Decor DIY: Brass Urchin

May 13, 2013

Brass Urchins (or starbursts), made popular by designers like Kelly Wearstler and Jonathan Adler, are part of the retro glam trend. They are everywhere these days - invading coffee tables, book shelves, desks, tabletops and even hung up on walls or from the ceiling. I've had my eye on these from Furbish Studio, this from Williams Sonoma and these from Target but couldn't help experimenting on a DIY version. Last Christmas I crafted some urchins out of styrofoam balls and skewers, which worked perfectly as ornaments for the tree. But I wanted something more substantial, so I came up with this version that uses clay. I'm pretty happy with how ours turned out, and at less than $10 for two decorative urchins it was totally worth it! It was so easy - a quick project my four year old and I did together.  If you want to add a touch of glam in your space, get a kick out of making things yourself and enjoy saving a few bucks, give this a try!

1 Can gold or brass spray paint
2 packs mini wood dowels (I got mine at Michael's)
1 small square Sculpey oven-bake clay (any color)

1. There are different tutorials online, but  most of them use either styrofoam or self-hardening clay. While both work just fine, they tend to crumble. My version requires baking the "sculpture" in the oven.
2. Toothpicks work as well, but I prefer the blunt ends of these wood dowels.
3. Follow the instructions on your clay's packaging, since temperatures and times can vary.

S T E P - B Y - S T E P   I N S T R U C T I O N S

M Y   D I Y   B R A S S   U R C H I N S

I can think of a million decorative uses for these little things! How great would they look on a place setting at your next dinner party or wedding? Or how about make a whole lot and turn them into an art installation in your living room wall? I would love to hear how you would use these to decorate your home. 



  1. This is awesome! I've been looking for a DIY workaround and this is perfect. The clay method seems like it makes the urchin more durable, too.

  2. This is another great DIY. I'm excited I found your blog. I really like your style. :)

  3. This is just so awesome! I'm so excited to find your blog (my first time here) You have so many fun and unique ideas! I'll be back again!XO

  4. This is SO amazing! I'm going to feature it tomorrow on my [so cheap, so easy] series. I'll link back to your original post. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. I love this little Urchin craft! Ocean lover :))


  6. Wow, thanks for this little tutorial! I've been searching the web for one of these little spikey guys, I'm so glad I came across your blog for this easy DIY! : )

  7. I was look for this DIY a long time.Thank tou

  8. Just finished mine, you had the best tutorial around! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us, mine turned out great! I ended up using the whole pack of dowels on mine, it made it a little more full-bodied. The clay is an amazing & highly recommended alternative to the styro-foam ball!! Luckily none of my dowels were loose meaning no glue was needed, yay. I simply primed and spray painted. :) 5 + STARS for your tutorial ;)