I have a confession to make: Last year I attempted this project and failed miserably. It’s taken me since then to come up with this tutorial here! Sometimes you just can’t let an idea go until you’ve troubleshot it to success.
The idea of intertwining clay or terracotta with woven natural fibres just wouldn’t go away. And I’m glad it didn’t because I looove how these clay & raffia pots turned out.
Can you believe these clay and raffia pots are a DIY?! There’s a few steps to this project but overall it’s not hard to complete. The hardest part is waiting for your clay to dry before you can finish these pots!
For this project you’ll need to find some bowls or pots that will make an ideal-sized mold. You can also fashion these pots without a mold (I tried both ways), so however you’d like to do it is up to you.
I’ll first say that I’m not a pro when it comes to clay – I was actually pleasantly surprised how well these turned out! Normally my attempts look terrible; clay is harder to work with than it looks. So if you know of a better way to work with it, by all means use it!
Start by rolling out flat a lump of clay. Aim to get it around 5mm thick. If your clay is extra hard, you may want to add some water to soften it. This will make it easier to work with.
For a bowl-shaped pot, use a knife to cut the clay into a circle. Cover your bowl mold with cling wrap and carefully lay the clay circle on top of the upside down bowl. Use you fingers to mold the clay smoothly around the bowl. It might help to dip your fingers in water for this, or remove sections of clay that are overlapping.
Once the clay is smooth, neaten off the edges if you need to with a knife. Then use a skewer to poke holes through the clay while it is still mouldable.
For a more jar-like shape, I cut a circular base of clay and then wrapped a long piece around the outside, squeezing together the edges to make them hold. Then use the skewer to poke four holes around the top edge for the raffia handles.
You’ll need to leave the clay to dry, however it can be easier to take it off the mold before it’s fully set. If you are using 24 hour air dry clay, try to remove it off the mold a few hours later.
Once the clay is set, it’s time to add the raffia details! I tried about 42756 ways to add the raffia on, before settling on a few simple ways to do it. I’ll just say that I am no weaving pro!
For the handles, I wrapped a piece of raffia around a section of rope, glueing and tying the ends. I then used another strand of raffia to loop through the holes in the jar and tie on the handles. This part is a little fiddly but shouldn’t be too tricky.
For the white bowl, I used a strand of raffia per hole to loop onto the bowl (see pictures). I then took one of these strands and wound it round the bowl (similar to the rope effect). At the end I tied and trimmed off any straggly bits.
For the terracotta bowl, I used a combination of a blanket stitch around the outside, and then added handles in the same way as the small jar.
What do you think of these clay & raffia pots? It’s probably one of my more involved DIYs, so if you have any questions I’m happy to answer them! I love how they turned out and that each one is different. Although if I’m honest, the white bowl is probably my fave 😉 Which one is yours?!