Aztec Floor Vase

Made by Fran O’Meara

PAPIER MACHE FLOOR VASE by Fran O’Meara 14 March 2021

Hello Jonni and fellow papier mache enthusiasts. This is my second attempt at papier mache which has taken approximately 8 months to complete.

This is a floor vase. It is now sitting in my family room in a position where you can see it from all angles as it has interesting figures all around it.


I constructed the vase by designing a pattern on graph paper then traced it out onto a large cardboard box pulled apart and laid flat. There were 20 fins to make up the shape of the vase and in the middle was a heavy cardboard cylinder which is 1.5 metres tall (59 inches).

I glued the fins to the cylinder with a hot glue gun all the way down each fin. I then secured the fins with painters tape for strength. I filled in between each fin with scrunched up newspaper with the outside edge secured with painters tape. This made for a very strong block vase.

Fins for the Aztec floor vase
fins to shape the vase

I then used many buckets of Jonni’s amazing Original recipe papier mache clay with the grams measurements which makes perfect clay every time. This was smoothed on all over the vase and I left a hole in the cylinder at the top about 12 inches down to give the vase a more authentic appearance. I stuffed scrunched newspaper into the cylinder and then finished the inside of the vase opening with clay. After finishing the clay I then plastered the vase in joint compound which gave a smooth surface. I then painted the vase in Gesso as a primer.

Applying paper mache clay to a floor vase
Applying the paper mache clay to the floor vase armature.


I decided on an Aztec theme. I then drew Aztec symbols and characters onto the surface. I used a hot glue gun and traced over the symbols with 2 layers of glue which raised the symbols up from the vase. I painted them in gold, turquoise blue and black which are the Aztec colours. I painted the rest of the vase with 2 layers of royal red acrylic paint with a black band.

After completing the symbols I sketched an Aztec dragon called a Quetzalcoatl onto the vase and proceeded to paint the dragon in various acrylic paint colours.

Even though the vase is to remain inside, I will paint it in epoxy resin to preserve it as I live in a tropical climate with lots of humidity.

Happy sculpting

Aztec symbol drawn with hot glue
Aztec symbol drawn with hot glue

7 thoughts on “Aztec Floor Vase”

  1. Oh I love this, fantastic job!! I wish to make something of a similar size but wondered, what are your thoughts on removing the armature once the clay had hardened, do you think it would be possible?

  2. Just beautiful! What a well thought out project! I love how you achieved the raised look of the designs. Very clever indeed!


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