Leaf Impressed Bird feeder Using Low-fire Blackjack Clay

what is low fire clay 

 Spring is here and the birds are chirping!! Make a low-fire clay

bird feeder that can hang outside your window.  Use a store bought

leaf to imprint or find a large leaf to press into your clay.

 what is low fire clay called

Materials needed:

4 lbs of Blackjack low fire clay

Large store bought leaf or a large one from your yard

Jute to hang the bird feeder

Cotton sheeting or canvas, 15” X 15

Wooden slats – 3/16” thick and 12” long

PVC pipe 12” long

A small cup of water

Wooden skewer or needle tool

Old credit card to smooth clay

Plastic straw to bore holes

Glass stones (optional) I used green

Plastic bags (I used dry cleaner bags)

Wooden slats – 3/16” thick and 12” long

Access to a kiln

Low-fire glaze of your choice (I used Mayco’s Elements EL-123 Patina)

Paint brushes

Cut off wire

 what is low fire white clay called

Lay out your canvas, wooden slats, rolling pin, needle tool, large leaf, and small

cup of water to begin.  Take block of clay and slam down on the table to flatten

the clay out.  You might even take the clay and sling it to the right and then sling

it to the left to get the clay to thin out. This will save time when you start to roll the

clay out.  I even take my rolling pin and pound the clay to get it thinner.  With the

3/16” slats on the side, begin to use the rolling pin to roll the clay out. 

what temp is low fire clay

Keep in mind the width of the leaf so that you can make it fit on the clay. 

Make sure to always keep the rolling pin on the slats so that the thickness

of the clay will be uniform. 

how to imprint clay

Place the leaf on top of the clay and press carefully with fingers into the clay. 

how to make imprint clay

I made some extra details with my needle tool.  Make sure you don’t go too

deep into the clay as this could result in cracking. With the needle tool carefully

cut the leaf out. With your finger slightly moistened, smooth out the rough edges

on the sides of the clay.  Set this aside until it is a little bit stiffer. 

how to make holes in clay

With the straw, you need to cut out holes in three strategic spots to hang the

feeder while making sure the holes are large enough after the clay has shrunk

to be able to feed the jute through the holes.  Take plastic bags wadded up and

begin curving the sides of the feeder up slightly. Cover with plastic to allow it to

dry slowly. Dry completely to bone dry. 

do you glaze clay before or after baking

Bisque fire to a shelf cone 04 (1060 degrees Celsius) and let cool.  With a

low fire glaze that is compatible with your clay, brush the glaze onto the

bisque fired piece. Let the glaze dry between coats.  Let dry.  You could place

glass stones in the middle of the bird feeder if you prefer, but make sure there

are not too many as when the glass melts; it becomes liquid and it might run

off the piece.  Fire in a kiln to a shelf cone 06 (999 degrees Celsius) and let cool completely. 

do you glaze clay before firing

Cut three pieces of the jute two feet long each.  Use tape to secure the end

of the jute to be able to thread it through the hole easier. Tie a knot under the

bird feeder on all three strands.  Take these three strands and tie together to

be able to hang your bird feeder. Fill this with your favorite bird seed and sit

back and enjoy watching all the birds!! 

Enjoy your bird feeder for many years to come!! 

 

Artwork and Photography by Karen Lowrey

Download in PDF

 

 

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