by Iris Rodriguez
Want to make a decorative and functional bowl but do not know where to start? In this tutorial, I show you how to shape a color a bowl with Activa Self Hardening clay and color with Fireworks Sprays. I found that Fireworks plays well with porous or paper clay. The Activa clay is a nice porous clay that takes pigment inks and craft sprays nicely. I blended together Summer Sky, Danube Blue and Tuxedo Black in Fireworks Craft Sprays. Check it out!
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 Fireworks Craft Sprays. 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 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.
Now we will create a makeshift mold for the bowl shape. I used a small plastic yogurt container.
The clay will stick to the plastic. Add newspaper and tape it down with masking tape. Masking tape is ideal; it’s porous and the clay will not stick to it. We could just use the masking tape, but the newspaper with the tape comes off easier as one unit.
Drape the clay over the container.
Smooth the clay onto the container. Cut the rim with a knife.
Add texture to the clay with a jagged rib tool or another textured object.
This is optional. Wrap hemp string around the bowl, to add additional texture. Allow the clay to dry for one day.
At the start of day 2. The clay will be slightly moist. Because the clay will slightly shrink when it gets completely dry, you risk the clay cracking while the clay is wrapped around the container. Take out the mold while it’s moist. The container comes off easier while the clay is moist; you can maneuver the clay without it breaking or distorting. If you get cracks, wet your finger and smooth it out.
Let the clay dry for another day. 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.
Cut off the help string.
Spray one layer of the Summer Sky Fireworks! Craft Spray. Allow it dry completely. The color will dry lighter. If you add additional layers allow it dry completely before adding more Craft Spray. If you spray too much at once, it will begin to weaken or activate the clay. Also, by waiting for each layer to dry, you can determine the color intensity that you’ll want. Use a heating tool to speed up the drying process.
Spray one layer of the Danube Fireworks! Craft Spray. Allow the clay to completely dry before adding more layers. Use a heating tool to speed up the drying process.
Spray one layer of the Tuxedo Black Fireworks! Craft Spray. Allow the clay to completely dry before adding more layers. This spray will look very dark when wet, but when it dries you’ll get a Navy or Prussian Blue type color. Use a heating tool to speed up the drying process.
Add On Point Glue. Adhere to the silver leaf. 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 sealer like 3M/Krylon or brush on a water-based varnish or polyurethane.
- Craft Mat
- Fireworks! Shimmery Craft Spray – Summer Sky, Danube Blue, Tuxedo Black
- On Point Glue
- Activa Plus Self Hardening Clay – White
- Modeling clay tools – smooth rib tool, knife, textured rib tool
- Rolling pin
- Silver Leaf
- Hemp string
- Wooden board
- Sealer (spray, polyurethane)