Drape Molds and Hump Molds For Great Plate Projects

Making dinner plates and bowls is a snap using drape molds and hump molds. The difference between the two types is that drape molds are shallow convex surfaces whereas hump molds are deeper convex surfaces, over which slabs of clay can be formed into plate or bowl shapes easily. Drape and hump molds come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and depths for making all types of dinnerware, including oval and rectangular shapes as well as circular.

Making sets of ceramic dinner plates is a great project for beginners, but it also presents a field of creativity for professional artists since there are so many possibilities of decoration, glazing, and embellishment available. After a little practice it becomes routine to be able to roll out an even slab of clay on a piece of canvas with a rolling pin, until it is from a quarter to half of an inch in thickness. Gently lift the slab from the canvas and let it sit until it stiffens to a soft leather firmness. The clay should bend but not crack; and it should be firm enough not to take fingerprints. If it is desired to texture the clay surface, this can be done with a textured slab mold; or by rolling a texture tool over the slab surface; or even by rolling lace, doilies, or mesh patterns into the slab. After texturing the slab, when using drape molds or hump molds, place the slab over the mold and gently press it into place by hand. Then cut the slab around the edge of the mold with a knife held perpendicular to the slab surface, so as to keep the rim square. Smooth out the rim by sliding a finger around the edge with firm, constant pressure. This will soften the sharp edge of the rim without the edge flattening. Gently remove the plate or bowl from the mold and let it dry to a firm hard leather stage. Examine the plate or bowl to make sure it will sit upon a flat surface with no rocking; and if the rim needs final shaping, do it with wet fingers.

Now, the real creativity begins! If the plate or bowl is to have a base, it can be formed from balls or coils of clay, either formed by hand or with a hand extruder. The feet or base is attached to the bottom of the plate or bowl with slip. The potter can paint or draw with a liquid underglaze; or use underglaze paint, crayons, chalk, ink, or pencil to create fabulous original designs. Beginners can achieve some astounding effects by simply sponge painting underglazes and velvets (letting each coat dry before applying another color). Uniformity of design can be obtained using home-made stencils of paper or cardboard; or every plate and bowl in the set can have a unique design all its own.

Source by Alice Lane