Friday, November 21, 2014

Clay Leaf Bowls

I have always been a voracious reader and my mantra for everything in life is: research, research and more research. When I was pregnant, I read up every single thing I could about pregnancy, giving birth, complications. When Bubs was teeny tiny and still months away from starting solids, I devoured baby nutrition books and Google-d recommended first foods (Bub's first meal was avocado by the way). I even read reviews about skincare before buying ... sad but true ;)

I digress.

I now add a couple of children art and learning sites to my bookmarks and after spotting this fantastic idea, Bubs and I decided to try making leaf shaped clay bowls ourselves.

You'll need:
A couple of broad/big leaves, preferably with thick veins or interesting shapes
Clay. I used air dry clay from Daiso
Cling wrap
A bowl considerably smaller than your leaf

We went around on a leaf hunt - note to myself: remember to bring a small pair of scissors, I think I butchered some stems trying to pluck the leaves off. The idea is to go for big, interestingly shaped leaves. I wish we could find something similar to maple leaves around our neighbourhood but apart from palm fronds, we found these broad leaves. 

Due to his extensive and superior Play Doh experience, Bubs was given the task of rolling out the clay. Do you usually roll the pin towards or away from you? Hmmm, the mysteries of life.

Press the leaf with the vein-y side down so you'll get nice imprints onto the clay. If you're kiasu like me, I then put the baking paper on top on the leave and rolled the pin again gently to make sure the veins get embedded deep into the clay.

Use a sharp object (like an opened paper clip or a nail) to cut out the leaf shape from the clay. Since Bubs was around, we used a plastic, disposable knife.

Line a small bowl with cling wrap inside it. The smaller your bowl, the deeper your leaf clay bowl will be. A good size that I found was a small Chinese rice bowl - the type that you usually find at restaurants.

Gently push the clay leaf into the bowl, taking care not to crack the clay or smudge the top too much with your fingertips. Remember the veins of the leaf go up.

Let it air dry overnight inside the bowl. The next day, remove the clay leaf from the rice bowl. The bottom will still be damp and slightly pliable. Leave on a piece of paper (damp side down is fine) to air dry.

Now comes the fun part. Prepare paints and decorate to your heart's content.The original post recommended acrylics but since we only had Crayola washables at home, that's what we went with.

We tried to do yellow speckles on red by using the toothbrush method. I'm thinking of getting metallic colours in future as I think they'll pop beautifully against the bright background.

Et voila! The proud artist and his masterpiece. If you want it to be extra glossy, you could get clear acrylic spray to seal it. Do bear in mind that these are not food safe. I plan to use these to keep small knick knacks and other treasures that are precious to a 4 year old magpie :)

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