Home craft: trinket bowls
Marsha Smith discovers the joy of playing with clay to make elegant and colourful trinket holders.
These jewellery dishes and ring cones are a great, inexpensive gift idea – they are stylish, super-easy to make and the perfect place to keep favourite trinkets. Marbling and metallics are enjoying their time in the limelight right now, but ditch the monochrome and go for splashes of colour, in vibrant hues that will blend well..
What you’ll need
Polymer oven-bake coloured clay (I used 50g packs of Fimo) in white (the main colour), 2 other colours for each item, and black Rolling pin (non-textured), or use a jar or wine bottle with the label removed Scalpel or sharp knife Acrylic metallic gold paint or gold gilding paint Fine paintbrush Ovenproof dish/ramekin
Knead each block of polymer clay until warm, soft and pliable (see note below). Then roll the white clay into two snakes about 1.5cm thick x 15cm long (about 20g clay per snake). Roll each coloured clay into a snake about 8mm thick x 15cm long (about 10g per snake), and the black clay into a 3mm thick x 15cm long snake (about 5g clay). Use colours that work well together once they start to blend. If you are unsure of how they will look, experiment by blending little pieces together first.
NOTE: It is important that your clay is kneaded enough before combining the colours, otherwise it will crack. It’s also important to work on a clean surface and clean it between each dish you make, so the clay doesn’t pick up bits of unwanted clay, dirt and lint, which would make the colours muddy. Combine the medium-sized coloured rolls into one larger roll by twisting them together like a candy cane. Now place the larger white ones on either side of the colour twist and blend them in by twisting and turning them all together. Alternatively, you could layer all four snakes and twist them together at the same time – it’s really what works best for you. Continue twisting and rolling until you can see a beautiful marbled combination happening. Add your black now, wrapping it around the outside of the marbled roll. This will keep it strong and sharp in colour, giving a clean dark streak through the marbling. If you add it beforehand, it will become more grey. Once again, experiment to create new and interesting effects. Using your rolling pin or jar, roll out the twisted colour log so it’s long and flat (approximately 5mm thick). Then roll it up, end to end like a sushi roll. Place side-down so the spiralling faces upwards. You should see lots of colour combinations on top. Press down and roll this out into a rough circular shape about 3-4mm thick. If the rolled-out clay is too thick, it will crack when baked. Using a round item slightly larger than your ovenproof dish/ ramekin as a template, cut out a circle of clay with your scalpel or knife. ( I used the lid of the ramekin.) Carefully place the circle of clay in your ovenproof dish/ramekin. Because it is larger than the dish you are baking it in, it should gently sag towards the base of the dish, creating the dip in the finished item. The curved lip will stop your jewellery from spilling out and create a nice edge that will be painted at the final stages. Bake for about 12 minutes at 130°C or according to clay-packet instructions. Once cool, turn the dish upside down and tap lightly to remove the cooked clay. Leave until completely cold, then use a small brush to paint the rim of the dish with metallic paint. Put aside to dry. If you would like a glossy finish, seal the dish with a glaze – I left mine, as I prefer a matt look. These dishes won’t be waterproof, but you can dust them to keep them clean.
Cone ring holders
With the excess clay, I made some cone-shaped ring holders. Simply roll out the excess into a cylindrical shape and with your fingers flat (creating your own human rolling pin) roll the cylinder back and forth, slowly putting more pressure onto one end until you get a cone shape. Slice the thickest end off so it’s nice and flat and will stand up straight. Round off the top and edges by rubbing the clay with your fingers. Bake for the same amount of time (around 12 minutes) and, when cold, embellish with the gold paint (see inset photograph). I chose to paint the tips and base, as well as adding a few flecks of gold for added interest.
Have fun with different colour ranges and baking dishes to create a variety of results.