Wednesday, 22 February 2012

How to make Clay Tools. The economic way!!

If I had a pound for all the things I have lost over time I would be one lucky lady!
 Tools are with no exception they get lost in clay bags, or they fall behind somewhere never to be retrieved, some don't come back from school after lending, others just simply disappear I am sure of it, never to be seen again, just so annoying! Some of course just have to be replaced . Others though are so easy to make at home using everyday objects that can be turned from their real use into a great clay tool. These are my favourites.....
You know the clay slices/garrotas used to slice clay in smooth neat blocks from a larger clay block.
Well these little wooden toggle buttons with their pre-drilled holes and centre inlay make good alternatives to the dowels used in bought ones. I have used a strong florists wire to use with them but in the past I have used copper fuse wire and fishing twine which have also seen the job through.



Simply wind the wire a few times and if the toggle has a
central hole tuck
it in and feed it through the other side to secure it. If not just wrap it round and tie it at the other side.


I am using it here to show you how it slices through the clay. I prefer to use shorter lengths to use on smaller pieces of clay, but the beauty of making your own is that you can choose what  suits you.


Another clay tool I use on practically every piece is probably the simplest of all. An old store card or an old credit card (deface the card numbers prior, you never know) cut the cards with different edges to smooth, drag, or score the clay before fixing and using clay slip.
My favourite one is the nectar card the curved shape of it is just brilliant for smoothing out the insides of pots and bird feeders and the straight edge is also good for cutting small slabs of clay.

Top Tip!!!
I recently made a load of these clay smoothers for the  children at school to use with their clay projects. But instead of using store cards I used the backs of old sketchbooks, the ones that have a firm plastic type backing. It worked just as well and I was also able to make them larger to use with both hands.
If you have any ideas you would like to share about your
own tools and if you are able to make them. Please feel free to comment
xx

16 comments:

  1. These are fantastic clay tool ideas!! I have taught clay for years in US public school. I have always hated the clay wires on the little piece of wood peg.

    Thanks for sharing! Great blog too!

    Linda

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  2. I just love your blog! I live in texas and do mosaic stained glass and succulent container gardens to sell at shows. But very interested in doing some things in clay, like clay hanging pockets for my succulents. You post some really helpful tips. Your blog will definatley be bookmarked! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    ~Barbara Spencer

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm glad you like my blog. Good luck with the shows!
      xx

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  3. But where do you get those wooden thingies?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi lily,
      They are toggles (buttons from duffel coats) try your nearest habidashery department they should have them
      Xx

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    2. You could also use wooden doles.

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    3. duffle coats are likely "P" coats in America. The toggles are really just buttons. Try the thrift shops. You can buy the buttons at a sewing store. Likely more expensive than the cut off wires made for ceramics. I bet any large button with at least 2 holes in it would work. anything for your hands to comfortably hold without the wire slipping off or being wrapped around your hands. I am going to try the heavy nylon fishing line suggestion. The wires get kinked. I will make a few shorter ones too so I dont have to wrap them around my hand to make them a good length to cut pots off the bat after throwing.

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    4. you can use anything
      eg: bend spoon n have it as a handle.
      or you can use your creativity a bit!

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  4. Great ideas! I was inspired by your creativity and am making my own dotting tools out of clay and the ends of pins. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh that sounds interesting, everyday things make the best tools.
      x

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  5. I went to a big box store and they gave me a big box of expired gift cards for free. I use them for making ribs and texture templates.

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  6. you could punch a hole in each and keep them on a ring.

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  7. very good your idea
    I use an old toothbrush to make the lines of the trunk of the tree or orange peel
    buttons in different sizes to reflect the circles clay
    plastic straws to which we drink the juice to make the hole from which passes the cord for jewelery
    What we Lyon garlic to make hair in angels or little girl

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  8. I cut up plastic placemats from the dollar store. Works great! Thanks for sharing the ideas.

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  9. How to make those teeny tiny tipped ball point tools. You know the ones that are a stick with a ball at the end. I only can find the bigger ones. I can't find those tiny ones that make all the coolest things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe try the nail polish section?

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