Inspired by all the changing leaves of the season, and never having enough little bowls around to drive Mr. Mug crazy, I decided to make these little guys to scatter around the house. If you’ve never worked with polymer clay, usually known by brand names Fimo or Sculpey, it is so fun and easy, bakes hard in your oven and is really a great medium for a little project like this. It’s also easy to find at the craft store or online and is relatively inexpensive. I purchased a large package (1 pound) but only used about a quarter of it for my 2 bowls. I guess you’ll be seeing some more clay projects in future.
The leaves I am using are mulberry. I only know this because Mini Mug had to feed them to her silkworm last year and our neighbor (luckily, or poor Silky would have perished) has one on their front yard.
They are good for the project because they have defined veins in them, that will transfer nicely when pressed into the clay.
There were also a nice variety of sizes so I could choose which worked best when laying into my bowl.
To begin, you’ll knead and roll out a ball of your clay to about an eighth of an inch thick.
You’ll then use your circle cutter to make a circle that will be placed in the bottom of your foil-lined bowl. I used the top of one of those containers you get out of the vending machines with the little toys in them. Mini Mug has about 700 of them around the house. The fact that its yellow and makes the following picture look like a fried egg was completely unintentional.
Now it’s time to start pressing our leaves. I would suggest a gently wipe with a damp cloth before you press them into you white clay. I learned the hard way that leaves sitting in the gutter actually are dirty.
Step 1: Position your leave (veiny side down) on your clay and use your rolling pin to press it into the clay. Start out lightly to get it nestled into the clay and then use a bit more pressure to really get that impression.
Step 2: Gently peel up your leaf. If you’re careful you can reuse it. I tried to not press the stem in (we’ll be cutting it off anyway) and used that to help me lift the leaf out.
Step 3: Cut around your leaf impression and now its ready to lay into the bowl.
Gently place your leaf into the bowl overlapping the bottom circle. You can press lightly to make sure they’ve made contact, but be careful as to not press out your leaf’s detail.
Keep pressing, cutting and laying in your leaves until you have a complete circle.
After a quick once over again with gentle presses to make sure all the pieces are touching, you are ready to bake according to the directions on your clay’s packaging.
Once your clay is baked and cooled, you can remove it from the bowl and then remove the foil off. It should come off easily.
If you are happy with the pure white of the bowl, you can consider this project complete, but I felt a little shimmery copper would add some fall flavor.
I decided to paint the outside of this bowl copper, being careful to not get any on the bottom circle or top edges of my bowl.
I rubbed some paint into the veins of the leaf impressions and then using a damp cloth, I rubbed off most of the paint, leaving the color in the impression only. (Please note the images below show flat baked leaves I made to test the color application, you’ll be rubbing your color directly inside your bowl, as I eventually did).
How much color you rub off is up you. I made 2 bowls, one smaller and darker, with a white outside. The larger of the 2 is copper on the outside, with a lighter touch of paint on the leaves.
Either way, I think they are so lovely. You could also paint the whole bowl copper. Or gold would be nice. It’s your project, and your choice.
Happy Fall to all!