Clay Time!

Rarely am I so inspired by a blog post that I have to dash out and buy the supplies to make whatever it is that the blog post is telling me to make. I usually just store it away in the ‘one day’ hypothetical drawer, which really means ‘probably never’. However, one blog which dropped straight into my inbox and immediately caught my attention was one from Hobbycraft about how to make air dried clay heart-shaped wedding favours. Here’s the article I’m on about.

For starters, I love hearts. In fact, the boyfriend has positively banned me from buying any more heart-shaped items because I have that many. However, he hasn’t said anything about making heart-shaped things, nor someone else buying them for me (thanks for the birthday present, Grandma). 😉

Secondly, I didn’t even know ‘air drying’ clay existed. This sounded wonderful! I had a bit of Fimo as a child but that’s so expensive, even if you can just stick it in a regular oven rather than a kiln.

Thirdly, I thought they would make nice little presents with personalised or cute little phases carved into them. Or sweet little gift tags.

So, after being unable to sleep on Saturday night because I was that desperate to get started, I went to Hobbycraft on Sunday and purchased a few bits and pieces (well played, Hobbycraft).

Now, I’m thrifty so I decided against the £4 heart-shaped cookie cutters because I figured I could just cut around some of the many hearts I already own. I didn’t own any paint supplies so I had to buy brushes, acrylics and varnish. I lucked out with the paints – 12 tubes for £5 and I’m chuffed with the quality and the colours. The brushes were £2.50 but I’d advise against them as they malt an awful lot so you’ll spend forever re-painting bits after digging the hairs out of the tacky paint. The varnish was one of several so I went for ‘satin finish’ as, well, I have this on my radiators and it looks alright (can you tell I don’t paint in the normal way?!) The clay was on offer – 500g for £2.50 or 1kg for £4.50.

Supplies from Hobbycraft – £13.50 to get started with clay modelling 
The cute little stampers are only a £1 and are the perfect size for this project.

Once I’d baked my cakes (see that blog post here) I set out a marble board, rolling pin, skewer, breakfast bowls, vegetable knife, pizza cutter and cookie cutters. I wasn’t sure quite how fast this ‘air drying’ clay would dry so I had an airtight pot to hand too! (I needn’t have worried!)

The first two attempts I made were for coaster-sized squares which I placed in the bowls so the edges would curl up. I cut them quite thick as I want them to be durable.

I then tried some little circles and a heart which could be made into gift tags:


The clay is really good to work with as it’s easy to mold and cuts cleanly (do I sound like I know what I’m talking about yet?!). The pizza cutter works very well, by the way.

I made a few more bits – it’s addictive – and then left them to air dry.

Over 24 impatient hours later… Some of the thicker pieces are still not set but the thinner, smaller pieces are so I set to work painting them.

Now, I am not a painter. My favourite things to paint are walls because you can just slap it on. Skirting boards are a nightmare because you need a steady hand, which I do not possess. I knew the painting bit would be tricky but figured I’d stick to simple patterns and see how it went.

First, I sanded them down a little to create slightly smoother edges. The Micro-Pedi Man works brilliantly for this if you have one lying around…

After much trial and error, I found it best to paint the letters first (1) and then, when they dried, do the base colour for the rest of it (2), brushing lightly over the letters so the brush didn’t dip into the gaps but did create (fairly) clean lines around the lettering (3).

My favourite thing I worked on was (of course) a heart-shaped trinket tray with ‘Find your happy thought… And fly!’ stamped into it. We went to see Wendy and Peter Pan at the RSC in November so it just sprung to mind when I was trying to think of something to quote (or paraphrase – I can’t remember if this exact line was uttered…)

I chose candyfloss pink (mixed the colour myself as there isn’t a pink in the box) with gold and white accents. Here’s the unfinished piece with what is meant to look like fairy dust… It’s a work in progress!


Here’s one piece I did finish and varnished;


I’m pretty chuffed with it. 🙂

So, there you have it – my first – and certainly not my last – foray into clay modelling. I’d love to do this with my 10-year-old niece when she next comes to stay – she’s ace at art so I imagine she’d love it.