Create a vintage-style tiered serving caddy, ideal for perching small appetizers or cupcakes on top.
Artist Maggi Kneer of Vancouver, Canada, demonstrates how to make a multi-tier cake plate from clay and ceramic decals.
1. Cut two pieces of clay from the clay block using a cutting wire.
2. Roll each piece of clay through the slab roller to compress the clay and create thin clay sheets.
3. Remove the slabs from the roller and further compress by smoothing a rubber rib over the clay sheet. This ensures that the clay platelets are uniformly aligned and helps prevent cracking.
4. Remove the center post from an antique metal two-tier cake plate holder and separate the pieces so you can work with each cake plate holder as a mold.
5. To make a plate:
- Cover one slab with a piece of fine cotton sheeting.
- Flip the sheeting and clay over.
- Place one plate mold on the clay and scribe a circle in the clay slightly outside the rim of the plate using a needle tool.
- Remove the excess clay.
- Remove the mold.
- Place a second piece of sheeting on top of the clay and place the mold on top of the sheeting.
- Flip everything over so the mold is on the bottom. The sheeting between the clay and mold will prevent the clay from sticking to the mold.
6. Remove the top sheet.
7. Compress the clay into the shape of the mold with a rubber rib. Trim off surplus clay using a needle tool.
8. Cover the clay with sheeting and the metal mold with a piece of plastic and let dry overnight to the leather hard stage. If the clay dries too quickly, it can warp or crack.
9. Repeat steps 5-8 for the second plate.
10. Remove the plastic, sheeting and molds from the plates. Place the mold back on the plate and make a hole in center of the plate so the center post hardware can fit through. Use an awl or screwdriver to make the appropriate sized hole. Check the hole for size.
11. Smooth the edges of each plate with a sanding block.
12. Set the plates aside and let them dry to the bone dry stage.
13. Put the plates into the kiln and fire to about 850 degrees C.
14. Mix glazes according to manufacturer's directions. Strain the glaze powder with a sieve to prevent lumps.
15. Wax the bases of the plates so the glaze does not adhere to the plate bottom. Apply the desired color of glaze to the back of each plate and paint the glaze around the rim. Let dry.
16. Paint the inside of the plate with a transparent glaze.
17. Let plates dry overnight. Put the pieces in the kiln to fire at 1200 degrees C.
18. Cut out the ceramic transfer decals and place them in a bowl of clean water. Slide the transfers/decals onto the plate and adjust the placement of the decals on the plates.
19. Rub the transfers with a very soft rubber rib to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped between the plate and the transfers. Rub them again with a soft cloth.
20. Re-fire the cake plates in the kiln at about 800 degrees C. Let cool.
21. Remove the plates from the kiln and assemble the two-tiered clay cake plate caddy with the metal cake plate holder hardware.