bead & jewellery bowls

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These bowls are made from air dry clay and decorated with watercolour and acrylic gold paint. I experimented with a few different methods, shapes and styles. Some are large and deep for finished jewellery and some are shallow with a spout for beads during jewellery making that can then be easily poured back into their bags. Read on for a step by step and some tips if you want to try it for yourself.

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I picked up the air dry clay from Hobbycraft with no particular project in mind and it sat around for a couple of months. It was £3.75 for a 1kg block and I used about half to make all these bowls. So that worked out at ~16p each. Plus a bit of paint – call it 20p per bowl. Other things I gathered were talcum powder to stop the clay sticking to my hands (something I read online somewhere and it worked really well), a rolling pin, a scalpel, a silicone mat to work on and a round bottomed glass.

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2. My plan was to roll out the clay to ~5mm thick, cut out a circle and mould it around the glass bottom into a dish shape. Then pop it off, put it to one side to dry and repeat – easy!

hmmm, not so easy. It rolled out and moulded ok but it would not “pop off” the glass. It just peeled off the glass and instantly became a flat disk again.

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3. alternative plan needed. I would need to leave the bowls on the glass until dry. many more glasses needed. I ran around the house like a headless chicken, gathering up anything that would do the trick. I found a few things but didn’t want to risk ruining anything so only a few plastic lids.

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4. This set back also gave me the opportunity to try other ways of making the bowls. A few I just moulded by hand as you would generally imagine working with clay. Another method was to slice into the rolled out disk around the edge and then overlap the sections. the fewer/deeper the cuts, the deeper the bowl with sloping sides. Lots of small cuts gives a shallower dish with vertical sides.

5. I thought that moulding a spout might be difficult but actually it was fairly straightforward and just kind of fell into place. Once all the bowls were shaped I put them to one side with the intention of leaving them to dry overnight.

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6. About 40 minutes later I happened to be walking past and saw that the bowl moulded around the blue glass had cracked in half!

7. Of course, the clay would be shrinking as it dried! It was too late to save this bowl but I needed to take the other bowls off the glasses before they also cracked. They mostly popped off fine and held their shape. (now they pop!)

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8. one did crack as I peeled it off but not all the way through so I rushed it to the sink and patched it up in a scene that was not in the least bit evocative of Demi Moore in ghost. Since it was so soggy I thought i’d experiment with dripping and splashing some paint and see what happened. I liked the effect and left it hoping that it would look just as good once dry.

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9. The next day I splashed paint (watercolour) on all the dried bowls and let that dry.

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10. I then added gold acrylic paint to the edges in various ways to finish them off.

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the cracked/repaired/swayzed bowl dried great btw

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the little spouted bead bowls also turned out great

bead_bowls (33) I’m really happy with them – they look good and do exactly what I wanted. They’re all slightly different shapes and styles, different colours and different techniques of adding gold but similar enough to look like they belong together as a set.

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