Project time: 1.5 – 2 hours total
DIY level: Easy
I’ve been using the same mirrored box since high school for my jewelry, pins, and hair ties. It has worked fine and all, but I recently noticed it didn’t really go with any of the other decorative items around my home. And honestly, even though I’ve weeded through my accessories several times over the years, I still have more than I did in high school! So I needed a second way to store my most common go-to items where they wouldn’t get buried.
I dreamed up this mermaid ring dish as a solution. It’s very decorative, so it’s going to take the place of that mirrored box on my vanity, while the box moves to my bathroom closet and continues to store my less-often-used items.
I painted my prototype ring catcher coral because it’s a color that makes me feel happy and hopeful… but something about it just wasn’t quite right. In the end I switched to blue because it looked like water, which went with the mermaid theme. If you go with another kind of figurine, like a Loch Ness monster or a unicorn or something, I recommend you choose a color that inspires you or makes you feel the way you like most to feel!
This project was super simple, just a little time-consuming because of all the waiting I had to do for paint to dry, clay to bake, and glue to set. If you’re a beginner DIYer, set aside a morning or afternoon, enjoy the process, and at the end you’ll have a beautiful ring catcher!
You will need:
- AdTech’s Full-Size HiTemp glue gun
- AdTech’s Full-Size Multi-Temp Glue Sticks
- 1.75 lbs white, oven-bake clay
- Rolling pin
- Access to an oven
- Acrylic paint color(s) of choice
- Liquid gilding in gold
- Glaze (I used this one)
- A small plate to trace
- A large bowl with a flat bottom at least as wide as your mermaid figurine
- X-Acto knife
- Paint brush
- Mermaid figurine (I used this one)
Roll out the white clay on a clean work surface that you don’t mind using a knife on—a self-healing mat, if you have one—until it’s 1/4” thick, or maybe just a little thinner.
Move the clay to a safe surface for an X-Acto knife. Trace the plate or bowl with the knife, and peel away excess clay.
Smooth out edges of circle or oval with fingers, as they will be uneven and a little jagged from the blade of the knife. (This is harder than it sounds, so remember that imperfections add character, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself!)
Flip over the large bowl and place your smoothed-out clay circle over the bottom. Use the curve of the bowl to create a lip for your ring dish, which will hold the rings in. Make sure enough of the center stays flat, because you will need to be able to glue your figurine to it!
Remove the dish you’ve created from the bowl (gently), and place on a cooking sheet. Bake according to instructions on package. (I had to bake mine at 275 for about 16-17 minutes.)
While the dish bakes, paint the mermaid figurine, if desired. Mine came looking a little vintage and beat-up, even though it was new; so I painted her white and filled in some of the chips on her face with paint, as well.
Once the bottom of the ring dish is cool, paint the inside with the acrylic color(s) you chose for the dish, and allow this to dry. Use several coats to ensure evenness if you don’t want a watercolor effect over the original white.
Once this paint is dry, flip the tray and paint the bottom, outside, and rim with the liquid gilding in gold. You can also use this opportunity to paint gold accents on the mermaid, if desired (mine was plain white so I painted the seashells and tail gold). Allow to dry completely.
Use your AdTech Full-Size HiTemp glue gun to adhere the mermaid figurine to the bottom of the dish you created. (You could also use the HiTemp Mini, but the Full-Size HiTemp will allow you to lay your glue lines faster, ensuring that the glue is still hot and “thin” when you press the mermaid to the base. You want as small a gap as you can get between the figurine and the dish, so being able to set it faster is an advantage.)
Paint over the entire project with the glaze, according to the instructions. (You don’t have to do this if you don’t want the dish to be shiny; however, since the acrylic paint is water-based and you may be storing this item on the vanity in your bathroom, at least sealing it with a matte spray might be a good idea.)
Fill with rings!