Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tiny Polymer Clay Bowl with Gold Fish

Tiny Coiled Bowl with Gold Fish

List of Materials Used:
•Small, oven safe bowl.  The bowl used in this tutorial is a glass bowl from Dollar Tree. They were 4 for a dollar. Size of Bowl: diameter 3 1/2" (88mm) - height 1 9/16" (40mm)
•Strong Polymer clay in your choice of colors - about 3 to 4 ounces depending on size of bowl. •• For this bowl I used polymer clay scraps from white and translucent to a blue-gray to turquoise and a tiny bit of Peacock. All the scrap colors were in the turquoise family and were conditioned separately before beginning the project. 
•Polymer clay safe work surface. NOTE: be very careful with polymer clay as it can damage fine furniture and painted surfaces. A good choice is a ceramic tile, wax paper, aluminum foil, metal cooking sheet etc.  
•Pasta Machine dedicated to polymer clay, Brayer or Acrylic Rolling rod
•Knitting needle or Penni Jo’s Clay Tools•Blade
•Tiny fish mold - I used PJ030 Fun with Dolphins mold but any tiny fish mold would work.
•Mica Powder to color gold fish. I used Copper.
•Your favorite clay tools
•Optional: •Extruder to make ropes of clay, •Chalks •Rubber gloves,  •Paper towels    •Glitter  •Mold 

Basic Polymer Clay Bowl Instructions:
This design was created on the of the bowl.
1.  Collect about 3 to 4 ounces of scrap clay colors that will go together well. Condition each color well before the next step. (see color page)

2.  Chop up all of the colors using a rigid blade. Mix the colors and chop again until the pieces are about 1/3 to ¼ inch bits.

3.  Roll the chopped clay bits into a ball and compress it with your hand.

4.  Using a roller press the ball flat, turning it several times. When the ball is flat enough to go through a pasta machine, put it through, only one time, on the second thickest setting to make a multi-color slab of clay. (Five to Six playing cards thick)

5.  Cut a number of slices from the slab, about 1/8 to ¼ inch deep as shown

6. Roll several pieces of rope, some longer and some shorter. The longer ones will make  larger coils, the shorter ones will be used to make smaller coils to fit around the larger ones.

7.  To make the coils: Roll a slice from the slab into a rope about 1/8 inch thick.

  A.  Begin the coil by curling one end to begin the coil with a tiny curled end. 

  B.  Lay the tiny curl on a surface and, while keeping the coil flay, very gently pull the loose end of the coil around the coil until reaching the end of the rope. 

  C.  By keeping your finger very gently on the coil while wrapping it you will prevent the coil from forming a cone.

D.  Tuck the end up against the coil to finish it.

E. Make a bunch of coils of various sizes.

8.  To pick up a coil, do not use your fingers as the coil can distort upon lifting. Instead, use a scraper or other blade to lift it from the work surface.

9. Beginning with the larger coils press them into (or outside) the bowl.

10.  Cover the inside (or outside) of the bowl with ropes beginning with the largest ones to smaller ones.

11.  Do not overlap the coils but put them next to each other so that they just touch. Don't worry about the little spaces between the coils at this time.

12.  As you place the coils and they begin to touch each other, you can strengthen the contact by adding tiny bits of Bake 'n Bond® or Poly Paste® on a pointy stick or Peej Pick.

13.  Using smaller and smaller coils, fill between the larger coils taking care not to overlap the larger coils. Press gently to your baking form.

14. Fill tiny areas using small slices of rope or tiny balls of clay. Secure with Bake ‘n Bond as needed. Images: top- bowl with coils being added, bottom- bowl ready to bake.

15.  Optional finishing: I molded 5 tiny fish using translucent clay and the PJ030 Fun with Dolphins mold. The fish were molded then dusted with Perfect Pearls® bronze powder. The excess powder was dusted from the fish and then the fish were lifted into place in the bowl of coils. Several dots of Bake 'n Bond® or Poly Paste® were added to hold the tiny fish in place.

16.  Bake following the manufacturer's instructions. The polymer clay bowl can be removed when cool.  Shown below is the bowl in sunlight. It is 3 1/4" (81mm) in diameter.

Finishing. If you have secured the coils where they come together, nothing more should be needed.

Enjoy this tiny treasure. It can hold your favorite earrings, your rings while you lotion your hands, etc. At the office or at work you could hold paper clips, a staple puller, finger covers, a glue stick, thumb tacks, an eraser, etc.

If you want to reinforce some areas or add to the bowl, put the bowl back into the glass bowl in which it was created to support it during successive bakings.

The tiny fish were molded in translucent clay using the PJ030 Fun With Dolphins Mold, available on our website Best Flexible Molds.   I've discovered that, when using most mica powders, they go onto translucent clay beautifully and keep a rich color.

Thanks for stopping by!
Penni Jo Couch 
Designer & sculptor of


Unknown said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. Looks like a fun project.

ggetz said...

Thanks...I saw pictures of people making these in a workshop you did and I was jealous...Thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

zoribanks said...

lovely lovely. I am also retired andliving in Spain, I am originally from Puerto Rico and I loved seeing your craft because right now I have the time and concentration enough to learn and do hand craft. Tell me if the clay that sells for kids is necessarily the one that needs baking. i JUST BOUGHT MODELING CLAY not polymer. thank you

Unknown said...

This is really pretty! I think I'll try it. Thank you for your help and tutorials.

Annamountain said...

Nice one