Friday, December 2, 2011

3-D Letters

These 3-D letters can be made using a computer printed font that you trace or by drawing your own design.  Start by rolling out a large slab of clay about 3/8th of an inch thick.  Then draw out the shape of your letter or lay down your paper template and trace it out.  Once you are happy with the letter, cut it out and repeat, so that you have 2 exact letters (one for the top and one for the bottom).  You can add texture to your slabs at this point by pressing into them with stamps, texture plates or tools, be careful not to warp the shape of your letters as you press into them.  Using your scrap pieces of clay cut out strips of clay that are all equal width, these will be used for the side walls of your letter.  I like to use a ruler and cut down both sides of the ruler to quickly cut out strips that are all equal .  The width of the strips will determine how deep your 3-D letter will be.  Once you have a few of the strips cut out, start scratching the edges of all of your pieces.  Then pick one letter that will be the bottom and attach the strips of clay to the scratched edges of the letter to build a wall that will go all the way around the letter.  Take your time to line up the curves and corners of your letter's shape.  Also use a finger to blend the corner and  make sure that the walls are attached securely.  Once you have gone around the entire shape scratch-to-attach the second letter on top of the walls.  If your clay is really wet, the top letter may sag into the bottom one, to solve this, just let your clay dry a little bit more to give it more strength and then the top piece will sit evenly across.  Take time to attach the seam on well, blending the clay with your fingers.  Once the letters are a dry enough to hold their shape you can clean up the seams with a damp sponge and adjust how they will sit or stand up.  Make sure to punch a small hole into the hollow space to keep your letter from exploding in the kiln.  You could make the hole on the back of the letter so that you can hang it on the wall or you can hide it on the bottom if your letter will be free standing.  This is a fun way to spell out a child's name on their bedroom wall or a teacher's name in their classroom.
!!!B CR8IV!!!

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