this post is in partnership with sculpey
arlos play kitchen has been one of his longest running fave things to play with (so i’m so relieved because it took me sooo long), so gifting him accessories for his kitchen are always a hit. he has tons of things to cook with but not “serving” pieces, so i thought some mini dinnerware would be a perfect addition to his kitchen, and i wanted to make them all different colors because he loves everything to be rainbow these days.
sculpey air-dry clay has a really easy to smooth texture, and it’s so soft and pliable right out of the package so you don’t have to sit and condition it for a while like with polymer clay. air-dry clay is also super convenient if you want to craft with kids at school or outside since you don’t have to worry about baking it.
and i love that you can work with it like real pottery clay (scoring, adding water, etc)– luckily i did pottery classes a few years ago so i did ok with it, but i think it’s pretty easy for anyone to use! sculpey air-dry clay comes in white and terra-cotta color but YOU CAN COLOR IT too– all you have to do is add oil paint and knead it till it’s incorporated. i would definitely try that next time because it seems even easier than painting.
k now i’ll show you how i made his little mini pottery!
sculpey air-dry clay
fresh ground pepper
household things i used to help make my shapes— empty toilet paper roll for the mugs, food container lid for the diameter of the bowl, small ramekin for the bowl shape, measuring spoon for the spoon
acrylic paint and paper towels (optional)
knead your clay— for the speckle effect, grind fresh pepper into your clay and then roll it out flat. i tried adding the pepper afterwards and it didn’t stay on as well. i’m going to explain how i did each one now!
roll out a long piece that wraps around your toilet paper roll.
slices all four sides as straight as you can and then wrap it around the roll, using your water and a craft knife, try to blend out and smooth where you overlapped the clay.
next, cut a smaller piece for the handle, and using a circle cutter, cut a circle that fits at the bottom as well. using your craft knife, again smooth where you attach both. add a little water and it will help you smooth even more. let dry!
the nice part about the air dry clay is it will allow you to fix up little mistakes while it’s drying, so keep an eye on how it’s looking as it dries and fix if you need to!
no question, the bowls are the easiest to bust out.
again, roll out your clay and use a large circular lid or object to cut your shape out.
find a small bowl you can use as the mold to create the bowl shape, just make sure it’s rounded on the bottom and doesn’t have a lip. let it dry resting on the mold for at least a few hours.
for the spoons, you just need a small ball shape and a rolled out flat rectangle.
roll out the ball slightly, and attach the two.
use a measuring spoon as the mold, shape the round piece on top and smooth out the transition from the two pieces. let dry on the measuring spoon.
once everything has dried (i let them dry for a few days), take everything outside and sand it all down. this step is crucial! it gets everything so nice and smooth. take your time and be thorough, this will also help when you apply your paint.
i decided to go really light with the colors, so instead of using paint brushes i went with a paper towel super saturated in a water (an acrylic wash is just made by thinning paint with a lot of water, so its much more water than paint). this worked really well for rubbing the paint on and helping it look watercolor-y and even. i also wanted it light so that the speckles from the pepper would show through.
you’re also able to wet it and rub it off if you’re not happy with the color. but if you start rubbing one spot and the paints coming off without you wanting it to, just let it dry for a while and move onto the next piece, once the acrylic gets too wet you can’t keep layering it on.
and that’s it! i let them dry in the sun for a few hours, and arlo looooves them!
i love working with polymer clay but sculpey air-dry clay definitely has benefits too, would love to see if you make some play dinnerware!