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Peacock Bowl!

Peacock bowl

I made a bowl out of air-dry clay, with a decoupage-and-paint finish. I think it turned out quite pretty, so here’s a quick project breakdown.

How I Made the Peacock Bowl

A few weeks ago I spotted these napkins on sale at Albert Heijn. I am always on the lookout for napkins that might work for decoupage, and I thought it was an interesting pattern, so I picked them up.

Steps to make the bowl:

  1. I made the bowl shape by rolling out air-dry clay quite thin and then molding it over half an acrylic sphere.
  2. I let the clay dry for a couple days, then carefully unmolded it.
  3. The surface, and particularly the edge, were a bit rough, so I sanded them smoother.
  4. I painted the bowl black

Steps to decorate the bowl:

  • I decided to decoupage the napkin feathers onto it, so I removed all but the top, colored layer of the napkin (these particular napkins are 3-ply, so I removed two layers).
  • I cut out the feather shape from the napkins, and then used very lightly diluted glue to glue them down in place onto the surface of the bowl.

  • I decided to leave the inside of the bowl decoupage-only, but go over the colors on the outside to make them more vivid.
  • For the outside of the bowl, I used a metallic marker to trace over some of the lines in the feather pattern, then used acrylic paint to add dots for color and emphasis.
  • I then added a tube of cardboard (it was the inside of a roll of tape) to make a base, and glued on iridescent ribbon as a trim.
  • I then varnished over the entire thing, and that’s where everything fell apart.

I only have crappy, miscellaneous dollar-store varnish right now, but I have like 8 different ones. No matter which I chose, or how many layers I put on, the outside never got the smooth, matte varnish finish I wanted, and the glossy varnish inside stayed blotchy and uneven.

I have successfully varnished over decoupage in the past, and it’s not that dang hard, so I think it’s just that my products are cheap and maybe a little old. I will try a different variation of this project with some proper varnish.

Nonetheless, I do think it turned out pretty, and it’s a good, useful size. It also feels robust and non-fragile in the hands, because the decoupage and varnish help to seal and hold the clay together. All in all, it was a decent outcome.

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