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DIY Leaf Print Trinket Dishes

Take advantage of all the beautiful fall leaves before they're gone for the winter and make these easy as pie leaf print trinket dishes.

This would be a great craft to do with kids and give as gifts this holiday season. If you don't want to use them as dishes, you could hang them on the wall as art. You could also poke a hole in them before they're dry and make ornaments or pendants. So many possibilites!

Top two and bottom left are made with DAS, bottom right is made with Creative Paperclay

You will need:

Air Dry Clay - DAS or Creative Paperclay

Beautiful fallen leaves

Rolling pin or clay rolling tool

Wax paper, parchment, or other non-stick surface

X-acto knife or other blade

Bowls in various sizes

Clear glaze or sealant

-Acrylic paint works pretty well as a sealer, but if you think that you might use these in a place where they might get knocked around, wet, or want to put food on them, you'll want to give them a coat of something. I reccommend:

Mod Podge Hard Coat - not waterproof, just a good strenghtening coat.

Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe (safe for the dishwasher, but not FDA approved for food use) - waterproof

Mod Podge Outdoor - water resistant

Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray - moisture resistant, spray on.

Art Resin - waterproof, super glossy, food safe, but using this is a whole other project entirely. Here's a video about how to use it.

A note on the clay: DAS is a great all purpose air dry clay that works great for this project. I also had some Creative Paperclay hanging around, so I figured I'd try that too. Paperclay is a little more finicky to work with than the DAS, but its benefits are that it is very light weight (good if you wanted to make ornaments or pendants instead of dishes) and it can hold finer detail if used correctly. Paperclay can tend to get too wet to hold an impression if you use too much water on it, so I would recommend just using it fresh out of the package and not using any extra water to smooth it out before printing your leaf on it.

A note on the leaves: Make sure you select leaves with a very defined vein pattern on the back. The more ridges you can feel, the more detailed your print will be. I tried printing with some ferns and gingkos, but there just wasn't enough detail. Also make sure your leaves are still pliable. Dry leaves will crumble and stick to your clay. Rinse as much dirt off the leaves as you can before trying to print. If a little dirt gets on your clay, you can try brushing it off with a dry paintbrush, but you can also just paint over it later.

Step 1. Roll out your clay on a non-stick surface. It should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. You can smooth out any cracks or imperfections with a little water if necessary. If you're using Paperclay, don't get it too wet, and allow it to dry a little before pressing your leaf.

DAS air dry clay

Step 2. Place your leaf face up on the clay (ridged, veiny side down), and gently press it into place.

Creative Paperclay

Step 3. Use your roller to evenly press the leaf into the clay. You don't need to apply too much pressure, as you don't want to make your clay any thinner.

Step 4. Use your blade to cut around the edges of the leaf. You can also just cut a circle, or any shape

you'd like around the leaf if you prefer. Remove excess clay carefully.

Step 5. Peel the leaf off the clay.

Creative Paperclay

Step 6. Smooth out the edges using a little water and your fingers or a paint brush.

Step 7. Carefully peel the clay leaf off your surface. You can use the edge of a butter or palette knife to get it going without smudging your print.

Step 8. Place the clay leaf in your bowl. You'll want to use bowls that have a slick, non-porous surface. You can use a little oil in the bowl if necessary, but it can increase drying time and I found I didn't really need it.

DAS air dry clay

Step 9. Let it dry. This can take 24-48 hours depending on the thickness of your clay.

Step 10. Sand off any rough edges that you don't like.

Step 11. Paint! Paint them any way you'd like! One technique I liked was to put down a solid base color, making sure all the vein indents were covered. Once that dries, take a dry brush or sponge with a little paint on it and lightly layer color over the top, leaving your base color inside the veins.

Creative Paperclay
I think this one is my favorite.

That was so easy, and fun! Next time I'm going to try it with some gold leaf!


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