Polymer Clay Tropical Bird Box



When I decided to start doing something with this old key-box I found in a charity shop, I had no idea how well it would turn out.

The original design was pretty horrible but I knew this little box had potential and waited to think what I could do with it.I wanted to do something clay related, but it isn’t very deep so wasn’t sure what function it could have.


As I love this bird card my sister got me last year I decided that would be my inspiration for the front panel. I took the nasty old hinges and clasp off the box and set to work on the front, mixing gradients of green for a lush background. I stamped the background  once it covered the front, although a lot of this got covered up.  I loved blended colours in polymer clay at the moment so this was a great project of the bird with vibrant feathers in a mixture of blues, greens, yellows and pinks.

Getting a basic shape

Cutting the shapes was a little tricky, as was layering them over each other. I think I  could have done it a bit better in hindsight. Once I had the bird shape and tail in a place I liked, I started thinking about different plants and flowers around it. I wanted the bird to look as if it were in a tropical paradise. I mixed together different greens, added snakes of clay for dimension and used canes to add variety to the foliage.

Adding foliage

I am a bit obsessed with Perfect Pearls right now and am using them in nearly all my projects! I added golds, blues and purples to the bird and flowers to make it pop, and also highlight some of the indentations in the clay.

To contain the image I had in mind some kind of boarder and this was an experimental one. I rolled out black clay and added a sheet of gold leaf, cutting into slices and layering it around the bird. I love how the black shows through in cracks and that it pulls the image together.

Close up

As the back of the box had a small decorative panel at the top (where it could be attached to a wall) I knew I wanted to do something with this. I had some black clay with gold leaf left over, so I mixed that together and covered the panel. Then I just added foliage and flowers in a freehand way, pushing in some metal charms for depth.

Once the piece had baked, I coated it in a thin layer of resin as I loved the glass like quality it had compared to a normal varnish. I decided to keep the inside simple and lined the door and back with coloured paper. Adding some beautiful Tim Holtz hinges was tricky as I had to make holes in the side and covered the two previous indents with a layer of black clay. I added some leaves to the side of the box to bring the whole piece together.

As I assembled my box it’s purpose became clear to me; it was a jewellery box to hang necklaces and bracelets, Looking forward to making more things like this.

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