DIY Valentine's Day Gifts: Ring Dish

Looking for DIY Valentine’s Day gifts that are easy and inexpensive to make? A clay ring dish is easy to make and personalize for your special someone any time of year! Don’t have access to a kiln? No worries--you can create a faux ceramic ring dish with just a few simple materials over the weekend. Let’s get started creating your homemade Valentine gift!


Clay Ring Dish Basics

To start, pull off about a handful of the air dry clay and knead it in your hands. You may need to add a little water. Roll it on a non-stick surface; I’m using palette paper, which is normally used for mixing paints. It’s great because it’s nonabsorbent (so it won’t dry out the clay) and you can also use it later for painting your clay ring dish. Roll your clay out to desired thickness--about ⅛”. Cut out your desired shape using a cookie cutter or found item such as a bowl or cup (for round dishes). You can use the clay tool to trim any excess clay from the edge. Store any unused clay in an airtight container. You may need to gently tap or even push and lift the edge of the clay to release the shape from the bowl or cup. Smooth out any uneven edges with a little bit of water.

Add any impressions before the clay hardens using stamps, a texture wheel or other textured surfaces. To give the clay ring dish a little bit of shape, you can place the clay circle into a bowl that is a little smaller in circumference than the clay shape. Be sure to press evenly around the edges as you go so that the shape remains even all the way around. Let it harden just a bit and then gently remove from the bowl by peeling away one of the edges. You can also reshape the clay dish by laying it over the top of an overturned bowl and let dry until it keeps its shape when placed right side up. Lay on a drying rack and allow to dry for 24-36 hours (or according to the instructions).

Once your clay ring dish is completely dry, begin by adding your first coat of paint. This will be your base coat. Once dry, you can paint on designs using other colors of paint. If painting over the top, be sure one layer is dry before adding another.

Add details with an extra-fine tip gold paint marker. Once your final layer of paint has dried, add a thin layer of DuraClear gloss varnish and allow it to dry to the touch before adding an optional second coat.

Heart Ring Dish

To create a heart ring dish for your handmade Valentines gift, begin as you would the basic clay ring dish. Use the heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape from the clay. Press hard so that you cut through the entire thickness of the clay. Remove the excess clay with the clay tool and store in an airtight container. Press the clay heart onto your stamp surface. Press firmly and evenly so that the pattern transfers completely onto the surface. Carefully peel away the heart--you should have a pattern embedded onto the entire surface. It’s ok if ink transfers from a previously used stamp--you can leave it as part of the design or cover it up later with acrylic paint. If you have smaller stamps or only wish to print onto part of the heart, you can leave the clay heart shape facing up and then press the stamp directly onto the surface.

Before the heart dries completely, gently curl up the edges of the heart to form a bowl or dish shape. Allow to dry for 24-36 hours (or according to the instructions). Once dry, paint as you would the basic clay ring dish.

To get layers of color, wait until the first layer of paint is dry. Then add a second, contrasting color over the top. While the second coat is still wet, quickly wipe the paint away with a baby wipe (being careful not to wipe the creases of the stamped design). This will allow the second coat of paint to embed into the stamped letters/images for an interesting look. Add a third color by dabbing the paint with a sponge brush or dry brush over the top (bottom right).

Alternately, you can use a fine tip gold paint marker to color in the stamped words and images. Embellish the edges with a gold paint marker or contrasting color of paint (above left). Cover with the DuraClear gloss varnish.

Monogram Ring Dish

To make a more personalized Valentines gift, begin as you would the heart clay ring dish. Instead of the heart shape cookie cutter, use a small bowl or cup to cut out your shape and repeat steps of the basic clay ring dish. To give your ring dish a personalized touch, add a monogram using acrylic paint. You can use a detail brush and add the letters by hand or you can use a stencil and sponge dauber or stencil brush. Alternately, you can also use a paint marker to write over a dry, painted surface or you can use a letter stamp to imprint initials into the clay before it dries.

For an aged or antiqued look, apply an aqua color as your first coat of paint. When that dries, add a second coat of paint with gold. Wipe away the gold paint before it dries, being careful not to wipe it from the creases.

This will give it a patina or aged look. Try this with other color combinations of metallic and matte paint colors like copper and aqua or silver and black.

Marbled Ring Dish

To create a marbled ring dish, begin as you would a basic ring dish. When the clay is dry, add a few splatters of acrylic paint in various colors over the surface. Tip: try using colors that are similar to each other to avoid mixing muddy colors. Take a piece of plastic wrap that is a little larger than your clay ring dish and place it over the surface while the paint is still wet. Press firmly on the plastic wrap and allow the paint underneath to move around the entire surface. Try to push the paint up over the edges of the dish so that you don’t have pools of extra paint. Lift the plastic wrap and reveal your marbled design!

You can also press plastic over the top while the paint is still wet to move the designs around a bit. Be careful not to go too far with this step or your colors will just mix into one. It might take a few tries to get it right. If you’re not pleased with the design, simply wipe up with a paper towel, let dry and try again! Allow the paint to thoroughly dry. Glaze as you would the basic ring dish.

Homemade Valentine’s gifts are one of the best ways to create something from the heart. DIY Valentine gifts also make wonderful kid’s craft activities--something that can be given to a parent, grandparent, teacher or anyone special! I hope you enjoyed this DIY ring holder dish tutorial and that you’re inspired to create something unique for someone you love.