Saturday, March 13, 2010

Faux Talavera Pottery Frog Pendant from Polymer Clay

EDITED: A New updated version of this pendant with the frog on a lily pad is now available for sale. Please click here to read about it: Frog on lily pad

I fell in love with a 2 foot long vintage pottery frog from Talavera, Mexico the first time I saw him and he now lives on our back fence (shown below). His name is Raúl and he was the inspiration behind my 2 inch version. My mini frog (Raulito) was first sculpted in Kato polyclay and then a mold of the cured piece was made from "Amazing Mold Putty", a bakeable silicone-based molding compound. "Kato Liquid Polyclay" (Kato LPC) was poured into the mold to make the final frog. 

EDITED May 4, 2012: FYI both NEW formula Kato clay and NEW formula Kato Liquid Polyclay may no longer be compatible to use with Amazing Mold Putty. In my recent experiments/experience I have found that "Amazing Mold Putty" would not set up when creating molds from pieces that had been sculpted from Kato clay, but would set up when molding pieces made from PREMO. 

ALSO, I recently found that  new formula "Kato Liquid Polyclay" (well mixed) that was poured into molds made of "Amazing Mold Putty" consistently did not cure normally. They all cracked while still in the mold and were extremely fragile, even with samples cured at a variety of different temperatures (275-310F.) for up to 2 hours.  Mold pulls made with old formula "Kato Liquid Polclay" cured normally. I believe that the "new" formula "Kato Liquid Polyclay" can be identified by K1 or KL printed on the label located above the bar code. Mold pulls made from "Translucent Liquid Sculpey"(TLS) cured properly. 

*Note: I realize it is possible that I got a defective bottle  of NEW "Kato Liquid Polyclay". To be sure of the results , I will have to try identical  experiments with another unopened bottle, but the contents of my current bottle worked fine for other typical liquid clay applications

Once cured, the frog was painted with a mixture of 8 parts Kato LPC to 1 part "Genesis Heat Set Oil Paint" and dried to touch with a crafter's heat gun as I worked (not too close and continually moving the heat gun to prevent burning). Once painted,  PC appliques were added using the Kato LPC as "glue". Then the entire frog was cured (tented) for only 15 minutes at only 275F (to prevent browning of the light colors).

Two coats of Kato LPC were added to mimic ceramic glaze, each coat heat gunned, then oven cured, then heat gunned again.  Then three VERY THIN coats of glossy Varathane varnish were applied using a slightly moistened foam makeup sponge that had been dipped in water and then gently wrung out. Each Varathane coat was heat set at 205F. for 5 minutes.

The "rock" base was made with Sculpey "Utlralight" poly clay and covered with a thin veneer made from thin torn sheets of black PREMO (PM#3) with inclusions of grated transulucent and white PC and white embossing powder.  The raw clay was textured with very coarse sandpaper. Because of the light weight of the "Ultralight",  the entire piece only weights 2 1/2 oz, much to the surprise of people who pick it up.


  1. I love little Raulito. You sure put a lot of work in that one. You must have a lot of patience. He's adorable. You could sell a million of those here at the craft fair. Some lady down here sells little rock families and she sells a bunch of them????
    He is cute. He reminds of the youtube with the little girl that pulls 5 frogs out of her underpants.

  2. Raulito is too cute for words! i love him!

  3. Raulito is just divine!
    (clay feet from PCC)

  4. I love him, too! So colorful and his pose is wonderful.


  5. Your frog is so cute! Even looks like Talavera! I love the talavera pottery and after living in Mexico for 9 years we acquired some favorite pieces from there. I find the colors so inspiring and obviously you have found so too!

  6. I LOVE that little guy !!!
    :) m.e.

  7. I love your frog...beautiful colors! You did an excellent job of recreating the Talavera pottery.

  8. He is darling!! You are going to get so many comments when you wear him!! Great job!!!

  9. Beautiful!!!!! Love the frog.

  10. That frog is to die for. I love bright colors, he is perfect. Dyan

  11. Wow, how cool! I love him!!