Tuesday, December 7, 2010

American Clay Art on Canvas

Hello Friends!!

As my love for American Clay continues I try to explore different uses for the product.  I've even gone so far as to coat a lamp out if it. (the center on that lamp used to be a white PVC pipe which is probably why I got it for 10 bucks at a thrift store!)

Today I would like to showcase an art piece I created with the clay and in good 'ol blog fashion try to explain how to........ Do It Yourself.  :-)

First buy yourself a blank art canvas. I bought four canvases 24"x30" which would make the final piece a whoppin 4'x5'!  Michaels craft store carries a lot of sizes. (I've even done this technique on a tiny 8"x11" canvas)

Since American Clay needs something to stick onto I applied a sanded primer to the canvas and allowed it to dry.

Next I covered the entire four canvases with a layer of clay. I would highly recommend doing 2 layers of clay but as you read through my blog you will see I am quite impatient, not a great quality of mine! I compressed the clay extra to make sure it was a solid surface for my stencil.  The canvas needs to be 100% dry before you move onto the next step. (It was starting to dry in this picture.)

Then I applied my stencil.  These very large stencils can be found at Modello Designs - a fabulous design store full of amazing ideas.  Just to warn you though these big babies are expensive! ($300.00+)  You only get to use them one time.  They peel off like a sticker and you apply it to the wall or floor but in this case - a canvas. 

Next I slather on my alternating color of reddish clay over the stencil, carefully troweling in the direction of the design.  I only did one layer of clay (debated doing two. but you know my impatience thing) and slowly peeled off the stencil (while it was still damp - that wasn't because of impatience, it was because working with it damp seemed easier.) When you peel off the stencil pull it completely flat against working area - do not pull UP! I'm a sucker for the "old world" look so I felt it necessary to "age" my art.  I watered up some earth pigments and used my round stippler brush to age the clay.

All finished!  - just how I wanted it.  Next I will be finding the perfect place for this on a wall.  (Can you imagine it above a jetted bathtub on a terra cotta colored clay wall - maybe this is of things to come??)

I found a site that you can order custom stencils or choose from a bunch of cute ones in stock.  These are not the sticker stencils, but mylar.  I am sure they would also work just tape it in place and hold steady!

If you would like to commission me to do a custom clay art piece for your home please CONTACT ME.  I do understand that the whole DIY thing isn't for everyone and I would be happy to do what I do best for you!


  1. I just found your blogs, love them. I do alot of plaster and have done some American clay. It is my favorite. I was trained about 5 years ago in Bozeman Montana. Since I have moved to Georgia and do mostly furniture and upholstery. My favorite look is old world. Thank you for reminding me how much I love this. Your Modello is fantastico. Lolly

  2. Can you recommend a tape that will stick to the clay? I want to do stripes of different color clay.
    Did you have a problem with the Modello sticking to the clay?

    1. Sorry Ron! For some reason I just saw this! The Modello stencil tape did pull off some of the clay.....I would suggest using a simple painters tape but not leaving it on there for days....probably the quicker it's done the better. best of luck - stripes of clay sound awesome!

  3. That you Lolly for your kind words - yes, American Clay is just amazing :-)

    Ron, the tape issues is hard.....in general I just use the blue tape made for painters but stripes might be hard. Although, I imagine if you can pull it off, it will look spectacular (and send me a photo!) I had to REALLY compress the clay and make sure every ounze of moisture was out before I put on the stencil. Once it was on, it worked very well to keep the red part where it should be. By the time I took it off (a day or two) some of the clay did come off with the tape BUT for what I was doing (making it look old and "falling apart" it was just fine that it pulled off a little of the clay. I guess my biggest tip would be compress, compress, compress :-)

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