Friday, November 2, 2007

Tea Bag Holders

I was hoping to find tea bag holders with an apple motif for a Christmas gift for my friend, Red. Her kitchen accents are apples. Do you think I could find apples? Cats, teapots, flowers, but no apples. I decided to try to make them from polymer clay.

If you've never worked with polymer clay before, you should know that it should not be used with items that come in direct contact with food. If you are using cookie cutters to cut out shapes, they should be dedicated to clay work and not baking. Ditto goes for the oven to cure the clay. The baking process can release toxic gasses, especially if the clay burns (been there) so if you plan on doing a lot of clay work, you shouldn't use your household oven or toaster oven, and you should work in a well ventilated area. Remember, art is a contact sport and safety comes first.

I bought some Sculpey clay in red, brown, and leaf green. From the clay making box, I took out the pasta machine. (I found the pasta machine at a yard sale for $5. I used it one time to make pasta. Much easier to buy a box of Prince or Ronzoni.) I also had an 8" ceramic tile which would double as my work surface and baking sheet.

I rolled out 1/4 of the red clay and then passed it through the thickest setting on the pasta machine to get a nice even, flat piece of clay. I used a 2" round cutter to cut out the clay, and then used my fingers to push the top and bottom to form an apple shape. The left over clay was gathered and rolled into a thin snake which was applied to the back of the apple so it wouldn't be so flat. The process was repeated with a bit of green and a tiny leaf cutter. Leaf veins were scored with an old Filene's credit card and the lift was twisted and applied to the apple. A dot of brown made the stem. I made 4 apples.

I thought I had an old toaster oven in the garage, but when I went looking, I couldn't find it. Lightbulb Idea So I took the toaster oven from the kitchen, set that up in the sunroom where there is excellent ventilation. Preheated the oven to 275oF and baked the apples on the ceramic tile for 20 mins. The kitchen toaster oven has now come downstairs and been put away in the clay box. I'll be making a run to Target this afternoon to buy a new toaster oven. Shy Whistler

The polymer clay can be washed by hand, but with the constant use of wet teabags, I'm not sure the clay would hold up and Al pointed out the wet teabag would probably stain the clay. Have decided to try to seal them with marine varnish. I'll be making the run to Ray's (local hardware store) on the way to Target.

Not a great picture of the holder, but I think you can get the gist. Hmmm, maybe I should make a set for myself.
Went to Ray's and was told to try Minwax's clear Polycrylic spray. Got a semi-gloss finish. Bought a nice toaster oven too.


  1. Very cute and clever. Does your friend read your blog, cause now they know what they are getting for Christmas? :)

    Wish I could do clay thingies---the last ash tray (first grade when we didn't worry about being politically correct about parents smoking) I made looked like a bedpan.

  2. You're so talented. The only clay thing I made one time was a 'knee bowl' in kindergarten.

  3. You are a wonder... Makes me think of pulling out some ceramics to paint...

  4. Nice job with the apple!

  5. CJ,
    What a gret blog on crafting apple tea bag holders. I'm going to save your blog. My kitchen is decorated in fruit, and mostly apples. When my mind is free,and not so compacted with baggage. I'm going to try making some apples. Great tips on safty too. hugs!