We placed a USArtQuest PrintMaker rubber plate (PrintMaker) on the clay with the design side of the PrintMaker touching the clay. Then, one fairly firm pass with the rolling pin to impress the clay. Just one pass with the rolling pin rather than repeatedly rolling back and forth helps to ensure a crisp impression.
I aligned a metal ruler and Chloe used a bone folder to trim away the excess clay beyond the impression left from the PrintMaker. [Note: The pink striations in the clay are a happy accident that occurred when we rolled the clay out on a teflon mat that we'd used earlier with stamp pad inks. We ended up painting over them for this project, but it's a coloring technique that I'm sure to revisit.]
Next step was to pierce the stems of the ginko leaves to allow for light from the votive to show through. I did this step for this project because it was too fiddly for a four year old, but an older child could handle this well. With the clay laying flat on my worktable, I used the tip of the bone folder to slice through the clay, then gently enlarged the area enough to allow light to pass through.
We positioned the trimmed and pierced clay onto a jar to dry.
Painting was all Chloe's job. This was our color palette: leaf green, black green, and gold metallic.
First, she completely coated the piece—front and back—with the black green. After that coat dried, we added the leaf green accents with a barely wet stipple brush. She barely dripped the brush into the paint, then tapped off excess by stippling onto scrap paper until the brush held just the slightest amount of paint. I did help her judge the amount of paint on the stippling brush. We let the leaf green paint dry before adding the gold highlights. These were added with a sponge brush that had even less paint on it than the stipple brush did.
Here's our finished votive screen. [I recommend using a battery operated candle rather than a live flame.]
Watch for more projects with kids in mind the last Friday of each month. I'll also be sharing general tips and ideas for introducing children to art projects and Creative Paperclay®.