I don’t know about you but I’ve been coveting one of those gorgeous marble salt and pepper pots for an age, but they’re a little out of my budget so they’ve remained on my list of ‘things I want to buy for myself but never really will’.
It was with this despairing realisation that I decided to whip up my own, and am I ever glad I did! Air dry clay is growing in popularity and it’s easy to see why: it’s affordable, stupidly easy to use and there’s no firing required for the limitless creations you can make with this genius stuff. See me wax lyrical about this genius material here.
I think of all the hours (and money) I spent in ceramic classes using clay and glazes and an urn. Don’t get me wrong – I’m so happy I invested in them. It was a very healing extra-curricular activity at a time when I really needed it and it equipped me with some pretty sweet ceramic skills. Win! But I have to say I’m even more grateful for air dry clay – what a creative’s dream! If there’d been air dry classes, I’d have been all ‘TAKE ALL MY MONEY!’, but alas.
These gorgeous pots couldn’t be easier. Use them for whatever you want – as cute storage vessels for rings and things, as a home for an air plant or two, or as I’ve intended for quick access to salt and pepper while I’m cooking. If you do use it for food you’ll need to coat this very porous material with Food Safe Glaze, but we’ll get to that soon.
Here’s how you get started:
CERAMIC SALT & PEPPER POTS
01. Work some clay in your hands to warm it up and make it pliable. Then roll out your warmed up clay with the rolling pin to about 0.5cm thickness. It’s a good idea to work on some wax paper so you can lift your ceramic pieces more easily.
02. Trace a large round shape or cut one out using a cookie cutter (I used the tightening ring of a mason jar). I made three since initially I was going to make them stand on top of each other and the third wheel (lol) was to be the lid. I changed my mind during the process, as I often do, and decided to have them separate. Instead I made a pretty spoon rest with the remaining circle – I’ll show you how later on in the post.
03. Cut out two equally sized rectangles. Mine were about 1 x 4cm. These are going to be your walls. Don’t stress if they’re not 100% straight – you’ll smooth and flatten them down once they’re assembled. Since you’re making one pot at a time (unless you’re some kind of DIY demi god), cover the second pot’s pieces with a piece of damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying up. It’s not called air dry clay for nothing!
04. Carefully attach your one rectangle, side face up, to one of your circles. To do this, score the edge of the attaching side of the rectangle and the edge of the circle with an Xacto knife, and then rub the edges together a little at a time until you’ve gone all the way around. You may need to dab a bit of water to the edges if they’re drying up. Smooth out any ridges with your finger or an old credit card. I also used a pallet knife. Allow to dry for a few hours, and move on to the next pot. Repeat the above steps.
05. Once the pots are dry and have hardened from a soft grey to a crisp white, gently shave off any imperfections and bumps with a fine grit (100) sandpaper in a well-ventilated area. Dust thoroughly but don’t do what I do and blow the clay powder away… You can imagine.
06. Now you can whip out the paints. Get creative and paint them however you like, but I adhered to type and went with my usual monochrome addiction (I have a problem). I opted for a charcoal and clean white to mimic the salt and pepper. No brainer.
07. Once the paint is dry, and if you’re opting to use these for food, cover with a few coats of Food Safe glaze. It’s not that clay is necessarily toxic; it’s that it’s so porous and able to hoard bacteria when wet that makes it unsafe without glaze. Just do it. No one likes salmonella and a five day hospital stint (though that’s a story for another time).
08. If you’ve got some extra clay like I had with my poor little third wheel, you can make a spiffy little spoon rest for next to the stove. Just add some extra clay in a thinly rolled out sausage to the edges, attach like you did with the walls of the pots, and make an indent to allow for the spoon to rest. I made mine a little higher in the front but you can leave it as is if you prefer. Dry, paint and glaze like above. Next I might make some tiny little spoons for the salt and pepper pots! So cute!
And there you have it! Two gorgeous stove-side pots from which to casually swish seasoning onto your meals ala Jamie Oliver, and a spoon rest to catch any drips. Love it!