How to Make Ceramic and Metal Garden Art

Make a ceramic face and attach it to transmission gear to create a whimsical garden sculpture.
hclvr247_1final2

hclvr247_1final2

Materials and Tools:

stoneware clay
wooden knives
potter's wheel
blowtorch
trimming tools
clay-cutting wire
metal rib
kiln
red iron oxide
3-foot length of ¼-inch steel rod
welder
plasma cutter
18-gauge steel
transmission gear
silicone glue
caulking gun
sponges
bucket of water

Steps:

1. Center a 2-pound ball of clay on the potter's wheel and form it into a dome. Smooth the dome with a metal rib.

2. Torch the clay with a blowtorch to dry it a bit and make it easier to carve. Torching removes excess water and results in a non-sticky piece.

3. Carve the clay to form the face. Carve out the eyes, rough in the mouth and lips, form the creases around the nose and lips and chin, and add eyebrows and the nose.

4. Set the ceramic face aside to dry to a leather-hard stage. This may take anywhere from an hour to six weeks depending on the climate and time of year. When the piece has reached a leather-hard stage, hollow out the back side to make it lighter (thick wares tend to blow up in the kiln). Allow the piece to dry to a bone-dry state.

5. Bisque-fire the ceramic face in the kiln.

6. Glaze the ceramic face with red iron oxide, allow it to dry and then sponge off the top surface of the piece, leaving heavy iron in the crevices and making the iron on the surface in the high places much thinner.

7. Fire the piece in a gas-fired kiln to 2,400 degrees.

8. Cut a metal rod and grind down the ends.

9. Cut out metal leaves from 18-gauge steel with a plasma cutter.

10. Weld the transmission gear to the top of the rod and weld the leaves onto the rod.

11. Remove the ceramic face from the kiln and apply silicone glue with a caulking gun around the back edge. Glue it to the gear. Allow the piece to dry for 24 hours before moving.

12. Glue the ceramic face to the gear. Allow the piece to dry for 24 hours before moving.

Next Up

How to Make a Clay Garden Sphere

Create a unique piece of outdoor art with speckled stoneware clay and clay-carving tools

How to Make a Recycled Metal Fish Sculpture

Turn an old car hood into a fish sculpture with simple welding techniques.

How to Make a Primitive Platter

Meg Spielman Peldo makes a ceramic platter, breaks it, then reassembles it to create this work of art.

How to Make a Metal Star for Your Garden

Weld steel pieces together and apply a creative finish to create a metal star for your garden.

How to Make a Metal Sunflower Stake

Hammer copper and brass into a unique piece of garden art with these steps.

How to Weld Metal Flower Garden Art

Make a metal flower from five forks with metalworking techniques.

How to Make Colorful Mosaic Garden Art

Learn how to make mosaic art for your garden using three-dimensional tiles and marbles.

How to Make a Metal Fish Sculpture

Cut, weld and spray paint metal to create this whimsical fish sculpture.

How to Make a Glazed Wall Plate

Decorate your walls with plates that shimmer with a crystalline ceramic glazing technique.

How to Make an Etched Ceramic Vase

Etch a creative design in a ceramic vase to match any style room.

Stories We're Following

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.