Make Art That Sells – Week 2

November 2, 2015 | Design, Drawn, Make Art That Sells, Personal


Phew, week 2 of Make Art That Sells was a doozy! In a good way, of course ;-)

This week was all about the Home Decor market, and we were tasked with using Staffordshire Pottery as our drawing inspiration. If you don’t know what Staffordshire Pottery is (like I didn’t), do a google search and you’ll find some of the weirdest, scariest, and definitely not-to-my-taste ceramic figurines. Huh, crap. How was I meant to get inspired by a subject matter I didn’t find very attractive?!

Luckily I don’t think I was alone in feeling this way – it seems like a lot of the people in my class were also struggling with it a little bit which made me feel reassured! Nevertheless I managed to get over myself and find some time while Arlo napped to try sketching a few of these funny figurines without being too self conscious of the outcome (kinda tough for me!). The idea is to experiement after all. And whaddayaknow – I actually started to enjoy it. So then I moved onto watercolour and it only got better! Wha. Amazing – and the funny thing is, because Staffordshire pottery is already kinda quirky, I found that the less precise my illustrations were the better, and the fat watercolour strokes seemed to just fit right in.

claire dalgliesh MATS PartA

Yay! So now that I had some icons to work with, next up was to tackle the main assignment for this week, which was to create a set of 4 ceramic plates using our Staffordshire illustrations. By now I was really loving the assignment, so had fun putting the plates together :)

Here’s my final piece.


So despite the slightly unsettling start to this week, I’m really happy with where it ended up! :) And looking at our class Flickr group I’m blown away by just how varied our work is. All 200 (or so) of us got the same brief, and no one’s work is even close to similar, it’s kind of amazing!

This week we’re onto Children’s picture books… bring it!

IKEA Project 3: Dining Room – DIY Painted bowls

August 24, 2015 | DIY, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I can’t believe we’re already at the 3rd challenge! I’m just loving these tasks so much -It’s really fun to take a critical look at certain areas of my home and think about how they could work better, or what small things I could do to update the look.

For the last two Ikea tasks, I’ve done more of a space makeover (see those here and here). For this challenge though (dining room!) I wanted to focus on something a bit more specific, something we use in our dining room every day. So, instead of a room makeover, I’ve done a bowl makeover!

DIY painted bowls

I’ve been wanting to get some simple white bowls for a while now, and when I saw the IKEA 365+ bowls I thought they were perfect. Simple, classic, and – S$3.50! Can’t go wrong, seriously. Well, until I decided to get all crafty and freehand paint on them in the pursuit of cute custom ceramics… there was some serious room for error there.

I decided to face my fear of ruining these poor bowls though, and I’m thrilled that I did! I love how they turned out. It wasn’t too hard either, in fact I found that even if my lines and patterns weren’t perfect, it didn’t matter – it still looked good as a whole. PHEW.

And you can do it too! Here’s what you’ll need to make your own DIY painted bowls:
– Light coloured ceramic pieces of your choice (could be mugs, bowls, plates etc.)
– Porcelain paint pens* (or pots) in colours of your choice
– Some paper towels or an old piece of card to blot the pen on

*I used Marabu Porcelain Painter Pens (in dark blue 293) available at Art Friend for anyone following in Singapore. In future though I’d probably try and find pots of porcelain paint and use a very fine paintbrush as I found the pens a bit streaky and unreliable.


Step 1.
First things first – the paint should not be applied to any surface that you plan to put food on. Best to keep it on the outside.

You’ll need to make sure your ceramic pieces are clean and dry. Then, have a read of the instructions on your paints and doing a small test of the bottom of one of your pieces. I bought 3 colours but ended up not loving the green or pink, so good to do a test!

DIY Painted Bowls

Step 2. 
I started by drawing a few rough sketches to get a feel for the patterns I might want on my bowls. Better to go in with a bit of a plan I reckon! Once you’re happy with your ideas, you’re ready to start painting! Or you can wing it, that’d work too :)

The paint dries fairly quickly, but can be wiped or scratched off if you notice a mistake soon after it’s been made.

Note: I discovered that the more detailed the pattern you create the better. When it’s really detailed, you tend to only see the overall pattern, and not the place where the pen started running out, or your flower wasn’t quite perfect. Larger drawings will require more accuracy. Also – thicker, thinner, lighter, and darker lines might seem like a mistake, but actually overall it just gives it a nice painterly feel! So don’t stress if it’s not perfect :)

DIY Painted Bowls

Step 3.
What you do next will depend on your paints – once they were finished, mine had to air dry for a few hours and then be oven baked.

That’s it! Now they’re ready to be used, and are even dishwasher safe. Brilliant!

DIY Painted Bowls IO6A0540 DIY Painted BowlsDon’t they look nice set up for breakfast? I can totally see a big mound of ice cream sitting pretty in these bowls too (though I’ll take ice cream in any bowl really!).

For some more beautiful ceramic painting tutorials (seriously, they’re gorgeous!) have a look at Delia Creates and Funnelcloud.

I hope you’ll give ceramic painting a go too! Be brave! :) x

DIY Painted Ornaments

November 22, 2012 | DIY

Can you believe December is just a few days away?! Before you know it, Christmas trees will be going up and wreaths hung.. I noticed it’s in full swing down the main streets here already! I’ve been happily singing along to all the carols playing in the supermarket hehe..

With all that in mind, I thought it was a great time to put together a little Christmas Ornament DIY for you all to spruce up your trees this year :)

Using metallic paint really makes these beauties shine!

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Oven bake clay
– Baking paper
– Rolling pin
– Something round, approximately 5 cm (2″) wide to use as a template (or if you have a cookie cutter – even better!)
– Xacto knife
– A drinking straw
– A very find paint brush
– Acrylic paint (suitable for ceramics) in metallic gold (I used one by Martha Stewart)

Step 1.

Soften the clay by kneading it in your hands. Place it between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to an even thickness (approx. 4mm, or 0.15″). Put the slab onto a cutting mat, and using your template (I used the bottom of a paper cup) cut around the circle, keeping the knife as upright as possible (90 degrees to the table).

Step 2.

Once you’ve got your circle cut out, use the end of the straw to make a hole through the top (about 1cm in from the edge). Bake the clay circles in the oven as per the instructions on the packet.

Step 3.

Once the circles have cooled, use your fine brush to paint patterns of your choice onto the clay with the metallic paint. You may have to do a couple of coats. Don’t forget to paint the sides too! Allow to dry completely before threading with your favourite ribbon or string, and hang it on the tree for all to see! :)

Hope you enjoy! If you’ve missed any of my other DIYs you can check them all out here. :)