I don't know if I've ever really talked about it on here, but I have a deep love for Mid Century Modern ceramics, especially West German examples... my friend Jen got me into the wonderful world of collectables many years ago (they don't call her Thing Finder for nothing), and I've been picking up pieces here and there ever since. But since moving away from Victoria a few years ago (a serious Mecca for antiques and collectables), searching for treasures just hasn't been the same. That's why I thought it might be fun to recreate the vibe of a plain West German vase with this sneaky DIY, and you know what? Turns out it was fun, and it made me seriously want to 1) rewatch Ghost, and 2) take a pottery class. Anyway, if you're interested in how I made these simple vases, keep reading — easy doesn't even begin to describe it!
SUPPLIES: 3 MEDIUM-SIZED GLASSES | 3 SMALL GLASSES OR JARS | DAS AIR-DRY CLAY (OR WHATEVER BRAND YOU CAN FIND) | E-6000 GLUE | CLAY MOULDING TOOLS (OPTIONAL)
To begin, I took three medium-sized glasses that I picked up from the dollar store and some used E-6000 glue to adhere them to some smaller spice jars I also sourced at the dollar store. As always, press down on the glue firmly after it's applied for a couple minutes, then let it dry for several hours.
Now comes the fun part — adding the clay! I opted for an air-dry variety called Das that I picked up at Michaels, but first a quick word of warning: This stuff is seriously smelly. Do yourselves a favour and make this project by an open window — I learned that one the hard way (wink wink). Now that your space is properly ventilated, start by taking chunks of the clay and flattening them into relatively thick strips. Apply them over the entire surface of the glasses, pressing down into the clay as you go to create an uneven finish. It will take you a while to evenly cover the surface of the glass, but take your time to ensure you create a finish you're happy with; this stuff dries as you go, so you want to get it right the first time.
If you start to notice the clay drying out before you can mould it into place, just wet your fingertips to moisten it again — I found I had to do this quite frequently with vases two and three. If a crude, uneven finish isn't your jam, feel free to use a stamp or some clay tools to create a design across the surface of your vase — the sky's the limit with this one.
Once you're happy with the overall look of your vases, set them aside for at least 24 hours to dry thoroughly, especially if you plan on painting them. You'll know that they're dry when they turn a slightly lighter shade and no longer feel cold to the touch.
So by now you might be wondering why I bothered to use glasses to mould the clay around instead of just free-handing it — good question. It's wasn't motivated from a place of laziness, I swear; my intention was always to use these vases to hold fresh flowers, and since you can't put water in this type of clay, this was my handy work-around... smart, huh? Thank you for saying so. xx
Photos by Team AiF