How to Make a Mixed Media Dragonfly Clock

Use polymer clay, metallic paint and medium density fiberboard to create this showpiece for your wall.
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Materials and Tools:

paper
pencil
scissors
cardboard
¼-inch-thick medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
scroll saw
power drill
clock movement, clock hands and battery
sandpaper
wood glue and clamps
polymer clay
36-gauge metal tooling foil
20-gauge wire
jewelry pliers
4 glass half-beads
stylus tool
metallic paint: black, purple, blue
gold-leafing powder
craft knife
varnish
safety glasses
gesso
clay mold for face and cooking spray
oven and baking sheet
foam mouse pad
aluminum foil
silicone glue
paintbrushes
small nails and hammer

Steps:

1. Sketch the design for the dragonfly clock on paper.

2. Make one of each of the following cardboard templates based on the design:

  • 7-by-7-inch square
  • 6-by-6-inch square
  • 4-by-4-inch square
  • 2 large and 2 small dragonfly wings

Cut out the templates with scissors.

3. Trace around the cardboard squares on the MDF and cut them out with a scroll saw, wearing safety glasses.

4. Sand the edges of the squares until smooth.

5. Stack the three squares on top of each other, with the smallest on top, to make the clock base. Glue the squares together with wood glue. Clamp everything together and allow the glue to dry.

6. Drill a hole into the middle of each square, making sure the clock movement fits into the drilled hole.

7. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Condition a small piece of white polymer clay by kneading it with your fingers. Spray the clay dragonfly-face mold with cooking spray. Roll the clay into a ball and press it into the face mold.

8. Pop the clay face out of the mold and set it aside on a baking sheet.

9. Form the body of the dragonfly by rolling seven small balls of clay, graduated in size, and press them together in a line.

10. Run a stylus tool along the back of the clay balls to hold them together. Cover the clay pieces with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool.

11. While the clay is baking, paint the MDF squares (clock base) with a coat of gesso primer. Let dry.

12. Using the cardboard wing templates, trace the shapes onto metal tooling foil and cut out two sets of large and small wings with scissors.

13. Place the metal wings on a foam mouse pad and add texture and shape to the wings with metal foil tools.

14. Cut a 4-inch piece of 20-gauge wire. Form the wire into antennae with jewelry pliers. Bend the wire in half and curl the ends. Set aside.

15. When the primer is completely dry, paint a design onto the base of the clock with acrylic paints. Let dry. Using a small paintbrush, add gold-leafing powder around the edges of each wood square of the base where the squares join each other.

16. Before painting the dragonfly face and body, turn the face over to reveal the back and carve out a small area for the antennae with a craft knife. Paint the dragonfly face and body with three coats of black metallic paint. Let dry.

17. Paint half the body and half the face with purple metallic paint over the black paint. Paint the other half of the body and face with blue metallic paint over the black paint. Let dry.

18. Paint a few coats of varnish on the clock base. Let dry between coats.

19. Nail the metal wings onto the clock base when the paint and varnish are completely dry.

20. Glue the face, antennae and body of the dragonfly to the clock base with silicone glue. Glue the glass half-beads in the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions on the clock. Allow a few minutes to dry.

21. Attach the clock movement to the base, and add decorative clock hands and a battery to the clock.

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