This tutorial is about a decorative tray made from air-dry clay using slab technique. Slab technique can be used to create strong functional or decorative forms of pottery from flexible sheets of clay, called slabs.
Here I am making a monstera leaf tray and you need a sketch of the leaf in a paper. You can either download a leaf drawing or draw one by yourself. Cut out the shape using scissors.
Prepare your workplace by layering a few old news papers on a flat surface (counter top/table etc.) so that once you are done, you can simply throw the newspapers without much cleanup.
Place a sheet of the foil/parchment paper over the newspapers. Take a big lump of clay (around 1.8 Kg / 4.1 pound) and using a rolling pin, hand roll it into a flat sheet/ slab, of at least 1 cm thickness (it will collapse if it is too thin). The slab should be a bit larger than the monstera leaf you have drawn.
Get the cut-out leaf sketch and place it over the slab of clay. Trace around it lightly using something sharp. A wooden skewer/pencil/ tooth pick etc. will do the job. After the shape has been traced onto the clay, cut the clay along the traced pattern using a knife.
Remove the excess clay that just cut off. Now make the leaf details such as midrib, stem, and vein on the clay. You can inscribe this on the clay by making small depressions using wooden skewer/pencil/ tooth pick etc.
The monstera leaf tray is almost ready, just one more step before I let my work dry. I want to make the tray more appealing by bending the edges of the leaf a bit upward. For that, transfer the leaf along with the underlying foil/paper into a 8" wide cooking pan/bowl so that the bottom lies flat while the edges will curve a bit according to the shape of the pan. Allow it dry completely.
Once it is dried, apply two coats of acrylic paint (gloss finish). Dry the paint according to the paint package/tube/bottle instructions. For decorative purpose, a few lady bugs were also made using clay and painted. Glue the lady bugs on the leaf.
(As the leaf is very prone to cracking/breaking, handle it very carefully. If it broke, use an industrial strength adhesive to join the broken pieces)