DIY a beautiful, unbreakable Terra Cotta Garden Clock

It’s day two in this week’s clock series and it’s time to make a Terra Cotta Garden Clock – only it’s not made from terra cotta. This terra cotta clock will never shatter into hundreds of pieces, destroying all of your hard work. The secret, says designer Lorine Mason, is to use flexible and forgiving air-dry clay that only looks like the real thing. And speaking of the real thing, Lorine used real geranium leaves to imprint the clay. Feel free to use your gardening favorites.

You can make this "terra cotta" garden clock using air-dry clay. The clay is easy to work with and won't shatter like real terra cotta.

Terra Cotta Garden Clock by Lorine Mason

To make a Terra Cotta Garden Clock, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: 12″ x 10″ x 1″ block, or a 12” x 36” x 1” sheet
  • Air-dry clay in terra cotta
  • Woven placemat or textured fabric, such as burlap
  • Acrylic craft paints: Metallic gold; metallic green patina; dark green
  • Acrylic sealer in a matte finish
  • Fresh geranium leaf
  • Number stickers
  • Flat-backed glass cabochons
  • Clock movement and hands
  • Fine-line black permanent marker
  • Sawtooth picture hanger with nails
  • Thick, white craft glue
  • Tools needed: Serrated knife; old candle or bar of soap; sharp pencil; ruler; rolling pin; scissors; scallop edge scissors; small flower shaped cookie cutter; medium flat paintbrush; small natural sponge; old toothbrush; large cardboard box

To make a Terra Cotta Garden Clock:

1. Measure and mark a 9” square on your foam sheet. Wax serrated knife with a candle stub or bar of soap. Cut out the 9” square. Firmly press the sides of the square against the work surface to smooth the cut edges and round the corners. Push a pencil tip through center of clock to create a hole for clock movement.

2. Roll clay to 1/8″ thickness. Cover the top and sides of the foam square with clay, piecing seams as needed. Gently press out air bubbles while working. Use rolling pin or work surface to smooth any visible fingerprints, then press placemat or fabric into clay to create texture.

3. Roll clay to 1/8″ thickness. Press geranium leaf, vein side down, into clay. Repeat, till you have ten leaf imprints. Cut out each leaf with scissors, cutting ¼ away from the leaf outline. Cut along the outline of each leaf with scallop scissors, creating a ruffled edge.

4. Roll thin ropes for leaf stems.

5. Attach stems and leaves to the clock by lightly coating the back of each clay shape with water, and then gently pressing to the surface. Refer to the photo for placement.

Detail on faux, terra cotta garden clock.

Make the geranium from smaller flowers. Attach all of the pieces with water.

6. The geranium flower is made from small, individual flowers. Roll clay to 1/8″ thickness. Use flower cutter to cuts out several flowers. Using scissors, snip clay between petals, cutting almost to the center. Pinch the center together to gather the petals, moisten the back with water and press to the front of the clock. Repeat, overlapping flowers, till you’ve created a geranium.

7. Let dry overnight. Color will lighten as clay dries. If a clay piece come loose, gently remove and re-attach.

8. Sponge paint raised areas with gold, and let dry. Sponge again with green patina and let dry. Repeat, sponging on gold and green, till you’re happy with the finish.

9. Place the clock in a box. Spatter paint with dark green by barely dipping toothbrush bristles into the paint, and then dragging your thumbnail across the bristles. Let dry.

10. Apply two coats of matte sealer; let dry.

Clear glass cabochons protects the number stickers.

Glue a clear glass cabochon over the number stickers.

11. Following manufacturer’s instructions, insert clock movement. Adhere number stickers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Glue cabochons on top of the stickers; let dry.

12. Apply glue to picture hanger nails, and then insert them through the sawtooth picture hanger and into the top, center back of the clock. Let glue dry.

You might also like to check out the Terra Cotta Garden Spheres Lorine made using air-dry clay.

Craft tutorial: How to make "terra cotta" garden spheres using air-dry clay. These will not shatter!

Terra Cotta Garden Spheres by Lorine Mason.

I’ll have one more clock for you tomorrow, and it’s out of this world . . .

Happy crafting.


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

16 Responses to DIY a beautiful, unbreakable Terra Cotta Garden Clock

  1. Pingback: 32 Fun Summer DIY Backyard Projects | The Gracious Wife

  2. SO IMPRESSIVE! What beautiful work!

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you, and so glad you stopped by. I can’t take credit for this beautiful piece — designer Lorine Mason is the talent behind it. Sharon

  3. roylcoblog says:

    I adore this kind of work. You would never guess what the base is just for the fact that it is painted to look like actual terra cotta. Lovely work!

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you! So glad you’re inspired. And yes, the faux finish is amazing, and so much more durable than the real thing. All good! Sharon

  4. Sar Tann says:

    This is just gorgeous!!! Would love to see more projects such as this.

  5. m-a says:

    Good timing… I was looking for a way to make this kind of patina for my project. Thank you.

  6. Heather says:

    Wow! Impressive, lovely AND functional!

  7. Lorine Mason says:

    I loved seeing this design on your site. It was so much fun making that piece and really not hard at all, I promise.

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you for the feedback and encouragement, Lorine. (I’m working on another one of your designs right now, to feature in a week or two . . .) Sharon

  8. LisaM says:

    Wow, is right. Those are so cool looking.

  9. jknath1kim says:

    Wow, that is amazing!

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