DIY Garden Art: Fool-the-Eye Terra Cotta Garden Art is made with Air-Dry Clay

Make your own garden art

Easy-to-use air-dry clay lets you easily add details and lots of texture.

I love both the texture and the natural terra cotta color on these garden decorations designed by Lorine Mason. What I also love is that they are easy to make and are not fragile terra cotta at all – they’re made with air-dry clay that’s very forgiving. The leaves are cut out with cookie cutters, and then embossed with real or silk leaves to create the realistic veining.

Craft tutorial: terra cotta garden art

Terra Cotta Garden Spheres

If you prefer, try cookie cutter hearts, flowers, rabbits, stars, or any motif you like. Emboss your cut-outs with different textures, too, like flowers, burlap, twine, doilies or lace. Embed polished stones, marbles, cabochons, small tiles or bits of broken china. There’s so much you could do with this technique. If you plan to display them outdoors, be sure to seal with an acrylic sealer.

Here’s what you need to make your Terra Cotta Garden Spheres:

  • STYROFOAM Brand Foam: 5” ball (or size or your choice)
  • Air dry clay, terra cotta color
  • Acrylic paint in Buttermilk
  • Matte spray varnish
  • Cookie cutters
  • Leaves, fresh or silk
  • Thick, white craft glue;
  • Tools: scissors; rolling pin; small bowl of water; paint brush; soft cloth; waffle weave placemat or other textured surface such as burlap

To make the Terra Cotta Garden Spheres:

1. Using rolling pin, roll terra cotta clay approximately 1/8” thick. As you roll, keep turning clay over & over to keep it from sticking.

2. Spread glue over foam ball and wrap clay around ball. Smooth clay around the ball, using scissors to cut away extra. Press out air bubbles as you work; if an air bubble is trapped, poke a small hole into the clay. Gently roll the ball on a waffle weave placemat, burlap, or other textured item to create a textured finish.

3. Roll out clay as in Step 1. Using cookie cutters, cut out design shapes. Press shapes onto the back of a real or silk leaf to emboss the surface with veins. Dip fingertips in water and moisten reverse side of clay leaf; gently press leaf onto ball. Continue cutting out, embossing and attaching leaves, arranging and overlapping till you’re pleased with the design.

Highlighted with paint

The paint wash highlights the details.

4. Thin Buttermilk acrylic paint with water and cover the ball with a coat of paint. Using a soft cloth, immediately wipe away excess paint, leaving paint in the recessed areas for highlights. Let dry.

5. Spray dry spheres with two coats of matte varnish. Let dry.

The Faux Terra Cotta Garden Sign & Clock use a similar technique, and sponge painting with several additional acrylic paints to layer on an aged, verdi gris finish.  Their instructions are on — just click on the photo and you’ll link directly to the projects.

Make Faux Terra Cotta Garden Art

The Faux Terra Cotta Garden Sign and Clock would make great gifts.

Perfect Pet Photo Cube Giveaway

A few of the items in our Perfect Pet Photo Cube Giveaway.

Don’t forget – tonight we’ll draw a name to win our Perfect Pet Photo Cube Giveaway. Here are just a few of the goodies in the prize package. To enter, tell us about your pet, or post your pet’s photo on our Facebook page.

Tune in tomorrow for our next Summer Craft Boredom Buster.

Happy crafting!


This entry was posted in Craft Tutorial, Deco Spheres, Garden Art, Gift Ideas, Home Decor and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to DIY Garden Art: Fool-the-Eye Terra Cotta Garden Art is made with Air-Dry Clay

  1. this is absolutely the neatest garden idea I’ve seen in a long time.

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