I bought a Hakko brass sponge from Fry's for use with my soldering iron. I didn't have a sponge holder for a while and was using a small glass measuring cup to hold the brass sponge. So I decided to create my own brass sponge holder. The first one was a Hobbit House which turned out too large (I went and ahead and added instructions for it). I had to use a smaller ball ornament. After creating the base, I immediately thought of the cave in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
NOTE: The larger sponge holder can be used to fit kitchen sponges and scrubbies as well!
1. Christmas glass ornament balls. I experimented with 3 different sizes. For the final brass sponge holder, I used the more commonly sized balls (the red one pictured).
2. Polymer Clay in various colors. I used FIMO.
3. Thick wire to suspend the rabbit.
4. Pasta machine / rollers
5. Aluminum foil
Step 1: Create the Base
1. Remove the metal top from the Christmas ornament.
2. Take a piece of aluminum foil and center the bottom of the glass ball on it. Smooth the piece of aluminum foil all around the ball - removing as much of the wrinkles as possible.
Sit the wrapped ball on the table and adjust the bottom of the foil around the opening so that it does not roll around.
3. Flatten a piece of clay so that it is fairly thin and cut a retangular strip that is large enough to cover half of the glass ornament. Place the strip of clay a little more than half way from the center of the ball (see picture).
4. Smooth the clay around the back half of the ball. Cut 2 slits at the corners, trim off excess clay, and fold over the edges (see picture). Smooth the seams. Cut a straight line at the base and trim the excess clay.
5. Cut a smaller retangular piece and add it to the front. Smooth to blend the clay to the back half of the ball. This will complete the opening of the clay ball. Adjust the opening to the size you want.
NOTE: If you plan to use for kitchen sponge, then make the opening wider and larger than for a small brass sponge or scrubbie.
6. Trim the front so that it matches the back (bottom has clay even all around it).
NOTE: The clay will be baked about 3 times at low temp. The temperature in my toaster oven fluctuated around 220 F. The first bake will be to create a stable round structure, the 2nd is to repair the cuts/tears, and the 3rd is the final bake after the figures are added.
7. Bake for 10 minutes only.
8. Before the clay has cooled completely and while the clay is still soft, remove the glass ball from the clay. To do this, I had to make a cut at both edges of the front piece (see picture). After the glass ball was removed, I took some clay to repair and re-attach the front piece. I put it back in the oven to bake for 5 minutes for the repaired edge.
Allow the ball to cool and harden.
9. Flatten a piece of brown clay and cover the outside of the ball. I folded the piece over the edges slightly. Remove excess clay, smooth and edges.
10. Flatten another piece of brown clay and lay the clay ball over it. Cut a base piece around the ball - the figures will be placed on this base. Smooth the ball to the base.
Step 2: Create the Rabbit
Follow the pictures to create the rabbit.
I used glow in the dark Fimo clay.
Roll small balls of red clay for the eye, and small pink ball for the nose.
For the wire, I inserted it through the body. I bent a loop in the wire then inserted it through the head. Bend the bottom of the wire in an L shape. Add the wire to the base and cover with additional piece of clay. Smooth the seams.
Take some Sculpey Translucent liquid and add shaved pieces of red chalk and mix well. Take a tooth pick and apply to the bunny's face. After creating rocks (in the following steps), add drips of this 'red' blood on to the rocks.
Step 3: Create Sir Lancelot
Take some beige, brown, grey, black, and white clays to create Sir Lancelot.
Follow the pictures to create the bear.
Roll brown clay for head and body. Roll small beige ball and cut in half for the muzzle.
For the body, cut a flattened rectangle piece of white clay and drape it over haf the body. Cut a flattened rectangular piece of black clay and drape it over the 2nd half of the body.
Roll a sausage piece of grey clay for the arms and brown balls cut in half for the hands.
Cut a flattened rectangular piece of grey clay and drape it over the head. Take a strip of grey clay and lay it over the front of the neck and blend well.
Roll a small piece of white clay and flatten it for the eyes. Roll a small ball of black for the eyes and a large ball of black for the nose. Add to the base.
Step 4: Add Bones and Rocks
Follow the pictures to create the bones and rocks.
Roll small sausages of glow in the dark clay. Roll the middle of the sausage between your fingers so that both ends of the clay is larger than the middle.
Take a small ball tool and press indentations to either ends of the bone. I used an exacto knife and gently ran some lines along the bones for texture.
Roll a small ball of clay for the head. Pinch a piece of clay for the chin. Take a ball tool and press indentation for the eyes and the nose. Use an exacto knife to create indentation for the teeth.
Add the bones and the skull to the base.
Take some granite colored clay and roll into ball. Flatten some areas slightly to create the look of rocks. Add the rocks to the base.
Mix some red chalk with translucent liquid clay. Take a toothpick and splash some of the liquid on to the rocks for blood.
Bake according to directions and varnish with Varathane Polyurethane High Gloss varnish.
Step 5: Hobbit House
The Hobbit House was the original idea for the sponge holder. However, it was too large to house the brass sponge (the sponge would roll around inside). The hole was also too small to hold a regular sponge. So rather than discarding it, I am now using it to hold popsicle sticks.
Follow the pictures to create the Hobbit House and its vistors.