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Make Small, Think Big

Today I am sharing with you how I made this lentil pendant with pretty ballerina. Unfortunately I can't fire it yet so it is still waiting for its final look.

You need a piece of clay, something to role out the slab (I used this wooden pizza roller), something for cutting out circles out of slab (cookie cutters, any cutting tool can do), some water (of course) and something to curve the slab (I used a styrofoam ball).
Create a thin slab. I suggest not too thin, but as thin as it can be to cut it out and not make tiny details brake while curving, shaping, drying and firing. I guess, it is up to you to figure it out depending on the clay you are using.

Cut out two circles of same size. I used this milk bottle cap and cut with this clay tool, but I'd rather have a cookie cutter of appropriate size :)... much easier.

Remove excess clay around circles.

Make sure you keep the slab fairly moist. I just used a jar lid to keep some water at hand. Take one circle and with moist palm of your hand gently press it around onto the styrofoam ball. Let it leather dry so it comes off without distortion or cracking.

Repeat this step with the other circle as well only you don't wait for it to dry because you need to cut it. If cutting leather hard clay, those tiny details might brake and it can be very annoying repairing them. Much easier done with still fairly soft clay... at least for me.

Make sure you have an image prepared if you are not doing it from your head like I do. Make sure you leave enough clay as a frame around the image to hold it.You'll need it for gluing two parts of the lentil.
You can see it on this photo.
When you start cutting make sure you slant the cutting tool so the bottom part of the cut edge (the one touching styrofoam) is a bit wider, otherwise the tiny details will become even tinier and might not withstand the pressure of everything coming onto it (drying, sanding, firing,...) 

Once you've cut it all you can add some details. I shaped the dress a bit and hair on my ballerina, but if I wanted to add some flowers around the edge or something else 3D it is better to be done at this stage while it has the support beneath.
Now leave it to dry leather hard and then slowly pressuring styrofoam from as many sides as you can beneath it, start lifting it off slowly.
Let it dry some more ( it is counted in minutes because it is very thin). 
This is how it looks once off the styrofoam.
It can be a pretty piece like this too. I plan on making one like this without the background piece from silver metal clay.

Anyway, the two sides of lentil have to be put together. So, cut the edge to be horizontal like I have shown in the photo below, make some slip and glue them together smoothing the edge but being careful while holding it not to break those delicacies you've been working on. Don't forget to create holes. You can do it either before or after the gluing part.
Now comes finale and I don't have it yet, but.... once you bisque it, you can glaze it or cover it with silver clay paste and also put some glass inside the lentil... at least that is my plan once I get that chance to fire it.

Anyway, I would love to see you create something similar and share with us all. Send images to micicart@gmail.com and I'll make a post about your wonderful work and effort on any 3rd Sunday of any month here on BOC blog.
You might want to see the tutorial about lentil beads on Summers Studio blog, with very useful tips.

Wish you all happy claying and stay tuned!


  1. this is amazing.
    thanks for sharing,i made some lentils for Lori this Fall and loved them..you've inspired me to revist that form.

  2. I love your new twist on making a lentil bead--one that is open on one side with an image. Great tutorial. Thank you so much.

  3. Thanks for making what seems like a very intricate process very doable. I may get brave and try it. I hope you'll post a photo of the finished bead!

  4. I've been debating making some lentils once I get started on my beads... this tutorial helps a LOT! Thank you. I have seen them for polymer clay, but the ones I saw were not practical for 'real' clays. Thanks again for educating my muse, so she can guide me when I get started on my beads!

  5. Thanks for your comments! Glad to help and inspire you. You all do the same to me.

  6. That is a fantastic tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Great tutorial, thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Wow....this is wonderful.
    Thanks for the post. This is very inspiring!!!!
    Can't wait to see the finished piece.

  9. Thank you Marti, Raida and Gerry :)

  10. Ok, I'm going to have to try this. I've made lentils, but not open like that. Thanks for the post. The bead is wonderful.

  11. Wonderful Tutorial! Thanks for all the great information. I, too, am off to make some!


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