Home craft: trin­ket bowls

Mar­sha Smith dis­cov­ers the joy of play­ing with clay to make el­e­gant and colour­ful trin­ket hold­ers.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

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

Process

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.

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