So in my must do ALL the crafts frenzy, I came across this tutorial for making marbled ring dishes out of clay. They looked pretty cool and I figured “how hard can it be?” so I decided I would make some of these myself.
I should start out by saying that I have never made anything out of clay. The closest I have come to using clay is playing with PlayDoh. I remember having a PlayDoh set that was a barbershop, where you could squeeze PlayDoh hair out of these little figures that had holes in their heads. Kinda looked like worms growing out of their heads. And then of course you couldn’t get the PlayDoh out of those little holes and you’d sit there poking each one with a toothpick. Or give up and just let it dry and harden.
Anyway, the point being, my experience with clay was previously limited to PlayDoh.
So in a mega shopping extravaganza on Sunday I decided to buy some clay. I bought this exact sample pack of Sculpey clay. There are 12 different colours, each of them 1 oz. It had lots of purple and I like purple.
Of course, I had failed to thoroughly read the instructions in the tutorial, where it was suggested that each dish should include grey, black and a lot of white. Ooops. There was only 1 oz of white and grey in the pack and no black at all. I used up all of my white in my first completely failed attempt, which I won’t even go into here.
Anyway, I figured, what the hell, I will make these dishes without white or black and it will be fine.
I pretty much followed the instructions in the tutorial, substituting whatever the lightest colour I had remaining was for white. I am reasonably happy with the results. I used up all of my clay and I made 4 dishes. Would have been 5 if I didn’t screw up the first one.
I did this on my coffee table with a cheesy Lifetime Christmas movie on in the background. The movie was called Love at the Christmas Table and it starred the girl (Danica McKellar) who played Winnie in The Wonder Years (which shows you how old I am, because I’m pretty sure I was over 20 when The Wonder Years aired) and a guy who I recognized but couldn’t place and he turned out to be Dustin Milligan who grew up in Yellowknife (which is pretty crazy) and was the love interest/friend of Annie in the first season of 90120. Not the original Beverly Hills, 90210, but the new one that came out in 2008 or whatever. Which shows you how immature I am, because I binge-watched the whole damn thing on Netflix not all that long ago. Oh yeah, and the movie also starred Lea Thompson but it took me a while to recognize her, because I was expecting her to look like she did in Back to the Future. Again, I am old.
Anyway, you may want different background noise, or a different movie, or wine or something like that. But for me, it was Love at the Christmas Table. And Fresca.
Here are some of my observations, which might be useful if you’re a newb like me.
You probably should read the instructions. While I’m happy with my dishes (especially the blue/green one), I think I’d be happier with the others if I had more white in the mix, and if I’d had some black. I’d also have avoided some frustration if I had re-read the Sculpey package and baked my first 2 bowls at 275 rather than 200, which caused me to curse my stupid oven for taking longer than necessary.
Before you get going, do search out a bowl that will serve as the mold for your dish. I had only one bowl that really suited, so I had to bake them one at a time. A 6 inch diameter circle is bigger than you think.
When you’re doing the step where you roll the clay snake out long to mix the colours and then re-twist and re-roll it, my advice is to do this until the colours look marbley. I’m pretty sure I did it more than 2 or 3 times.
I probably rolled mine out thinner than 1/4″. Maybe 1/8″ for some of them. They worked out fine.
I used a regular rolling pin. I tried with glass jar but I couldn’t find one long enough and it kept making weird lines in my clay which pissed me off.
When you’ve rolled out your clay, flip it over to see which side you like best and want to be the inside of the bowl. The two sides will look very different, and in my case, there was almost always an obviously nicer side.
You really do need a decent exacto knife or something of the sort. I tried with a standard kitchen knife and the edge was too rough. Be careful when you cut, because if the edges are rough, you will see it. Some roughness is fine, but you don’t want too much.
I used a scrapbooking circle maker as the template for my bowl. It happened to be the perfect size. Again, 6 inches is wider than you think, and I didn’t have much around the house that was a 6 inch circle to use for a template.
When you put your clay in the bowl, make sure you get the edges flat, otherwise you’ll have weird ripples in your bowl. Also, all of mine are a little bit higher on one side than the other, in spite of the fact that I was sure I put them in the bowl evenly. I’m okay with that, but if you’re not, you might want to be extra careful.
Combine the cutoffs from your bowls to make one final bowl. I had enough cutoffs from the first three to make a fourth. Even if it’s ugly and you end up throwing it out, well, you were gonna throw out the clay anyway.
Consider making other cool shapes. I made one using a sort of wavy vase. I don’t love it as much as I thought I would, but it’s still pretty neat. I think baking the clay in an interesting shell or something would make for a cool bowl, especially if you used some delicate, shell-like colours.
Red Sculpey clay likes to release its colour. Which is okay on your hands and table (or maybe not, depending on what your table is made of) because it washes off easily. However, in making a bowl, red takes over. I will probably limit the use of red to a small strip with lots of white if I make more of these.
I used gold acrylic paint (from the dollar store) that I already had to paint the edges. It worked fine. It needed 3 coats. I decided to paint the bottom of one of the bowls gold. It also needed 3 coats. No picture, because I didn’t finish it.
My boyfriend was at work, and I sent him a picture of my creation. He said “what does it do?” So I sent him a picture of it in action.
All in all, I think these are nice. I especially like the green/blue one. I do believe I’ll buy more clay, with a heavy emphasis on white, and make a few more of these.
Back soon, with more adventures in crafting!