gold-effect bowls,

Create gold-effect bowls

These simple bowls are really easy and fun to make, all you need is a hunk of air-drying clay and a lick of paint. As the name suggests, this type of material will dry naturally, so there’s no need to fire up the kiln! Once they’re dry, paint them in a matte white shade to simulate unglazed fine bone china. Then it’s time for the most important part; a hint of shine! Embellished with gold metal leaf they make a beautiful addition to any room. We’ve chosen white and gold for our colour palette, but as a budget-busting idea, why not leave out the gold leaf and paint the interior of the bowls to coordinate with existing décor? Two-tone and dip-dye home accessories are big news this season, so stay ahead of the trends!

You’ll need:
    • White air-drying clay

    • Round formers (glass mixing bowls of various sizes will work)

    • Flat plastic smoother

    • White matte emulsion paint

    • Gold metal leaf

    • Size adhesive

    • Paintbrushes: flat; soft broad

    • Cling film

    • Petroleum jelly

    • Acrylic rolling pin

    • Scalpel

    • Cutting mat

    • Permanent marker pen

    • Sponge

    • Bowl of water

    • Fine sandpaper

    • Plastic mat

    1. Mark around the former with a permanent pen; use it as a guide as to how deep the bowl will be. Cover the former with a liberal amount of petroleum jelly then lay a piece of cling film over the top, large enough to cover the former, and smooth out the creases with your fingers. Apply another layer of petroleum jelly but evenly on top of the cling film.

    2. Use an acrylic rolling pin to roll out air-drying clay to approximately 6-7mm thick on a plastic mat. Make sure it is large enough to cover the former. Use a sponge and a bowl of water and daub the sides of the clay to stop it from drying out.

    3. Lay the clay on the glass former. It will pucker at this stage but don’t worry. Sponge over a little water and use a flat plastic smoother in small circular movements. Push the clay flat and smooth against the former; it will naturally stretch down the sides.

    4. Use a shape knife to cut away the clay along the penned mark. We created an organic asymmetrical rim on our bowls by spreading the clay out thinly with the plastic former after cutting the excess clay along the pen line.

    5. Make two slightly smaller bowls in the same way and leave them all to dry completely over several days, then sand the surface with fine sandpaper. Carefully ease the bowls from the formers; if they don’t want to come off easily, slightly warm them. The petroleum jelly has a very low melting point so the bowls should slide off easily. Paint the bowls with several coats of white matte emulsion inside and out, sanding lightly between coats.

    6. Use a pencil to lightly mark out the position of the gold leaf. We chose to do broken lines on one bowl, dots on another and dots and lines on the third. Apply the size adhesive to the pencil marks, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Carefully fold a sheet of gold leaf onto itself so that the orange tissue paper faces back and front. Use a scalpel to cut the leaf into small squares for the dots and stripes for the lined bowls. Leave the leaf to dry on the size and use a large soft paint brush to dust away the excess.

    • Use a smooth glass surface as a former, such as a glass mixing bowl. A snow globe also works well as they have a base to hold onto whilst removing the clay.

    • A gentle touch is important when applying gold leaf. Place it gently over the tacky sizing and release it from the layers of tissue paper. If necessary, use a soft paintbrush to brush the leaf down flat.

    • If you’re scared about wasting the precious leaf, try practising on small areas to start with. Once you get the hang of working with this delicate material, you can move on to more complex designs.