Sometimes DIY projects flop, and sometimes they turn out even better you thought they would. Now, I’m definitely no sculptor, so please don’t judge these against the work of real artists. That being said, I’m pretty darn happy with how these a-little-bit-naughty-a-little-bit-nice busts turned out. I got the idea for these saucy tchotchkes after spying a vintage bust vase on the perfectly styled dresser of Sara over at Emily Henderson’s obsession-worthy blog. I was hoping to click my way right to a purchase, but after Sara noted it was a vintage piece, I thought I’d do the next-best thing: make one myself.
Admittedly, mine’s not as…shall we say, polished…but I’m sort of into the imperfect charm of my handmade version. And yes, it took a few tries to get the shape right (it turns out it’s not so easy to sculpt perky-but-non-vulgar boobies on the first try), but overall this project was super easy. All you have to do is sculpt a couple of busts while you’re finishing an episode of American Crime Story, pop them in the oven while you watch another episode (even though you should be going to bed), paint a few red dots then slap on a coat of clear varnish and you’ve got yourself a miniature vase. Or matchstick holder. Or place to corral bobby pins on your bedside table. The possibilities are endless—as long as they involve things small in scale. What can I say? I love miniatures!
For this project, you’ll need the following:
• one 8 oz. block of white Sculpey oven-back clay, 2 oz. blocks of yellow and hot pink Sculpey oven-back clay
• red acrylic paint
• Sculpey Gloss Glaze
• X-acto knife
1. To make the perfect shade of soft pink, start with a big block of white clay (for reference, I used about 4 oz. of white clay for the large bust, and about 2 oz. for the small bust. Then, shave off about a pea-sized chunk of yellow and pink clay. Make a long snake out of the white, pink and yellow clay, then roll them all together. Keep rolling and twisting and kneading until all three colors are totally combined. At this point, if you want to tweak the color at all, you can add more pink or yellow clay and mix it in.
2. Once you’re happy with the color, roll the clay into a rounded rectangle that’s just a little bit taller than the finished height you’re looking for.
3. Using the X-acto knife, shave off some of the bottom so that you have a nice, flat surface so your vase won’t wobble at all when you’re done.
4. Now’s the time to put your sculpting cap on. Using your fingers and whatever tools you have laying around (I dragooned a bobby pin and a kitchen knife into service) to form an approximation of the female form. Once you’re happy with the shape, use the X-acto knife and a small spoon to scoop out an inch or two of the innards, depending on how big your bust is.
5. Pop that sucker in the oven and bake according to the instructions on the clay package.
6. After the bust cools, use a small paintbrush to dot the nips and belly button with bright red paint. A little goes a long way here.
7. Once the red paint dries completely, go over the whole bust with a coat of the gloss glaze and you’re good to go!