Make Your Own Lace Pottery

Maggie Weldon Lace Pottery

From her Kernersville studio in North Carolina, Maggie Weldon preserves priceless memories with delicate imprints of antique lace. A discovery she made along with her own storied pathway of chance and determination, the artist’s meaningful Lace Pottery seems a tailor-made expression of her soul. 

Maggie Weldon Lace Pottery

From her workroom, Maggie Weldon fashions pottery from large slabs of clay and remnants of lace. Stacks of plates are fired, glazed, and fired again to create pastel-colored pieces to be used as serving dishes and house eyeglasses and soap. To help her company prosper, Maggie draws support from Count Me In, and organization that champions women entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses. 


Maggie Weldon Lace Pottery

1. Using a rolling pin, roll out a slab of porcelain clay 1/4 inch thick, making sure the slab is about 4 inches larger than the size of the doily to be used. Place the slab on a piece of cotton fabric.

2. Using a rolling pin, press the doily into the clay to make an impression.

Maggie Weldon Lace Pottery

3. Gently and slowly, peel back the doily.

4. Using a wet sponge, clean and smooth the lace impression, making sure to wipe away any loose particles of clay.

Maggie Weldon Lace Pottery

5. Using a pottery knife, trim around the outside edges of the doily design, smoothing any rough edges with your fingers or a wet sponge.

6. Grip the edges of the underlying fabric, and slide the clay into a shallow bowl so that the sides of the piece are slightly raised. Carefully press the clay down into the bowl, and let it dry for approximately 2 days (this varies greatly depending upon the humidity of the environment and the dampness of the clay.)

For more information on Maggie Weldon’s designs, see “Timeless Impressions,” in the May/June 2011 issue of Victoria magazine. 

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  1. what type of clay do you recommend? do you fire it? can firing be done at home (there is a place near me that has a kiln you can get space in, they will also glaze, all for a price though.)

    • Use cold porcelain clay. It doesn’t need a kiln. You can find recipe to make cold porcelain clay on pintrest or YouTube or just Google it.

      • Well Dimples that is wonderful except cold porcelain clay isn’t actually clay – it is cornstarch and glue, not a piece of clay in it. She is making dishes – plates to eat off. Unfired clay or faux stuff can’t be exposed to wet nor even high humidity. That leaves out being washed. For hygiene I wash my dishes whether by hand or in the dishwasher depending on what the mfg states.

      • There is a product used for centuries called porcelain clay – it must be fired and for food safety and to be able to wash – these are dishes – they are glazed and fired again as the directions say. Porcelain clay has nothing to do with “cold porcelain” – the “cold” stuff isn’t even clay and doesn’t contain clay. It is glue and cornstarch which explains why it can’t be fired, nor can it be exposed to wet, damp, nor humid environments. Severely limits its functional use.

    • THANK YOU!!!! I am glad to know that cold porcelain clay does not need to be fired! I trust I will find the porcelain clay at Hobby Lobby or at Michael’s.

  2. I agree with the other comments…..Do you have to fire the clay? Could you do this with Femo clay and just bake in the oven? Such a wonderful idea but the instructions are leaving to many questions unanswered.

    • Beverly, your comment “……instructions are leaving too many questions unanswered” seems very unfair. You are doing yourself, the artist, the writer and the magazine a huge disservice. I include you because apparrently you didn’t read the article. The instructions were very complete including step by step images. It very clearly indicated the material to use – porcelain clay. It very clearly said it was fired, glazed, and fired again., i.e., she used glaze and it was fired twice. Why would you ask “do you have to fire the clay? All pottery requires at least one firing. As far as I know, the term firing is only used with a kiln. Using an oven is not typically called firing but is called oven dried or as you said oven baked. Firing indicates high temperatures way above cooking ovens. As different brands of clay represent different levels of quality, (impurities in the clay or where the clay was procured) each manufacturer will advise the firing temp and any tips unique to their brand. And if someone has their own kiln – they will know the firing info, and if you take it elsewhere – the shop will know.

      So I don’t know how much clearer this article could have been. It had nothing to do with craft clays nor faux clays so she wouldn’t be addressing those types of questions nor about paint or varnish as these aren’t glazes. It is porcelain clay so you would use glazes for porcelain clay and she isn’t going to tell you what color nor what brand you should pick. She advised how thick to roll the clay, how much larger than the doily, talked about cleaning up the edges and forming it over the shallow bowl. She even gave you the number of days to let it air dry over the bowl and about using cloth to facilitate moving. What else did you think they (artist, writer, magazine) they needed to include?

    • Judy, as the article stated, it is glazed. Glazes are not paints and none of these non fired or non glazed options are food safe, nor can they be washed. or exposed to dampness.

      • rose, there are glaze paints, i.e. basically a glaze, but you can paint with it much like with acrylic paints. However, they do require firing just like any other glaze. There also are paints that go ON a glaze, but they are not food safe. I should mention, though, that not all glazes are food safe, either, so one really has to be sure to check for that before starting. (Generally speaking, red tones often are unsafe, because it is not easy to achieve reds without somewhat poisonous ingredients which might, just possibly, taint the food. But any colour CAN be unsafe, so always check before buying.)

  3. Thank you for the instructions, they were complete, disappointed with peoples coments. I am going to try this, the pieces are so pretty!

    • I agree Susan. So much negativity
      They are beautiful little pieces that could be used for little jewellery plates, a scrubby holder at your sink, on your make up table.

  4. These look beautiful but it’s become impossible to find lace doilies anymore. They’ve been replaced by the paper variety. Thank you for showing this beautiful work.

  5. I’m curious about the glossy finish on the bowls in the pictures. What did you use? I’ve used air-dry clay before, and it dries fine, but matte. I’d like to put a shine to them. Please include the gloss info in your reply.
    Thank you!

    • Hej Bente.. ud fra dit navn går jeg ud fra at du er dansk
      Jeg bruger lak ovenpå malingen, det gør leret stærkt og blankt..God fornøjelse!

  6. I wonder if you can use air dry clay, paint as you wish and then maybe paint on a layer of resin? That would make it durable and have a gloss. I think they sell the liquid resin at Michael’s and other craft stores.

  7. You could use air-dry clay or you could make it with polymer clay which you can bake in your oven at home. Both clay products are available at your local hobby and craft store. Easy peasy. I don’t think the resin would work because it is self-leveling and this is a curved surface, but polymer clay artists like to use polyurethane glaze. Just be sure you’re not planning to use this project for food. Either clay can be painted with acrylic paints to get your pastel look. But beware…this craft is addicting and it will be hard to stop once you start.

  8. Great ide but porcelain needs a kiln to fire also hard to fire and keep the shape of the bowl you need a por to fire it for you I would use regular ceramic clay and a colored glaze it will not be as delicate but still useble to serve food a ceramic shop could help you with all of this

  9. Creo q para la creación no hay límite se puede usar porcelana fria o pasta piedra si se usa para servir comida calientes puede ser para masas,frutas o plato de apoyo.

  10. Lovely idea! I have just had a go at making one. I used air drying clay, The clay I used drys white. worked a treat!
    Have left it to dry, will see what it”s like tomorrow

  11. These are simply fabulous. I can’t wait to try. Thank you so much for the instructions and inspiration to do this. Fixing to give you a follow. Hope you can join my blog as well.
    Thank You,

    • That’s awesome, Virrginia, wow! What type of paint AND gloss do you use? And do you have any photos of your work?

  12. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope to be able to visit your shop in kernersville, I live in Salisbury, These are beautiful, And seriously people, be nice with your comments. and also you can find doilees at any garage/estate sale by the tons….usually less than a dollar even….Be Blessed

  13. Thank you very much Maggie to share with us this lovely idea with doilees. After the bowl is dry, do you put some gloss in it or not? I think will be beautiful with a coat of gloss!
    I’ll waiting for your answer!

  14. These are lovely and I am going to give them a try. I was wondering if you paint them with acrylic paint?
    I am guessing the porcelain clay dries with a glossy finish.

  15. I love what you made they’re so beautiful! I love the way you show the pictures step-by-step. I can relate with them better than just reading how to’s. I’m going to try to make some with the air dry clay or porcelain clay. Deb

  16. Looks really lovely, I’m going to try with earthenware clay,as porcalin clay needs a high temperature,and you can have amat or gloss finish.My kiln is for earthenware and stonewear. I live in the wonderful Okavang Delta, Botswana.We had a lovely heard of Elle’s visit us last night.Blesed to have wildlife.

  17. what kind of paint do you use? I like the colors that are on the plates in picture above… after painting are they safe to put food on? Thank you

  18. Oh I am so excited, I was fortunate to get my mother-in-laws lace doilies. I did not know what to do with them, and I did not want to just give them away, mainly because she made them. I think of all the work she put into them with much love.
    Thank you for sharing. Now I will share with all the grandchildren.

  19. what kind of paint???????? for the different kinds of clay???? cold porcelain clay? poly clay? love the look of the plates in pictures.
    thank you so much Sandra Green

  20. I think you’ll find the answers to your questions in the comments. There are a lot of really good pointers thst people have been generous enough to give us. I’m completely new to this, have never even seen the clays at all, so all the helpful comments were a big plus for me that I found by simply reading, and I am gratefully appreciative of. So, wish me luck!

  21. Can’t wait to try this craft. I have done pottery but prefer hand shaping items as to using the wheel.
    Would love to know where your shop is. I live in Pilot Mountain and would love to come see your
    shop if you are open to public. Thanks for sharing your gifted talent.

  22. Hi! Where can I get the magazine issue that was recommended in this article? It’s “Timeless Impressions,” in the May/June 2011 issue of Victoria magazine. Thanks!

  23. It seems most of the commenters failed to read the article – thank goodness a couple did and it is reflected in their comments. I get so disappointed when people ask questions over and over that have already been answered in an article. Sometimes an author will answer a question, and people still keep asking the same questions and wonder why they don’t get an answer. Point- I don’t really understand why people keep asking “what kind of clay” did she use. I don’t know how much clearer it could be; it says in the beginning of the instructions – porcelain clay. It doesn’t say anything about polymer, cold porcelain, air dry clay or home-made faux clays. DIY faux porcelain look clay is made from cornstarch & PVA/craft glue – it has no clay in it and is usually sealed with some type of varnish whether gloss or matt. Because it isn’t fired, can’t be subjected to wet or humid conditions and is not very durable. Without firing, or with craft paints and varnishes, it would not qualify as food safe, water-tight, dishwasher safe, hand washing safe, etc. …can’t use for anything except to sit in non humid area and be dusted off. These are eating dishes, if you want to be able to use in the oven, you will need a different clay.

    On the issue of folks asking about what type of paint or finish did she use. The article specifically says it is fired, glazed, and fired again – note 2 firings. It doesn’t say anything about paint or varnishes – glazes are not paint and must be fired. That sure doesn’t indicate air dry, oven dried, nor any type of non fired types or faux clays. Maggie Weldon is making dishes which must be fired to be washed for hygiene, and must use food safe clay and glazes.

    I’m sorry to sound crabby but you see/read these types of comments everywhere – we have to be smarter than this. She gave specific instructions and noted everything you needed to know. If you are purchasing porcelain clay, it will tell you the firing temp etc. If you own a kiln, you will know if it goes to that temp or not as porcelain is a high fire clay. If you buy the porcelain clay local, the shop you get it from most likely fires client pieces as a service and will surely sell glazes, and supplies. Many teach pottery classes. The internet abounds with articles and instructions on how to complete all kinds of art and crafts – you just have to do some research. The manufacturers of products have websites with all kinds of info – tips, videos. Some retailers also provide how-to instructions and some teach classes on the products they sell.

  24. I love this idea! For a previous kitchen, I took plain, cheap white tiles and painted a leafy vine with berries for my stove backsplash using the paints for clay. The store that fired them was a store that sold unfired greenware and bisque pottery items. They did kiln firing of customer’s pieces for a nominal cost. I saw a customer’s pedestal bathroom sink that had botanicals painted in the bowl and it was beautiful. You just have to search around for places like this in your area.

  25. I wonder what would happen if I leave the lace in the clay while it is drying, and then when it is fired. I assume that will completely disintegrate the lace, and therefore it can’t ever be used again, obviously. But I wonder if that would make the pattern more defined. The clay shrinks so much that when I’ve used fine lace (and not burned it up) the pattern is rather too thin because of the shrinkage. What do you think?



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