Friday, April 28, 2017

Monstera Leaf Decorative Tray Made From Air-Dry Clay

Air-dry clay
Rolling pin
Utility knife
Paint brush

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)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Air-Dry Clay Succulent Planters

Air-dry clay
Acrylic paint-gloss finish
Paint brushes
Pencil/ pen or any stamps for making designs

Technique used: Pinching
To shape the clay into the desired shape of the planters shown in this tutorial, pinching method has been used. Pinching is a technique of pushing and pulling on a chunk of clay.
Take a handful of clay and roll into an orange-size ball.

Then insert the thumb halfway into it while use your other hand to cup the ball. Then, start rotating the ball while pinching the clay between your thumb and fingers. What you are actually doing here is making the opening bigger and wider at the same time thinning the clay to form walls.

Continue pinching until the thickness of the wall is uniform around the sides and at the bottom. While pinching, if you feel the wall is too thin at certain spots, place a wad of clay on it and fuse it to the wall using your fingers. The thickness of planter wall should be at least 1 cm. Adjust the height by pinching the clay upward. You can use a utility knife to cut off excess clay to make the rim perfectly round and symmetrical. If the planter is not standings straight, make the bottom straight. If required, smooth out the entire exterior surface of the planter and the rim using wet fingers.

In this project, I used a pencil with an eraser at its one end, to make texture on the exterior surface. You can any tool (kitchen tools like fork, spoon, skewers etc to inscribe patterns). I pressed the eraser side of the pencil on the outside wall of the planter to make a depression. This is repeated to make the desired design.

Dry at least for a week before applying any paint on it. Apply two coats of acrylic paint of gloss finish. Dry according to the instructions given on the paint tube/bottle. Transfer small succulent plants into the planters. (I also made and colored a few lady bugs out of clay for decorative purpose)

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