We’re not too easily allergic to DIYs – but so many of them promise a major mess and minor style points. This pretty project from A Well-Crafted Home is an exception to the rule; the mess is minor and style points MAJOR. Ready your weekend workspace and get the instructions below straight from the pages of A Well-Crafted Home…

Organic in form, these bowls break up the solid lines of a traditional bowl. I love the torn edge; using an unexpected material like air-dry clay achieves this look beautifully. This project is for anyone who is drawn to pottery or ceramics but doesn’t have a kiln. Using kitchen nesting bowls as the mold for the clay, you create a lovely set of layered edges when they are stacked on top of one another.

Embrace the fingerprints and smudges that come with working in clay. These naturally occurring inconsistencies only enhance the uniqueness and organic, handmade feel of these bowls.

Air-Dry Clay Bowl


2.2 lb package of DAS air-hardening clay
1 cup water, in a small bowl
dish detergent
gold leaf, acrylic paint or enamel paint, optional

masking tape
plastic drop cloth
rolling pin
ceramic or metal bowls to use as molds, any size
icing spatula


Tape down a layer of plastic drop cloth to a flat, smooth table. Remove the clay from the package and tear off about half from the bulk chunk. If you are starting with a small bowl, use less. Wrap up the remaining clay so it doesn’t dry.

Wet your hands and knead the clay for about a minute to warm it up and make it pliable. Place the clay at the center of the plastic drop cloth and press it firmly with your palm. Start rolling it flat with the rolling pin, working evenly in all directions. Try to keep it the same thickness throughout as you roll. Stop when you get it to about 3 mm thick.

(To create an oversize bowl, be sure that your clay thickness is at least 3 to 4 mm when rolled out. This will prevent it from cracking when heavier objects, like fruit, are placed inside.)

Put a bowl face down on the plastic, near the rolled-out clay. Roll the clay very gently around the rolling pin, center it over the bowl and unroll it to drape it over the top.

Gently push the clay into the shape of the bowl. Use a little water on your hands, as needed, to smooth out any tiny cracks or uneven surfaces and shape the clay.  You can keep the edges very organic, but you can rip off sections for different effects.

Let the clay dry for 2 to 4 hours. The thicker the clay, the more time it will need to dry. Before it fully dries, remove the clay from the mold: Gently stick a thin spatula between the mold and the clay and run it around the entire form very slowly so the clay doesn’t rip.

Once it comes free, set the clay bowl right side up to fully cure, about 24 hours. Clean your tools with warm water and dish detergent.

You can leave the bowl as-is once dry, or you can personalize it by painting it with gold leaf and/or acrylic or enamel paint.

Reprinted from A Well-Crafted Home. Copyright © 2017 by Janet Crowther. Photography by Julia Wade. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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