All avid crocheters and knitters have gawked at the gorgeous yarn bowls at craft shows and on Etsy. You gaze upon the gorgeous piece of pottery and begin to think about how much easier your life would be with one of those yarn bowls. No more chasing free rollin’ yarn, or watching a ball of yarn fall of the table and roll all over the filthy floor. Then, you look at the price tag… You sigh, immediately put those thoughts aside, and continue with your browsing. Luckily, after some searching, I have discovered a few ways to make a yarn bowl without breaking the bank! This post contains information on how I made my own yarn bowl out of polymer clay, plus bonus information on other thrifty yarn bowl ideas.
NOTE: My yarn bowl was created following the instructions from another blogger’s, with a few modifications. The original design can be found here: http://www.733blog.com/2014/03/diy-yarn-bowl/
1) Polymer Clay
*Sculpey Bake Shop from Walmart
1802W White [2.4 oz]
1822W Green [2.4 oz]
1826W Blue [2.4 oz]
1840W Tan [2.4 oz]
*Sculpey II from Michaels
1645 Elephant Gray [2 oz]
2) Cutting Board
3) Wax Paper
4) Oven Safe Bowl (I ended up using a metal mixing bowl instead of the glass one shown)
5) Cookie Sheet
6) Tools to Cut Clay (I have some clay-specific tools, but a butter knife works just fine)
7) Rolling pin
Step #1 – choose your clay and roll it into strands
Sculpey is my polymer clay of choice. It is very workable and turns out great after baking it! Create 7 strands of polymer clay ~1/4” thick. This takes ~1 oz. of clay per strand, which equals about 2 sections of Sculpey clay (since they are ~2 oz. per block). A few of my strands are mixed. The breakdown is as follows: 1) white, 2) 1 section white, 1 section blue mixed, 3) blue, 4) green, 5) 1 section green, 1 section blue mixed, 6) 1 section green, 1 section grey, and 7) tan. Below is a list of additional tips when working with Sculpey clay.
Tips for working with Sculpey:
- Each 2 oz. block of Sculpey clay is divided into sections. There are about 4 sections per block.
- Clay will stain
- Wash tools and surfaces before and after use
- Use a surface you do not mind if it gets stained
- Use wax paper over a surface if you do not have one of these surfaces
- Clay washed out well with dish soap and water (if not, magic eraser works well too)
- Knead clay before use (makes more pliable)
- Some people use a clay conditioner (liquid that moistens clay)
- Other people use a pasta roller
- I just used a rolling pin several times, then knead it in my hands until soft
- Clay will discolor if you leave in the oven too long, especially the lighter colors (like white and pastel colors)
Step #2 – coil strands together to make a large circle as shown above
Working in around, begin coiling your strands together. Make sure that they are firmly stuck together. If you don’t, they might start coming apart when rolling it out flat. To make sure that they stick together, you can use the slip and score method every so often in the round and when putting ends together. This method just involved drawing hash marks on the clay and pressing them together.
Step #3 – flatten circle with rolling pin to create a smooth surface
Take your rolling pin and flatten the coiled circle out. Make sure you do not flatten it very much – this step is just to make a smooth bowl and to make sure the clay runs together nicely. Every so often, peel the clay off the surface you are working on. It tends to stick as you roll it out. Also, turn the clay over to make sure both sides are nice and smooth.
Step #4 – cut out design
Cut out your design in the side of your bowl, and add a hole to the bottom of the bowl (to prevent cracking). I got my design idea by searching “yarn bowl” in Google Images.
Step #5 – prepare bowl for the oven
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees. Lay wax paper on a cookie sheet. Place oven safe bowl on the cookie sheet. Cover the oven-safe bowl with wax paper, and place the inside of the polymer clay bowl over the oven-safe bowl. Make sure the polymer clay bowl is situated as desired. Bake the bowl for 25-30 minutes. Check on the bowl quite frequently. The thicker the bowl, the longer you must bake the bowl. The longer you bake the bowl, the harder the clay becomes. Remember, the lighter colors have a tendency to burn, so watch these colors carefully.
Step #6 – admire your work 🙂
Let’s breakdown the cost…
Total Cost for Me: $6.65
White (1/2 $1.49 = $0.75)
½ White, ½ Blue (1/2 $1.49 = $0.75)
Blue (1/2 $1.49 = $0.75)
Green (1/2 $1.49 = $0.75)
½ Green, ½ Blue (1/2 $1.49 = $0.75)
Green (1/2 $1.49 = $0.75)
Grey (1/2 $2.79 = $1.40)
Tan (1/2 $1.49 = $0.75)
Other Supplies — Already had laying around the house, so I did not purchase
Typical Ceramic Yarn Bowl Price: $34-$65 on Etsy excluding shipping
***Note: To actually calculate total savings, we would need to factor in other costs including other supplies, labor, and time spent. However, I do not consider time and labor as costs, because it is a hobby that I enjoy J ***
Tips for the future (and you readers):
- Loop for yarn was pretty flimsy. This can be easily fixed by not separating the clay completely – just making a loop or hole in the side of the bowl.
- It is possible to add a shine to the clay bowl. You may get polymer clay specific gloss, but this can be pricy.
Don’t want to make your money saving yarn bowl out of polymer clay? Take a look at the links below for other yarn bowl ideas.
Wooden Yarn Bowl Here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bamboo-Yarn-Bowl/
Chalkboard Coffee Pot Yarn Bowl Here: http://www.4you-withlove.com/2014/09/diy-chalkboard-yarn-bowl-great-for-pet.html
Paper Mache Yarn Bowl Here: https://hodgepodgecrochet.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/diy-paper-mache-yarn-bowl/
I hope you enjoy your clay yarn bowl! Please comment below with your own yarn bowl designs; I would love to see them!