Don’t you just love it when an experiment turns out better than expected? A few weekends back, while tidying up one of those “I don’t know where to put this” drawers I found some gorgeous paper napkins. Ever since, I’ve been racking my brain on how I could use them in a craft project. The print wasn’t suitable for a dreamcatcher. It was too flowery. And then a whole bunch of little things happened at once. I had just baked some clay door pulls, my nails needed a touch-up, the IBC Ceramic Crafts challenge was around the corner, and the napkins were right there. Long story short, those little things turned into these lovely clay-baked napkin bowls.
They look so feminine and soft. I hardly ever make girly stuff. Well, I did when my daughter was knee-high to a grasshopper but that was a loooong time ago.
Anyhoos, you can use any patterned paper napkin to make something similar and they literally take 5 minutes to do. That’s 5 minutes excluding the baking time.
Okay, enough of my waffling, let me show you how I made these clay-baked napkin bowls. But, we get there, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
Towards the end of this post I’ll share what my fellow bloggers from the IBC (Int’l Blogger’s Club) did for the Ceramic Crafts Challenge, so stick around.
What you need
- Pretty paper napkins (aka serviettes here in South Africa)
- Polymer clay
- Clay roller or glass bottle
- Clear varnish
How to make clay-baked napkin bowls
Grab a hunk of clay and knead it between your fingers to soften it up. Roll the clay into a ball and use a rolling pin or bottle to flatten the ball out.
Don’t worry too much about making a perfect shape. Mine resembled a squished blob. As long as the rolled-out clay is big enough to form a bowl.
Embedding the napkin in the clay
Separate the napkin layers. You only needed the printed layer.
Place the napkin face up on the clay. If you want a muted print, place the napkin face down. Gently roll the napkin into the clay. Don’t overdo it. Two or three rolls in different directions are all you need.
Dab a little acetone all over the napkin including the edges. I originally thought the acetone would transfer the image to the clay but nothing happened. Not a biggie, since I was just playing around.
Wet the edges of the napkin and tear them away.
Fold the torn edges neatly around the clay and trim where necessary.
Form the clay napkin over a bowl or just use you hands to create the shape. The first one I made I formed the bowl with the printed image facing inwards. The next one I swapped things around and had the image facing outwards. Both ways will work.
If you want to cover both sides of the clay bowl with the napkin, do the one side first, flip it over and repeat on the other side.
Baking the clay and finishing off
Before baking make sure the bowls are dry to the touch. I have a convection oven so I have no idea if this works in a gas oven. Bake the clay napkin bowls according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Leave them to cool down completely before applying a few coats of clear varnish.
You can either paint the varnish on or use spray paint. Whichever is easier for you. The varnish locks in those beautiful colors and protects and seals the bowls.
What I love about this technique is how you can fold the “napkinned” clay over itself and the image embeds itself into the folds. Something I’ve never been able to do with mod podge.
Plus you don’t have to worry about wrinkles. Well, you do but only when you’re rolling the napkin into the clay and most of them get flattened out anyway.
Pssst, can I tell you a secret? I wasn’t sure what I was going to make for the IBC Ceramic Crafts challenge, so I’m over the moon with how the bowls turned out. Plus I can add another mixed media technique to my repertoire of unique craft ideas.
Have you played around with napkins and clay?
If you like the idea of making clay-baked napkin bowls don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring 😉
What my IBC Buddies did for their challenge
- Sara, based in Canada, upcycled left-over floor tile scraps into a beautiful mosaic pear.
- Rachel, from England, shares a neat tutorial that show you how to paint ceramic Christmas trees.
- Anita, from down under in Australia channeled her inner Steampunk wizardness to transform a bottle into this proud gentleman.
Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.