DIY Alphabet Relief Plates From Terra Cotta Saucers

Several years ago, we bought dozens of clay planter pot saucers for our outdoor garden.  We had the idea of growing a garden in pots, so we bought 70+ pots, along with saucers…  and needless to say, the idea didn’t turn out too well.  So years later, I am stuck with all these saucers, and nothing to do with them, except store them in the shed.

If there is one thing I am obsessed with, and often look for on ebay, it is molds.  Concrete molds, garden molds, candy molds, and craft molds are things I end up splurging on.  I love the look of relief panels, trumeau mirrors and raised architectural plaques, that these looks often leave me wanting to create my own projects.

How My Plates Came About

I originally bought an alphabet mold in hopes to make fridge magnets out of, but in doing so, I found that because the molds were so thin, and decorative, the molds themselves in their final state were harder to pull out, without breaking in the process.  Plaster will break quite quickly, concrete can be too gritty for smaller molds, casting resin bubbled up, and after a number of products, it left me looking for another solution.

One day, upon heading into our nearest city, I decided to stop into a small family owned hardware store, and stumbled across Durhams Water Putty, and thought I would give it a try.

After getting home, I tried the putty in a larger mold, and several small molds, and when they dried, I was shocked at how well they held up.  Durhams works a lot like plaster. You basically mix the contents until you have a dough like mixture.  Thicker dough like consistency, works nicer in the smaller molds, while pancake consistency works nicer in the larger molds.  My larger shelf mold came out beautiful, and is solid enough not to break, yet workable enough to screw in brass hangers on back.  Screwing in hooks into concrete just doesn’t work.

Merandas Relief Plate Project

My nautical molds in the process.

(Molds,Thistle Mold, Fish Tile Mold, Bass Fish Mold

Here you can see Durhams putty, and the next step is to paint, and age them. 

Here Are The Basic Steps To Re-Create This Look

  • When the molds were dry, I gently released them, but sadly, some of them did fracture in the process.
  • The next thing I did was glue them on to the plates using white glue.  I lined up the broken pieces as best as I could, and often you couldn’t even tell they were broken when they were glued down. Durhams sands very well, so if the backs have some raised edges, simply run the back of the mold along sandpaper to allow them to lie flat on the saucer.  I allowed them to dry over night.
  •  Using a bowl, and a small paint brush the next day, I mixed Durhams Putty with a little bit of water to create a paste, and worked the putty into the gaps to create a seamless appearance between the saucer, and the mold.  Ideally, you want to work the plaster around the mold, and over the broken seams.  Then with your small paint brush, use water to even out your paint strokes.  This will ensure the details of the mold remain intact.
  •  Once they are dry, you can sandpaper and paint them, and add any extra antique effects to the plates.

This is an inexpensive project, and can add architectural detail to your walls.  I am in the process of working a nautical theme with fishes for my larger saucers.  They are attractive to look at, and allows you to add a collection to your wall without spending a ton of money.  You can also decorate with them outside…….. What do you think?

Meranda's Mold Making Projects

Durhams Water Putty

My Relief Plate Project 2

Alphabet Molds

Fancy Alphabet A – P $2.99  Ebay, Fancy Alphabet Q – Z $2.99 Ebay

1-3/8 inch Fancy Alphabet $2.99 Ebay, Number Assortment, $2.99 Ebay

2-1/2″ Numbers $2.99 Ebay

My Relief Plate Project 1

Close Up Of The Plates