Sculptural Wire and Clay Nameplate DIY

Let them know who is boss with this sculptural wire nameplate. Get the full tutorial on www.aBeautifulMess.comIf you work from home, chances are you don’t have a nameplate on your desk to let people know your title, your specialty, or just your regular old name. As a freelancer or small business owner, you know how to hustle. You’re in charge of everything from product design to marketing to the shipping department and when things get rowdy, you’re the one that has to keep it under control. You have a lot on your proverbial plate. While there may not be many warm bodies crowding around your at-home water cooler to discuss office gossip, you still deserve a bold nameplate that announces how important you are around there. 

MakersGonnaMakeYou don’t have to be the boss of anyone to make a statement, though. Create your own sculptural phrase and let people know how creative you really are because look at what you just added to your mantel! You know your way around a roll of wire and there is no stopping you now. Honestly, you should just pin this under your ‘Things to Make and Gift at Christmas’ board because now all of your friends will wish they had their own name, title, catchy phrase resting on their mantels, too. 

oven bake clay
artistic wire (different gauges will be easier to bend. 16 gauge was thick but it also makes it trickier to work with. 18 is easier and 20 is the easiest depending on your phrase.)
acrylic paint and paintbrush
-pliers or something round to help with shaping (optional)

StepThree3Step One: Using your wire and possibly a pair of pliers and another round object, shape your word or phrase. The 18 and 16 gauge wire is easy to smooth out if you make a mistake, so it’s a great option for your first try. The thicker wire is a little less forgiving, so shape carefully. My first word didn’t turn out how I wanted, but I nailed it on my third try. I suggest working with short words unless you have a lot of clay. Keep in mind that the width of your word needs to be about 1″ less than the width of your clay base.

StepOne1Step Two: Turn on your oven and set the temperature to the manufacturer’s instructions. Roll out and shape your soft clay so that it’s about 1″ wider than your wire word. I rolled mine into a cylinder and then flattened all of the edges using a metal lid and the surface of the table to create a long rectangular shape.

StepTwo2Step Three: Carefully insert your wire phrase into the clay to create holes for it to rest in. You can gently make an impression and then use different wire to poke into the clay so you don’t bend anything out of shape, too. Then follow manufacturer’s instructions for baking time and bake your clay block. Once it’s out and cooled off, paint it with acrylic paint. 

Once your paint has dried, insert your wire word and enjoy your new nameplate! It’s a fun way to add a little interest to your workspace and remind everyone of how important you are.

Sculptural wire nameplate tutorialBossLadyNameplateSwitch ‘boss’ out with a longer phrase and you’ve got a fun sculptural piece to style in your studio. Switch it out with a new baby’s name and you’ve got a thoughtful gift for a new mama. Basically, you could take this one in a few different directions and have a winner every time. Enjoy! -Rachel 

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • I love this! I want to make it as a gift for a friend. Any suggestions as to what paint to use to make the clay block part have a glossy finish? I think it would add a nice touch, but never had any experience painting clay (is it porous?)

  • Yes, there are a few tricks to using a large round shape to get the right sized curves such as a sharpie or highlighter. You just have to play with it and maybe experiment with widths, etc. Best of luck!

  • I love these, I’ve been thinking about doing something similar lately, although on a much bigger scale and to be hung on the wall. I like the handwritten look of the wire words…and really, what I’d especially like is either a custom or vintage neon sign on my wall, but those are wildly out of my price range, so bespoke wire signage it is, for me! ^_^

  • This looks so cute! Might have try it as a little bit of crafting over the summer!

  • The cutest! A nice gift for a colleague

  • No tips for how to best shape the wire? Did you use your hands or pliers? Did you write out the word on a piece of paper for a template or just free-style it?

  • I love this, totally gonna make two, one for me and one for my boss

  • I bet I could spell my name with one of these things. 🙂

  • This is so super cute, I have creative envy, i’m just hoping the craft store will be open tomorrow, I have to make one!

  • This is so cute! Really want to try this soon. Great post 🙂

  • This is so cute! Not sure mine would turn out so nicely though

  • This is SO GOOD. Reminds me of a wall sculpture from Anthro that I’ve had my eye on – totally doing this instead!

  • These are so pretty.I want to to them right now but i don’t have any place to pot them. But one day I will though. Yes, I fell that i definitley need to make these one day.

  • This is such a cool idea! It would make a great gift too!! “Best sis”, “best dad” etc 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing such an original idea

    Xoxo Jessy

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