How to Make a Heart-Shaped Clay Rattle

Make a puffed up clay rattle decorated with stamped clay and a glaze of your choice.

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Materials and Tools:

stoneware clay
wire clay cutter
slab roller or rolling pin
heart-shaped cookie cutter
pieces of fired clay
straw
stilts
electric kiln
drinking straw
scoring rib
water
stamp
glaze

Steps: 

1. Cut a 1-inch slice of clay from a stoneware clay brick.

2. Roll out the slice on a slab roller or with a rolling pin.

3. Cut two hearts from the clay with the heart-shaped cookie cutter.

4. "Puff" the heart by gently shaping and stretching the clay with your fingers.

5. Score the inside of the heart edges using a scoring rib and moisten with water.

6. Press the outside edges gently together, smoothing with your fingers.

7. Insert a drinking straw into the bottom and seal the clay around the straw.

8. Gently blow into the straw to puff the heart out more. Remove the straw.

9. Insert tiny balls or pieces of fired clay inside the heart and seal up most of the hole made by the straw. Note: Leave a small hole for air to escape during firing.

10. Roll out a small piece of clay and stamp a design into the clay.

11. Attach the design to the top of the heart for decoration.

12. Allow the clay heart to dry to the "bone dry" stage.

13. Bisque-fire the heart in an electric kiln. Let cool.

14. Once fired, paint glaze onto the puffed heart clay rattle.

15. Fire the glazed clay rattle on stilts in an electric kiln for the final finish.

Susan Ryles, Atlanta, Ga.
Website: www.susanryles.com

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