Monday, August 30, 2010

Make a Pansy with Air-dry Clay

This pretty Pansy is a good flower project for a beginner who's tried a few clay flowers and is ready to tackle something a little more challenging.

The following demonstration is an excerpt from the new book "Amazing Clay Flowers: Creating Realistic Flowers and Floral Arrangements" by Noriko Kawaguchi.    In her list of materials, she lists "resin clay" which we know as air-dry clay.   In Japan, polymer-based air dry clays are usually called resin clays.  

Note: There are 4 general types or 'groups' of no-bake air-dry clays currently popular.  The paper-based (actually wood pulp) clays such as Creative Paperclay, the stone-based (pumice) clays such as LaDoll, and the polymer-based clays such as Deco Clay, Lumina, Luna and many other brands of "soft" clays usually used in crafting clay flowers.  The 4th group is the homemade and commercial cold porcelain clays, which are very popular for creating clay flowers.

Any of the above could be used to make these Pansies but the softer clays are usually better suited to making thin petals.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paperclay Project: A Spoon Full of Stars

Isn't this a cute and decorative idea from Julie Haymaker Thompson?   Creative wall art made from Creative Paperclay, a wooden spoon, wire and glitter!   Complete instructions here.    Most crafters will have the necessary supplies on hand but, if you prefer, you can purchase a kit from her blog.

For a short while, you can leave a comment on her blog to enter the giveaway for the finished piece.   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Embossing Set by Walnut Hollow

In addition to the new, crank handle clay extruder from Walnut Hollow that we talked about yesterday is their clay embossing set.   Like the extruder, this also comes in a plastic storage case.    Even though I already have some of these tools, I like the convenience of the this is definitely going on my wish list!!  ;-)

Kit contains tools for embossing, stamping, cutting, and texturing all types of clay. Take a look at the video below and you'll see!

Each set includes the following:
·         160 Alphabet/ Number/ Symbol Tiles with a Tile Holder and Applicator
·         4 Texture Sheets
·         4 Clay Stamps with 1 Clay Stamp Handle
·         8 Clay Cutters
·         Storage Case to Hold Everything
·         3 Project Ideas with Instructions.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Clay Extruder by Walnut Hollow

Happy day, I finally have a new clay extruder!     I've been wanting the one made by Makin's Clay because my old Kemper extruder is just too hard to use with my arthritic hands!     I went shopping at the local Michael's store for the Makin's extruder and found they no longer carry it, but they do have a new extruder from Walnut Hollow that has a crank handle.....even better than the twisty handle of the Makin's, I'm thinking!

This extruder comes in a nice little plastic storage case with  20 different disks.    I've read that the disks for the Makin's extruder will  fit this extruder also.    I also read somewhere that metal cake decorating tips will fit into extruder... but haven't tested that out myself!    If you go shopping for this at Michaels, don't forget to bring a half-price coupon!   (Ask me how to get coupons if you don't know.)     btw....There's not any information at on this product as yet.

I just purchased my extruder this weekend, so can't tell you anything about long-term durability of product, but it seems well made with sturdy metal parts.  It's a good size and is fairly easy to hold onto when cranking.   Putting it into a vise would make it even easier!    Here's a short video demonstrating it's use with polymer clay.   Remember, most air dry clays work well with extruder also (except those very soft & sticky brands).  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Make This Piggy Bank with Air-Dry Clay

This tutorial will show you how to make a hollow shape by forming clay around a balloon.  This time will make the hollow sphere into a piggy bank.  

Any brand of air-dry clay that you can roll into a flat sheet is suitable for this project.   Some of the very soft marshmallow-like clays would not be a good choice because they're too sticky to roll into a sheet or to coil.   

This demo shows a terra cotta colored pig, but, of course, you can use any color clay you wish.   Use acrylic paints or other medium to tint your raw clay before shaping or paint the pig when cured.

Inflate a balloon to the desired size for the piglet knotting the end with adhesive tape.  Roll out a circle of clay large enough to cover balloon.   To get a uniform thickness to your clay when rolling, put 2 sticks on each side as a guide for roller.  Either paint stir sticks or large-size craft sticks would work, depending on desired thickness of clay (and size of balloon/pig).

Cover the balloon with the flat piece of clay adapting it to the shape of the balloon.  Pinch gussets along sides where needed (remove excess clay).   Lightly moisten seams to blend.

Add more clay if the balloon is not properly covered. Join all the pieces well and smooth the surface.  If you need to moisten to get clay to adhere to itself, be careful not to get clay TOO wet.
Form a thick coil of clay and cut 4 equal sizes for legs and feet.   Moisten ends and attach to body according to photo above.   Make sure your pig stands well on his own!
Shape the snout and ears with additional pieces of clay.   Moisten ends and attach to body,  blending edges for smooth transition into face.   Poke some nostrils into snout (careful don't poke balloon yet!).    Make a small coil for tail and attach to body.   Curl the tail !!  ;-)

To finish the piggy bank, make the money slot and burst the balloon.   This should probably be done after the clay is partially cured and firm to the touch.    Then add eyes, blush and other embellishments...such as child's name or some polka dots! 

If you have trouble with the tail or ears staying on, just adhere with white glue!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to Make a Marionette Face

A short video from Emily DeCola  showing us her marionette faces, which she makes using a homemade air dry clay  (a mix of Celluclay, sawdust and other things).   Emily DeCola is a freelance designer, performer and director working all over the world with puppetry and masks on stage and in television and film. She has received a Jim Henson Foundation Grant.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another method for sculpting head with CP

Guilherme Pires, in another video, shows us how he sculpts a head using cold porcelain.   This is a different method than shown last week by Rosangela Alencar (where a foam ball is used as armature).   These doll heads are a little smaller.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spotlight on clay artist Guilherme Pires

Guilherme Pires is a clay artist from Brazil who creates the cutest clown figures and other clever characters.   Using homemade cold porcelain, wire, foam, simple tools and a lot of imagination, he comes up with some very unique art dolls he calls 'guibonecos'.  Some have very sweet faces, some are funny and some are quite strange.  LOL  Visit his blog at

In the 3 videos below, he shares with us how it's done.  Quite the production line he has going in these videos!  *sigh*  He accomplishes so much in one day!!

In the first video, he makes the clay and takes it into his modeling room where he creates a series of heads and models the arms, hands and big feet for his clowns.
In the second video, he assembles all the pieces with wire and foam and paints the adorable faces.   The last video shows his creative costuming, wigging and finishing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Make This Little Angel Magnet

Step-by-step instructions with lots of photos to create this cute angel can be found at

This angel magnet is made with cold porcelain, but many brands of air-dry clay would also be suitable for this easy project.  Soft, easy to mold clays work best.    

Pre-tint your white clay with a little acrylic paint, color paste  made for cake decorating & sugarcraft or colorants made especially for cold porcelain.   If you're not familiar with colorants, below is an example of cake colorants that are available in paste form from cake decorating suppliers and at Amazon.  Colorants specifically for cold porcelain are not readily available in USA, but you might find a supplier on the web.  

Tutorial is in Spanish.   If your browser doesn't automatically translate to your language of choice, you can find a translate tool at

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Video: Create a Dolls Head with Cold Porcelain

Yesterday we shared a step-by-step tutorial of how to model a basic doll's head with cold porcelain (or other soft air-dry clays).    Today we have a 2-part video demo by Rosangela Alencar, showing her methods for shaping a cold porcelain (CP) doll's head.   Very similar to yesterday's tutorial with a few added the benefit of watching it on video!  ;-)

Well worth watching to see how she neatly wraps the Styrofoam ball with CP and shapes the head.  It's amazing how quickly she shapes a nose!  She makes it look so easy!! ;-)    Also take note of how she uses her fingers to measure placement of mouth and chin and how she forms neck at the same time she is shaping those pudgy cheeks!

Part 1...Getting Started

Part 2....Adding Details

Friday, August 6, 2010

How to Create a Dolls Head with Cold Porcelain

Many cold porcelain figures, dolls and animals, all start by modeling a basic cute head and then adding the eyes, expression, hair, etc to create the character (such as the doll shown above).   This 'basic cute head' tutorial was originally published in a Portuguese magazine and I have done my best to translate the instructions into English for those that cannot read the Portuguese.  .

Materials needed are some cold porcelain paste (or other soft air-dry-clay) and a Styrofoam ball.   Tools used are your fingers, a cutting tool, a crochet hook and a ball-end tool.    The first step is to tint your clay/cold porcelain a peach tone or other flesh tone unless your prefer tinting or painting after it has cured.   


Next, wrap the Styrofoam ball in clay or cold porcelain (CP).   Select enough CP paste to completely cover the foam ball (approximately 2" ball shown here).  Press the foam ball into the CP and shape the CP around it 


Close any gaps that appear as you wrap the CP so that you completely enclose the foam ball inside.  Avoid trapping any air. 

With the palms of your hands, smooth and shape the CP into an egg shape.   Using your thumbs, enhance the curvature of the nose and forehead.

Refine the shape of the head and pull some of the clay into a neck.

With a crochet hook, push the CP paste from the bottom up and then form the nose with your fingers 

.....leaving a pointed nose shape.

Strengthen the shape around the area of the eye with your thumb.   Add nostrils.

To mark the mouth, envision an imaginary line that creates a cross between the nose and neck and from one cheek to the other cheek.    Where the imaginary line crosses,  insert the tool straight in to form a mouth.
(note:  The numbering of photos in original tutorial skipped's not missing)

With the end of a crochet hook, create a diagonal crease in each corner of mouth.

Using the diagonal mark as a guide, use your thumb to lift the cheek and indent the chin, smoothing down toward the neck.

With the small end of a ball-end tool, shape the lower lip....running tool from one side to another.

Shape the upper lip with the same tool, using gentle movements.

Define the corners of the mouth by dimpling with large end of ball-end tool.

With smaller end of ball-end tool, create small mark on top of the upper lip.

Ears ... create 2 ears and glue onto the head of the doll.   Shape 2 equal amounts of CP into 2 small ovals.  Roll between fingers to indent slightly.  Attach an ear to each side of head using round-end tool to apply pressure to center of ear.  

After CP has dried and cured, flesh color can be painted (if you didn't pre-tint) and eye decals can be glued on or eyes painted on.  Hair can be molded from additional CP paste or various types of doll hair material can be glued on.  Lots of  different characters can be made by varying the embellishments.  The boy doll and girl doll shown below both started with this basic "cute" head.   The boy's hair is molded clay, but the girl has purchased doll hair glued on.   The head for the little kitty was modeled in a similar way as basic doll's head.

More about cold porcelain at Cold Porcelain Tutorials

Monday, August 2, 2010

Create Clay Flowers: Orange Jasmine

 Orange Jasmine Made from DaisyClay, Air-dry polymer clay

These gorgeous Orange Jasmine flowers were created by Thai Flower Art using air-dry clay. Thai Flower Art is a small company based in Thailand.  The clays used for their flowers are Daisy Clay and Luna Clay, but cold porcelain and many other brands of air-dry clay are suitable for this project, especially the soft clays  like Deco ClayCraft and Crafter's Clay.  

The clay you use should be the soft and pliable type that is also strong and durable when molded very thin.  Some brands of air-dry clay (such as DAS terra cotta) are too heavy or not soft enough for flower crafting.   Techniques used in this flower tutorial are similar to those described in Clay Art for All Seasons: A Guide to Soft Clay Art using DecoClay. 

The free online lesson* for the Orange Jasmine flower is found in the online classroom at Thai Flower Art, along with a few downloadable lessons.     The Orange Jasmine lesson consists of a series of videos for each step in the process, showing you how to make the stems and petals in addition to the flowers.  
Update:  The original tutorial has been removed by author and replaced with this 6-part tutorial to create Orange Jasmine flower.   Click on each image for more info and video demo.

Thai Flower Art also sells various supplies for clay flower crafting.   If you want to obtain the Daisy Clay, it may be purchased thru Thai Flower Art in Thailand or, in USA, thru Arakina , a distributor for Thai Flower Art.    


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