31 Jul 2012

Miniature Ceramic Bowls for 28-32mm Scale

As I discussed here, clay pottery was used  for a variety of purposes in pre-modern societies, and adding miniature ceramic objects like bowls and jars is a great way to make your dioramas more realistic.

This is my girlfriend's method for making a miniature bowl and it is very easy. You only need some appropriately coloured polymer clay and a craft instrument with a rounded tip. The bowl will be formed around the tip, so get an instrument that is appropriately sized.

First, pinch off a bit of polymer clay and roll it into a tiny ball. The ball should be a little bigger than the size of the rounded tip.

Gently indent the ball of clay with the rounded tip to form the mouth of the bowl.

Then build up the clay around the rounded tip into the form of a small bowl. Do not worry about getting the form of the bowl or the thickness of the rim right at this stage.

Remove the bowl from the tip and put it on a flat surface. Then use the rounded tip to smoothen the bowl and improve its appearance. It is not essential for the bowl to look smooth and symmetrical, like a modern, factory-made object. In ancient and medieval societies, only wealthy people owned beautifully made items. Ordinary people used rough hand-made items made out of coarse ware, so it is quite acceptable to use imperfectly formed bowls for a village or tavern scene.

Finally, of course, you must bake the item in an oven to harden it, according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your polymer clay. We use FIMO, and bake at about 120 degrees centigrade for 25 minutes.

Once they are hardened, you can fill the bowls up with whatever little items you like (e.g. miniature cherries made out of polymer clay) before inserting them into your diorama.

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