Makin’ Lil’ Plates

I thought I would share how I handbuild my Lil’ Plates since so many people have asked.

I start with a block of porcelain clay. I cut off a square about a 1/2″ thick.
Then, I run it through a slab-roller, which is kind of like a pasta maker, to get perfectly flat chunks of about 1/4″ to work with. I use just one piece of wood in the slab roller to keep my pieces on the thicker side.

Bailey Minimight Slab Roller

Then, I smooth the surface of the clay with a flat too.  This also gets rid of air pockets. (Sorry no picture of that).

Then, I measure the squares a little bigger than the final desired size and cut them into squares. (Clay will shrink about 20% between drying and firing in the kiln).
This part is like making a pie crust…roll out the dough and then cut out the round shape.

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Then I stamp the plates with my trusty rubber stamps.
(I am in the process of ordering stamps that are from my own drawings. Flowers, Garden Bugs, Historical Landmarks, & Lil’ Girl)

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I go back around the edges and make sure it’s all straight and smooth.

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Then, I put the plates onto a big piece of foam in preparation to be molded.
Next, I push a 4×4 block into the center of the plate and hold for 20 seconds.

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Then, I carefully lift the block off the plate and smooth any edges or cracks with my finger.

If the clay is soft, I may prop up the edges with little balls of clay.

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Next, I let the plates dry for a week. Once dry, they are considered greenware.

The plates can be painted with glaze at this point, but they are still delicate and likely to break. I prefer to glaze my plates after they have been fired.

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These lil’ babies have been fired in the kiln once and then glazed.
They will get a coat of gloss as well before going back in the kiln for the final firing.
As you can see, it’s difficult to tell what the final glaze color will look like before firing.

Set of finished Lil' Plates

And then, Voilla!
Lil’ Girl’s Garden Plates

{created at Clayopatra Arts Studio in Maple Valley, WA]

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