How to make a Lantern/ tea light candle holder using Air Dry Clay
Author: Dana McGorlick-Appelman Date Posted:19 January 2022
All you need to create this stunning piece is Air Dry Clay, clay tools and a bottle!
Step 1. Creating the wall
The first step is to open the clay, place it onto a cutting mat and cut the side off it.
Next, lay your clay slab onto the cutting mat and roll it to a thickness of approximately 6mm (you can use a rolling pin or a drink bottle).
Cut the bottom of the clay with a ruler and a hobby knife, and then measure 85mm from this edge and then cut the other edge so that it is parallel. Cut the side of the clay so that it is at right angles to the long edges.
Next, wrap the clay around your ‘form’, in this case, a bottle. Wrap it around the bottle and mark it where the two edges of clay meet. Return the clay to the cutting mat and cut the clay to these marks. You'll now have a rectangular sheet of clay that will perfectly fit around the bottle.
2. Cutting the pattern
Next, we'll start cutting in your pattern. You can create any shapes you like by using a clay tool or hobby knife to score lines into the surface of the clay, and then cutting them out with a hobby knife. Alternatively, you can follow Mont Marte's instructions by:
1) Marking four bands across the clay measuring 5mm. This will give three spaces between the edges.
2) Then, mark a central line down the clay and mark in an oval shape. Score in lines from the edge of the oval and draw in the oval shapes below the first.
3) Next, Mark in the semi-circular shapes besides the ovals and then score the lines down the clay from these semi-circles. Score the rest of the lines into the sheet and mark in the rest of the shapes.
4) All the shapes have been marked up and can now be cut out with a hobby knife.
Step 3. Applying the clay to the bottle
Coat your chosen bottle with a fine layer of Petroleum Jelly. This helps the bottle to be easily removed later. Wrap the clay around the base of the bottle, and join the two edges of the clay and smooth it with water.
Step 4. Fixing the base
Now, we need to create the base. Roll out another sheet of clay to approximately 6mm. You can then place the clay wrapped bottle onto the sheet of clay, cut the excess clay away and blend the joint smooth with your hands and some water.
Step 5. Cutting the pattern over the join
The area where the clay is joined is blank so the openings will need to be cut into it so that the perforations are consistent around the lamp. Do this in the same way by scoring the shapes first then cutting the shape out once they look right.
Step 6. Final smoothing
Although the lamp is essentially finished, it will need to be cleaned up. Any holes that are misshapen will need to be stretched out. There will also be burs on the cutouts that need to be smoothed. Once your piece has been smoothed out, let the lamp dry for at least 24 hours.
Step 7. Removal
The bottle can be removed by giving it a slight twist as you gently pull it out.
Voila! You now have you've very own handmade lantern. You can also seal your lantern by:
OPTION 1: A great DIY/ Homemade sealer option is mixing PVA glue and water. In a bowl, mix a ratio of 80% PVA glue to 20% water to create a creamy consistency, and then coat your fully dried clay piece, and allow the sealer mixture to dry.
Once you have applied your PVA glue mixture or acrylic medium, you can then apply 3 coats of acrylic paint to seal your work. This is also a great way to apply colour. Simply apply 3 layers of acrylic paint to your dried clay piece, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.
NOTE: These lanterns are best used with a battery-operated candle rather than an open flame. A real flame will cause the piece to burn, so be sure to opt for a battery-operated candle for this.
A big thank you to Mont Marte for this fantastic tutorial!
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