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/diy/ - Do-It-Yourself

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File: bonsai pots.jpg-(13 KB, 360x360)
Sup /diy/I want to make my own...
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)12:12 UTC+1 No.635713 Report

Sup /diy/
I want to make my own Bonsai and other tree/plant pottery. Problem is, I have no access to a kiln nor money to afford one. I remembered using polymer based clays as a kid. I stupidly got some Fimo not realizing how hard it is to work with the shit. Some stuff I got as a kid was easy to work with and I just baked it in a toaster to make spaceships.

Problem is, these low heat hardening polymer based modeling clays don't seem terribly safe for plants. How can I seal them properly so they won't degrade and it won't leach chemicals into the soil?
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)12:14 UTC+1 No.635714 Report

you can't
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)12:15 UTC+1 No.635715 Report

To add, I have a couple bricks of Premo sculpey that looks promising. I'd like to use the other stuff somehow, but whatever.

My main concern is finding a way to make a pot that won't actually wind up leaching toxins. So I need a good sealant. Fuck I wish I had a kiln. Then I could just sculpt, fire it, and then glaze it.

So what's the next best thing to that here? How can I give it a nice finishing touch without the worry of it soaking in plant soil breaking it down or poisoning my trees?

I'm thinking, the sort of sealant that'd make this safe to use as human dishware type of thing.
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)12:18 UTC+1 No.635716 Report

Seriously? There is nothing I can seal them with, coat, glaze, anything that will work here?
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)13:54 UTC+1 No.635735 Report

>I want to make my own Bonsai and other tree/plant pottery. Problem is, I have no access to a kiln nor money to afford one.
you don't need your own kiln.... pottery craft stores sell slip (the clay mix) and they have kilns and will fire stuff for you, for a fee.

There is a bunch of different brands and types of slip for different uses. Find a shop that is local, go in and ask what to use to make [whatever], they will know what kin of mix you will need.


also polymer clay isn't good for much more than looking at. it isn't durable or waterproof, and it gives off chemicals that are bad for plants, animals and humans (you shouldn't use polymer clay to make a food bowl or a drinking glass)
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)14:48 UTC+1 No.635744 Report

You realize that this is a super slow board, right? You normally need to give 24 hours for a response.

But yeah, you can't do anything with fimo or other clays like that. Those are for decoration only.
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)15:09 UTC+1 No.635752 Report

I would let them soak in water for a few days after you "fire" them. To help leach out any chemicals. Maybe look into epoxy resin paints pref marine grade. Your local Sherwin Williams should be able to get it. And probably soak agian after the paint dry's. you growing edible plants in these is that why you're focused on getting out the chemicals?
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)15:36 UTC+1 No.635757 Report

Do you have a car?
or do you have space for a firepit/home made kiln?
Is there a pottery studio or school around you that you can get to?
You don't have to buy everything to get into pottery. Also, as much as I love polymer clay for sculpting small things, you can't really use it for this task.
You may be able to use that earthing based oven bake clay if you find a way to seal it water tight but I would not count on it.
Anonymous 05/08/14(Thu)18:29 UTC+1 No.635816 Report

Just use an inner liner to protect the plant completely from the container. the liner can be a plastic pot or you can make a cheap DIY vacuum plastic former. Then you can tailor make the liners to fit the pots perfectly.
Anonymous 05/09/14(Fri)18:57 UTC+1 No.636169 Report

bumping for moar info
Anonymous 05/09/14(Fri)19:00 UTC+1 No.636170 Report

No, decorative plants, like Bonsai. I want to DIY Bonsai trees and hopefully sell some. There's a lot of different pot/container ideas I've been working with, but trying to make traditional looking clay ones is something I wanted to do. As noted, problem is they may degrade after awhile, and polymer based also leech chemicals. Which means if I don't find a non-toxic sealant it'll kill the tree.
Anonymous 05/09/14(Fri)21:29 UTC+1 No.636207 Report

Nothing that will work well or work at all indefinitely like actual ceramic would.
Anonymous 05/10/14(Sat)15:17 UTC+1 No.636489 Report

why dont you just take a pottery class?

for $30 you can make the shit you want to make...and have fun while doing it..take a grill with you
Anonymous 05/10/14(Sat)15:55 UTC+1 No.636493 Report

Professional potter/ceramics instructor here. You can seal the inner surface of baked polymer clay with acrylic paint. That Fimo you got might be harder to work with now than it was in the past precisely because it is less toxic, having had the phthalates removed as the plasticiser for the PVC. Now it often has bentonite/similarly functioning additives that make it highly thixotropic. You need to seriously smack it around with a big old rolling pin or something to make it soft. So, relearn to use the Fimo you've already got, cover with acrylic paint. Polymer clays are beginning to be accepted as a legit medium, however...
Anonymous 05/10/14(Sat)16:11 UTC+1 No.636495 Report

...I've crossed paths with many a bonsai enthuiast, and I'm sure you know that the pot itself is often as highly fetishized as the plant itself. Educated buyers are usually traditionalists, and you're going to have to convince them to take your vessels seriously. I'm all for pushing new mediums but you need to know what you're up against if you'll be looking at this as a business decision. Also, there is nothing better suited as a planter than the unglazed interior of a clay pot. Superior drainage and the porosity has a limited self-watering function. Nothing to stop you from combining the two materials...
As other people suggested, ceramics classes may not be out of reach. Scour your area for ceramics studios with classes or kiln firing fees, and now many local community colleges have ceramics depts. Before you set out, consult a teacher/potter/supply store for the most appropriate clay to use. As for kilns! Check out CL for used ones. You can find deals on old beaters for $100. Long-term, traditional clay is cheaper than polymers. Good luck, and post your bonsai/vessels when you make some!
Anonymous 05/10/14(Sat)17:49 UTC+1 No.636518 Report

I assure you, if using real clay and kilns were a possibility I wouldn't have even considered this. And yes I am aware of how important the planters are, hence why (not just Bonsai I'm growing other decorative plants) I decided to try and work with a variety of mediums (hollowed out wood or brick, for instance). I simply do not have access to a kiln, period.

But thanks for your input.
Anonymous 05/10/14(Sat)18:43 UTC+1 No.636530 Report

Maybe you should check if there are any companies or places that rent out ovens that can reach very high temperatures.

I remember when I was a kid and made sculptures in the day-care center, our teacher put our sculptures in an oven in the storage room.... it worked.
Anonymous 05/10/14(Sat)19:15 UTC+1 No.636537 Report

>I assure you, if using real clay and kilns were a possibility I wouldn't have even considered this.
as I said--find a local pottery shop and ask them about firing stuff. most people who make their own pottery and ceramics probably don't have their own kiln

also I would agree with anon who pointed out that you would want to have pots that had oriental-style finishes on them--and you're not going to get that with polymer clay, no matter how hard you try
Anonymous 05/10/14(Sat)22:19 UTC+1 No.636634 Report

Haha, sorry, man. I'm not a craft-snob or anything. Although I love clay the most, I'm all for adopting new media and incorporating it into my work in innovative ways. I enjoy this kind of problem because limitations force creative thinking. One last thing before moving on: potters, and most craftsmen in general are the salt of the earth. Lots of them would let ya use their equipment just because you're doing something cool. Hell, I'd let ya use my kilns for the price of one bonsai. And we are legion: throw a dart on a map and I'll find you a potter in a 10-mile radius.
Moving on: my primary concern for your design challenge is the functionality and longevity of the medium (especially since bonsai are so long-lived and precious in human attention). I like the idea of brick because the function is the same as earthenware (it is the same thing). But I just thought of another strong candidate! Concrete! Make molds with wood, plastic planters, clay (polymer or natural), then cast concrete! It is durable, has a plethora of design possibilities, long-lived, has favorable porosity.
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