Friday, May 20, 2016

DIY clay jewelry trays: mother's day edition

Although Mother's Day was a couple weekends ago, this jewelry tray can be gifted for any occasion for a special lady in your life, or even be used for yourself! I didn't start using jewelry trays until recently. Before, I would just keep all of my jewelry in a little box. It wasn't til I bought a tray on a whim that I  realized how much of my jewelry I wasn't wearing because it was tucked away in a box- out of sight, out of mind. Now I like to keep some things I'm wearing for the week on the tray, and rotate pieces out weekly so that I get good wear out of all my jewelry. 

This DIY clay jewelry tray is so easy to make and is so useful. I got the idea from here, and made one big change- I freehanded the shape of my tray (as I think you can embarrassingly tell, it's a little imperfect). I opted for air drying clay because I didn't want to mess around with baking it in an oven, and risking overbaking it. Also, the idea of just leaving it out for 2 days to air dry while I did nothing seemed really appealing.

Here's the materials I used to make 2 trays:
- 2.2 lb white block of DAS air hardening modeling clay
- Small rubber stamps to create a personalized message (optional)
- Acrylic paint + paintbrushes
- Glossy Mod Podge 

I started out by shaping the trays. While most tutorials I saw used cookie cutters (which I highly recommend and wish I had used), I got cocky with my "skills" (or lack thereof) and freehanded a leaf shape. It turns out clay is a way harder medium to use than I was anticipating. I then used tiny rubber stamps to stamp out a message in the trays, and set the trays on my desk to dry for 2 days. After day 1 I flipped the trays over to ensure the backsides dried properly.

After the drying came my favorite part- painting! I used acrylic paints and small paintbrushes to paint a light blue base with one of my all time favorite designs, flowers with leaves. I think they're perfect for Mother's Day! After the acrylic paint dried, I painted on 3 layers of glossy Mod Podge (with letting each layer dry for about 20 minutes before painting on the next layer) to give the trays some shine. And that was it!

I used some of my ink and nibs from the modern calligraphy class I took in December to make a matching Mother's Day card (note the recurring flowers theme). I initially lettered the words in black ink and went back over the right sides of the wording with gold ink for a special effect. I added watercolor flowers using my new Winsor & Newton water colors and outlined them in black ink.

I always think handmade gifts are the most special, especially when I still have the time before residency starts!


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