An ashtray, no matter how simple and plain its purpose and function may be, does come at quite a high price. If you’re among the reasonable ones who’d rather spend your precious, hard-earned money on more valuable items, instead of one with the sole function of accommodating consumed cigarettes alone, then this article will suit your need. Read on and find out how you can make a clay ashtray within the comforts of your own home and using common and readily available household ingredients.
- Collect all needed ingredients and materials. Prepare 5 cups of flour (white), 2 ½ cups of salt (iodized), 2 ½ cups tap water, a sieve, wooden spoon, a plastic mixing bowl, a cookie sheet, measuring cups and measuring spoons, food color of your choice, pen-sized cylinder and a preheated oven.
- Make the clay. In a bowl, sift and combine flour with salt, simultaneously and gradually incorporating water into the bowl as you mix. A few drops of food color of your choice will be helpful for your art. With the palms of your hands, knead the dough formed from the mixture. If the dough remains brittle and crumbly, simply incorporate additional water. Once the desired smooth texture is reached, continue kneading for around 10 minutes.
- Shape your ashtray. Form a ball, preferably the same size as your fist. Make as many clay balls you intend to make into ashtrays. For any remaining unused dough, preserve in a refrigerator for future use. Create a notch by pushing your thumb down into the middle of the ball, just halfway downward and being careful not to overdo it and accidentally pierce a hole all the way through the ball of clay. Now start squeezing and shaping the clay around the notch, spinning the ball as you do this. You may stop once the ball has appropriately spread to your desired size and shape (preferably not less than two inches in height and with walls not thinner than half an inch in thickness). Using any cylinder (about the size of a pen), indent four cigarette butt holders on the edges of your still-soft clay ashtray.
- Bake. Lay the clay ashtray on the middle of your cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven with a temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or so (checking every now and then to see if the ashtray has finally toughened up and turned darker in color). Do take careful note that your cookie sheet should remain ungreased and must be placed specifically on the middle rack (and preferably on the rack’s central point). Once tough enough, take the cookie sheet with the ashtray out of the oven and let cool. And before handling, don’t forget to thoroughly clean and rinse your hands free of food color if you want to keep your freshly baked clay ashtray clean and free from untidy and messy marks and fingerprints.
As an alternative, you can wander away from the typical round ashtray
and try experimenting on creating ones with custom shapes. Molding
various shapes will undoubtedly take a lot more practice,
trial-and-error and patience; but the wonderful result will be
well-deserved, especially if you intend to make it as a very
personalized gift to a special someone. You may even engrave a personal
message such as “Smoking will kill you” just to humor the one you’ll be
giving it to.