DIY Home Decor: How To Make A Simple Wabi Sabi Jar

Apartment Therapy Tutorials

I love the Japanese aesthetic and concept of Wabi-sabi. Architect Tadao Ando describes Wabi-sabi as "underplayed and modest, the kind of quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered." Lately I've fallen in love with the slight imperfections of handmade ceramics. So, embrace the slight dent or crooked lip—these flaws are innocent marks that represent the hand of the maker. With this in mind, why don't you try creating a handmade jar? You might end up loving its flaws.

What You Need

Materials

  • FIMO soft modeling clay
  • Cork stopper

Tools

  • Glass bottle
  • Pallet knife or X-Acto knife
  • Small appetizer fork or toothpick
  • Oven

Instructions

Find a nice smooth table to work on. Glass or tile works well.

1. Clay will be hard and brittle when you first unwrap it. In order to make it more pliable and workable, soften it by kneading it with your hands.

2. Using the glass bottle, evenly roll out the clay until you have your desired thickness. I used only one packet of Fimo clay and it turned out to be the prefect amount for a small jar. Avoid using wooden rolling pins, as they tend to stick to clay.

3. The thickness was a little less than 1/8". I found that if I rolled the clay too thin, it was more susceptible to losing its form while working with it.

4. With your pallet knife, cut the clay into a half circle.

5. Peel off the edges and save the scraps for later.

6. Flip the piece of clay over and place the cork along the straight edge. (My clay stuck to the table, so I flipped the clay over to hide these marks.)

7. Wrap the cork like a little baby.

8. Now partially unwrap the clay and use a fork to score the areas where you'd like them to be joined.

9. Roll your vessel over and very carefully, with your finger, blend the seam together until there is a bond. Be gentle, it doesn't take much.

10. Now, softly fold the base towards the center.

11. Take the clay scraps you've saved...

12. and roll it out.

13. It should be just a slight bit larger than your jar's base.

14. Stack the jar atop of the base and outline the diameter using your fork.

15. With the pallet knife, cutout the base.

16. Score the bottom of the jar, as well at the edge of the base.

17. Place the jar atop of the base and cut away any excess clay showing.

18. With the cork off, use your pallet knife to carefully unfold the bottom of the jar so there is a larger surface area touching the base.

19. Use your finger to blend the seams together.

20. Re-insert cork one more time to make sure the mouth has retained its circular shape.

21. Remove cork and place jar on a piece of foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake at 265 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Tip: At first I used an electric toaster oven, which tends to get hotter than a regular oven. I notice the top turning slightly tan, so I removed it and continued baking it in my regular gas oven. The discoloration turned out to be a pinkish ombre which I liked. If you would like to get the same effect, try baking the jar on the highest rack then move it to a lower rack once it slightly becomes tan. Watch the jar carefully and do not let it smoke or burn as the fumes can be harmful.

22. Remove the baking tray and jar with an oven mitt. The clay will not harden until it has completely cooled.

Finito! Perfect for storing your magic potions and crystals.

More on Wabi Sabi here.

Have a really great DIY project or tutorial that you want to share with others? Let us know! We love checking out what you're making these days, and learning from our readers. When you're ready, click here to submit your project and photos.

(Image credits: June Bhongjan)