These leaf bowls are deceivingly quick and easy to make. The air dry clay recipe comes together with only a few household ingredients and the finished bowls are pretty enough for gifting.
This air dry clay recipe is a favorite. All you need is cornstarch or corn flour, white school glue, baby oil, hand lotion, and water. Check out the air dry clay recipe here for complete amounts, etc.
Mix your ingredients up and you’re ready to go or this clay will keep in the refrigerator for about week.
Choose your leaves….
Large simple leaves will work best for these bowls. Hosta leaves, oak leaves, grapevine leaves are good places to start. If you don’t have those you can alwasy choose smaller leaves and just layer them to create whatever shape you want.
Grab your materials…
You’ll need clear plastic wrap (like the kind from the kitchen) a variety of shallow bowls, and a work surface. I like to work on old cereal boxes cut open. Then you can just throw away the mess when done!
Make your bowl…
Lay your leaf vein side up on your work surface. Lay a sheet of clear plastic wrap on top of it. Use your hands to smooth out the plastic wrap as much as possible. Take a small ball of clay and lay on top of the plastic wrap. Use your hands to lightly press and flatten the clay towards the edge of the leaf. The clay should be roughly “leaf shaped” when done. A little too big? Feel free to pinch any extra off. Too small? A too thin bowl will be fragile and easy to break. So, if you start feeling like you’re clay will be too thin wad it back up, add a little more, and try again.
Take the the finished clay shape and leaf and flip them over so the leaf is on top and gently peel the leaf off. Lay the leaf and plastic wrap in a shallow bowl to give it some shape. If your bowl is too deep just stretch the plastic across the top and adjust to whatever depth you’d like.
Let it dry…..
This step is pretty quick so your kiddos can easily make more than one. We made one giant bowl and abut five little ones from just one recipe of the air dry clay above.
The amount of time your bowls will need to dry will vary depending on thickness and the humidity in the air. When leaf bowls are dry to the touch remove them from the bowl and remove plastic wrap. Give them another day or to dry completely before painting.
Add some color…
The brilliant color on the bowls above is thanks to oil pastels. These Crayola oil pastels are awesome. You get twenty eight colors for the price of a fancy schmancy coffee. Lightly color on the surface of the leaf bowl. Encourage your kiddos to blend their colors and layer one on top of the other to create more interesting colors. The recessed areas (the veins) will stay white.
Add some color to the remaining white areas using a watercolor wash. Pan watercolors such as these from Crayola will provide lots of colors to choose from at a student price point. A watercolor wash is just a watered down version of watercolor. Encourage your kiddo to get lots of water on their brush and just a little pigment.
Watch the water…
The oil pastel will automatically repel the watercolor and stay vibrant. The watercolor will soak into the naked parts of the clay. Be aware that this air dry clay recipe is made with water soluble glue. Getting it too wet will result in the clay softening again. If this happens isn’t the end of the world. Gently lay the painted bowl back into the same bowl used previously to shape it. Give it a day or two and it will be good as new!
If you’d like your bowl to be waterproof consider spraying it with a waterproofer sealer like this one. Adult supervision will be necessary as these sprays are usually pretty smelly and on the toxic side. If you’re using it to store a ring or jewelry dish it will be fine as is.