Kids Craft: Mid Century Ceramic Hand Dish

Kids can make this ceramic hand dish air-dry clay craft project, to give as a gift to a parent or grandparent.

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

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I’m a big fan of Mid-Century ceramics, I especially like the textures and vibrant colours that came out of the Bitossi studio in the 50’s and 60’s.

I’m yet to acquire an piece for my growing mid century ceramic collection, but I think these Bitossi inspired hand shaped dishes Emma has created for me are much better than any original.

This little dish makes a great momento or gift as it captures a moment in time, the size of your child’s hand.

They would make a perfect gift for a parent or grandparent on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, especially if they are fond of mid century design.

You may also like:

Let’s Make a Ceramic Hand Dish – The perfect gift idea!

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

School aged children will be able to handle most of the process with only a little adult guidance.

Air dry clay can take some time to fully cure, so please be patient and allow plenty of time to make this air dry clay hand bowl.

Because air dry clay does not go through a firing process, it’s best tot to expose it to moisture, even when fully dry, as the clay may become damp.

Proudly display your ceramic craft in an environment that is water free. So best not use this hand dish in bathrooms or kitchens where it may get wet.

You will need:

Kids craft - Mid century Hand dish

  • Air dry clay (white) (Amazon | Etsy )
  • Assorted clay tools or skewer, knife and textured items for stamping (Amazon | Etsy )
  • Rolling Pin
  • Acrylic paint (colour of choice)
  • Mod Podge (Amazon | Etsy )
  • Plastic container for paint mixing
  • Paint Brush
  • Protected surface to work on

How to:

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

1. Knead clay to soften and get rid of air bubbles

2. Roll out a slab of clay to about 5mm (1/4″) thickness

3. Trace around hand with pointy tool or skewer

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

4. Cut away excess clay

5. Smooth edges (if the clay is getting a little dry, smooth edges with wet fingers)

6. Don’t forget to sign the back at this stage – I wish I’d added a date too.

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

Now it’s time to get creative!
7. Use assorted shaped tools to stamp shapes into the clay. I marked out the fingers and nails and Emma designed the rest.

8. Curve the edges of the hand shape up slightly to create a concave dish shape.

9. Leave to dry for at least 24hrs (Drying time will depend on the weather, ours took 2 days to dry fully)

Tip: To maintain shape whilst drying, place on a curved surface, I’ve used the edge of a plate and wooden tool to make sure the dish doesn’t flatten.

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

The clay is fully dry when it’s all turned white and there are no damp grey spots.
Now it’s time to paint.

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

10. Mix one part paint to one part Mod Podge, this will give you a glaze effect.

11. Paint dish, try not to overload paint brush or you will flood the pattern details.

12. Gently wipe off excess paint on surface (at this stage Emma lost interest)

13. Allow to dry and then coat with a layer of Mod Podge to seal and give a shiny finish. Mod Podge will dry clear. Don’t forget to paint the back.

Kids craft: Air Dry clay craft ideas Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish Bitossi inspired

All done!
I love how these little dishes turned out and Emma is very pleased with her ‘handy’ work (pun intended).

Kids craft: Air Dry clay Mid Century Style ceramic hand dish

They make a beautiful and meaningful addition to my ceramic collection, and now take pride of place on my sideboard.


  • Joe Buckshin says:

    Wow, beautiful results! Definitely going to try this the next time I need a unique gift from the kids πŸ™‚

  • candi says:

    Love these… can i use these on stove as a spoon rest or will they melt???

  • doro K. says:

    i totally love this idea. i made a pair of hand dishes together with my daughter!
    thanks a lot for this inspiring idea!

    best wishes, doro K.

  • Alpana Deo says:

    Loved the project Cintia. What should I say cute, adorable, awesome or all three of them. It is so very perfect of kids. Who won’t love to trace their hands..:) very nice. I am definitely going to try this with my daughter and will share it with my readers as well…

  • Maria says:

    Excellent ideas.

  • Tiffany says:

    I saw this on The Artful Parent. Love your site and I will definitely try this out. Just started my own blog – literally. I only hope to be as crafty as ladies like yourself someday. Thanks for sharing! Tiffany

  • SF says:

    Hi Cintia, I love this idea! Can this be done with regular clay, not air-drying? My local art shop has clay (including pre-dyed and glittery!) that has to be dried in the oven at 130C. Would any changes need to be made to your process/materials if using this type of clay?

  • Deborah says:

    How many ounces of clay is needed per a hand? I want to do this as an art project so I need to know how much air dry clay I will need.

  • Suzanne Byrne says:

    In regard to the flowers Emma likes to eat — many flowers are edible. Plant yourselves a small garden of those, and have her help tend to it. Tell her ONLY the flowers from that garden. Totally organic.

  • Robin says:

    My teenage daughter made this last year for my dad (he’s the cook and it was going to be his new spoon rest), but we had one issue….it cracked at the fingers before we even got it out of the house. Do you have any hints on how to keep this from happening?

    • Oh dear. Well air dry clay is fairly brittle because it doesn’t have the strength of fired clay. Maybe make it a bit thicker? You could also try adding a thin layer of gauze to the back and sticking it on with mod podge to reinforce.
      But maybe a spoon rest is not ideal as air dry clay will absorb moisture (from a damp spoon) and become soft again.

  • Maria says:

    How beautiful! Such a unique way to preserve memories πŸ™‚

  • Brigitte says:

    I just wanted to let you know I actually made some of these for my Mum for Mother’s Day AND they turned out as nice as yours. I did one “splayed” and one with the fingers together. it was fun! She asked the same thing as above. Could it get wet. I suggested not … It was nice to do something handmade that my daughter could be involved in. Thank you.

  • Robin Randall says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these. I am going to show this to my daughter, and I know she is going to just love it as much as I do. It will be an awesome project that we can do with my granddaughters aged 4 and 5 years old. We get together once or twice a week to do crafts with them and sometimes my mom, their great-grandma gets involved. Not for this one, however…..this will be a gift for her and we will make them for my grandma, their great-great-grandma! We are blessed to have five generations and it’s five generations of first-born females starting with my grandmother who will be 91 years old on March 6, 2017, right on down to my granddaughter, who will be turning 6 years old on March 31, 2017!

    • Wow, five generations, that’s wonderful. Enjoy your crafting time together.

    • Brigitte says:

      That’s fantastic Robin. My five year old daughter had a great time making it with me when she was about three. It was mainly me doing it but with her gorgeous lil’ hands … We gave them to my Mum – her grandmother. Her Great Grandmother passed away a year before she was born and was born on 2nd March. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Chelsea says:

    I love this project! I’m just starting it with my kindergarten and 1st grade students in art class today – I had a ton of fun making the teacher example πŸ™‚ thank you for posting it!!

  • Pam says:

    I absolutely LOVE this and can’t wait to do this with my children!! What a wonderful keepsake this will make!

  • Hannah says:

    I have just attempted to make one of these of my own hand. Just waiting for it to dry but so far its looking good. If it turns out ill be doing both my childrens and my husbands too! A family of clay hand dishes β€βœ‹thanks for the idea i love it 😊

  • Rashidah Lovick says:

    I am really excited about doing this craft with a class I am teaching! The baking clay sounds like it might be our best option for a few reasons. Do you have any suggestions for keeping the dish curved in the oven?

  • Cam says:

    How long did it take the clay to dry? I want to do this activity with our youth group. While the clay is drying they will work on another activity. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Francesca says:

    I wanted to do this for our craft club but we meet once a month! Could we paint the hand while it’s still daring to make it a single day project?

    • You may find the paint makes the clay slimy and the moisture released from the clay as it dries will make the paint peel or bubble.
      Air dry clay can take up to 2 full days to dry properly. Maybe your club could finish the project at home, or come back the following month to complete. I don’t think you’ll have good results if you skip the drying step.

  • Tara says:

    I love this craft! Thank you for taking the time to post about it — the kids and I have had so much fun working on this together for both their grandfathers’ birthday presents. Just a heads up that we too ran into the same integrity issues with the air dry clay — one hand broke clean and so I glued it back together and then used duct tape — ! — underneath each hand to reinforce and keep its shape. Fingers crossed! (Pun intended;-)

  • Patricia says:

    how i can subscribe using email. Thanks in advance.

  • BONNIE says:

    found ur site on pinterest love it!

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