I'm always looking for quick, simple and fun DIY crafts for the home and, ideally, to share as gifts. This year I came across the idea of marbled jewelry trays made from craft polymer clay. Ultimately, this DIY solved two problems: 1) What the hell do I do with all this newly acquired stacking jewelry that I keep misplacing? and 2) What's a useful/awesome/homemade-y gift I can give my girlfriends for Christmas this season (they're all used to getting homemade jars of pickles or antipasto)?
What you'll need:
- About 30 minutes of active time (per set of 3 or 4).
- Polymer Clay (I used CraftSmart brand from Michaels, which is the less expensive version of Sculpey or Fimo) in various colors. I used white as my base color and therefore purchased a larger quantity of white clay. Your accent colors will be used, roughly, in equal parts. I added metallics (silver and gold) to highlight. Optional, small amounts of black clay to contrast.
- Liquid gold gilding (readily available at craft stores, I purchased at Michaels) and a small/fine paintbrush for application.
- An exacto knife or craft knife.
- Oven safe dishes to use as moulds.
- A rolling device (I used a rounded glass jar, a rolling pin would work but I didn't want the clay to stain or get stuck on my wooden rolling pin).
- Something to protect your work surface like a crafting mat or a cutting board.
- Baking sheet (I recommend lining it with parchment just to keep the baking sheet food safe).
What to do:
1. With DIY, I heavily rely on liquid courage (a.k.a. whatever wine happens to be open) and Ferrero Rocher. Pour yourself a glass and raid your kitchen for a sweet treat.
2. Get organized. It's easier to notice if your four year old takes off with the exacto knife.
3. Cut off your sections of clay. Largest pieces used are your base color, in this case white. Two smaller pieces of contrast colors along with the metallic accent (shown gold). The smallest piece for contrast (shown black).
4. Roll out each piece of clay to roughly the same length (about 6 inches, don't be too fussy here, it won't really matter as far as your finished product goes).
5. Twist the pieces of clay together until you have a rope that has doubled in length from the original lengths you started with.
6. Fold your twisted-clay-rope in half and twist those pieces.
7. Rolling the clay in your palms, form a ball then flatten to a thick disc. From here you'll want to use your rolling pin (or in my case a rounded glass jar) to flatten your disc. Roll in various directions until you get your desired marbled effect. If you aren't satisfied with the marbling and feel the colors could blend more, just repeat this step. You'll want to roll to roughly a 1/4 inch thickness.
8. Once you've rolled your clay, select your dish according to size and trim the edges. Keep the scraps as you might be able to blend them later with other clay pieces. Lightly press the clay to the inside of the dish to concave it slightly and then gently press around the interior edges. Make sure the clay is sticking to the inside edges of the dish.
9. Bake your clay inside the dishes to the temperature and time noted on the packaging. CraftSmart was 275° for 15 minutes per quarter inch of thickness.
10. Once your dishes are cooled, remove them from the moulds (mine all came out easily). Paint the edges with the liquid gold gilding. One coat does the trick. Note: I tried with two coats and the gilding became really sticky to the touch.
I can't say enough how pleased I am with how these sweet little trays have turned out and gifting them will be an absolute delight. Be sure to let me know what brilliant color combinations you come up with or if you land on some neat ways to repurpose them!