Clay Mosaic Candle Holders
Here's how you can make your own decorative candleholders at home.
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Project by Ann Mitchell and Karen Mitchell, demonstrated by Ann.
turquoise block Premo
translucent liquid Sculpey
copper metallic leaf
toaster or convection oven
flat baking tray
pasta machine (clay-dedicated)
small glass dishes or metal palette
work surface (granite, marble, acrylic, ceramic tile)
Color Box Waves and Weaves Molding Mat (or 4" x 6" wire mesh)
Pearl Ex mica pigment powder: red russet, duo blue-green, duo green-yellow
1. In a small glass dish mix 2 teaspoons of translucent liquid polymer clay with 1/8th of a teaspoon red russet mica powder. Using a brush or your fingertip, cover the wood candlestick completely with a layer of the tinted liquid clay. The candlestick can be pre-baked at 265 F degrees for 20 minutes and cooled to remove moisture.
2. Bake the coated candlestick for 10 minutes at 275 F degrees. Allow to cool completely before the next step. Note: When baking clay on wood, always supervise baking carefully to prevent burning.
3. To add patina: In one section of the metal palette, mix 1/2 teaspoon translucent liquid Sculpey with about 1/16 teaspoon of duo blue-green mica powder. Scrunch a small piece of wax paper into a ball. Use the wax paper to stipple the blue-green clay over the red russet clay in a random manner, creating a textural patina look (figure C).
4. Bake the candlestick again for 10 minutes at 275 F degrees. Allow to cool.
5. To prepare the tile sheet: Condition the block of turquoise Premo. Roll out a 5/64-inch-thick sheet (#3 setting). On one side of the sheet, cover the clay with copper leaf, burnishing it onto the clay with your finger. Roll the sheet through the pasta machine (figure E) to a 1/16-inch thickness (#4 setting), and then a 3/64-inch thickness (#5 setting) to crackle the leaf.
6. To texture the sheet: Turn the clay sheet so that the turquoise side is facing up. Lay the texture sheet over the clay and brayer over it (figure G). Use a fairly fine texture so that it will appear when the clay is cut into small tiles. The Color Box sheet has multiple patterns on it; these can be used as different textures on different parts of the candlestick. You may need to use a bit of cornstarch to act as a release between the clay and the texture sheet.
7. To cut tiles: Cut the clay sheet into 1/4-inch strips (the width of the strips can vary depending on the size of the candlestick and the type of mosaic pattern you wish to do) (figure I). Cut the strips into squares and isosceles triangles. Flip over half of the tiles so that you now have two colors of tiles.
8. To place tiles: Select the areas on the candlestick to be covered with tiles. Cover the first area with a thin layer of translucent liquid clay. Place the tiles over area in a pattern (figure K). The unbaked tiles are easier to use on the curved surfaces. Once an area is covered, bake the candlestick for 15 minutes at 275 F degrees.
9. Repeat this step until all areas are covered (figure L). Mosaic tiles can be quickly set in place using a heat gun. Aim the heat at the tiles to set the liquid clay underneath. Keep the heat moving and do not get the gun too close to the tiles or they can be scorched. Clay must still be baked for 15 minutes after setting with the heat gun.
10. To grout tiles: In a second section of the metal palette or in a separate small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon translucent liquid polymer clay with 1/16 teaspoon duo green-yellow mica powder for the grout. With your finger, spread the liquid clay over the tiles in each mosaic section on the candlestick (figure M). Allow the clay to settle between the tiles. Wipe off any excess with a paper towel.
10. Bake for 15 minutes at 275 F degrees.