Terra Cotta Pot Garden Elephant
Kriss Weber shows how to craft this adorable terra cotta elephant -- perfect for any garden or patio.
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Materials and Tools:
12" standard clay pot (body)
8" azalea pot (head)
4" standard pot (trunk)
4 miniature 1" pots (3 for tail, 1 for trunk)
2 standard 3" standard pots (trunk)
2-1/4" standard pot (trunk)
2 standard 1-1/2" pots (trunk)
2 standard 2" standard pots (trunk and head support)
four 4" azalea pots (feet)
Folk Art acrylic colors: dove gray, licorice, warm white, nutmeg
Apple Butter Brown antiquing medium
3/4" wooden dowels (tusks)
25" of 16-gauge craft wire
3mm white craft foam
11" x 11" square of plywood, scrap wood, or 8"-11" diameter wooden circle
two 1-1/2" diameter wooden split balls (eyes)
Aleene's Outdoor Adhesive or Liquid Nails
scrap piece of upholstery foam
small wooden beads
flat artist's brush
small liner brush
painter's masking tape
1. Turn the four azalea pots upside down for the feet. Arrange them so the 12-inch standard pot can be placed upside down, touching all four.
2. Glue the corners of the 11" x 11" plywood square to each of the four pots to create extra support for the feet; then glue the rim of the 12-inch pot to the feet. The plywood should fit inside the azalea pot and be hidden from view.
3. Create a neck for the head to sit on by gluing a 2-inch standard pot to the top front edge of the body.
4. Glue the 8-inch azalea pot in place as the head, making sure it is resting on the neck (2-inch pot).
5. To assemble the trunk, string one end of the 16-gauge wire through the drainage hole of the 4-inch standard pot. Secure the wire inside the pot with a bead (or button), leaving the wire hanging out the bottom of the pot.
6. Glue the rim of the 4-inch standard pot to the bottom of the 8-inch pot. Position it at the top of the head; allow to dry before continuing.
7. Cut the upholstery foam into five 1-inch cubes. The cubes will act as buffers inside and between the pots in the trunk so it can be moved without high risk of breakage. Poke a hole through the center of each cube with the wire.
8. String a foam cube onto the wire and then add one 3-inch standard pot. String through the inside of the pot and then out the bottom through the drain hole. Glue the rim of the 3-inch pot to the bottom of the 4-inch pot.
9. Add another foam cube and string on another 3-inch pot in the same manner. There is no need to glue this pot. This allows the trunk to move freely.
10. Continue the same process for the 2-1/4-inch pot, the 2-inch pot and both of the 1-1/2-inch standard pots. Place the 1-inch cubes of foam in place, but do not glue them. You may need to shape or carve the foam to make it fit perfectly between the small pots. Remember, the foam should be hidden completely.
11. To hide the bead and knot at the end of the trunk, glue the rim of a 1-inch miniature pot to the bottom of the last 1-1/2-inch pot. There should be no wire strung through the 1-inch pot.
12. Begin stringing the tail by bunching together five or six stands of raffia. Thread the raffia through the drainage hole in a 1-inch miniature wooden pot and secure in place. Cut the raffia to desired length, about 2 inches long.
13. Glue the rim of the 1-inch tail pot to the bottom of another 1-inch pot, overlapping them slightly. Then glue the rim of the second pot to the bottom of another so that the tail is made up of three miniature pots slightly curved and overlapping.
14. Glue the completed tail flush against the back of the body about 1 inch down from the top.
15. Glue the split wooden balls (eyes) in place on top of the 8-inch azalea pot on either side of the trunk.
16. Trace the ear pattern onto the 3mm foam and cut out along the solid lines. Put glue on the tabs and place on the rim of the 8-inch azalea pot on both sides of the head.
17. Cut the 3/4-inch wooden dowel into two 4-inch lengths for the tusks. Cut one end of each tusk at a 45-degree angle. Glue the flat end of the tusks onto the bottom of the 8-inch pot on both sides of the trunk.
18. Basecoat the entire elephant in dove gray, excluding the eyes and tusks — it will take at least two coats. Paint the tusks warm white.
19. Add details to the eyes. Paint a line diagonally across the center of each eye using licorice paint. Make circles for the iris under the center line with nutmeg paint. Add a pupil and outline the eye in licorice; dot each pupil with a dot of warm white for the highlight.
20. Add the toenails in warm white on each foot and outline the toenails in licorice.
21. Paint on antiquing medium and wipe off the desired amount with a damp cloth.
22. Glue the eyelashes in place on the lid lines.
23. Coat with polyurethane varnish if desired.
If your elephant is to remain outdoors, use several coats of high-gloss polyurethane to protect it.
After a few seasons of outdoor exposure, items like the eyelashes may need to be replaced.
If you live in a cold climate, it may be a good idea to bring the elephant in during the winter months.