Hi! It’s Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest. I have a bad habit of falling in love with the most expensive dress on the rack or the priciest lamp in the store. But I’ve heard it said that the smallest budgets produce the most creativity. I can’t always afford to buy the things I want, but I can sometimes make them, right? Recently I saw this quirky little hand dish that I loved, but I had to gasp at the enormous price tag. When I saw Kelly Wearstler’s fabulous name on it, things began to add up. Well, the dollars began to add up, that is. It’s sold out now, so I figured making my own was fair game.
This sculptural hand dish is the perfect size for catching keys or cash on a console table, and jewelry or trinkets on your dresser. It’s easy to make, and a thoughtful handmade gift idea!Supplies:
– Clay (I used air-dry, low-shrink clay that I found at the craft store for a few dollars.)
– Rolling pin
– Craft blade
– Paint brush
– Scrap paper
– Liquid gold leafing in the metal tone of your choice
– Small, shallow bowl (not pictured above)
– Foil or parchment paper for rolling out the clayStep One: Trace around your hand, keeping your fingers together and letting your thumb rest naturally. Extend the edge of the outline on the pinky-finger side of your hand, because you will need a wider shape than your natural hand in order to form a bowl. (See the exaggerated edge of the hand I drew in picture 2.)
Step Two: Cut out the outline of the hand that you drew on the paper.Step Three: Roll out your clay to be about 1/8″ thick. It doesn’t need to be exactly uniform in thickness. Use foil or parchment paper in-between the clay and the work surface.Step Four: Lay the paper hand template onto the clay and carefully cut around it with a craft blade. Then remove the scrap clay from around the hand as well as the paper hand template.
Step Five: Peel the clay hand from the foil or paper and flip it upside down. The side that touched the foil or paper originally should have a nice texture. Use the pencil on the nicely-textured side of the hand to create indents between the “fingers” of the clay.Step Six: Peel off the parchment paper or foil from the clay once again and place the clay hand inside of a small, shallow bowl, pressing the hand gently into the bowl.
Step Seven: After the clay has begun to harden for a few hours, but not so much that you can’t reshape it a bit, remove the hand from inside the bowl and place it upside-down on the bottom of the overturned bowl, as shown in image 7. Press onto the backside of the hand (which is now facing upwards) with a flat object like a book. This will ensure the dish is stable once it’s put into action. Letting the clay dry upside-down will also ensure that the edges won’t crack as the clay shrinks during the drying process.Step Eight: Paint the bowl with the liquid gold leafing. A little bit goes a long way! I used Martha Stewart’s liquid gold leafing and was able to clean my brush thoroughly after working at it for a while with dish soap.
Step Nine: Let the liquid gold leafing dry completely before step ten. Enjoy the beauty of what you’ve created so far, or go make a pot of coffee!Step Ten: Wipe or brush the gold dish with a light coat of black acrylic paint. Don’t allow the paint to dry before the next step.
Step Eleven: Quickly wipe away the black paint before it dries. I wiped mine with a wet paper towel, and then again with a damp paper towel. As you wipe away the black paint, you’ll notice that it remains in the little crevices of the textural surface, leaving behind a nice patina. If any areas are too black for your liking, or if you rubbed off any of the gold leaf paint in the wiping process, simply brush on more of the gold paint. A friend of mine suggested shoe polish to add patina, but I didn’t have any, so I just used the black paint. The acrylic paint works quite nicely, and I won’t have to worry about it rubbing off during use.After the paint has dried, you may choose to spray a coat of clear glaze over the dish, but I didn’t want my dish to be too shiny, so I’m leaving it as it is. Look how pretty it is sitting on top of my grandpa’s old high school yearbook!This little sculptural dish reminds me of all those little clay projects we did for Mother’s Day in elementary school. Only this is way more fabulous. And I’m pretty sure it’s not just that twenty-dollar bill talking!
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson