How To Make a Clay Imprint

Ever wondered about the process involved in making our splendid clay imprints? If you’ve had clay imprints done at Crafty Monkey, or indeed anywhere else, then you’ll be aware that it can be up to four weeks before they’re ready for collection. Read our step by step guide to find out why!

 

STEP 1

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First of all, gather your equipment. For the first part of the process, you will need:

a. A happy baby

b. Clay

In fact, it’s not essential that the baby is happy, any baby will do. By the time we’ve pressed their little hand and feet into clay, we can quite often transform ‘happy baby’ into ‘utterly bewildered’ baby, but that’s just part and parcel of the imprint fun…

STEP 2

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Cut a lovely piece of earthenware clay with a wire cutter. It needs to be about 2cm thick and around 20cm squared, depending on the size of the child’s hands and feet. Roll it out beautifully, taking care to watch out for pesky air bubbles and general bits of fluff that may fly out of nowhere onto the clay.

STEP 3

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Hold baby in a peculiar ‘Superman’ type position and get those little hands and feet pushed into the clay, taking care to roll up sleeves and trouser legs beforehand. You need to press quite hard to get a decent imprint and although it may look like you’re torturing the poor child, it doesn’t hurt them as they’re being pushed into a soft surface (honest!)

STEP 4

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Check for any imperfections and smooth them out with a little water on your finger if required. Cut the clay into a shape. Most of our imprints are cut into a rectangle with rounded edges, but some people prefer a wavy or square shape. Use a sharp craft knife and finish by wetting your finger and running it around the edges to smooth down any bumpy bits. If the piece isn’t to be framed, then pop two holes in the top using the end of a paint brush so that it can be hung on the wall with ribbon or wire.

STEP 6

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Leave the clay to air dry on a flat surface for around 10-14 days. You can do other things during this time as it doesn’t need watching or petting, it just gets on with its own thing.

STEP 7

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When the clay has lightened and is completely dry, pop it carefully into a kiln and cook it!

STEP 8

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Anytime after it’s been removed from the kiln, it’s time to get on with painting it with pottery paint. This is the real fun bit and you wrestle with trying to get rid of brush strokes and get the colour even all over the prints! It’s a good idea to use two coats of watered down paint and then use a wet, very soft brush to get rid of any brush marks and even out the colour. Do this approximately a million times until it finally looks splendid. Decorate with a sponge border or whatever you require. Use a pottery paint pen to write the name and age and anything else you may want on there.

STEP 9

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Glaze the piece with specialist bisque glaze and pop back into the kiln for the second round of cooking!

STEP 10

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If the imprint is to be framed, then choose a lovely deep set box frame. Cut a piece of thick card and stick the imprint to it using specialist strong glue. When it’s dry, clean the glass of the frame and pop the imprint in and close the frame catches. It’s essential at this point that you undo the frame and do it back up again at least ten times owing to various bits of fluff and streaks on the inside of the glass.

STEP 11

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Pop your finished piece onto the wall, prepare to astound your visitors and lap up all the compliments about your amazing work of art!

See our blog post on clay imprints and plaster outprints.

 

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Pottery painting, fun for everyone!

fun for everyone

Whether you want to create a unique gift for someone special, have a party to remember for kids of all ages, or something a little more grown up for a stag or hen party, then pottery painting is the fun and creative way to mark an occasion. Perhaps you want something fun to do with the kids at the weekend or in the school holidays – there’s nothing to inspire creativity and artistic passion in a youngster like getting hands-on and making something which they can use at home to remind them of the fun they have had.

It’s a great way to encourage kids to get their hands dirty and appreciate what they can do with their talent and kids love being able to paint something different and choose their own design for a piece of original artwork.Maybe you’d like to create a family treat to give to a loved one? How about a hand painted plate or bowl with a contribution from everyone in the family, whether that’s a personalized message or a tiny hand print. It’s definitely a great way to commemorate a special occasion and create a piece of original art work which is sure to provide years of pleasure and provide wonderful memories for everyone involved.

So why not let loose and try some pottery painting – it’s a great way free the inner child in anyone and an opportunity to add a fantastically unique piece of crockery to your collection. You can paint a pattern, write something special or just go crazy and create something which reminds you of how fun it is to express yourself artistically.

To book with us at Crafty Monkey call-01480 219222

Round up the Mums for Fathers Day!

Did you know that if you come along to Crafty Monkey in a group of at least six mums and tots, you’ll all get a free studio fee? Lots of people take advantage of this offer and we’ve had many NCT groups and gatherings of friends who all have children and want to come and get Crafty together while saving money.

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There are two occasions in the year when this offer is especially popular to get making special gifts– Father’s Day and Christmas. If you don’t fancy tackling the Christmas list just yet, then why not come along and make something lovely for the daddies? And don’t forget to make a giant mug or a beer tankard for the grandads (especially if it’s their first Father’s Day as a grandparent!)

There’s loads to choose from and we’re experts at getting those clenched fists and wriggly little toes onto pottery! If you have slightly older children- they may want to paint Daddy a mug or a plate all by themselves.

If you want to take advantage of this great offer then round up your pals. agree a date and then give us a call to book your group in on 01480219222

International Children’s Book day – 2nd April

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Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, 2nd April, International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.

At Crafty Monkey we think that is a fabulous idea and know many of our younger customers enjoy book week at school.

To encourage your child’s love of reading why not bring them along to paint their favourite character onto a plate, mug or practically anything. Children can either use their imaginations to make their characters come to life or we can help and show you how you can replicate an image from a book onto a piece of pottery it is a very easy process with amazing results. Come and try it for yourself.

Find out more about the day on the ICBD website.

Spring brings new life

 

Lots going on at Crafty Monkey at the moment, not only is it Easter Holidays – Yipee!  (We love a busy studio and seeing all our lovely customers and meeting new one’s) – but we have a couple of fabulous new members on the team who have been picking up the ropes and have brought with them buckets full of creative and arty talents! We do have other new developments too – we have finally pulled our fingers out and started an Etsy shop, it’s early days and we’ve only added a few things at the moment but we’ll be adding new things all the time so please do visit again.  Also we will shortly be introducing a whole new line of items – I can’t tell you just yet what they are but we have been getting crafty and creative and are pretty excited so watch this space!

We’ve also been freshening up a few of our social media headers – well at the moment we’ve just done the Facebook Page one, let us know what you think!

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But that’s not all, we are finally, after so many of you have requested it, going to bring back art and craft workshops for kids and also for adults so keep your eyes peeled for these. The workshops will cover all sorts of arts and crafts.  Probably the best way to find out about these is to like us on Facebook and subscribe to our mailing list (look to your top right and you should see the subscribe box to pop your email into). If you have any ideas of workshops you would like us to put on then please do not hesitate to let us know.

Right, we better head off as lots to do but will be in touch with exciting new developments soon so stay tuned!

 

Treasure the Tiny Hands and Feet of Your New Little Life!

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Spring is in the air (kind of !) and it’s this time of year when we look forward to seeing baby lambs and chicks are popping up left right and centre! At Crafty Monkey, we’re more than familiar with the wonder of new life as we have so many brand new little babies coming to see us.

One of the most popular keepsake choices for new parents (and gifts for their family and friends) are imprints and outprints. If you’re not familiar with these, then come by and take a look at our examples as we’ll sure you’ll be impressed. They can be presented framed and ready to hang or unframed to pop on a stand on your mantelpiece for all to admire!

Give us a call on 01480219222 to find out how you can bring your new little life’s hands and feet to life!

Olympic Fever and how a local school has commemorated it!

Olympic tiles

What an awesome Olympics London 2012 is proving to be!  Not only have we managed to build an impressive Olympic Park which hopefully does it’s bit for urban regeneration in the East of London, but we put on a pretty awesome Opening Ceremony which kicked off the games in great style.

As if that was not enough, Team GB has definitely done us proud and seem to be storming many different sports picking up all colours of medals left right and centre in sports where GB traditionally are not strong.  It’s also a great feeling to know many of the medalists are from our region and even from our town – Well done Robbie Grabarz from St. Neots who took Bronze in the High Jump and Louis Smith from Huntingdon who was so so close to the gold but graciously took a silver medal for the Pummel Horse.

We have also seen some other awesome GB athletes that really do make you feel proud that they are British.  Two ladies that stood out to me, both gaining gold and making Olympic history are Nicola Adams, the first ever Gold for Women’s Boxing and Jade Jones who did a sterling job of scooping gold for Taekwondo – both girls came across so graciously, such lovely girls and they really deserve their medals!

Well done Team GB – you rock and have made us proud!

It was also great watching Bolt get the 200m – it seemed the whole stadium temporarily changed their nationality to Jamaican for that 19 seconds!

So…

One way a local school got their pupils excited about the impending Olympics while also marking this momentus occasions os London 2012 was by painting a tile mural which will become a permanent feature of the school.

The younger children were given a country who are taking part in the Olympics and the older children were given an Olympic sport.  The children then went onto drawing their design on a piece of paper.

Crafty Monkey then went into the school armed with pottery paints, brushes and a stack of tiles and after an explanation about how to paint pottery the children got underway to recreate their drawings onto the tiles and I must say the results were very impressive.

Pre glazed and pre fired tile

Some of the children also painted the Olympic rings onto tiles and London and 2012 on another tile.

Back at the studio, we wrote the name and year of each child on the tile before glazing and putting through the kiln.  The finished tiles were delivered back to the school for an eager DIYer who is on the school PTA to attach the tiles to a board and mount.  This beautiful mural will become a permanent feature of the school to be admired for years to come.

Here’s a picture of some of the tiles put together in the studio – the finished mural is sure to look great!  Spot the tile with Bolt on!

Some of the tiles assembled together before being delivered to the school

Tile murals are great projects we can take into schools, clubs, groups and the theme could be anything.  It really is a great way to mark an occasion!

What idea’s do you have for a mural?