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Mermaid Garden Ornament

Maggie Anzola constructs a mermaid garden ornament.

Materials and Tools:

2 oz. polymer clay:
- 1-1/2 bars white
- 1 bar purple
- 1/4 bar each of tan, pearl, pink pearl
- 1/2 bar of brown
- pinch of gold
1 oz. scrap clay
bead or crystal for belly button
24-gauge wire;
- 4 pieces approx. 1/2" long
- 1 piece 2" long
24" piece of fishing line
beads and crystals for stringing to create hanging loop
pearls and shells
glue gun and hot glue
paring knife
clay blade
mermaid tail and torso template*
upholstery needle
needle nose pliers
paper lined baking pan
beading tray
pasta machine – optional
* Draw mermaid tail and torso templates.


1. Condition polymer clay by kneading the clay by hand or run through a pasta machine until it is soft and pliable. Mix the colors to achieve four different shades of purple. Start by combining the 1-1/2 blocks of white with 1/4 bar of purple, kneading until fully blended, for a very pale purple.

Figure A

2. Create a clay cane. Begin with one small log of the light purple clay about the size of a pinkie finger. Wrap this log in a slightly darker shade (which is made by blending the remaining light purple with another quarter block of the dark purple) of clay, about 1/2 inch thick (figure A).

Figure B

Roll gently to seal seams. Wrap this log in another shade darker, achieved as above, and finally wrap the log one more time with the last of the clay (figure B).

3. Reduce this log by pinching and rolling it until it is 12 inches long. Cut it in half, then roll both pieces out to 12 inches again. Cut each piece again, and roll each piece until it has the approximate diameter of a drinking straw.

Figure C

4. Next, slice each long, skinny snake into 4-inch lengths (figure C).

Figure D

Place them all together side by side, to form a round fat log made up of skinny pieces (figure D). Gently roll this log to smooth seams and compress air bubbles.

Figure E

This is the millefiori cane (figure E).

Figure F

5. Roll out one ounce (about half a block) of scrap clay into a 3" x 5" rectangle about 1/8 inch thick (figure F).

Figure G

Slice the millefiori cane into thin slices, similar to pepperoni, and lay the slices with their edges touching over the entire surface of the scrap clay rectangle (figure G).

Figure H

Roll gently to blend edges and create a smooth surface (figure H). Flip the rectangle over and repeat with cane slices and rolling.

Figure I

6. Lay the tail template (created by sketching roughly on construction paper and cutting out) on top of the clay and cut around it with a sharp knife (figure I). Set tail aside.

Figure J

7. Mix clay for the body with 1/4 bar each of tan, pearl and pink pearl. Blend thoroughly and roll out to the same thickness as the tail. Cut around the torso template (figure J).

Figure K

Roll two thin ropes approximately 1-1/2 inches long for the arms and attach at the shoulders (figure K), gently pressing and smoothing the joints to form a seamless shoulder and arm.

Figure L

8. Mix the brown and gold polymer clay together, twisting and folding until streaky and roll out to the same thickness as the torso. Using the torso template as a guide for the hairline, free cut the hair (figure L).

Figure M

9. Attach the hair using two of the small pieces of wire embedded half way into the head and half into the hair (figure M). Smooth edges with upholstery needle or clay tool.

Figure N

Attach the tail to the torso using the remaining two small pieces of wire. Smooth all seams (figure N).

10. Add a belly button by pressing a crystal into the clay.

Figure O

11. Create a hook by twisting a piece of wire around an upholstery needle and then sliding the loop off of the needle. Sink the long end of the hook into the hair/head clay (figure O) and place the mermaid on a paper lined pan. Bring her arms around in front of her so she will have a ledge for holding pearls.

12. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Figure P

13. Tie a slipknot in the fishing line and attach to the hook on the mermaid's head. String one side of the line with beads and crystals, about 3 inches. Anchor beads with a small blob of scrap clay so the beads don't slide off while beading the other side. When the second side matches the first side in length, remove the blob of clay and tie a triple knot to form a loop. Back thread each piece through 10 or 12 beads to provide strength, and hide knot (figure P). Clip excess string.

Figure Q

14. Attach pearls, shells, crystals or other embellishments to the front of the mermaid's arm area with hot glue (figure Q).

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