Saturday, 31 August 2013

Teapot Magnet

I go to a weekly pottery club called "All Fired Up in Monmouthshire", Monmouthshire being my home county. It's great we meet every Thursday during the school term-time as it's held in a local secondary school.
Due to this we have no access to the kiln during the school holidays and to get my clay fix, I use air-drying clay. Obviously it's not quite the same as real clay but it has some great advantages- you don't need access to a kiln, the results can be achieved much quicker and it's great to use with children. Once it's completely dry, it can be painted with most types of paint, for example acrylic, enamel or emulsion- those little tester pots coming in very handy again.

If like me, you have a lot of friends who positively can not live without their daily cup of tea, here's a great little present you can make for them using air-drying clay.

You need air-drying clay of whichever brand you choose, there's quite a few available, here are two examples:

A cookie cutter in the shape of a teapot
A magnet
A sharp or pointy implement
Something to roll the clay out, e.g a rolling pin (not used for food) or a chunky knitting needle
Possibly sandpaper/emery board

Mini letter stamps are great but optional
A small oval shape cutter is also very handy but not strictly necessary
Varnish if you desire a shiny finish (nail varnish or watered down PVA both work well)

Roll out a section of clay so it's evenly approximately 5mm (3/16") thick.

Use the teapot cutter to cut out as many teapots as you require.
Using your sharp tool or the oval cutter cut out a shape to create a proper handle, make sure the top and bottom aren't too thin.

Using either the letter stamps or your pointy tool write a tea related slogan into the pot.
For example "Time for a Cuppa" or "Stick the Kettle On". Alternatively if you have a steady hand to can paint this on afterwards or leave it plain even.

Left teapot's slogan done by hand, right side using stamps
Now you just have to leave it somewhere safe to dry. As it's quite thin it shouldn't take too long depending on the conditions. I tend to leave it at least 24 hours and turn it over a couple of times during that time so it dries evenly on both sides.
Once you are happy it's nice and dry if the edges are a little rough, a gentle rub with sandpaper sorts smooths it out.
Left teapot, edges are unsanded. Right teapot sanded
Then it's time to get the paints out. The colour and design can be as simple or bold as you decide but I do like to highlight the lettering. Polka dots always look great and blue and white are a classic choice. Once the paint has dried coat in varnish if required.

All that's needed now is to glue a magnet on the back (making sure it's strong enough to hold the weight of the teapot) and you're done!

If you're giving it as a gift a little personalised tag attached to the handle with a ribbon is a lovely finishing touch in my opinion.
Keep crafting in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x

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