clay trays for days: how a trip to michael’s inspired my latest d.i.y.

i recently decided to try a d.i.y. project featured on, fueled by the colorful and abundant clay aisle at michael’s. i wanted to work on something that wasn’t too daunting, but would keep me out of the cold for a few hours…. and who couldn’t always use a cute catch-all (or three) to display around the house?

welcome to my teeny tiny brooklyn kitchen, where  a williams sonoma marble cutting board acts as “additional counter space” to display my materials. i chose three pyrex items of various sizes (two bowls and a measuring cup) and three different neutral-toned clays. the first was a metallic copper, the second was a true terra-cotta, and the third was a grayish/marbled textured clay. i also purchased some basic sculpey modeling tools for less than $10… a small price to pay to not have to use my own knives!

the steps are super easy. first i rolled the clays out so that they were about 1/8 of an inch thick. think the size of a  ‘standard corn taco tortilla’ – yes everything comes back to tacos. next, i used one of my sculpey tools to cut my rolled clay into perfect circles, tracing around the pyrex bowls for symmetry:

step three is where the hilarity ensues. i stretched out a bobby pin and etched designs into two out of the three flattened clay ‘tortillas’ (the third, i wanted to keep super simple – i rolled three small bits of clay into tiny balls and fashioned them to the back as mini ‘legs’ so that the bowl doesn’t sit directly on the table but is instead propped a bit higher than the rest.) i digress, back to the designs: full disclosure – i thought they were super cute and i was excited that they’d be a part of my finished product… but in true trial-and-error fashion, i baked them wrong-side-up, so now my catch-all dishes have secret designs on the bottoms that are unseen unless you turn them upside down. #diyfail. there’s always next time?

fourth, i placed my three ‘tortillas’ of clay onto the backs of my pyrex bowls. i pinched the edges of the two largest dishes to create a ripple effect. then, i baked them on 275 degrees for about 30 minutes, and left them out to cool and harden for the rest of the day.

and voilá! the finished product. these nesting dishes would be a great (and personalized) hostess gift, conversation coffee table piece, or even a fun activity to do with kids!

i had a blast working on this, and i’m pretty excited to do it a second time so i can get it right! check us out on instagram and facebook for more inspo, and comment below with some of your own great d.i.y. ideas!

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