Basic Clay Casting Instructions
|What you’ll need to make clay castings:
1 or more Rycraft cookie
stamps or paper casting stamps Creative Paperclay®
(a 4 oz package will
make approx. 18 to 24 clay medallions)
Rolling pin or large dowel
Flour (or powder*)
Paint brush for flour
Cookie cutter or knife† to trim around design (optional)
Cookie sheet or drying rack
Sandpaper (140–220 grit) or fine-grit emery board
Optional: Glitter, glue,
varnish, paints, brushes, decoupage finish, sponges or
markers, ribbons, doilies and stiffener, scissors, silk or dried
flowers, and other craft supplies to enhance your claycast creations.
may substitute talc or baby powder for flour; however, if you plan to
use your stamps for baking cookies after clay casting, be sure the
ingredients in the powder you use are non-toxic.
† We suggest either a paring knife, a plastic picnic knife (for children), an X-acto® knife, or a cleaning tool for ceramics.
–– BACK TO TOP ––
|Seven Easy Steps:
1. Prepare the clay:
the package of Creative Paperclay® and break off enough clay to make
one to three castings. Since this is a fast-drying clay, keep extra
clay in a plastic bag while you are working. If the clay becomes too
dry, it will crack or split when you finally trim it, so we recommend
you work on just a few castings at a time. Choose one of the two
methods below to prepare your clay for casting. Note: Do not flatten or
roll the clay too thin, or there will not be enough clay to work into
the fine details of the stamp’s design.
(1) Rolling Pin Method: On
a washable surface or between two pieces of wax paper, roll out clay to
1/8" thickness using a rolling pin. This produces a flat surface on the
back of the clay medallion which is useful for bonding to another flat
surface. Remove the wax paper before Step 2.
(2) Pressed Ball Method: Roll clay into a ball about
1 1/2" in diameter. Slightly flatten with your hand or the bottom of a glass.
2. Apply flour to the clay and stamp:
keep the clay from sticking to the stamp, use a dry paint brush to
lightly apply flour to both the stamp and the clay you've prepared.
3. Stamp the clay:
an even and very firm pressure on the stamp while pressing it onto the
flattened clay. Make sure you press hard enough to get all of the
details of the design imprinted on the clay. Then carefully remove the
4. Smooth the ridges:
After you have
stamped the clay, you will notice that the outer edges of the stamp
left a round ridge in the casting. If you plan to create a shape that
is larger than this ridge or if you will be using a cookie cutter, you
must smooth out the ridge before trimming around the design. Dip your
finger in water and carefully smooth out the ridge. Be very careful not
to accidentally smooth out any of the details of the design. Note: If
you plan to trim closely around the design inside the ridge, you may
skip this step.
5. Trim around the design:
Methods 1 – 3 apply to both the Rolling Pin Method and the Pressed Ball Method. Method 4 applies to the Pressed Ball Method only.
Method 1: Cut out the design using a cookie cutter.
Method 2: Trim
close to the design using a knife or tool of your choice following the
outline of the design. Do not worry about rough edges or trimming
exactly to the border of the design because you will sand it later
in Step 7.
Method 3: Create your own shape around the
design using a knife or tool of your choice. Trim up to 1/2" away
following the general outline of the design, or add extra points or
shapes to enhance the original design.
Method 4: Do not trim the castings. Instead, just leave the edges as they are. This is a good method for children because it is so simple.
Put all your trimmings in the plastic bag to prevent them from drying
out. If they feel dry, sprinkle them with a little water before sealing
6. Dry the casting:
Note: Skip this step if your casting will be applied to unfinished wood.
will air dry in 1 to 6 hours. Drying time depends on the thickness of
the castings and the method you use to dry them. To prevent warping,
dry your projects on a rack or screen which allows air to circulate
under the castings. You can also place your castings on a cookie sheet
covered with waxed paper or foil, but you will need to turn them every
half hour or so for the first few hours. This will allow the castings
to dry on both sides and prevent warping. Although the clay does not
need baking, it will speed up the drying process to place the castings
on a cookie sheet covered with foil in a 200° to 225° F oven. Turn your
castings every 15 to 20 minutes to prevent warping.
7. Sand the rough edges:
your castings are completely dry, sand edges and rough surfaces with
sandpaper or an emery board. This gives them a finished look. If you
plan to apply your casting to a flat surface, sand the bottom of the
casting until smooth. We use a sanding block (a 6" x 8" piece of wood
with 220 grit sandpaper stapled onto it).
1. Apply primer:
thin coat of primer will seal the castings without filling in any of
the crevices and details of the designs. Note: It is important to make
sure your castings are totally dry before priming, or the primer will
seal moisture in and cause problems.
2. Apply paint:
Apply thin coats of paint. Thick coats will fill in the details of the designs and mask them.
3. Apply varnish:
Apply a coat of clear acrylic varnish for strength and durability.
4. Add a hole for hanging:
the clay is still moist, use a toothpick, paint brush handle, or other
object to create a hole in the clay. When the tool comes out of the
clay, turn the casting over, and enlarge the hole from the other side.
This creates an even hole.
If the clay is completely dry, use
the tip of your knife or X-acto(R) blade to "drill" a hole – simply
twirl it back and forth between your fingers. Again, drill from both
sides of the casting.
5. Apply Castings to Unfinished Wood:
(1) Before you apply any clay castings to unfinished wood, make sure the wood surface for your project is finely sanded.
the Rolling Pin Method to create your castings because they will have a
flat back and adhere well to wood (the Pressed Ball Method leaves a
more uneven surface). Do not allow the castings to dry before applying
them to the wood.
(3) Apply wet castings to the wood by dabbing a
few drops of water on the wood and the back of the casting. Then put
the casting on the wood and press lightly on the design to make sure it
bonds to the wood.
If you prefer a blended edge on your casting,
press the soft edges of your casting with the rounded end of a paint
brush, a blunt tool, or your finger, sloping the edges down to the
wood. Dab water on the edge of the casting if it resists blending.
Use a wet paint brush to smooth the area between the clay and the wood. Let dry.
careful not to leave a lot of water on the wood. You will probably need
to allow a day or two for this type of project to dry.
(5) After the clay is dry, sand the rough edges of the castings.
(6) Apply primer, varnish, and/or paint as desired to decorate your project.
6. Apply glitter:
There are two methods for applying glitter*:
Method 1: Add fine glitter to your paint (using an acrylic gel medium if you like), or add it to varnish and brush it on. Let dry
Method 2: Coat
the casting with varnish and/or paint. Let it dry. Then apply a coat of
varnish or paint (only to the areas of the casting where you want
glitter), and sprinkle the glitter onto the wet varnish. Let dry.
In both methods, you may want to add a sealer coat of varnish to hold the glitter on the surface.
*Note: Ultra-fine and fine glitters are not recommended for children.
How to Stiffen Doilies:
If your doily is unstarched, saturate it with spray starch or a commercial fabric stiffner, and block as follows:
(1) Put wax paper on top of a board (styrofoam, corrugated cardboard, cork board, or a padded ironing board),
and tape it down;
(2) Use pins to shape the wet doilies and secure them on the board. Let dry.
Optional: After they are dry and stiff, make them permanently stiff by applying a coat of varnish and let dry.
Techniques for Special Effects
Tinted or Marbled Clay
preparing your clay, add a few dabs of watercolor paint to the clay
ball. Knead it in your hands until the color is blended throughout the
clay. Add water as needed. Note: The color will get lighter as the clay dries.
Experiment with marbling the clay by striping it with several colors.
Don't knead it too much, and see whaat kinds of special effects you can
create. After your project is dry, all it will need is a coat of
varnish, which will help to intensify the colors in the clay
|Rub 'n Buff®
Rub 'n Buff® is a wax-based, metallic finish and is not recommended for children.
method works best with a sponge brush (Spouncer™) or a piece of foam
(you may use your fingertip). With very little Rub 'n Buff®, you can
create a unique patina finish depending on the color of the base coat.
For faux finishes, we recommend a dark gray base coat for silver, green for copper and brass, and dark brown for bronze.
1. Apply base coat, and let dry.
2. Dab a small amount of Rub 'n Buff® from the tube onto your brush.
Replace the cap immediately (Rub 'n Buff® dries very quickly). Dab nto
the raised edgs of the design and let dry.
3. Buff with a soft cloth.
Note: Rub 'n Buff® also comes in a variety of colors
–– BACK TO TOP ––
|Glossary of Termswith Helpful HintsThese terms may appear in our instructions above or in the various clay casting projects we feature each month.
Acrylic Gel Medium:
with paint or glitter before applying to casting. See Watercolors
(below) and Optional Technique #6 - Apply Glitter (above).
paint can be used straight out of a bottle or tube. You may wish to
first coat the casting with primer to seal it. Let primer dry well
durability, it is a good ida to apply a coat of primer to your
projects. Acrylic primers for wood, or acrylic paint, or gesso are
perfect for this job. The primer seals wood and clay from moisture and
adds strength. It also gives your projects a uniform surface color.
The handcast piece of clay which has a design imprint made from the stamp's being pressed into it – the end result of the clay casting method.
As used throughout these instructions and in our craft projects, the word "clay" means Creative Paperclay®.
Crochet Doily (Stiffened):
Crochet these yourself or buy them, stiffened or unstiffened. Refer to stiffening instructions above.
This product can be found in craft stores.
Dry Brush Method:
This technique is described above.
Designed for filing finger nails, a fine-grit works well for sanding clay castings.
Use either spray starch or a stiffener sold in craft stores. See instructions above for stiffening doilies.
patina which has not occurred naturally over time but has been reated
by using a painting technique. We recommend Rub 'n Buff® to create a
faux silver, brass or bronze finish. See instructions above.
See Sponge Brush.
use an ultra-fine glitter for many of our projects; however, since
children tend to get glitter in their eyes and mouths, we recommend a
larger-size glitter for children that is easier to brush off the hands.
See instructions above for applying glitter.
use 5 different glues in our projects: hot glue, low-temp glue, white
glue, tacky glue, and a glue stick. A glue stick should be used only
for paper. Low-temp glue is a must for tulle and safer for children.
Tacky glue and hot glue have the strongest bond for attaching castings
Use either a paring knife, a plastic picnic knife (for children), an X-acto® knife, or a cleaning tool for ceramics
Pure 100% cotton fiber, acid free and non-toxic (click here to order linter in our paper casting kit, refill, or by the pound).
Watercolor markers are safer than permanent markers for children, but colors will run if held on the casting too long.
See: Acrylic Paint, Acrylic Primer, Faux Finish, markers, Rub 'n Buff®, Wash, and Watercolors.
Scissors with a variety of cutting edges, made by Fiskars®.
Papier Mâché Box:
is a lightweight craft box found in most craft stores. You may
substitute a box made of wood, stiff cardboard or even plastic.
Greenish cast to old bronze; all forms of mellowing with age.
For a pearlized finish we used two different products:
(1) Pearlcote™ pearl glaze spray is a varnish-type finish that is
sprayed on after the casting is painted to give a frosty pearl-like
finish to the colors.
(2) Pearl white acrylic paint, when
mixed with regular acrylic paints, softens and frosts the colors you
have painted on your castings. Several brands are available.
Pearls are available in a strand or in a floral spray.
Pressed Ball Method:
See Basic Instructions for Clay Casting, Step 1, above.
Rolling Pin Method:
See Basic Instructions for Clay Casting, Step 1, above.
Rub 'n Buff®:
See Faux Finish, as well as instructions above.
scissors that have a god point and are sharp would be fine to use for
cutting paper for cards or trim. We used 5" Fashion Accent™ scissors by
May be found at craft stores, or substitute a foam brush, a piece of sponge, a piece of foam, or a Spouncer™ by PLAID®.
Spray of Pearls:
Refer to instructions above on how to tint clay under Techniques for Special Effects.
Any type of manufactured trim for clothing or crafts (woven, beaded, braided, metallic, etc.).
will strengthen and protect your projects so they can be cherished for
many years. There are many varnishes on the market. We prefer an
acrylic varnish or polyurethane. it comes in matte (dull), semi-gloss,
or gloss (shiny) finishes -- choose the one you prefer. You can use
either a spray varnish or a liquid varnish which is brushed on. Drying
time depends on the type of varnish, the amound used, and the weather.
acrylic or watercolor paint applied in thin coats. Put a teaspoon or
more of water in a mixing tray, and add pure color until you get the
effect you like.
paints will not adhere to acrylic primer; howver, you can add an
acrylic gel medium to your watercolors so that they will perform almost
like acrylic paints.
For a treasury of clay casting project ideas...
. . . be sure to order our book The Art of Clay Casting.
Cast your own handmade clay castings and create
unique decorations, holiday ornaments and gifts.
to use Rycraft cookie stamps to make charming claycast creations with
the special techniques, complete project instructions, and full-color
photos included in this book. Make beautiful picture frames, tie pins,
wreaths, greeting cards, gift tags, napkin rings, serving platters,
decorative boxes, and much more. The handmade gifts and keepsakes you
create will bring as much enjoyment as the cookies you and your family
have come to love.
Would you like to use OUR DESIGNS TO MAKE YOUR PRODUCT? No problem. Just click here for Information on our LICENSING PROGRAM