by Iris Rodriguez
They say it’s the little things that matter. So one day, I was at my local craft store and noticed the beads were on clearance. How can I pass up this aisle, right? I saw these two large turquoise beads. I got inspired to wire wrap them into a small bowl. I made the bowl using Activa Self Hardening clay, a nice porous clay that takes pigment inks nicely. I decided to use inks that would complement the beads. I used Turquoise Gem, VersaMagic, a stunning turquoise that contrasts nicely with the Crimson Copper and Rocket Red Gold Brilliance inks.
Time: 1 Hour to make the bowl, 2 days total for bowls to air dry
For this project, I used Activa Plus clay. In case you’re not familiar with this clay, I will describe its properties. It is an air-dry clay. It is fine, moist, malleable, firm, but not hard. Keep the clay moist by spraying a little water, which also makes it softer. When the clay is wet, it is a beige like color, and when dry it turns off white color. The rate that it dries will depend on the thickness of the project and room temperature. The drier the room, the faster it dries. It is highly porous, which is nice, because it takes just about any kind of medium for coloring onto the clay, such as Imagine’s dye/pigment inks and craft sprays. For this project, I used pigment inks. Use a wooden board or another non-porous surface to work with this clay.
Condition the clay by wedging the clay or just rolling it around. Roll out a sheet of clay. You can use a pin roller used or use a clay roller. The clay is usually very smooth when it’s rolled out. If it is not, then smooth out the clay with your fingers, rib tool or another smooth-edged tool.
Create a template for the bowl. Make the template out of scratch paper. The template will guide you when cutting out the clay.
Place the stencil over the clay and in a pouncing motion ink the clay with Turquoise Gem VersaMagic ink. Then ink on the Crimson Copper Brilliance ink. Add the Rocket Red Gold Brilliance ink over the Crimson Copper. If you do not have a stencil, you can cut shapes out of paper and place over the clay. The moisture of the clay keeps the paper in place.
Place the template over the clay and cut out the shape. Ensure that you work on the wooden board when cutting out the clay. DO NOT use the craft mat to cut.
Place the bead on the end. Place the circle stencil over the bead and find a circle that fits the bead.
Using the stencil as a guide, cut out the shapes. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for the other side. Ensure that you work on the wooden board when cutting out the clay. DO NOT use the craft mat to cut.
Place the clay bowl into a real bowl or other object and allow it dry for one day. It will take on the shape of the object.
At the start of day 2. The clay will be slightly moist. Perfect time for drilling the holes. If the clay is completely dry, and you try drilling, you risk the clay breaking. Use a small drill bit and manually drill the holes. Ensure that the wire will fit through the holes. Do not use a power drill; it’s overkill and the clay is too delicate. Wipe off the clay burrs with a brush. Let the clay dry for another day. No need to put it back in the real bowl. At this point, the shape will stay in place. To determine if it’s dry, take a look at the natural clay color; it will turn an off-white when dry. Also, if the clay feels cold then it’s still wet. It is very important to seal the bowls. The clay is porous, therefore liquids can weaken or activate the clay. The sealer makes it look purposely finished. You can use a spray sealers like 3M/Krylon or brush on a water-based varnish or polyurethane.
Now that the bowl is completely dry. Time to embellish it. You will need beads, plyers and 20 gauge copper wire.
Cut out about 15 inches worth of wire. Add the bead to the wire, take it to the center of the wire.
Wrap the wire over and under the edge of the bowl.
Wrap the wire three times to secure the ends. Cut the wire.
Now you have you finished your decorative bowl.
- Craft Mat
- VersaMagic DewDrop Inkpad – Turquoise Gem
- Brilliance DewDrop Inkpad – Crimson Copper, Rocket Red Gold
- Activa Plus Self Hardening Clay – White
- Modeling clay tools – rib tool, knife or needle tool
- Rolling pin
- Wooden board
- Large Beads
- 20 Gauge copper wire
- Sealer (spray, polyurethane)