DIY Terrazzo Marble Tray using Polymer Clay
Author: Dana McGorlick-Appelman Date Posted:4 August 2021
If you like us love the look of marble, but don't love the price tag and want a fun DIY to spruce up your home, look no further! Keep reading to discover how to make our very own terrazzo marble effect tray using polymer clay with our resident sculpture artist Kirrah Thompson.
To make the terrazzo marble tiles:
- Baking paper and baking tray
- Polymer Clay in 3 colours (we used the 400g block of titanium white polymer clay by Mont Marte, 400g block of black polymer clay by Mont Marte and 60g block of fluoro green, however, you can opt for your own colours. Exactly how much polymer clay you need will depend on the size of your tray and the tiles. Opt to stock up on the larger sized packs of polymer clay to play it safe.)
- Polymer Clay Press
- Mont Marte Dimension Paint in Lamp Black 75ml
- Gloves to protect your hands and a drop sheet to protect your workspace
- Polymer Clay varnish
To make the tray:
- Mont Marte Wooden Painting Board (we used the 30cm round wooden painting board, however, you can experiment with the different shapes and sizes)
- PVA Glue
- Acrylic Paint for the wooden painting board (we used titanium white acrylic paint)
MAKE A POLYMER CLAY TRAY WITH KIRRAH
Step 1: Condition clay using the Mont Marte Polymer Clay Press.
By rolling pieces of clay through the clay press, folding and re-rolling, you are conditioning and softening the clay to make it easier to cut, mould and create with.
Once all colours you plan to use are nicely conditioned, you can start the marbling process.
To create the marble effect, you will need to decide what colour you want most prominent. The colour you choose will be the larger ‘base’ colour and you will need to have more of this clay than the others.
Kirrah chose colours that would compliment the base, only using a small amount.
Step 2: Combine 2 colours to create subtle shade gradations
Kirrah used black and white to create a marbled grey effect, creating interesting swirls and patterns, which will be revealed later in the process. Take two colours that you plan to use in the marble effect and swirl them together.
Step 3: Cut up your base colour clay
Squish your main base colour into a shape easy to slice and using a knife, cut it into uneven, random sizes and shapes. The smaller your pieces the busier your marble will be. By having some larger sizes, you will balance the really detailed portions with some calmer areas and create natural-looking shapes and organic-looking patterns.
Step 4: Cut up your accent colour clay
Cut up your other chosen colours and marbled pattern clay into small organic shapes. These will be distributed throughout the base colour.
Step 5: Place your clay shapes into a pile and coat with paint
Once all your colours have been unevenly chopped, place them in a pile, and squeeze some acrylic paint onto the pile, and coat the clay pieces with the paint.
For a less messy option, you can also put it all into a zip lock bag with some acrylic paint, and massage the bag to evenly coat all the polymer pieces individually.
Be sure to choose your acrylic paint colour wisely, the colour you choose will be will the veining throughout your marble.
Step 6: Leave your paint coated piece of clay to dry
When all the pieces are coated, remove them from the bag and place them on a piece of baking paper. You will need to leave them to dry before combining them all together to stop paint smears when cutting at the end.
Step 7: Roll your polymer clay pieces into a log
If all the polymer pieces are dry, you can combine them all into either a round or square log, depending on the shape you want the tiles to be. This is where it gets fun! Pick up your clay and paint pile, and squeeze and roll the clay together to create a ball (you’ll want to wear gloves for this bit). Just squish all the pieces together and slightly knead them to ensure they are all stuck together so once baked they don’t fall apart/ break where the pieces are joined.
Step 8: Place your polymer clay log in the fridge
Wrap your polymer clay log in baking paper and leave it in the fridge for 10-20mins. This will make it easier to slice and won’t distort the shape when cutting.
Step 9: Cut your log into slices and press
Once cool, you can cut your log into slices at the thickness you want your tiles to be.
If you want them larger, you can slice off pieces that are a little thicker and run them through the polymer clay press to make them an even thickness, and to roll the clay into a larger shape. This will also give you an interesting variety of shapes and sizes while keeping them constantly the same thickness.
Step 10: Bake your clay tiles
Time to bake!
Because the tiles are quite thin, set you oven to 130°C and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Once baked you can sand the tiles to clean and smooth any uneven areas.
Start with a 360-grit paper to get rid of all the rough surface, and then gradually go higher to 600/800. Finish with 1200 grit to shine.
Step 11: Varnish your tiles
Time to varnish your tiles!
Step 12: Glue your tiles to the board
OPTIONAL: Before glueing your tiles, you might want to paint your wooden painting board. We used titanium white acrylic paint to cover the wood, but you can choose whichever colour you like, or you can leave the wood exposed.
Step 13: Grout your tray
Time to grout your tray!
There are so many options for grout colours that can be found at your local hardware store, and you can use any of them to fill in the gaps left by the tile.
As shown, Kirrah used white grout as to not overpower the subtle colouring of the tiles, but it would also look amazing with black or grey. It’s up to you what colour/type of grout you use!
Make sure to clean the tops of the tiles thoroughly as you go to ensure the grout doesn’t dry and tarnish your nice glossy tiles. You can go back once grout is dry to clean any excess sandy particles left from the previous cleaning.
And Viola!! You are finished!
Time to style and enjoy your home-made marble polymer clay-tiled tray
What polymer clay colours would you choose? How would you style your tray?
Don't forget to show us your Terrazzo Tray by tagging us on Instagram @artshedonline for your chance to be featured!