Make tea time and kitchen play special with your own clay play dishes. Today, potter Alisha Koppert shows us how to turn air dry clay into adorable "pinch pot" dishes for imaginary play, or even a special gift.
- Air dry clay
- Drop cloth or newspaper
- Bits of nature to create texture
- Paint (optional)
Ready, Set, Roll!
To begin, roll a piece of clay gently between the hands into a round ball.
Press your thumb into the center of the clay, almost all the way down to the bottom (but not quite), leaving clay at the base, for the bottom of your vessel.
Beginning at the bottom, gently pinch the clay between your thumb (on the inside) and your fingers (on the outside). Turn the clay a little after every pinch to make the walls nice and even. Once you have gone all the way around the base of your pot, move your fingers up a little and repeat the pinching and turning, spiraling around, and around, and up, until you reach the rim.
You can use your fingers to smooth out the walls of your pot, always supporting the wall on the opposite side with your other hand. Repeat the process with more clay if you wish, playing around with different amounts of pressure and finding new shapes. If you angle your fingers and thumb outward as you pinch, for example, you might end up with a plate!
Add the Finishing Touches
Add texture to your vessels with found objects-- pressing leaves, acorn caps, etc. firmly into the clay. For botanical prints, it's best to use strong, well-veined leaves, and leave them on the clay until you are finished with your piece.
Add handles or other shapes to your pieces by rolling a piece of clay between the hands, or pressing out the clay and cutting out a shape. Using a little water, press them onto your piece and smooth the joints. Remove any plant parts from your clay.
Find a safe spot for your pots to dry. Once they are completely dry, you may paint them!
NOTE: Dishes made with air dry clay are not food safe and should not be used for eating (except in pretend play). Children love to use their air dry clay creations for fairies, dolls, and pretend feasts. If you can find a pottery studio where you live, ask about renting their kiln, and you may be able to create food-safe dishes out of potter's clay and glaze!
Thank you to Alisha for sharing this fun tutorial! Alisha is a lover of all handwork, a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling mama of four, and a potter. You can follow her on Instagram @alishakoppertceramics or on Facebook at Koppert Ceramics.