- Studio by Sculpey Clay*: English Garden; Denim; Desert Sand; Cappuccino; After Midnight; Peapod; Clover; Avocado; Butterscotch; Buttercream
- Blue grease pencil
- Sculpey Liquid Softener*
- Studio by Sculpey tools*: Clay Tool Variety Set; 5-In-One Clay Tool and Style and Detail Tool
- Clay-dedicated hand-crank pasta machine or acrylic brayer and two large wooden craft sticks
- Sobo Glue (Delta Creative)
- *Products by Polyform Products
- 1. Cover vase with thin coat of white glue and let dry until clear. Print and cut out pattern. Use grease pencil to transfer pattern onto vase. Condition English Garden clay and roll to 1/16” thick (third thickest pasta setting). Cut a 1/4”-wide long strip of clay and secure to bird’s back. Use knife attachment tool to cut 1/4”-wide tiles from strip. (Note: It is not necessary to cut all the way through the clay. Always cut strips into tiles before adding next strip to avoid unwanted nicks.)
- 2. Continue adding English Garden strips, trimming each to length of bird. Always make tile cuts offset to prevent a continuous line or “river” in design. Cut and secure second row and cut into tiles. Continue adding strips. Cut last strip into shape of bird’s breast first, then secure to design.
- 3. Mix two parts English Garden with one part Denim; roll to 1/16” thick. Remove a couple of random tiles from bird’s body and replace with new color for a more realistic look.
- 4. When adding bottom strip to bird, cut out shape first on work surface using pattern. Then add clay to mosaic and cut into tiles.
- 5. Roll a small clay sheet of Desert Sand and a medium-size sheet of Cappuccino to 1/16” thick. Cut out bird’s legs from Desert Sand; secure to mosaic and cut into tiles. Cut main branch stem shape from Cappuccino sheet. Secure branch in place and cut into tiles. Use small ball stylus tip attachment tool to impress a dot for eye and fill with a tiny After Midnight clay ball. Black clay at 275°F for 10 minutes and let vase cool completely.
- 6. Secure smaller Cappuccino branches to mosaic and cut into tiles. Roll clay sheet of Peapod and Clover to 1/16” thick. For leaves, cut 10 half teardrop shapes from Peapod and 10 from Clover. Secure each piece in place and cut tiles. Roll a tiny amount of Butterscotch clay to 1/16” thick and cut and secure triangle for beak. Bake mosaic for 10 minutes; let cool. Roll a 1/16” thick sheet of Avocado clay and tile background of mosaic.
- 7. Cut Avocado sheet into 1/4”-wide strips and secure to background area beginning against bird’s body, working outward. Create irregular shapes between branches by pressing raw clay on top of baked tile area, smooth side up and place on work surface. Cut out embossed shape and secure to vase. Add random similar color tiles to background using mix of two parts Avocado with one part Peapod in same way as Step 3. Bake for 10 minutes; let cool. Duplicate contour of last row of tiles in same way. Secure a large solid background color sheet to back of vase.
- 8. Cut clay into strips directly on vase, then cut into tiles. Add several similar green shaded tiles randomly in same way as before.
- 9. Bake vase on curled up piece of white paper or cardstock for 10 minutes; let cool. Mix clay ground by kneading 4-5 drops of Liquid Softener into Buttercream clay.
- 10. Roll to a very thin 1/32” sheet (sixth thickest pasta setting) and secure to vase. Use thumb to press clay into tile lines. Use plastic, somewhat flexible curved edge of Studio knife tool to scrape most of grout from tiles. Add several drops of softener to soft cotton cloth and clean clay residue from tiles by rubbing across them in a circular motion. Bake vase for 25 minutes; let cool. Use denim fabric scrap to buff mosaic to a low sheen if desired.
- 1. Try same clay mosaic technique on other surfaces such as album covers, boxes, ornaments, etc.
by Shirley Rufener for Polyform Products