Sunday, December 1, 2013

diy pressed flower pottery coasters


diy coasters

More holiday gifts thanks to early Christmas with my family in Alaska. So in my family while we were encouraged to make lists for Santa and our parents, it was certainly never treated as a grocery list we might get a few things from the list, but there were also homemade gifts and other things off list. I love homemade gifts or gifts off list especially when they hit the mark, so to speak. I feel like it demonstrates how well someone knows you, that they care enough about you to think about it, and most of all it makes you feel like just maybe you are worth that effort. 
Sure I fall back on a gift card now and then as well, but honestly I would rather not. I would even rather do what my husband Johnny and his best friend Jeremy do and exchange birthday hand shakes, which hilariously enough they have found some pretty creative ways to achieve. 
This particular gift I made for my mom primarily. She had these beautiful clay wind chimes in the shape of butterflies, that had plants pressed into them, and were painted blue. When I went to visit them last I noticed that they were broken and commented on it. At which point she shared that they had been a wedding present to them and how sad she was that they had broken. So I decided to make something in honor of them. Initially I was going to try and recreate them exactly, but upon seeing the materials that I had to work with I switched modes for something merely representational. We also had this picture of St. John the Baptist Church in Saxmundham, Suffolk, England made into canvas from our trip to the UK with them a few years ago. We chose this photo because this church was just a few hundred feet from where they lived when I was a baby. We actually had the picture made via Sam's Club it was a great price and the quality turned out great. I was so impressed!

Materials: air dry clay, acrylic paint, flowers and plants, wax paper/parchment paper/saran wrap, something to cut to your shape (cookie cutters, knife, etc), water, rolling pin
The Steps
First I rolled out the Crayola air-dry clay. I bought mine on Amazon because it had the best price that I could find and ended up with way more than I needed. I was afraid that if I went ahead and cut them into squares for coasters, then they would be altered when I pressed the flowers into them so I did it the opposite way around which had pros and cons. One of the cons being that the edges were rougher and I had a much harder time monitoring the thickness of the coasters. I guess rough hewn and naturalistic has become my signature move.
I tried to make the clay approximately a quarter of an inch thick on a piece of parchment paper. Then I took 5 different plants: 2 kinds of flowers from an arrangement Johnny had picked up for me at a grocery store, a leaf from a silver maple, leaves from some vine-like growth cover, and leaves and berries from another bush-all in our yard. Most of them I was able to lay directly on the clay and roll over it with a rolling pin then peel off. However, for some I had to place plastic wrap over the clay. This was especially true for the berries, which I couldn't get out of the clay without them squishing on my first try.
I left the clay to dry as instructed on the container for a couple days. Once dry I painted them with an all-purpose acrylic paint, using a small paint brush. I attached adhesive felt to the base of the coasters as an additional protective measure. I considered applying an additional clear protective coat to the clay but simply ran out of time.