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