Polymer clay is one of the most versatile mediums around, but so many people shy away from it because it looks complicated that couldn’t be further from the truth! We’re walking you through some polymer-clay basics and making some cute trinket dishes in the process! There are so many different colors of polymer clay. Because of the variety, it's easy to make custom shades by mixing and blending colors. To make a slightly lighter shade, add white clay. To make a darker shade, add black. When you get started, you’ll want to warm up the clay so that it’s soft enough to work with. You can use a hairdryer or a heat gun to speed up the process, but you can also break it into smaller chunks and just work it with your hands. To create a trinket dish, we’re going to be using a roller to even out our clay aiming for a thickness of around an eighth to a quarter inch.
A non-stick mat really comes in handy here, but if you don’t have one, you can sprinkle cornstarch on your surface to keep the clay from sticking. Find a bowl that’s the size you want your trinket dish to be, and turn it upside down on the clay. Then just cut around it, like this. Botanical designs are beautiful and timeless and you can use a faux stem, like this fern leaf, to create an impression in the clay. We’ll gently press it down, making sure it has good contact. Now, you can carefully peel the stem off the clay and then peel the clay off your work surface.
It helps to work your fingers around the edges, like this. Don’t worry about perfection here—you're going for an organic look. It’s time to bake! Just place the clay on a tray lined with parchment paper and bake it at 275 degrees for fifteen minutes per quarter inch thickness. After the clay has completely cooled off, you can use sandpaper to smooth the edges and then just wipe it off with a clean cloth. Now it's time to paint the dish. We’re using acrylic paint mixed with some water to get a nice watercolor finish. Using the impression as a guide, just fill each leaf and the stem with color. To add a speckled effect with paint, dip a paintbrush into the watered-down paint and then flick it onto the dish.
Then use the same color mix to paint the edges and the underside of the dish. Another way to add color to clay is with pastel sticks. You just shave the colors you want onto the clay and then twist and fold, don’t be afraid to keep adding pastel shavings to reach the color you’re aiming for. Also, it’s important to avoid working the clay too much here.
If you blend the color lightly, you’ll create a delicate marbling effect when you roll out the clay. After you shape your dish, press some cute little cactus charms from our Jewelry Department into the clay to add texture and a pop of metallic. You can also shape your dish by using a small plate. Just make sure your plate is oven safe. Once it’s baked, sand it and finish it with gold paint! Rainbows are so in right now, so this design is totally on point And don’t feel like you have to stick to traditional rainbow colors. Just choose your colors and roll them into ropes. We’ll be making several rainbows and pressing them into the clay. Then all that’s left is to cut, bake, sand, and finish. That same technique can be altered to make all sorts of styles. Make more ropes, and then lay them in a grid pattern and roll out the clay. This creates a unique look that's organic, yet sophisticated.
Don’t throw away any clay scraps, because everything is reusable! We’re making this dish out of the leftovers from the last dish. Remember—the key to marbling clay is twisting and folding. When the clay is rolled out, the marbling effect comes through. When your dishes are done, it's a good idea to seal them with a water-based varnish. Satin finish gives a mild sheen, and a high-gloss finish leaves a bold shine. Choose whichever works for your dish, but definitely paint on a few coats and let it fully dry before you use it.
And now you're ready to make your own polymer-clay trinket dishes! If you want to try your hand at more clay DIYs, check out our free Clay Creations project sheet— you can find it in the store or online. For more DIY videos and inspiration, check out our YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button. And don’t forget to live a creative life!.