Big Ceramic Store Blog

Jigsaw Puzzle Valentines Message

I wanted a unique Valentines Day card for my husband this year, but just couldn't find anything I like. After searching a few stores, I decided to make him a card. What the heck, I'm artistic and creative, how hard could it be to come up with something awesome?

Well, after a few attempts at unique, I realized the cards were pretty much a handmade version of the cards in our local stores. That's just not good enough this year, it has to be perfect.

Then, a light went off in my head! I'm going to make a jigsaw puzzle with a special message! Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio. Let's see what we can come up with...I know, for me to get it right on the first try, it has to be made from a slab. I also want it to be in the shape of a heart... maybe a little off center or something... not perfect.

I'll start by drawing a template, and rolling out a slab of clay roughly 1/2" thick. The Laguna WC-392 will be a great clay for this project, it has enough grog to help with the warping fact, yet it's easy to work with.

1. Gather your supplies. Here's a list of what I will be using;

  • Heavy paper
  • Pencil with a good eraser
  • Scissors
  • Clay
  • Slab roller
  • Fettling knife or scalpel
  • Needle tool
  • Underglazes
  • Letter stamp set
  • Paint brushes
  • Sgraffito tools

2. Draw your heart template.  If you choose to make the puzzle design on the template, make sure you have enough curve, or notches in the design, for the pieces to fit together.

IMG_3058
 

3. Lightly, trace the outline of your heart on the clay, so you know where you want to decorate it.

IMG_3059
 

4. Paint (with underglaze), etch, texturize, or stamp designs on the clay. You can skip this step if you want, and use Mayco Softees Acrylics once the pieces are fired.

IMG_3061
 

5. For the next step, it will be up to you.

  • Either transfer the design onto the clay and cut it out
  • Cut the puzzle pieces out of the paper, then precisely cut them out of clay with a thin, sharp tool, like a scalpel
  • Freehand cut the pieces

IMG_3064
 

6. Dry the pieces (interlocked) between two pieces of drywall. Interlocking the pieces will help them dry at the same rate, and ensure they will fit together once it's completed.

7. Once the pieces are bone dry, I'm going to "single fire" them, then spray it with a clear coat.

Want to share your ideas, or have a suggestion for our blog? Send us an email at  bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com.

Visit our  "How To" page for more projects and tips/tricks.

 

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