A couple of weeks ago, we spent a fantastic afternoon exploring nature at our local nature reserve, Skylarks in Nottingham.
Skylarks is part of the Wildlife Trusts, and it’s a great place to take the kids for a good old outdoor romp. Last year we made journey sticks there, which has become one of our absolute favourite nature crafts.
On this particular visit Skylarks was holding an open day, with lots of hands-on activities, demonstrations and nature crafts. As you can imagine, we were in our element! One of the crafts we tried out was clay pressing with natural materials.
The first job was for the kids to find some interesting things to press into the clay; that in itself was a lovely activity. We were advised to find quite sturdy items that would make a clear impression in the clay.
Next, we rolled out some air-drying clay with a rolling pin. It’s important not to roll the clay too thin, otherwise it will stick to the table and you risk the leaves going straight through it. Think thick pastry consistency, and you’ve got it pretty much right.
Once we had our flat pancake of clay, we popped it onto a piece of greasproof paper on a board, then arranged our finds on it.
The next bit definitely needs some adult supervision. Another piece of greaseproof paper is placed on top of the clay, then another board, and then something very heavy is added to the top to squish everything down. Now obviously it’s unlikely any of us have these kind of weights lying around at home, but I’m sure you could improvise with a pile of books – or even sit on the whole thing!
Once everything has had a good press, you can carefully peel away the natural materials to reveal your clay pressing.
Here’s the kids finished clay craft pressings. You can see that some of the flower heads have remained stuck to one of them, but these have all fallen off as the clay has dried. The kids can’t wait for them to be fully dry, so they can paint them to really bring out the details. Once they’re done we’ll pop them into box frames and hang them up on the wall to create a little natural art gallery.
What do you think of our clay craft – will you be having a go at natural clay pressing?
If you’re looking for craft inspiration, take a look at the ‘Naturally Crafty’ nature craft linky which I co-host for lots of ideas – and do share yours with us too.