I’m loving pandas right now. I’d quite like to make a panda cushion actually… but perhaps I’m too old to have pandas on my sofa (am I? probably). I’m definitely too old to be wearing anything with pandas on it. So for now I thought I’d stick to a nice pair of clay panda plates to hold trinkets and jewels. These are made from air-dry clay which is so easy to work with and when done right looks just like normal clay. Bear (panda bear) in mind that the clay will take a couple of days to set. It is also not as hardy as real clay and certainly won’t survive any contact with water. I mean, its air-dry… so… that’s obvious, right?!
For 2 Plates:
- air dry clay (about 250g)
- 5in diameter saucer
- 3.5in diameter cup
- cereal bowl
- sandpaper or emery foam
- black and pink acrylic paint
- Black sharpie
- Varnish (triple thick is the best)
1. Begin by making a template for the clay. Turn the cup and saucer upside down and draw around them onto paper. Add some ears to each circle – I made a little template and drew around it onto each bear for symmetry.
2. Roll the clay out between two sheets of cling film to a thickness of about 4mm. Having it between the cling film is great because you can roll it out without it getting dirty or stuck to the rolling pin – plus you can pick it up and feel the thickness. Remove the top layer of cling film and place your template on top. Cut around it, slowly, with a sharp knife. Remove the excess.
3. Remove the template and place the clay on top of your saucer, with the cling film still attached to the bottom. Press it in place on the saucer and use your fingers to smooth the surface and edges with a little water.
4. Repeat the process to make the smaller bear plate but place the clay and cling film into the cereal bowl to set. Leave for a day to harden in the plate (and bowl) then remove the clay and leave for another day to completely set. You can place them in a warm spot if you want to speed this up a bit.
5. Sand down the bears with sandpaper or emery foam to make sure all the edges are nice and smooth and that there are no clingfilm marks.
6. Make a template for the face by drawing around the cup and saucer again onto paper and sketching out one eye, one eye patch, a nose and mouth. Cut out the eye patch and draw around it onto the clay. Flip it around and draw the other eye. Then cut out the eye and do the same. Use the nose and mouth sketch as a guide and copy these onto the clay too. Draw arches inside the ears.
7. Use black acrylic paint and a fine brush to paint the eye patches, inside eye and outer ears. Paint the nose and inside ears pink.
8. Finally, use a sharpie to outline the nose, ears and add a smiley little mouth. Try to keep a steady hand here… I may have gone a little wonky and mummy panda’s nose went a little thicker than I intended. Oops. Add a slick of varnish to protect from scuffs and stains.
And that’s it! Fill your bears with jewels and tell yourself panda accessories are very grown up thank you very much.