I’m not sure how it happened, but in the last couple of years I fell hard for marble. Its muted tones and natural patterns seem elegant and luxurious. So when I would occasionally see marble rectangles attached to discarded trophy bases at thrift stores, it seemed like a shame that they were going to waste. But when I came across a couple of trophy bases recently at SCRAP, I decided to find a new use for them. With a bit of clay, wire, and glue, I turned this one into a photo holder. It’s the perfect size for holding small square photos, so it’s extra motivation to actually print out some of the many Instagram photos you have on your phone.
Stone trophy base
Polymer clay – I used Sculpey III.
Brass wire – 16 gauge, similar to this
Metallic gold paint
Glue – I used E6000.
Razor blade or X-acto knife
1. If the trophy base has an engraved metal piece, remove it by pulling it off with the pliers. Scrape glue residue off with the razor or X-acto blade.
2. If there are any other trophy parts, remove those, too. Mine were plastic, and I could have broken them off, but they were held on by a nut on a plastic screw on the underside, so I just unscrewed it.
3. Grab a ball of clay and stuff it into the hole where the trophy figurine used to be attached. Press it evenly into the hole until it comes out the top of the hole, and repeat for any additional holes.
4. Turn the stone base over, and use your blade to evenly slice off excess clay, leaving a smooth, even surface.
5. Cut a piece of wire about 7 inches long. Wind one end into a spiral with the pliers. Repeat with a second piece of wire, except make it an inch or so longer or shorter than the other wire.
6. Insert the unspiraled wire ends into the middle of the clay.
7. Bake the whole stone base, with the clay intact, according to the recommendations on your clay package. Let it cool completely, which may take awhile because the stone holds onto heat. You may notice that my stone has felt feet on the bottom. They survived the baking, but keep a close eye on yours if you have them.
After everything has cooled, tug at the wires and hardened clay to see whether they’re loose. If they are, pull them out and glue them back in place.
8. Optional: After the glue has dried, paint the clay gold/brass. (I was originally going to leave mine white, but I decided the contrast between the white clay and the stone bothered me.)