Craft a Rustic Tray from Air-Dry Clay

Make this pretty tray for fall with air-dry clay and paint. It's an easy and inexpensive craft project for adults and kids alike.  

DIY Air Dry Clay Tray

DIY Air Dry Clay Tray

Handmade holiday decor are usually the pieces that become heirlooms. Make this simple and pretty decorative tray for fall with air-dry clay and some paint. It's a perfect craft for adult and kids alike.

Photo by: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Materials Needed

1 slab air-dry clay
plastic knife
rolling pin
non-stick work surface
platter or bowl in desired shape
acrylic paint in desired colors
glossy, non-yellowing spray polyurethane finish
1" paint brush
100- and 120-grit sandpaper

Roll Clay

Place half of clay slab on clean, non-stick work surface. Roll out with rolling pin to 1/4" thickness in a loose rectangular shape (Images 1 and 2). 

Create Imprint or Design

Use stamps or plastic knife to create a pattern in rolled-out clay (Images 1 and 2). Tip: Clay can also be imprinted with fabric, lace, flowers, leaves, shells, etc. Test it out and, if it doesn't look good, just roll out the clay and try again. The options really are endless!

Shape Clay

Carefully place clay inside a platter, bowl, or plate in desired shape. Gently press clay into the form of platter but don't press too hard or the design could be damaged. Cut rough edges with plastic knife and smooth out with a finger (Images 1 and 2). The edges will be sanded once clay is dry, so it doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage (Image 3). Allow clay to dry until hardened per manufacturer's instructions (usually about 24-72 hours). 

Sand Tray's Edges

Use a medium-grit (80-100) sandpaper to sand rough edges of tray, if necessary. Use a fine paper (120+ grit) for a final smoothing of the edges.

DIY Air Dry Clay Tray Step 4: Sand Tray Edges

DIY Air Dry Clay Tray Step 4: Sand Tray Edges

Use a medium grit sand paper (80-100) to sand rough edges of tray, if necessary or desired. Use a fine paper (120+ grit) for a final smoothing of the edges.

Photo by: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Paint and Seal Tray

Paint tray in desired color with acrylic craft paints (Image 1). Once paint is dry, apply a spray-on, non-yellowing glossy clear finish to add shine and protection (Images 2 and 3). Allow finish to dry before use. Tray is for decorative purposes only and is not food safe. Tip: Tray can be left unfinished and/or unpainted, if desired. 

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