Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ring Dish Tutorial

Here's a picture of the package I recently sent to my partner waggonswest (hi, Charlene!) in our "Craft This Tote Round 2" swap on Craftster:

It included a morsbag with a wonky house pocket on each side; a fabric basket that I designed myself, a stuffed bear keychain from her wists list, and my favorite, a polymer clay ring dish.

I had been wanting to try making this ring dish for a while, and I needed a small "extra" for this swap package, so it was a good fit. 

I want to show you how I made it, so I took pictures yesterday as I made one for myself (what a good excuse to make one for myself!!)  Here's my dish:

This is most of what you need, starting at the back:  a foil-covered cookie sheet, an oven-proof bowl to use as a mold; a circle template in the size you want to use for your bowl, Sculpey polymer clay, and a pasta machine.  You could do it without the pasta machine, but it's quicker and easier with one!  Be sure to cover the area where you will be working with a towel or paper bag, because the unbaked clay will stick to any sort of finished surface.  I use a wooden cutting board to make my shapes, and it doesn't stick to that.

Start by "conditioning" the clay.  Just force it through the rollers; the first time it is stiff, but after that it goes through easily.

This is how it came out the first time.  Fold it up and run it through the machine a few more times. When it comes out nice and smooth, you are ready to make your dish!

Decide how you want to decorate your dish.  I used a texture sheet for the background design, and a cookie cutter for the heart.

I pressed the texture sheet into the clay before I cut the circle.  I cut my circle using a plastic ring I found in the scrapbooking aisle of Joann's.  The inner circle that I used is 4 1/2" in diameter.

I used a cookie cutter to cut the heart, then I altered the shape with a sharp knife.  I wanted some kind of pattern on the heart, but I didn't like any of the texture sheets I had, so I used the red towel in this picture to press the waffle pattern into the clay.  I just set the heart onto the dish, and pressed it gently around the edges to make them stick together--there's no glue or anything like that holding them together.

I had an old pyrex dish in the cupboard that I used to shape my ring dish.  I centered it upside down, and smoothed the edges down.  Bake it in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes.

After taking it out of  the oven and letting it cool, I made a simple twist of the two blue clays to decorate the edge of the dish.

Since the unbaked clay is stretchy, it's easy to twist and pull it until you get the cut ends to line up.  Then gently press them together.  I just pressed the twist onto the baked edge; I didn't use any kind of "glue", and it stuck on just fine.  Bake it again at 275 degrees for 30 minutes, right-side up, directly on the foil-lined cookie sheet.

After it is cool, it's time to varnish!  I have had this can of Varithane Polyurithane for several years; a little goes a long way and doesn't dry out or thicken as long as you keep the can tightly closed between uses.  One note:  STIR the varnish, don't shake the can, before using it; shaking will incorporate a lot of air bubbles that will make your dish look bad!  I used the plastic spoon to stir the varnish, then I spooned a little into the plastic cup to work with, so I could seal the can shut again.  It takes very little varnish to cover it; just brush on a thin, even coat.  I did the back first, let it dry for an hour, then did the front.  That's all there is to it!

I love my cute little ring dish!!


fiddlegirl8 said...

I love your cute little ring dishes too - great tutorial, Leslie. I admire the way the wheels work in your head - you always come up with great ideas for crafts, and for swaps! So happy I found you (and Susan) a year ago - you are the two who got me to really swapping!!

waggonswest said...

Let me tell you, this dish is amazing. I am so impressed with the braid on the top. You put it together so smoothly I never could find the joint! Thanks again.

Kira - said...

Great tutorial :) Your ring dishes look wonderful!

Leslie Andersen said...

Thanks everyone!

Stephanie said...

Omg I love these!!! These would be great as holiday gifts!!