As a crafter of all sorts, I learn to incorporate various techniques into different media to get things done. I’m not the most confident when it comes to carving clay, so I needed a technique that would help get the job done and get great results every time. I decided to try a wax-paper transfer method to get my text onto the clay surface as a guide and I was so excited when it worked. The wax paper I use is the same used for baking and can be found in most grocery stores. Here’s what I do.
Use any computer program that can print text or images. Make sure the scale of the graphic is the size you want it to be on the clay. Note: Before printing, make sure your image is flipped horizontally or mirrored. This is especially important with text, as it will ensure it transfers legibly.
Once ready to print, I cut a piece of wax paper to measure 8½×11 inches and feed that through my basic ink-jet home printer (1). Cut the paper around the perimeter of the ink-jet printed image so that it is a smaller, more manageable size. Carefully place the paper ink-side down on wet or leather-hard clay. With your finger, lightly rub the back of the wax paper to help the wet ink transfer to the clay (2).
Gently lift the wax paper. The image should be left on the clay, creating a visual carving guide (see 3). Don’t worry about ink left on the clay after you finish carving; it will burn away once fired in the kiln.