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Make an air-dry clay pottery bowl

You need:

Disposable paper bowls, to use as molds
Air-dry clay (you can make 3-4 bowls per pound of clay, depending on size of the bowls)
Waxed paper or parchment paper
Rolling pin
Knife (disposable plastic knives work well)
Small bowl of water

1. Get ready.

Tape a piece of waxed paper to your work surface so the clay won't stick.

Cut a circle of waxed paper smaller than the bottom of your paper bowl, especially if the bowl has an embossed logo which will transfer to your clay bowl. Place the waxed paper circle in the bowl.

2. Roll out the clay thin and even - about 1/8 inch thick

Roll out a circle of clay the size of the bottom of the bowl. Place it in the paper bowl and trim to size with the knife. It should just cover the bottom of the bowl and lay flat

Roll out an elongated strip of clay. From that, cut a ribbon of clay as wide as the height of the bowl. Start with a ribbon 6-8 inches long.

Cut the ribbon into segments about 2 inches long. Lay the segments inside the bowl along the sides. Segments should meet end-to-end, with no overlap or space in between, and also touch the center circle you made.

Continue laying out segments until you have covered the entire inside of the bowl.

3. Smooth the joints.

Dip your finger in the water, and then gently smooth each joint so that the segment lines disappear completely. Do the same with the line between the center circle and the side segments.

If you need to fill in a wider crack, take a small bit of clay and dip it in the water. It will have the consistency of thick glue as you push it into the crack and smooth with your finger.

Wet your finger and run it around the whole side of the bowl until it is smooth and uniform. But don't let the clay become soggy.

4. Trim the rim

With your knife, trim evenly along the rim of the bowl, leaving about 1/4 inch of paper showing. This gives the rim a uniform edge and makes the paper bowl easier to remove later.

5. Dry

You can let the bowl air-dry overnight. Or, you can speed the process by putting the bowl on a paper plate or square of cardboard, and baking in a 100-degree oven for about 45 minutes.

6. Remove the paper bowl.

Snip a slit in the exposed part of the paper rim. Starting at your slit, gently tear the paper bowl down part of one side. The clay bowl should pop out easily once you've freed one side.

7. Continue drying

The outside of the clay bowl will probably still be wet. Continue drying as before until both sides are hard.

8. Fill or sand imperfections

Before painting, you may want to use sandpaper to remove rough edges and smooth bumps. If you notice a crack, you can fill it with wet clay and allow it to dry. Similarly, if the bowl breaks during removal of the paper bowl, you can fix by attaching the broken edges with wet clay and smoothing.





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