[The DIY Files] dishing it out. spiders and all.

 

Living at home, unfortunately, has proven to put a cramp in my ‘living’ space. Meaning, my usual array of oddball treasures, skulls and bones, and walls of books have remained packed for the most part; hence, the boxes and sterile organization method to madness I mentioned previously. I figured the addition of something on the small side, like this jewelry/knick-knack dish, would add a touch of personality and keep my more oft-worn pieces within reach.

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Materials and the such you’ll need:

  • Polymer clay — I recommend the Premo! Sculpey brand, since it’s both tougher than the regular Sculpey AND bakes to a much more sturdy final state. Instead of the usual white/pearl hues, I opted instead for a matter black color. 1 pack = 2 oz = 1 5 in wide dish.
  • an acrylic multi-surface paint with a metallic finish.
  • a sponge paintbrush
  • an oven-safe bowl or concave object which the dish can be set inside and will be used to create the form.
  • wax paper/non-stick non-porous surface.
  • cutting utensil — a plastic knife, Xacto knife, or blade.
  • stencil, or shape to cut from the clay; this can be a lid from a Tupperware set.
  • rolling pin or round dowel with smooth surface to use in rolling out the clay.
  • sandpaper — a small pack with varying grits is less than $5 at Michael’s.
  • Scotch-Tape
  • thread
  • scissors
  • rubbing alcohol + cotton swabs
  • optional: a clear polymer clay sealant

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1. Unwrap the Premo! clay and begin conditioning (i.e. rolling/massaging/beating to death) the clay in between your hands. Use the warmth of your palms to speed up the process.

 

2. Once the clay has softened enough to be malleable, take the entire lump of clay and place on a clean, texture-less surface. Press down on the ball with the palm of your hand.

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3. Taking the rolling pin, slowly press down evenly across the ball, flattening the clay down. A few rolls, pick up the clay, and turn 30-45 degrees to run the rolling pin across it again.

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4. Keep rolling over the clay until its somewhat round and about 1/8 inch thick, about 5 inches across.

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5. To make the ‘spider web’ cut several strings 5 inches long, and arrange them on the flattened surface. Tape down the ends of the strings to keep them in place.

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6. Use the rolling pin to flatten the impressions of the strings into the clay surface, slowly and putting slight pressure onto the pin. Don’t thin the clay out too much.

7. If there are any additional textures you want to add into the surface, stamp them onto the surface. I added an impression of a spider slightly off-center using a regular rubber stamp.

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8. Taking the Tupperware lid, gently place it over the main section of the clay ‘dish’ — I have the spider slightly off-center, and the square shape’s corners go over the round edge of the clay I’ve already shaped out, but eh…. take your cutting utensil and slice out your preferred dish shape.

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9. Pre-heat the oven at 275 degrees while you take the clay and slowly slide it into the bottom of the shaping oven-safe bowl, gently pressing it to the bottom of the bowl and shaping the dish. Place the bowl in the oven and set a timer for 12 minutes.

**Keep an eye on your dish! I’m not sure if its the uneven heating in the oven, but the clay tends to get easily burned in some spots, and under-baked in others…**

10. Once the dish is baked to your liking (you know, it’s hard as a rock), allow it to cool in the bowl. I generally get through an episode of Downton Abbey and then go back to the kitchen, ha.

11. Pull your clay dish out of the bowl, and using the sandpaper, gently sand down any rough, patchy, or sharp areas. Take notice of the edges of the dish and make sure there aren’t any visible cracks.

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12. With the cotton swab, lightly dampen the swab with some rubbing alcohol and wipe all over the bowl. Front. Back. Side to side. Leave no crevice un-swabbed!

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13. Now, we paint! I used only a single coat of the metallic silver color on my black dish, the impressions of the ‘web’ and ‘spider’ in the dish using cast shadows to give depth.

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14. Wait 1 hour for the dish to dry. Back to Downton we go…

15. Go over the dish with the clear sealant coat as well, so that the paint doesn’t flake off and to keep it from becoming tacky to the touch.

16. Picking just a few of the pieces I constantly reach for, I set my dish on top of my dresser. No more hunting for pieces as I rush out the door!

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So I still have 3 more packs of polymer clay… perhaps more holders are in my future?? Hmmm??

– Nita

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