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Treat & Trinket Bowls

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

"Can taking imprints of leaves be classed as printmaking?" I type into ChatGPT.

It replies; "Yes, creating imprints of leaves in clay can be considered a form of printmaking. It involves transferring the texture and details of the leaves onto the clay surface, similar to traditional printmaking processes where an image is transferred onto another surface."

Well, that's good enough for me so here's a tutorial that combines leaf imprints and practical little catch-all bowls, perfect for treats and jewellery. (Please note these bowls are not food safe so any treats need to be of the wrapped variety)


This print activity was featured in December's PRINT CLUB tutorial. Get print and craft tutorials sent to your inbox each month by joining the mailing list HERE. You’ll automatically become a member of PRINT CLUB which means you also get two complimentary online workshops each year, 30% off selected workshops, exclusive invitations to exhibition previews and studio events, plus a monthly What’s On...newsletter.


Prefer your tutorials in video format? Watch it HERE.

you will need:

  • Air-dry clay in your choice of colour

  • Rolling pin

  • Sharp knife or clay-cutting tool

  • Cling film

  • Small bowl for shaping the clay

  • Leaf - make sure it’s clean and dry but hasn’t dried out i.e. gone crispy


  • Water based varnish in your choice of gloss or matt

  • Acrylic paint in your choice of colour

  • Small pot for mixing paint

  • Gold, silver or copper leaf and the recommended manufacturer’s glue

  • Very thin paint brush

  • Medium sized paint brush

  • Soft cloth

how to:

1. Gather materials: Collect air-dry clay, a leaf of your choice, a rolling pin, a knife or clay-cutting tool, a small bowl for shaping, and a flat surface for working on.

2. Prepare the clay: Take a portion of the air-dry clay and knead it until it's soft and pliable. This makes it easier to work with and ensures a smooth finish.

3. Roll out the clay: Use a rolling pin to flatten the air-dry clay into a slab, aiming for a thickness that is even across the surface. Ensure it's large enough to accommodate the leaf imprint and the shape of your bowl.

4. Choose and clean the leaf: Pick a leaf with an interesting texture. Clean the leaf and pat it dry to prevent any dirt or moisture from affecting the air-dry clay.

5. Create the leaf imprint: Place the leaf on the air--clay slab and place the acrylic sheet on top. Press onto the sheet to create an imprint. Ensure the veins and details of the leaf are clearly transferred to the air-dry clay.

6. Cut the clay to shape: With the leaf imprint as a guide, use a knife or clay-cutting tool to carefully cut around the edges, shaping the air-dry clay into the desired form. Follow the natural contours of the leaf.

7. Form the bowl shape: Carefully lift the air-dry clay and drape it over the small bowl, gently pressing it to take on the bowl's form. If your bowl is too deep then loosely cover it with clingfilm and lay the air-dry clay on top. This will give your bowl a curved shape as it dries.

8. Leave to dry: Follow the recommended drying time on the clay packaging. This will vary depending on the brand and type of clay used, the thickness of the clay and the room temperature.

10. Optional: Paint or finish: Once the clay bowl is completely dry, you have a few options;

  1. Leave it natural

  2. Apply a clear varnish

  3. Apply a tinted varnish - mix the tiniest amount of acrylic paint with a water based varnish and apply it using a smooth paint brush.

  4. Give it some bling and apply gold leaf - seal the clay surface you want to apply the gold leaf to with varnish (you can use the tinted varnish above if you have some left over) allow to dry then add the golf leaf manufacturer's recommended glue and follow the instructions on the pack.

Allow any finish to dry thoroughly before using or displaying your clay bowl.

Share your prints on social media. Find me on Instagram and Facebook @iprintedthat

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