Take a Container any Container by Rachel Harries


This week I've up cycled a cotton bud container. I've used air dry clay in the moulds as this is more pliable to work with on curved surfaces. Its taken me a fair amount of time and practice to use air dry clay in moulds and initially I had many failures because I hadn't realised my clay was too wet. It's important that your clay is not to sticky or too wet or too dry. I find there is a difference in the moisture levels of different brands of clay. I find a good rule of thumb is if it's sticky just leave it to one side to dry out a little before you use it. It's also important to remember to keep any clay you are not using in a sealed container, I roll the top of my packaging back over and tape it all down to within an inch of its life just to make sure.

I mark around where the lid ends on the container, this is a really important step as it will show you where not to stick embellishments. if you go over this line you will not be able to replace the lid.

I take a lid from an empty thingy me bob I had lying around and stick it to the top of the lid to act as a knob.

I then start making embellishments with my moulds and using adhesive to stick them to my container. You will need to be gentle with your embellishments as they are not set yet. If you are having trouble getting them out of the moulds it could be that your clay is still a bit wet and needs to dry out a little more, if you find you smudge an embellishment while taking it out of the mould don't worry just pop it back in, I kept adding until I was happy.

Once the adhesive is completely dry and the clay is dry enough that it can't be shaped any more, (the clay won't be completely dry until the next day) I then give everything a coat of white gesso and leave over night for everything to dry out thoroughly.

I then start adding layers of acrylic which I spray with water. I dry gently and thoroughly between layers, if you don't dry the layers the paint will mix and you'll end up with mud instead of separate colours.

I then use some water based Bitumen which I spray water on and dry before going back into the odd are that might need a little more darkness to give dimension.

I then go over the piece with Patina Waxes highlighting various areas and adding a little to the background in places too.

and then its done ...

I hope you like this project its been great fun up cycling and creating something I will use rather than pop in the recycling bin.


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  1. What a stunning up cycle, I wouldn’t have guessed what it was previously, what a make over
    Amanda x

  2. Absolutely stunning upcycling Rachel. The rich colours and details look amazing and would never guess what's under it all.
    Fliss xx


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