DIY clay bowls take just minutes to make and decorate, which means you can create a bunch and keep them on hand. Paired with simple add-ons like incense, jewelry, candles, or plants they make thoughtful gifts with a sweet, personal touch. Follow these simple directions to make two different kinds of bowls.
How to make DIY clay bowls
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
oven-bake clay (like Sculpey)
acrylic craft paint
clay blending tool (or you can use your fingers)
a variety of small glass bowls
Make a bunch in several sizes and stash them in your gift closet.
Prepare your clay
If needed, follow the package instructions to condition your clay.
Once you’ve warmed up the clay, make a ball and flatten it with a rolling pin on a piece of parchment. Roll to about 1/4″ thick.
Option 1: Make flat bowls with shallow sides
To make a base, place a glass bowl upside down on the clay and trace around the edge with a craft knife.
To make an oblong-shaped bowl, use the craft knife to trace the same bowl a few inches apart and use a ruler to connect the sides. Or use bowls to create the rounded ends and freehand the sides.
To make the sides, use the ruler to cut a strip long enough to wrap around the base.
Wrap the side piece around the base and use the craft knife to cut off any overlap.
Use the blending tool or your fingers to smooth the seams together on the inside, side, and bottom.
If you’d like to make your vessel more leak-proof, roll a thin, skinny snake of clay with your fingers and press into the inside seam. Blend it down into the base and up into the wall.
Preheat your oven according to the package directions for the clay.
Place the bowls on parchment paper on a sheet pan and bake according to instructions.
Make a foil tent to cover the pieces—this will help make sure the pieces don’t brown or burn from the heat.
Option 1: Make shallow bowls
Trace an oven-safe glass bowl with a craft knife.
Press the circle of clay into the bowl.
Use the craft knife to level the sides, if needed. Smooth the edges with your fingers or the blending tool.
Place the bowl with the clay inside on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake according to directions above for five minutes.
After five minutes, remove the bowl from the oven and allow to cool enough to touch. Run a craft knife between the clay and the bowl to release it.
Place your clay bowl back on the parchment-covered tray and bake for the remaining time (according to package instructions).
How to spatter-paint your DIY clay bowls
Use water to dilute a small amount of paint.
Dip the tips of the toothbrush into the paint, and practice your spatter technique in a piece of paper, holding the brush a little above the paper:
- Hold the toothbrush close to the bristles and use your thumb to spray the paint.
- Try pointing the bristles down and tap the back of the brush.
- To make bigger dots, tap the very tip of the toothbrush directly on the clay.
The goal is to make dots of different sizes instead of streaks—so practice until you get the right ratio of water to paint.
Be sure to keep dipping your toothbrush into the water and paint mix. Keeping the brush wet is part of the trick of spatter painting.
You can paint the DIY clay bowls before or after you bake them.
- Paint before baking if you don’t want to wait for it to dry.
- Paint after baking if you want to see how what color the clay is when it dries. You might want to give the bare clay a base coat—just make sure it’s completely cool before painting.
- If you plan to use your DIY clay bowl as a planter, poke a hole in the bottom before baking.
- Use sandpaper after baking to smooth out any rough patches.
Use a little bakers twine to add a gift tag and a little something extra. The gifting opportunities are endless (And don’t forget the card.)
We’d love to see what you make! Take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag @think.make.share.
Note: Don’t use dishes made of Sculpey or another polymer clay for burning incense or palo or for serving food.