IMPORTANT... how to use this page
Adult beginners + Misc. for all beginners (getting started, suggestions, etc.)
Tools & supplies
Simple projects for beginners
...(other) websites with many proj's+basic polymer info
Projects listed by technique, or theme:
... Sculpting
.......mixed sculpting websites
.......figures: human figures
.......robots/monsters/Pokemon/characters, etc.
.......nodders & bobbleheads
.......animals and bugs
.......more figure & other toys + mini-home accessories/furniture
......."bas relief" sculpting
...Cut-outs & flat shapes
......basic info....examples, lessons, etc.
...Mosaics, & other inlay
...Stamping & Molds, metallic powders
...Metallic (mica) clays...& their special effects
...Covering (pens,eggs,votives,switchplates, + nightlights,lamps,etc.)
...Fauxs (jade,turquoise,wood,metal,stone,etc.)
...Jewelry & wearables...+ zipper pulls, etc.
...Liquid clays (& transfers)
...Other Ideas & misc. techniques
.......musical instruments, magnets, tacks-pins
.......more (various)
..... Valentine & hearts, etc.
...Scenes, dioramas
...Games ........ chess, checkers, boards
...Other toys toys & toddler, etc.
Using kids' artwork to make clay items
Why kids should clay + learning differences
School projects, etc.
Teaching & working with kids
......many project ideas (mixed ideas, finished items by kids)
.......younger kids
..........letters, math/numbers, words, spelling, etc.

......older kids with special needs, disabilities
.....more math + art ideas, cost
.....blades & kids
.....more info & misc.
Not exactly polymer (but inspirational)

KIDS (by or for) + BEGINNERS

The things on this page can be:
...made by kids themselves
...made by adults, for kids (for kids to use such as games/toys, or perhaps to give them as gifts)
...made by adults, for themselves (to memorialize kids' art, or use it for jewelry, clothing.. or to give as gifts to relatives, etc.)

see More re Kids below for more on:
....using kids' art ...teaching & working with kids... school projects... why kids should clay!... learning & emotional difficulties... etc.

USING THIS PAGE ...important information

Some of the easier kinds of things to do with clay are listed below on this page.
....however, if you find yourself especially interested in any of those, you can find loads more info and lessons about it on the category page here at GlassAttic that deals with that general topic.

NOTE: whenever you see a category name in ITALICS in the regular text (for instance..."for more info, see Miniatures > Foods")
the word in italics is the name of another ANOTHER category page here at Glass Attic (....the name of the category page you are now on is called Beginners & Kids)
......and the word that's underlined (after the > mark) is the exact subcategory on that page being referred to
to go to any of the other category pag es here at Glass Attic, simply click on its name in the alphabe
(.....category names are alphabetized in the navigation bar by sections... such as A-B, or D-F)

Some specific polymer topics (categories) here at GlassAttic may be of special interest to kids and beginners ....especially the following:
Christmas, Halloween (holidays, etc.)
(gingerbread houses & candies)
(figures and animals)
Miniatures & Buttons
Books on Polymer Clay
(pens & other items)

Molds & Powders
(metallic & other)
Letters&Inks & Finishes
(for working with add. to the "Working with Kids" area below)

On the General Info. category page, you can also see:
--an overview of all polymer techniques
--polymer groups (online and not-online, beginner and mixed)
& where to find much more information
--supply sources

ADULT BEGINNERS..... + MISC. for All Beginners

Elizabeth has put many good suggestions for beginners on her website
(for example, info about tools, clays, colors, some beads, some fauxs, mokume gane, etc.) (...some of her categories will require Adobe Acrobat to view)

Kids often don't need any help to take the plunge
... but for adult beginners it can be a little intimidating... just not knowing what to do, how to start, etc.
......When you're new, I think there's such a thing as getting too much input, actually...heck, I'm not new to it, any more, but I still feel overwhelmed with ideas for things I want to make! *g* ...
...There's so much stuff to look at and so many techniques to try!... Might be a good idea to pick just one area or two that you want to learn, then start with simpler techniques in the that area and just concentrate on those for a while... the other techniques will still be around when you've mastered those but they won't be hanging around in your head causing distraction and making you feel overwhelmed.
...There are so many possibilities with this stuff! . . . so for example, if you want to do millefiori, start with the easy canes and move on gradually to the harder ones . . . .if you want to make little figures, start with those that use simple shapes and detailing and gradually add your own touches, experimenting all the way; or if you want to make realistic figures, start with making small studies of heads or hands or legs or whatever using an anatomy book for reference.. . . .if you want to do household decor items, start with easy (like stamped-and-pearlex) light switch covers and move up to more complicated things like boxes. Elizabeth

I'll walk you through the getting-started process (...wish I was there to hand you a lump of already-conditioned clay; it's much less scary)
..... Put something on your tablel ike parchment paper or a smooth glazed ceramic tile (I get mine at Home Depot) or the glass out of an old picture frame. Wash your hands. Pick out a package of clay. . . . . OPEN THE PACKAGE!
... Poke the clay. Isn't it beautiful, almost glowing in its pristine block? It feels kind of firm, doesn't it?
....Snap off a quarter block or so (don't get hung up on measurements) and start rolling it between your hands. Notice that the friction and the heat of your body warms the clay (just keep rollling and bending it until it doesn't crack when a log of it is bent unto a U-shape).
... My most important instruction to you is to play with the clay! Polymer clay has unique tactile and tensile qualities that you can only learn through manipulating the medium. You don't have to make something right away. Give your hands some time to build up body memory of how to make the clay move. Pretty soon, you'll find yourself opening to the clay. There's a six-year-old inside you who remembers playing with dough. Let her out, and she'll make sure you make something WONDERFUL! Nance

make samples: In the beginning, it's not even necessary to "make something" with what you've done.
It's less intimidating and less time-consuming simply to learn to do some general techniques, etc, first. Then you can bake and save what you're made just as samples (these come in quite handy later for inspiration later anyway, or for showing to others), which you can keep in a bowl on a coffeetable/etc., or string as beads or as flat cutouts (make a hole first) to keep them together.

Suggestions for some good things for newbies to start with as projects or just as explorations, and also fun to do.
These can also help to beginners get familiar with some of the basics of polymer clay and how the clay works, so they're also a good foundation that can be built on:
...marbling colors (Color > Marbling Effects) ... and mixing your own colors too
...molds (using + making) (Molds... also )
...stamping (Stamping) ....and texturing (Texturing)
...metallic powders (Powders > Mica), like Pearl Ex mica-based powders (with or without stamping/texturing the clay first)
...onlays (Onlay > Dimensional)
...metallic leaf (Leaf) ("crackling" leaf can look great too)
...miniatures (Miniatures) very small sculpted items for jewelry, dollhouses, etc
..."fauxs" (Fauxs--many, etc) imitating materials of all kinds --turquoise/jade/opal/etc, metal, rock/stone, leather, wood, ivory, etc. (some simple, some not so) .
...sheets of pattern (Sheets of Pattern) especially > Marbled Paper, Dragged Lines effect, and the Flattened Sheets--particularly from cane slices)
...canes (Canes-Instr. > Beginner Canes)
......the simplest and most basic canes (and the foundation of most all canes) are spiral-jellyroll canes, bullseye-wrapped canes, striped canes (layers of color stacked then cut into canes or cane "loafs"), and folded canes --"picture" canes are usually the most difficult, tho not always
......also, if a cane like one or more of those is cut into several lengths, then combined together side by side (once or many times), very complex-looking patterns can be gotten with very little work and know-how! --"kaleidoscope" canes)
...AND-OR, click on any techniques in the categories below under Projects Listed by Technique or Theme... there are simpler ideas for many basic polymer techniques there, as well as other ideas

for tools and supplies especially for beginners... see below in Tools & Supplies & Basics

BOOKS/VIDEOS... CLASSES ....GROUPS esp. for beginners

books & videos

See Books & Videos page for all polymer books... but on that page you'll also see:
...more books than listed below which are esp. suitable for beginners
...many shorter books like from publishers like Hot Off The Press, etc.
...many regular polymer books also have things in them suitable for kids, especially older kids, and beginners
... many reviews of the books and videos

for many videos/DVDs that can be rented, see also Books & Videos

Here are just a few full length books:

Fast Polymer Clay: Speedy Techniques and Proje cts for Crafters in a Hurry, by Sue Heaser (small whimsical projects), 2004?
... (50 or more whimsical creations) ...projects can be completed in an hour
....Miniature dollhouse accessories, Faux jade pendant,Mosaic barrette, Bookworm bookmark, Inlay picture frame, Fridge magnets, Stamped cards, etc....step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks for beginning and advanced clayers
... The first third of the book shows basic techniques for working with polymer clay. The instructions are simple and there plenty of pictures for each technique. The rest of the book is devoted to small, quick projects... sherylnd

"Create Anything With Clay"--the 2nd Klutz Press clay activity book -- by Sherri Haab, Laura Torres, (June 99)
... comes with 6-8 half-bars of Sculpey (usually available at kids’ educational toy stores, craft stores, bookstores, Walmart?, e-bay
All kinds of fairly simple projects:  Snow Globes.  Picture  Frames.  Fossils.  Gift Tags.  Rock Art. Itty Bitty Hardback Books.  Letter Beads.   Dollhouse Furniture.  Clay Pictures....also have "One Ball  Buddies" --little critters made from one small (no bigger than 1") balls of clay, with little bits added on to make the balls into critters
-----also their 1st Klutz Press book for kids, “The Incredible Clay Book,” by Sherry Haab & Laura Torres

Got Clay Can Play, by Garie Sim, 2006 ... $10.99 + shipping ($5 to US)
( ...emphasis on fun, using recycled objects, "science" & experimenting, developing a creative eye & spirit, etc... kids or adults)
...materials, tools & "add-ons," basic shapes ....why play with clay?
...static items ...dinosaur (using film canister armature), pencil holder (bunny scene), porcupine with quills, ladybug paperweight, robot (jointed arms/legs --flex.straws & clay)
motion items : water globe (rainbow & dog inside), mobile (with pteranodons), flipping dog (around swing), volcano (can make it "explode"), suspended bear "dances" at end of line, submersible submarine with magnet inside, "framed" shallow-box aquarium (with magnetic fish, also movable on clear suspension strings)

Kids' Crafts - Polymer Clay by Irene Semanchuck Dean ... all kinds of projects for kids and tweens

Clay Characters for Kids, by Maureen Carlson
...I just got this book today and it's really terrific - I think kids are going to love it, a lot of adults too.
Maureen creates 30 critters and creatures that range from simple to quite complex. If sculpting is a mystery to you, this helps you see how easily a complex figure can be broken down into shapes that are easy to form. After you get the basic figure done, then you can take it in your own directions. She even shows you how to accomplish different moods with poses and facial expression..... lots of great basic info about colors, color mixing, making shapes, combining shapes, changing expressions, etc. ...Tons of beautiful pictures, very clearly written directions and fantastical stories told along the way - she's amazing, she is! Elizabeth
.she also has a color wheel made up of little sculpted fish...
...this video can also be rented for one week ($5) from:
(.....also any books on figures and faces by Maureen Carlson)

Creating Fantasy Polymer Clay Characters, (sculpting funny characters --more complicated) by Dinko Tilov (March 2004)
step by step lessons for trolls, wizards, dragons, goblin, knights, skeletons, a Santa, a generic guy, and other weird characters
...I have been working on a how-to book on sculpting funny characters..... will be about 12 projects in it (very detailed, I've tried not to skip anything) . . . . Dinko (should be a great book!... his people and animals definitely appeal to kids -- and grown kids-- nd he's a good teacher)

many shorter, project books published by Hot Off The Press & Design Originals ...... 20-pages or so, with many projects ... most are cute characters
... (MUST ENTER polymer clay in the search box, then click on each book to see the cover)
... (or some may still be only on the "new" page:
... (mostly polymer) of these shorter books shows how to "cover" 2 shapes of papier mache boxes (& lids) from the craft store with clay , and also sculpt a figure or mini scene to sit on the lid (All Covered Up!, by Becky Meverden)

Making Miniature Villages in Polymer Clay, by Gail Ritchey,  
... "blueprints" for twelve, hand-sized projects - from cottages to fancy manors, churches,  grocery stores, and more. . . how to landscape dwellings with trees, flowers, fences,  stone paths, and other special touches. .....

Don't forget books on bread dough art, Play Doh, and simple earth clay items will definitely give good ideas for polymer clay too.

Kris Richards has two 'Junior Artisan' videos now available thru Mindstorm. I just got her  newest one on making boxes (“Goodie Boxes”)  and ,"Sculpting Cartoon Critters” .

(may be more good beginner books and videos by now, not listed above, on the Books & Videos page)

classes & groups & kits

For local classes, check local bead stores, art stores, and sometimes craft stores or community centers.

some teachers register their classes on these pages: and

Krafty Kreations has online beginner lessons (a MSN site --must join group to attend to these online classes before they are archived, but free )
Clay Class Message Board (all posts are projects)
...classes are posted on Tuesdays (beg. Jan. 2003) at 8:00 pm EST, 7:00 CST, 6:00 MST, 5:00 PST
We make all kinds of projects mainly for beginners. We've done jewelry, holiday ornaments, techniques, dolls, buttons, and simple clay canes.
The classes are informal and you may do the project in class or just listen. All class project instructions are posted after class. So come on and join us. Michele

There are quite a few polymer books and videos, which function like classes too .... plus one advantage of joining a guild is usually a lending library!).... see many above, and also on the Books & Videos page > Books suitable for Beginners)

Sculpey brand clay now offers a number of Sculpey & Premo kits which come with a number of bars of clay & instructions .... and .
(clay samplers only... no projects)

Most polymer discussion groups welcome newcomers, and there are quite a few of these groups
(see for more info on all the kinds of polymer groups)

You can also see if there is a local polymer guild near you and ask them where classes might be offered (and also join them!... cause they also have classes and you'll learn a lot... again, newbies are welcome).

One of the online groups, however, bills itself as specifically for beginners. (It is a free, "mailing list" group sponsored by Yahoo; after joining, one receives the messages and responds to them by e-mail. . . new_to_polymer_clay:
"...we simply try to teach the basics of using polymer clay, and we also try to direct newbies to projects which tweak their interest and creativity..." Julie
"We have a very nice mix of clay interests as well... (Also) each month I find a project or tutorial on the web and post it as a monthly challenge... members may choose to interpret the challenge in their own way and post their results in the photos section. Also 4 times a year (quarterly) we have a swap." Whitney
"We kinda help each other, what one doesn't know the other does...we have a really good time..
" (73 members)

Poly's Clay Castle... an area of PolymerClayCentral for kids... it has few photos, lessons, and a message board ...and (

Tools + Supplies + "Basics"

info on THE BASICS are some pages at my site tht I often recommend for newbies (specific categories may be indicated for pages as well):
Tools > Beginner Tools + Work Surfaces + Rollers, Brayers
Cutters & Blades > Blades
Glues > Some Bonding Techniques


You do NOT have to spend a fortune on tools and supplies to work with polymer clay!
When I started out with pc, I had only a toothpick and a knife from the kitchen and an empty butane can for a roller. I didn't even buy a pasta machine for over 3 years. I still have my butane can more then 7 years later. Kellie

First of course, you'll just need to buy some clay.
...Personally, I highly recommend Premo or Kato Polyclay. I am mostly a Premo user, but I am liking the Kato clay, too. I wouldn't use Sculpey III... while a nice clay for some projects, I found it lacking in (strength) for jewelry making.
(FimoClassic is strong in thin areas after baking too... FimoSoft may or may not be. DB)
Next you'll need a few basic tools.
1) A cutting blade, sometimes a called a tissue blade. An Exact o knife will work as a substitute in some situations, but you can't beat a nice sharp blade.
2) A work surface to protect your counter/table. I use a piece of 1/8" plexiglass, but glass, matt board, self healing cutting matt, (and other things) will work too.
3) A baking surface. I use a 4" X 6" ceramic tile. You can work right on it and put it directly into the oven. Anything you decide to use to bake your clay on should be designated as a clay only pan. (put a sheet of paper on it to avoid shiny spots though for smooth tiles. DB)
4) Oven- I use a convection oven, but toaster ovens and your home oven will do fine. ...a seperate oven thermometer to check the real temp the oven is heating to is essential. My ovens are all off from what the knob says. I also tent my clay loosly with aluminum foil to hold in any residue that may would otherwise build up inside the oven (and also helps keep them clay from darkening. DB)
5) Embellishments are fun, but not actually required.
Also, other stuff like Pearl-Ex and gold leaf add a lot to a simple piece of clay (also using rubber stamps, texture sheets, molds, etc)
6) Also not required but recommended- cyanoacrylate type glue (superglues) I use mine all the time. The gel type works best in my opinion.
7) Yet another "not required" I couldn't live without my pasta machine. It's so perfect for making those nice smooth even sheets of clay.
8) All the info you can get your hands on. :) I highly recommend surfing the net and reading everything you can find on polymer clay. is a fabulous place to start. I learned everything I know about clay from the net and watching the Carol Duvall show on HGTV. Tonja

If you already had an oven and a pasta machine, but no clay, what tools would you buy for $100?
.... Boy that depends on what you mean to do. . .
As for clay itself, I find I can never have too much translucent, black, or white.
For caning, a tissue blade is awfully nice. I got along for a long time with just carpet knife blades from the hardware store, but they don't flex like a tissue blade does. Tissue blades run about $2 each.
If you're working with pieces that are rolled out flat for baking, especially thin ones, a ceramic tile to use as both work surface and baking surface very handy. I can usually find very plain glazed floor tiles for about a dollar each at Home Depot.. .
Some sort of glossy clear finish is a good idea. I use Future floor polish, lots of folks swear by Varathane.
If you're doing jewelry, you'll probably want to spend some money on the relevant findings.
For sculpture, a couple of fat darning needles and finer gauge aluminum knitting needles are invaluable. . . .For bigger sculptures, wire and aluminum foil for armatures. . . Depending on your approach, the suggestion of books for technique and inspiration is a great idea, too. On the other hand, with patience and a high speed connection, you can find a lot of technique and inspiration information on the web these days.
...So much depends on where you want to go with it . Personally I love having a lot of materials to play with too:
.....rubber stamps, interference, mica, & glitter powders, feathers, seed beads, telephone wire, stuff to cover, acrylic paints for antiquing and faux effects, metal foils, shrink plastic, metal charms, buttons, natural objects to make molds from.
. . . It might be worth getting an idea of a few techniques you specifically want to try and basing your purchases on those, and then expand later. Ulrika

Generally, the most expensive item for polymer clay is a pasta machine. These are not absolutely necessary though.
...Less expensive (and less-sturdy) ones can be purchased from Michaels, etc. ...these are made in the Far East --such as the Amaco-- as opposed to Italy. These will work fine for beginners and most clayers though, as long as they're taken care of properly (mostly involving not putting in hard or large blobs of clay without thinning or softening first).
...Pasta machines do allow one to much more quickly and easily do certain things though like:
condition clays, mix colors, mix in inclusions, and make flat sheets, as well as do special techniques like the "Skinner blend.
...Many clayers who end up doing a lot of claying will often eventually purchase an Italian-made machine, and perhaps even a motor for it though... the first machine can also come in very handy for taking to classes, letting kids use, using only for white or transcluent clay, etc.

Try just walking around looking at things (at your house, garage sales, stores) as though you are an alien, totally clueless as to what this stuff really is used for....and you will see potential in things you hadn't noticed before (for using with polymer clay). Sarajane Helm


If have some cutters and a pasta machine (or roller) though, one fun first thing to begin with when you haven't had much experience with clay is to cut out shapes from plain or patterned clay sheets with cutters (med. or small ones).
...You can put a hole in the top (by twisting a small straw into the raw clay) and use as a Christmas ornament, or a pinback on the back, or an eyepin or flap of clay at the top if you want to use as a pendant, for example.
...You can even make greeting cards by gluing these shapes onto folded over cardstock or construction paper.
...They can be embellished further, if you want, by onlaying all kinds of things as well, if you want ...if they are little animals, for example, a tiny eye or molded bit of clay could be added for additional interest. (see more on all this below in "Cutters")

Another advantage of doing this is that you can experiment with many different techniques, then use any of them (flattened if they're not already flat), to cut the shapes from
....(for example, marbled sheets, striped sheets, "dragged-lines" sheets, crackled leaf sheets, mokume gane, cane slices and bits of clay rolled into the sheets, or actual cane slice sheets, etc., etc.!)

Stamping is another easy and cool thing for a beginner. Just impress the raw clay with a dry stamp (....or just any object ...maybe a fork tip, pencil eraser, screwdriver end, old button, or something flat like sandpaper or plastic needlepoint sheets, etc.). Then cut it out.
...or even better "highlight" it with a metallic powder (Pearl Ex) if you have some by running your powdered finger lightly over just the top, or bake and then "antique" your impression with brown acrylic paint (tube types are best, but any should work) by rubbing it all over and in the impressions, letting it dry a bit, then wiping off just the topmost areas with a damp paper towel, etc.

Making molds from clay, and/or making clay pieces using clay or other molds, is also easy and great fun. Molds cane made from single items, parts of items, patterns from any textured item you might have around, etc., and are quite addictive! The molded clay pieces can then be used in many ways... as simple onlays onto other clay or onto other objects, pendants, etc., or they can be used to make beads, they can be highlighted, etc., as with stamped clay, and much more.

You might also want to take a look at my page on Books and Videos (there's a Beginner Books section there), and sometimes it can be good to just pick a project from a book or online and do it (even if it doesn't come out perfect) just to get familiar with some of the techniques and steps.

If made small enough, most techniques can be turned into tiny ornaments for a tiny tree, or attached to a needleworked image or scene
...Missy's tiny sculpted (or molded) shapes attached to needlepoint scene (Halloween tree) ...pumpkins, cat, witch, ghost, bat, spider made as buttons

If you have a clay gun, make sure your clay is soft enough, and then perhaps try some Balinese Filigree... or just onlay some ropes next to each other onto a base sheet of clay, then cut a shape with your cutter or just cut the shape with a blade. These look great when highlighted with metallic powders too. (see Clay Guns page for more details)

other WEBSITES with lots of projects
& basic polymer info

You can find a large number of project lessons for polymer clay at several of the TV, craft store, magazine or e-zine websites, as well as collections of links at some individual clayers' websites (not all projects may not be for beginners though).
....many of these also have separate pages or areas for explaining basic info. about polymer clays, etc. (website for Polyform clays --Sculpeys & Premo) ...projects & polymer info
...projects (must use .htm) ....and

HGTV (Home & Garden TV channel).....hundreds of projects & polymer info ( simple to complex)
...mostly from programs such as Carol Duvall & That's Clever (used to be Crafters Coast to Coast), etc,1788,HGTV_3236,00.html (keep clicking on "More" under each category),,HGTV_3352_2000136,00.html
...or go to Advanced Search... select either Carol Duvall Show or That's Clever, then use polymer clay as search term

Michaels (craft store)... projects & info

PCPolyzine (the free, online polymer "e-zine")...projects (& all articles) ...(and )

Polymer Clay Central ..... many projects & swaps]

Fimo's website (by Eberhard Faber, maker of Fimo) ...many projects, but not many full lessons (3rd window has a drop-down menu with 5-6 categories, each of which has a number of projects for jewelery, household objects, lanterns/vases, gifts, seasonal items

Garie Sim's website:

Garie Sim's blog
Laurie's links to many different projects

Kim Kennedy's links to many different projects, etc.

Projects by technique, theme


see much more on these pages as well

(for whole scenes, see below in Scenes & Dioramas")

Sculpting with polymer clays can be very simple or very complex.. funny or elegant... in short, any way you want it!

A good place to start, particularly for making figures, may be making shapes.... actually, everything in life is made of those shapes.
.....some basic shapes: balls, oval balls, cones, teardrops, cubes, short logs, long ropes, coils...etc. . . each could be flattened too for disks, pads, etc.
....once you've started doing these, you may very well "see" something a teddy bear made of balls and discs with a cone for a party hat.

You can also use many other materials like wire, feathers, paper, metal, etc., with polymer clay sculpts...(just remember there are some things you can't bake along with the clay, those which can't stand at least 275 degree heat --some plastics will melt or warp, for example.).
This is called "mixing media."
...For example, you might want to add accessories like a hat or jewel to an item sculpted with clay, or you might want to embed the other materials into the clay (..if they non-bakable, simply press the item where you'll want it, then remove it to bake clay and glue back in afterwards).
....Jeannette's "grungy snowman" with wire, and face painted or markered on (not clay but easily could be) (click on "Primitive")
(...see much more on incorporating other materials, see Mixing Media)
(...see which materials can be baked in Covering)

To save clay so the clay you have will last longer, you can use a tightly crumpled ball or other shape of aluminum foil as an “armatureunderneath a covering of clay (especially for larger items... or smaller ones)... though other materials can be used under the clay too
....just press a wad of crumpled foil to the approx. size and shape you want, and make sure it’s well compressed (can even hit with a hammer)... then cover with a layer of clay ...and bake, or embellish it more and bake.
...frilled-neck lizard probably using an alum. foil armature
DB: add my tiny wizard

edible candy dough (make or buy) can be sculpted or molded or caned, then eaten --see below in More (Various)
...also "gummy" "clay" kits

For our purposes here, "sculpting" will refer to creating figures and animals, of course, but also to other things which don't need a particular additional technique (like metallic powders or transfers) .......for example making flowers or mini-foods.

mixed websites
(most are figures)

*Dinko’s (lesson) on funny bird
*Dinko’s crazy critters
Dinko’s home page
*birds-with-teeth swap (based on Dinko's bird)
buttonarcade's simple little 1 1/2" tall "monsters" (screaming with teeth, or with backpack)
simple fun & colorful amorphous figures ("monsters" with a heart" by ultimately-his-angel
many simple but creative polymer critters... all kinds
Domicreative's weird little 2-ball creatures --with added metal and wire pieces (for eyes, antennas, etc.)
Kraugomi's weird little creature heads (often w ith stIcking-out parts), created on the end of a bolt... most of bolt visible, but nut screwed on bottom to make a stand under head (...and one is a chicken body, with bolt for legs and feet?) ...for more, click on
Blueman's scary-funny head with many sticking-out clay rods wrapped loosely with wire... small cone of clay on end of each wire
(must click on "Galerie," under Le modelage de la pate fimo)
Jenny's simple chunky shapes with eyes (website gone)
Karen's Featherbutts ...funny birds made with eggs to which clay feet, eyes and nose attached, and real feathers stuck onto bodies (wings, tail, and crest)
Garie Sim's "currypuffs" (stuffed pastry rolls like turnovers, empanadas, piroshki,etc) with faces (for animated TV commercial)

Jan R's simple critters and angels for BOH (some like crazy Mr. Potato Heads)

Bond Kelly Clay's lesson on making a simple face and leaves on an eggplant shape (use polymer clay & bake)
Becky's lesson on making a simple baby in blanket,1158,CRHO_project_27146,FF.html
Becky's lesso
n on making a sock monkey (Carol Duvall show),1789,HGTV_3237_1387052,00.html

Cindy's simple funny sculpted colored heads
Cindy's very simple faces with onlay features and wire spiral hair
Peggy O's mushroom people--- mushroom cap on sculpted head on mushroom stem, on feet-toes sticking out at bottom (click on "Enchanted Mushrooms" in alphabetical order)

Marie S's animals, people, flowers, letters,! (first 5 Old Stuff pages?) (some closer up)

very simple heads (similar to mine--and bodies) wearing simple hats and other head wear, holding hearts, flowers or lollipops, on Jan's page
Ruth's simple faces, hair, etc. at the end of large paperclips

good lesson on basics of
making a "dressed" body (wouldn't have to be a Frankenstein) (same for polymer clay)

*HelenClayArt's very cute figures (animals, etc.), including hobby horse head ornament
PowerPuff Girls (simple cartoon figures)
Artful's simple figure characters (head and cone body only...sometimes arms-legs, accessories added )
...Harry Potter figures, simple painted faces (no mouths)
...Capt. Jack Sparrow

wonderful simple ballerinas in tutus, by Tresa (with a bit of netting added)
Flo's tiny simple clowns made by bending a marbled log in half & pinching top (for body & legs), then adding arms, ruff, head and shoes

Bond Kelly Clay's lesson on making clown (leave off pounch in front); use polymer clay and bake

Marcy's clowns with different colors and embellishments for each component (large teardrop shapes... 2 for "body"...1 for each arm, leg, shoe... ruffled collar, hat)
Becky M's Wizard of Oz figures on "shoe"
Barcy's short character people
*JeanneCook: West, fancy & not

*Pat-nipntuck's tiny clothed figures, pigs, etc.) (website gone)
Calvin’s various sculptures, etc. (website gone)

my (mostly simple) animal and people heads (DB gone)

very small figures + figures made with wire, etc: ....... (see many more in Sculpting Body > Bendy, Jointed, & Abstract)

Sue Heaser's lesson for seated tiny petal fairy (over one wire)
Shelly's lesson on small simple angel, with fabric-clay for a dress

one-piece-body ....angel with wings

lesson on simple angel figures with gifts
Michelle R's lesson on making a small body from twisted wire (wood bead head)... filling it out with scrap white clay... dressing with cane-slices top (probaly disk, w/ slash to center), a textured/highlighted skirt piece, and a belt? to gather top ... hair is loops of embroidery floss gathered in the wire above head, trimmed at ends,1789,HGTV_3352_1399700,00.html

macaroni monsters (jointed figures/animals on pipe cleaners).... tube beads could substitute for the pasta pieces, though
lesson on figure from pipe cleaner
Garie's lesson on making a fluffy bear with bump pipe cleaners
many more animals by Garie with pompoms, pipe cleaners, and eyes, ears, feet, etc. attached to the the pompons
Emi Fukusima's lesson on making a figure from twigs and yarn, then dressing it in polymer clothes,,HGTV_3352_2014206,00.html
Marcia Rocha's funny sculptures using clay & wire (animals, people, things)

You can make jointed flat figures (like paper dolls or puppets) with button-type polymer disks instead of the traditional paper fasteners at the joints (puppets could be paper or flat polymer clay). Make two holes in each disk, then thread a u-shaped bent wire through the holes and the corresponding body holes of both, from front to back; twist wire in back, and trim off ends. is one template:
Chris Gluck's lesson on making funny, simple bugs (could be people) coiled colored wires for arms/legs,1789,HGTV_3256_1385790,00.html

Julie's lesson on making jointed kid figures for pins ("Kidz Pinz")
various sculpting lessons at Josh's website (dangles, covering balls, figures, etc.)

Beth's lesson for a tiny jointed figure (fishing snap swivels) (website gone)
Melnik’s simple small figures, some with dangles (website gone)
Garie's lesson on making a clothespin, wire loops, and toilet roll holder (?) to make a small jointed puppet
Garie's 2" bear jointed marionette puppet, held with thin nylon filament and a T arrangement of popscicle sticks

Lynelle's jointed figures (marionnettes?)
Jan's bird marionette

Christel's lesson on making a "rabbit" hair holder, using elastic for holding the hair and also for the dangly feet and hands (16” total elastic)  (click on any photo to see enlargement)  (rabbits, with clothing)

Raggedy Ann and Andy websites for examples (not clay)
....Raggedy Ann paperdoll figure + clothes

*Adorables' dogs, cats, animals, xmas/thanksgiv/Easter/Hallow., flowers, fish, frames, barrettes

*Holbrook--FaLaLa,santas,snowmen,angel earring,more
*Tamila Darling, figures, xmas

Jan Ohio's snowpeople (for different occasions, seasons)
Ria's Pooh, etc., gifts, on top of glass xmas balls
many ornaments (hobbies, etc.) bas relief sculpting

Garie's glass "display globe" baby food jar (over Pokemon and Astro figures)

.......see below for BUGS & other animals...........

(more on human figures
(see most figures in Websites just above)

Some sculpts (particularly figure that aren't very large at the bottom stand just fine before baking, but fall over after removing from the oven.
....generally that's because the stickiness of the raw clay holds the bottom to the baking surface just a bit, giving it an extra helping hand... once it's hardened on the bottom, that bit of help is gone.
...or the sculpt could tilt because clay softens a bit when it's heated, and could lean a little to the heaviest side while baking, then cool in that position.
To avoid those things, you can: an engineer, and create a "very" well balanced piece
...put a base on the bottom (make sure the base is wide enough, or at least shaped to counterbalance any extending or heavy areas of the sculpt)
...put most of the weight in the bottom half of the sculpt ... or have it be really short
...have the sculpt sit, hang, or lounge, etc. rather than standing
...have it hold onto, lean against, or touch something else that's stable
...use an "armature" or strengthener --often a wire or rod of some kind is enclosed mostly in one or both legs, then the free end is inserted into a base of some kind, often with a little glue too
(......for more complicated sculpts, there's usually a wire or other armature throughout the whole figure)
To fix a baked figure that won't stand, you can:
..... add a base (use a bit of liquid clay if possible, alsowith a dab of superglue to hold it temporarily)... once I did this with just a simple thick oval clay sheet, embellished with a few rolled roses and leaves near the feet.
....... can also add an armature (prob. by drilling a hole for a wire, etc., in the foot). Diane B.
...when they decide to tumble on me, I can either sand the bottom..... or I add more clay to make them even (then rebake). anniep

heads . . . for figures
There are many ways you could go about this, I think! For example, for a head you could:
--make small, medium, or large heads.  The larger you go the more  expensive it is, and the more likely they are to crack (though there are solutions for that).  
--go from very simple features (sometimes even made from the single motion  of a paintbrush handle) to very complex. 
--use molds (which you purchase,  or create from an existing sculpture or doll); the mold can also be "distorted" to create  very different faces.  
--color the faces with chalks, acrylic paints or washes, or not at all. 
--make and bake eyeballs to be inserted into the unbaked head, you can paint them, cane  them, or sculpt them only.
--sculpt hair, or add fake hair of many types, or add  hats&other accessories,etc 
If you have Cernit already, it has a lovely translucence which  good skin tones.   If not, I suggest you buy some SuperSculpey (1 lb. green and white box, at Michaels,  etc.).  It also has a nice translucence and many people use it for sculpting.  You can  probably buy it even cheaper if you try mail order (see my e-mailed info letter, under  supplies).       
Another thing to think about is the body
--Do you want to sculpt the arms and legs too  (then use a stuffed fabric body), or sculpt the whole thing? 
-- Do you want to hinge the  body parts, use Flexiclay which is somewhat rubbery, or make the whole thing one solid  piece?  
--You can also use other materials for the body like pipe cleaners (which can be  dressed--ask me about this if interested), mailing-tape tubes for fingerpuppets,  pre-purchased bodies, hand puppet bodies, flat bodies of clay for pins, etc.        
Best of luck --it's a great, fun project! Diane B.

Boots and/or gloves are easier for beginners than making hands and feet; however simple hands can be made from ovals (with or without a narrowed wrist); if desired, fingers and toes can be indicated with indentions, or cut and separated

(for many kinds of polymer hats, shoes, purses, etc., see Sculpting-Bodies > Fabric & clothes)
....not polymer, but could be used on polymer figures ....hats made from shrinking foam-type cups in oven... place cup upsidedown on cookie sheet and bake in oven at 350 for 1 to 1 1/2 min. (different baking lengths = diff. results)
......scrunched alum foil inside the hat will keep it larger (or in certain areas)... pill bottle filled with weight can be placed inside for more stability
......options (before baking): cut top band off cup, or cut with decorative scissors, cut cup in half; paint or stamp with acrylic/water-based materials, glue on tiny baked polymer flowers, etc.
......heads under hats: bake cup over rolled-up and taped 3x4" cylinder of cardstock or construction paper with face drawn on it, or paint face on an egg and do the same ..,,HGTV_3293_1370963,00.html and,1789,HGTV_3352_1396182,00.html

Kris Richards' lesson on making flat "Polydollys"at Sculpey site...(or any cut-out shape). . . she:
--creates jellyrolls and stacks of clay (for stripes)
--cuts out a shape of solid color clay with a cookie cutter, or paper pattern & xacto blade
--onlays variously-shaped slices of the jellyroll and stripe canes onto the solid body (somewhat puzzle style, but some bits are 3 layers thick rather than 2)
--adds pressed-down balls of flesh clay for head and hands, and 2 seed beads for eyes
--her different-pattern puzzle pieces are: shoes, pant legs, upper pants, belt, shirt, (vest), collar/buttons, arms, & hats or hair...also cuffs at ankles, wrists, on hats
(--she makes pins or frig magnets from them, but could be used for anything)
(--good lesson on making jellyroll/spiral and striped canes there too)
Judy's lesson on making a toy polymer acrobat figure from diff. baked clay pattern pieces,1789,HGTV_3237_2831708,00.htm
Irene C's lesson on making jointed arms and legs with snaps (gone)
Dawn's Dolly Dangles . . The dolly is built over a clothespin, the hair is SoftFlex wire, and I'm trying to decide what kind of wings to put on, feathers or gauze? . . . The hardest part was keeping the dress "ballooned" out; they're based on a ceramic bell ornament, and the legs swing freely, so having a bell-shape for the dress was imperative. I basically rolled up a tube of clay that was too large, then very carefully squashed the top back together around the clothespin...that's why she got a big collar - I had to cover up the fingerprints!!  Dawn S. (website gone)'s worry dolls, using a round head clothespin and 1" lengths of halved craft sticks for arms . . . could easily use polymer clay instead of fabric, yarn, etc.

Marcia B’s lesson on making a tiny wire body with head of wrapped wire, hair of embroidery floss, and a polymer cane slice wrapped around (square orientation) for a dress

robots, monsters, characters, Pokemon, critters,
Mr. Potato Head, amulets, etc.

Garie's "DeBug" over a ping pong ball (see Covering > Plastics >More Plastics)
slug-like and other alien creatures
(for good info on making a "dressed" body and simple but scary face that could be not-green, see lesson on Frankenstein figure above in Sculpting > Figures > More Websites)
(see more in Halloween > Skulls,Aliens, etc... and > Things in a Bottle...... and in Bugs, critters below)

for many funny little "monsters" and other "critters", see above in Mixed Websites (under Sculpting)

...many robots from movie The Robots would be interesting to make with all clay, or clay with other things like bolts, plastic domes, wire, etc.
.... (could also be done with ping pong balls)
...Garie's Marsbot (like R2D2)
...Garie's cambot ... could be mostly polymer
...see Garie's hanging robot with spring for neck below under Nodders
...(Garie a also has also has lesson on robot with short lengths of flexible straws as joints in his book Got Clay Can Play (see Books above)
fashionruler's robot with dangling joints...joints made with 2 eyepins...head/body/legs/feet as 4 units... arm is 3 unit but wrist is a stiff. joint

Pokemon-related things, made by Garie's students
...Pokemon characters ...and also Pokemon play structures & scenes
...more Pokemon critters
...Pokemon creature in bas relief "picture" (middle of page)
...Pokeballs (ping pong balls covered with clay, with onlaid eyes, added ears, etc.) (click on picture of yellow & blue critters)
......for some of his round Pokemon creatures, Garie first paints ping pong balls ...then adds baked clay for legs, arms, and onlays
.....(for covering a ping pong ball with clay and baking --ball will shrink inside-- see Covering > Plastics > Other Plastic Items)
...Picachu under a glass baby food jar as a display globe (...also over space figure .. Astrobottle)
...all Pokemon (pocket monsters)

see also PowerPuff Girls

various simple figures and critters by SleepyTortuga (these are actually painted white clay)¤t=DSC05121.jpg

Artful's simple figure characters (head and cone body only...sometimes arms-legs, accessories added )
...Harry Potter figures, simple painted faces (no mouths)
...Capt. Jack Sparrow

make interchangeable Mr. Potato Head type pieces (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hat, collar, or any other accessory)... did one of the Klutz Press books do this?
...stick each into a baked head you've made with a hole for each of the units
...or stick them into mini-pumpkins, or any other hard squashes
...make each unit over a small-nail head, tack, or brad
...could also use with kid to identify emotions?

many small flattish amulet-type figures from the Mile High Guild (based on Rosemary's "Little Babies")

nodders & bobbleheads, etc.
items with springs

There are two types of figures where the head moves around somewhat freely from the body mechanically:
nodders ... a little sculpture, with the head or possibly another part, free to move around at the end of a simple vertical spring
bobbles (or bobbleheads)...these have a bit more complicated mechanism
(...this type also has the head on the end of a horizontal mechanism so
the head facing forward from the body, where a nodder's head is on the end of a vertical spring and sits on top of a body)
(though "nodders" are often referred to as bobble heads)

...these could be human, animal, or anything at all
...the parts that move could be things other than heads (upper bodies... antennae... eyeballs... even entire bodies, etc.)

......these are so much fun to make!
......I just buy my springs at the hardware store. There is no name on them. They have drawers full of them.
.......... just pick springs that aren't too stiff so you'll get a good 'nod' !
...using a thinner spring resulted in more of a floppy head than a bobbling head. Pohuaki
...part of the spring can be hidden in a fixed neck, with the rest of the spring inside part of the head
..... can create a large depression in head , or make head hollow, or sculpt the clay around the spring

....for small nodders I make the bottom with the spring in it, and then sculpt the head right onto the spring
....I used the spring from a medium-point BIC Clear Clic pen (for my small nodder)'s a bit larger than a couple of others I tried
......Kristy's kangaroo nodder (baby’s head is on a spring too) DB add
...for the larger nodders, I use a wood dowel
.......(first I sculpt the head around the spring)
...... then I create a hole in the body to place the spring+head into later by putting a dowel in the body (then removing it and placing on another?) dowel nailed to a board for baking (....if the spring doesn't fit into the body hole after backing, you'll have to cut away at the hole some --carefully, as the spring needs to fit snug). Kristy

this simpler one is on a long pipe cleaner (formed into a spring?) --and uses an upturned & papier-mached soda bottle bottom as "head", and another bottle for body (pipe cleaner was snaked down and then up out of the bottle, and into a Styrofoam ball --on which the bottle bottom head rested) (middle of page) ...also lesson

Garie's slightly scary nodders with visible springs
.... one is an eyeball on a spring over bottom half of face
.... one eyeball is just over ankles/feet... also a ghost has clay-covered spring

3 P
owder Puff girls ... each "flying" horizontally on top of a spring
....they are located on 3 sides of another figure on a spring ("bad guy" Mojo)... (all springs are secured in same base)
... so the girls can be made to bang into Mojo on their springs from each side of him

Garie's robot figure hanging by its head from a wire hanger (has a spring neck)

...lever system (think of a seesaw with a child on one end and an adult on the other end)... also similar to making one balanced arm of a mobile
... often using a drinking straw (or wood dowel/chopstick or other rod) connected to the head, which is hanging through a loop or hook inside the neck (pipe cleaner loop, metal screw hook, key ring, etc...
...Where is the center of gravity?.

look at 2 possibilities for making the mechanism in closeups near bottom of this page (one uses a hook, the other a pipe cleaner loop) &
...remember the turtles whose head and tail wiggled? (bobbled) ...seems to me there would have to be a hook on the head (neck end), and a loop inside the upper shell (the hook was slipped through) for this to wor
k. Janey
...I have one of those turtles made out of sea shells...You're right about the hook and the loop
...... plus there's also a heavy counter balance weight (like a lead weight, screws, washers, AA battery) in it so that the head can bob freely.  Tere
(...can buy a cheap simple bobbing dog at Walmart to check out e the mechanism)
nodders or bobblers could be used to wiggle anything at all too... not just heads for figures

Pam A's "bobble heads" (made with paperclay and springs) ..some visible springs, some not... some not bobbles (click on Gallery..., then click on Bobbleheads & Others)
Steve's "bobblehead figure" using a spring placed over an upturned screw or drill bit? (out of neck) ---top half of spring free ...

...(for more things built with the lever concept, see mobiles in Sculpting > Other Items... and Outdoor Polymer > More Outdoor Items)


more animals, etc.

birds made with clay (instead of Model Magic), feathers and pipe cleaners (feathers are okay in the oven; I think the pipe cleaners are too –careful until cool—or just make holes in body and glue pipe cleaners in after baking)
(See PoRRo's birds and witch in Covering below... and more funny birds above in websites)

many figures & whimsical owl (with 2-D layered feathers and wire legs)
sunni's lesson on making an owl with very large eyes

chicken ...& other animal faces ...(these also have leather thong "dangly legs)
(chicken is made over a small glass bulb to save clay, but could be an aluminum foil ball, or just be smaller) (other animals in dropdown menu)

cute red crabs and starfish with eyes (at fimoland page above with sheep)...slightly crossed eyes black dots on top of black disks

cute seal on top of terra cotta pot "igloo" ...could be made with polymer instead of Model Magic
.... cover pot with clay (see Covering >Terra Cotta) or paint it... make seal from clay
...penguin family with igloo .. could make a hollow igloo by covering half of a glass ball or lightbulb with a sheet of white clay, but cut out a U shaped door hole in one side
......(could impress lines in raw clay for snow "bricks," or cover with pearly or iridescent Pearl Ex, or paint with acrylics after baking --possibly adding a bit of glitter)
......remove clay from ball or bulb after baking cooling... make tunnel "door" with thick strip of clay placed as an upside down U in front of door hole

..more animal figures made with clay pots ....
Kris R's lesson on making a Santa penguin
lesson on penguin with sign (3 pages... this is last page, with photo)
Linda WP's lesson on making a seated snowman and penguin sitting on clay "candy dish"... with scarf, mittens, earmuffs, and holly vine

Linda W's penguin "note holder" (also snowman, gingerbread boy, etc.)
more penguins
(scrap clay penguin covered with cane pattern sheets --lots of translucent used?? + inclusions)
Christel's arty whimsical xmas pins magnets (penguin, etc.) (click to enlarge)
lesson on making penguin with all-clay egg shape (using 1/2 bar of clay, but could cover an eggshell or scrunched aluminum foil egg instead of making solid clay)

tallmouse's penguin egg (+snowman,reindeer)... onlays on a wood egg with many materials, but egg could be covered with polymer
...any figures can be made by attaching only parts of them to glass or plastic bottles, or to lightbulbs, glass balls, etc. (e.g....eyes, nose,hands/gloves, feet/shoes, wings, scarves or other accessories... or whole heads etc.) (making a penguin from a soda bottle this way)

Laura's lesson on dog heads --lab type (mini, but could be any size) is 3/4 view

dogs... swap at PCC (sculpts & canes)
Linda WP's lesson on making a dog on a sled (made w/ FimoSoft's "Metallic White" clay) (... to enlarge text,
change the % to 175 from 125, in the pdf toolbar window )

lesson on using aluminum foil to make "sculpt" of entire dog (could cover with clay as well) ... at FARP
semi-realistic dogs ...
bas relief dog on frame (Puppy Paws Frame, at made with Model Magic, but same for polymer clay)
Adorables' cats, dogs, animals, etc.

Meowy's many simple kitties .. all extremeties "pulled"... no joints

bas relief cat on frame

stick horse toys (stick body for "riding"), ribbon halter (by Marie, Marina)

(see more dogs and cats --also horses-- both whimsical and realistic, in:
> Other Items > Animals....also in Websites on that page)

Gail's animals based on HOTP? booklets
Heather R's kids & animals
Vanessa's Pigmalion and Bearon figures (and scenes) (click on both in left column)

adorable sheep (sitting) ...white balls (or black balls) placed on a flesh colored body ball (with bellybutton)... simple heads, ears, feet, black eye beads (click on Galeria, then click on Celia --then enlarge) (gone)
Naamaza's lesson on making simple sheep (standing)

Marie S's lesson on making a bear (...has a cup hook though instead of legs)

Crafty Owl's ten minute teddy bear- two minutes for adults! It came up in the kids' class discussion and several people asked me to post the instructions (lesson).
To make a bear, make two 'sausage' shapes from clay, cut the ends off flat and bend into U shapes with the sides just touching or a tiny bit apart. Put them one on top of the other.These are the four paws, the bear is sitting on his behind. Make a big ball for the head, and then a smaller ball for the muzzle - flatten this slightly and put on the lower front of the head. Mark a mouth on it - I use my fingernail, it   a smile shape. Add a little black ball where the muzzle meets the main head, for the nose, and two little brown balls flattened with tiry black ones flattened in the middle of them for the eyes. Take more of the main colour, and make another small ball, flatten it and cut in half. Take each half, and fold the cut edge in half so that it meets, without folding the rest of the piece much. This is an ear, place it on the bear's head. Add a little ball for the tail, if you like.  . . . Can be made to hold something, or to have space for a cake candle. To make it a christmas bear, use a semi-circle or so of red clay to make a cone shape for a hat, fold over and add a white ball to the tip. Have him hold a 'wrapped package'.   I also make them very tiny for earrings - pierced right through the poor things heads and bodys! Crafty Owl

Becky Meverden's lesson on making a cute bunny with long ears, using blusher powders for a little color,1158,CRHO_project_34872,00.html
artful's lesson on making a very simple bunny (she uses a bit of wire between each ear and the head which allows them not to have to be pressed against the head so much... she then adds bits of paint (2 dots for eyes) or clay eyes & accessories to make bunny characters --pirate, etc.


*polymerclayexpress' lesson on sculpting a very nice small dragon with scrap clay (over alum. foil armature)
I just made a dragon to grace one of my pens (for the pen Swap); and to make the scales I took a regular soda (I'm From Jersey) straw and sliced across the diameter of the mouth  about an inch, then cut off half of the slice.This left a little scoop that could be used to slice  under and lift small sections of clay. Or pressed into the clay as a half-moon to make rows of scales. Pinching the scoop gives it a point to make scales with a different shape.

Linda's lesson on sculpting a simple dragon

Cristina's simple turtle made with cane slices bead + head-neck and feet sticking out (key chain)
Georgia Ferrell's tic tac toe turtles (two sets of colors)

snakes can be made very simply from a long tapered log of clay
...clay can be solid-color, Skinner blended colors, marbled clay, striped clay, textured and/or or faux metal, other patterns, or anything at all
...just roll into a long tapered log... pinch to create a neck if desired
...add eyes (and nostrils, mouth, fangs or forked tongue, if desired)
... position on baking sheet and bake (...if head will be lifted up, prop it by laying on a bit of polyester stuffing, a tube of paper, etc., so it won't droop)

Annie's cobra snake... she marbles together some colors into a log, rolls into a tapered ball, then into a tapered log (no twisting)... then pinches along the top to create a ridge down snake's back, and makes multiple indentions along it's body crosswise with a needle tool create cobra hood, she flattens the head-neck area, then pinches the tip end downward toward ground slightly to formabstract head and
Annie's rattlesnake had diamond shapes on its back created by poking holes in diamond pattern

snakes and other animals can also be made with an underlying base form of scrap clay, then covered with cane slices, etc.
...shape your scrap into a snake or other animal ... cover it with slices from a cane (if you bake the base shape before adding slices, use white glue or liquid clay between the baked shape and raw slices)

....if your base shape is a snake... dragon... fish, etc (anything without large extremities), the cane slices can look like scales if overlapped (or possibly teardrop shaped, all applied in the same direction (begin with bottom row) ... then decorate with eyes, fins, tails, etc. 
Mike Buesseler’s snakes (Jewelry Crafts, & class) (over a long rope of scrap clay formed into a triangle log...see Sculpture > Misc for details)
Marie Segal's snake

Leslie Blackford's snakes, many with cane slices, but some just with chopped clay or inclusions ...
Damalias snake, snake collar necklace, and small-snake earrings ...covered with mulit-wrapped-bulleseye canes slices
e also Jon Anderson's using a similar technique to cover a snake, lizard, turtle, etc. --very fancy! (gone?)

Daniela's 2 snakes (each textured, then covered with metallic powder -- "gold" snake and "silver" snake), intertwined to make pin(?)

sea slugs...gastropod mollusks of the subclass Opisthobranchia, and include the familiar sea hares as well as numerous small, brightly colored species. Because of their great diversity in form and color, sea slugs are a particularly worthy subject for model making ..(his were painted after baking)... Scott Rawlins, Assistant Professor,Fine Arts, Beaver College in Glenside, PA
... and (many, many sea slugs)

snails ...+ nautilus seashells are a great way to use up your 'muddy' clay-combining all the leftover pieces & marbling/twisting them together into long tapered rope before rolling up into a spiral. Kristy
...see also various jellyroll cane patterns which can be used for nautilus or snail shapes by using thick slices in Canes-Instr > Spiral
...Annie's nautilus type sea shells in multi-striped colors
lesson on making a funny snail
....DB --Add photos... and add to Scraps
Alan's beautiful nautilus shells made from translucent and brown

...... if you want a slimy snail color, coat it with Pearl Ex before baking & then (after it bakes & cools), coat it in glossy acrylic sealer!!! Kristy
Denise's beautiful brown snail shell ... snail has "humanlike face"

fancy fish & starfish, other sea stuff etc.
......Annie's starfish with long & slender, waving arms, is made simply from 5 multi-striped, ropes of clay (peachy flesh, with reddish brown, gray, black) twisted together and smoothed), tapered to pointy tips at one end ...larger ends of ropes joined together in the center (trimmmed to V shapes first?)... then arms arranged in S curves (and around another sea floor object) before baking
.....(most fish are in Canes-Instr > Picture Canes)
Annie's octopus, made like starfish but with 8 arms... extra clay in center pulled up to form octopus head and eyes

frogs... Joanie's lesson on making her little froggies
Joyce Fritz' frog ...solid oval clay body (covered with cane slices... bulge for eyes, slit for mouth
... legs & toes are coils or twists of colored wire, with tiny bead at ends for each toe
Marie S's very cool fantastical frogs (abstract, metallic), esp. lips/mouth and eyes ...

simple abstract animal shapes can be made with chopped clay, marbled clay, Skinner blend logs, Granitex (or translucent clay with "inclusions" of all kinds, see Inclusions), faux (fake) stones like jade, marble, ivory, etc, (see Fauxs), or anything you want
...they can be left as is, or they can be covered with metallic powders or metallic leaf (to simulate gold statues), or metallic paints , etc.
...eyes, legs, wings, etc. can be added to the simpler shapes with clay, or with wire, sticks, etc., also if you want
Annie's simple animal shapes made with marbled clay
(click on many more pages for duck, whale, birds, elephant head, flamingo, sloth, etc)

fake polymer clay rock with one large eyet, by Devil Ducky ... large eye was plastic so not baked with the clay --eye impressed in raw clay, then glued back in after baking (or could make an eye with clay --see Sculpting-Body > Eyes > Clay Eyes, or use a glass eye)
...foil-ball armature underneath.... could use a paperweight, or outdoors, etc.

pipe cleaners (the bumpy kind) formed into many tiny animals
... then bodies are embellished with shapes of raw clay (and bit of white tacky glue?) to add eyes, chest plate, and many other things, then baked at 265 for 15 min. (frog, bears, Picachu, monkeys)
Garie's lesson on making a fluffy bear with bump pipe cleaners

Alan's realistic bugs & beetles with metallic powders (anatomically correct)
.....I start with a brass wire (to double as a stickpin) and fix antennae around that. Then form a body around the wire.The fun comes with texturing (dental tools) and colouring (pearl-ex mica powders or Fimo metal pulvers). No two are alike. Alan &
Donna Kato's beautiful bugs, moths, dragonflies... metallic powders, etc.'s lesson on making a simple ladybug
Becky Meverden's lesson on making a ladybug figure (to hang off a flower pot),1789,HGTV_3352_1399647,00.html

Chris Gluck's lesson on making funny, simple bugs& buglike figures (could be people)... colored coiled wires for arms/legs,1789,HGTV_3256_1385790,00.html

many bugs, butterflies, etc., made by kids and adults for The Great Spring Bug Swap
Lynne M's ladybugs (ball of clay, onlaid with cane slice or round caned sheet which had been wrapped with black... halves separated a bit at bottom... black ball head added to top)
....also butterflies & moths ..
each wing made from a multiple-cane cane in shapes of various butterflies, etc, wrapped in black (2 pages)
Garie's more complex ladybugs --standing up on 2 legs and playing clay piano and double elec. guitar
Alan's simple ladybirds on leaves with lizards
Renee's ladybugs with faces, bees, frog, Raggedy dolls (gone)
Caroline's different colored ladybugs (website gone)

antkar's simple bug-like animals (powdered, etc.) (website gone)
llamamama's simpler animals, insects//
catbyte's (Hazel) very cute, simple lady-bug, w ire legs, antennae (website gone)

many bugs, caterpillars, spiders, dragonflies (made for wreath)
...esp. 2nd caterpillar made from segments of twisted/squashed ropes ...spider body with Natasha technique ... light blue bug (prob. mica clay Damascus Ladder tech) ... and bee/butterfly made with thick cane slices or other thick cut outs,etc.
Kim's Day of the Dead caterpillar, with skull head
Suzanne's large bush/tree with a bug on each large leaf (each bug different, made in different ways... canes slices, powders, etc.)

scarab swap at Varda's site

I teach a "bug" class that the boys enjoy as well as the girls.  . . .we make caterpillars- just circles of clay attached, with small accents of color... and then a snake - usually a dark color that they stamp and add the metallic powder (shadow).
... and also
lady bugs and beetles- with wire legs and magic wings: mix at least 3 colors of clay into a ball- I then slice it in half for them to reveal the mirror image) . . . The Klutz press books are full of great ideas for children Kathndolls
...we used to make bumpy green worms with antennae

various bugs and caterpillars from Arizona guild
....esp. Cheri Oshinsky's bug as below, but with single, thick cane slices for the 2 wings and 2 eyes ....long slightly, multiply indented body made from long b&w stripes, ending in scorpion tail ... legs made from thin wrapped wire, ending with foot of single transparent glass seed bead ... head solid color

fabulous bugs made in layers of cane slices over polymer ball (beetles or other) (or can use other clay bits instead of canes) ... whimsical bugs made by covering a polymer ball with several sets of different though symmetrical cane slices, with legs
.........for many details on how to make these and photos , see Sculpting > Other Items ...also has
a beetle "anatomy lesson"
Here is just one lesson and one lots of examples:
...many many bugs!
(Joanie's bug swap)
Jody B's bugs and
on making cane slice bugs, anatomically correct, for teachers (requires Adobe Acrobat
reader) (click on Lesson Plans, then on lesson #10)
Naamaza's bugs
Joyce Fritz' bugs have tiny twisted wires for legs ... (& frog) &

Dorothy Greynolds' fireflies

(see ladybugs above too for some made like this)

(see Cheri's bug just above also)

(there may be more bugs on the Sculpting page > Bugs...)

One great way to make light little insects would be to use Jan R's "mask" pendants which were formed over small smooth rocks ... neat!  Joanie (website gone)

could also put polymer bugs & critters in a mini habitat you make , for display or for pretend-play
(for more, see below in Scenes & Dioramas for ideas, plus some made by Garie Sim inside closed plastic containers)

see many MORE ANIMALS in long WEBSITE LIST above

(for a material that's cheap and easy-to-carve after drying (even for kids) for creating 3-D forms, see vermiculite and plaster mix in Carving > "Carving" Sculptures ...not polymer, but could be embellished with glued-on bits of clay)

more toys & mini-home accessories

(....for making clay couches and chairs and wood bench, see Miniatures > Furniture
(........... for "pillows" to put on the couches, see Covering > Glass > flat glass pebbles)
(....for a dresser made from small matchboxes, see below in "Covering")
(for building houses, castles, etc., see Houses-Structures)

Kim's clay car (carrying a Day of the Dead shriner)
Marie S's cars: ...Jeep
Marie S's trucks: truck
MarieS's trains: miniature toy train, with each car carrying a (cutout) letter (of a child's name, etc.)
train engine ornament (with engineer pig)

*Elizabeth's minatures (more of a lesson to come):
cups, saucers, mixing bowl, cookie sheet, wooden rolling pin,wooden spoon, dough, gingerbread people cookies with icing and raisins , hot chocolate and mini marshmallows
(see many more miniatures, in Miniatures)

Garie has MANY THINGS kids can make at his large website (and in his book Got Clay Can Play:
--projects for school
--(dinosaur) base for drinking "jar" or for pencil holder
--soda can
"turned into" a tree (pencil holder)
--scenes, toys, etc., made by kids in his class
--fun "movement" card, with big fish eating small fish (via wire)
--funny coasters
--some contain recycled bits and pieces; some have springs or magnets

for various Pokemon critters and scenes made by Garie's students, see above in Robots, Monsters, etc.

space themes (planets, moons, rocket ships) --these were beads but could be larger (using tightly wadded aluminum foil underneath or not) for science projects too
also Teri's sheet of galaxies (lesson) for beads; also a multi-layer spiral slice makes a good single galaxy
...(see robots in Figures above)

outdoor stuff

lesson on making clay cactuses in a terra cotta clay pot (see below in Jewelry, plus other cactuses)

Tamila's flowers and leaves on telephone wire stalks in pot (with bunny) (website gone)  

plant stakes (for labeling plants), or put in a flower pot.. Sherry used regular silk flowers, then added a molded polymer face in the center of each (stamens removed). . . or the petals could be made of polymer too (no link?)

" faces" for trees ... 4-10" high facial features to hang on a tree trunk (like Mr. Potato Head) and create whimsical tree faces (could make from polymer... make hole(s) in back of each to hang on small nail (secure well if you live in a windy area!)
......(2 eyes, 1 nose, mouth, or mouth unit with mustache, etc..... could also add earrings, bangs, bow tie, etc.) --change for seasons? (click on Garden, then prob. on pg.2?)
OR make these facial features for mini-pumpkins or hard squashes... push the pieces onto vegetable "heads," then sit around yard/garden or on porch, windowsill, etc.
.......could also use other plant material (with nails or glue) to add arms, hair, ears, hat or clothing, etc.) (see Mixing Media also for other plant material)

for lessons for more garden critter signs & rocks, see Outdoor Polymer > Books
lessons on covering rocks to make "houses" or "animals" etc., in Vessels-Rock > Larger
for lessons on gluing rocks together to create figures, etc (and also to paint on rocks), see below in Other Ideas > more

canejane's birdhouses made by covering cut-down film cannisters, adding roof & donut for opening? (could also be done with PVC pipe or even rolled paper)

KimK's mini birdhouse covered with clay (wood form from Michaels) ...Granitex roof, blue sides, vine trainiling up front, tiny bird in hole
...hanging on my front porch several years and only change seen is a bit of fading of the blue side which gets the sun all day, every day

(see frogs, birds and owls, etc., above in Animals)

"RELIEF " sculpting ...on plaques, etc.
+ "sculpted clay paintings"

NOTE: To sculpt "in relief" means to place shallow, shaped bits onto a background to create a picture or design
... the result is not 3-dimensional like most sculpture you may know (it's as if the backs of the sculpted bits had been eliminated before adding them to the background)
...."high" relief means the added parts stick out quite a bit from the surface
...."bas" (pronounced "bah") relief (low relief) means the added parts stick out only a little from the suface

Garie's kids' many wonderful scenes done in bas relief, or in high relief (and some full 3-D) (click on each one to see many more)

(...see many more examples in Paints > Polymer Paintings > Relief and Onlay, Puzzle Piece
.......and also in Sculpting > Bas Relief ......and also below in "Scenes & Dioramas")

Tarah's bas reliefs in two sections of a shadow box

Garie also has his students draw an image on paper, then re-create the drawn image in bas relief with clay (or in 3-D)
...for creating bas relief, the image could be placed under glass as a guide, and the clay modeled on top of it... then baked on the glass)
...Toni's students' bas relief paintings made over prints from magazines or famous paintings... they use a sheet of plexiglas with a sheet of plastic wrap on top of it, then carefully remove plastic wrap and place painting on cookie sheet for baking (30 min.)...they work only with a wooden skewer and fingers... they sell some of their pieces, but only to earn money to buy more art materials for class.,1789,HGTV_3236_2755049,00.html
... I have used greeting cards, covered with plastic wrap, and made pins. Sharon K.
... could use your own photographs as images guides as well

Linda B's lesson on making a bas relief flower, by putting the proper scientific parts together
Jan's fish and seaweed, on a wood plaque
*Anne Klocko's many animals, people, sea themes, flowers, etc. (flatish relief) and

many ornaments (hobbies, etc.) bas relief sculpting

Garie's bas relief magnets (car, tree, bear, etc.)

bas relief dog on frame (Puppy Paws Frame, at made with Model Magic, but same for polymer clay)
bas relief cat on frame

Caroline’s clay paste seascape painting, with onlaid sailboats and flowered “curtains”
(website gone)(...see Sculpting > Bas Relief for more of this type)
Jan R's simpler mandalas (made with cane slices on a marbled/etc. background, created on a tile)

.......for a lesson on making these see, by Byrd)

Garie's Humpty Dumpty figure on a wall, as a bas relief scene ... Humpty is made from component parts which fit together by hidden magnets... when he falls, he "breaks" apart

(...see more just below in "Onlays", which overlaps this info)
(...also see other examples of bas relief in Sculpting > in "Bas Relief")

(... see other examples and types of "painting" with bas relief in Paints > "Paintings" > flattish paintings)
(...see also Stamping > "bas relief" effects with stamps)
( see also Canes-Gen > for pressing down "background" areas of cane slices to provide relief)
(...see also faux leather techniques in Faux-many > Leather)


most info on onlays are on this page:

.....(see also just above in "Bas Relief")

"Onlays" are any shapes, ropes, or just any bits of clay, which are pressed onto the suface of some other background clay
... these can stick up (in "relief) a lot or a little
.......(see also "Bas Relief" sub-category on this page for much more too)

Quinn's onlay "pieced" patterns (creates sheet, then shapes) & use of twisted ropes

Michelle Ross' various colorful fish (for mobile)... disk shape as base, with added cutouts for fins, tails, stripes, heart-shaped lips (or rope)
Sculpey's lesson on small chalk board with onlays made from molds... also large star cutout bent upward (like trough) at its bottom...then attached to bottom of board to hold chalk
parrot jewelry, & and some xmas, Valentines

L.Osborne (Cath's) small lamp with large onlaid sculpted rose and two leaves
Christi Friesen's bas relief scenes on vessels (the outside) (jungle, ocean, etc.)

Anne's many framed whimsical "pictures" made from sheets of clay
NF's whimsical scenes mostly using overlapped cane slices (forests, mountains, flower hillside, cows)¤t=DSC00048_small.jpg
Amy's small brighly-colored "paintings" in small frames, with an onlay of a house, sun, etc, on a patterened clay sheet background
...... also an entire childlike scene ..e.g., of a house front, yard, flowers, etc. (click on Framed Artwork... and on Magnets)

Annie's non-symmetrical onlaid spirals and stack bits (website gone) 
Jenny's simple onlay cat shapes (website gone)
Trina's (filigree mosaic Easter) pins --she uses small ropes (the most even ones will be made with a claygun) to fill in areas of her design or picture
(website gone) 
Trace's mini vases (*cactus, dolphin, bows, animal tails, esp) (website gone)
Cecilia's many framed photos for xmas ornaments (onlaid) (website gone)

*LadysMaidJewels' Medieval, Renaissance, etc., reproduction pendants, earrings, etc., made with gold powder and unfaceted jewels . . . . make a clay base (which has texturing, balls, ropes, etc.); cover completely with gold powder; impress whichever jewels you want to use in the base and remove before baking (unless jewels are glass); bake; seal; glue jewels back in
ADD my hot glue variation

CUT OUTS ....flat shapes

some basic info

Shapes of all kinds can be cut out from clay sheets, then used in lots of ways!... And most are very easy to do.

The color and patterns used in the clay sheets can be anything:
...just plain solid-color clay
...OR, sheets of patterned clay (from marbling, for example)... stamped sheets ...sheets covered with metallic powders or leaf ...sheets created by putting thin clay bits onto them then rolling them flat into the clay (cane slices, or various other things) ...and many other clay sheets/looks

To cut out shapes from sheets of flat clay:
... cookie cutters (and other cutters) can be used
...or they can be cut with the tip of a blade or with a needle tool (while firmly pressed down to sheet of glass or other smooth surface to hold in place)

Thickness or thinness of the cutouts depends only on what you want, and how rigid or flexible you want them to be, and the brand/line of polymer clay used (Sculpey, SuperSculpey--flesh, and SuperSculpey especially, will break more easily after baking when thin than the others, which will bend without breaking if baked correctly --best clays would be Kato Polyclay, Premo, FimoClassic, Cernit, and probably FimoSoft --bake thoroughly).

After cutting out, the cutouts can also be:
....embellished with onlays --from smaller cutters, or with your own onlays ...
some onlays could be details --such as adding eyes or carrot noses to snowmen, or ornaments to Christmas trees, decorations for a gingerbread house, etc.
....if the sheets were textured or stamped, they could not be highlighted or "antiqued" with paints or metallic powders, etc., to bring out the detail
...layered to create 3-D shapes (like Gloobies, but with clay instead)

Cutouts can be used for:
....bookmarks....or shapes to be glued to greeting cards, etc....package decorations/tags, etc. (see Cards)
....xmas tree ornaments
... pins or magnets or jewelry figures (including paper dolls, Flat Stanleys, animals, etc.)
...anything else you can think of ...(more on Cutters page > Uses, Cutouts)

There is much more info on cutouts, many examples of using cutters on the Cutters page:

...that page also has many places to buy cutters of all kinds (including themed cutters for Christmas, Halloween, music, just about any shape you can imagine (see the Sources subcategory on that page).
...that page also shows how to make your own cutters (or order kit for making your own) (see Making Your Own)

Small plastic cookie cutters from the cake decorating area are great for kids to use to cut out some basic shapes.
.....they can add an eye to a fish, or spots to a dog, etc.
Bed, Bath and Beyond: 100 plastic cutters (I presume alphabet & numbers plus others --the cutters with plastic bits in the middle of the outline shape will make impressions inside the shape as well, e.g. the football, bike, and ice cream cone)
....plastic cutters sometimes don't make a clean edge. If you are willing to put in the extra time to trim or blend edges its no big deal. Trina
....or, use a piece of plastic wrap on top of the clay before you cut it with a cookie cutter. This will at least round the edge and bevel it. Jeanette

examples, lessons, etc.

Sarajane’s bear & star cutouts+, other projects
polymerclayexpress’ holly and berry wreath using 4 and 6-pointed canape cutters
Marcy's birdhouses made by onlaying V-shape for roof onto house cutout, then onlaying little flowers, etc.
cutouts (using a paper pattern) for tiny shirts
... many of the other shirts in this swap were embellished with little summer miniatures like flip flops, sunglasses, cameras, etc. attached or dangling below (gone)

Nina K's pine tree shape, cut out from flat "collage" sheet of clay patterns with a tree cutter
....the shape is then surrounded by thin clay rope frame
(see many more pattern possibilities in Sheets of Pattern)

create the letters of your name (or anything else) in clay with cutters and put them on a background plaque, or have them held by characters, on a switchplate in your room, etc.  You could also cut out the letters with letter cutters or pattern scissors. (see Lettering category for more info on how to and samples)
Karyn's names on kids' pins (or anything) made with thin polymer ropes; printed (not cursive)... along with simple flowers, faces, cutter shapes, etc.

Sarajane's lesson on making a star (or other) shaped frame with a part of a photo glued onto the back with a gluestick.. she decorated with onlays, texturing and a bit of glitter

(see Frames & Mirrors for using a school picture --and baking it in frame)

Heather's frame made of overlapped leaves
...each leaf started as a sheet of plain or marbled clay, which was impressed with a real leaf then cut around (with an Xacto or needle)
...all leaves were then shaped, & draped on a sheet of plain clay (probably with a spacer) for a photograph to be inserted
(using marbled mix of yellow, red and green clay, she rolled it flat and cut into leaves with a cookie cutter ...then used one of the  tools to impress "veins". You could also get  fancy and use some metallic powder
...or maybe doing a mokume gane with fall leaf colors and copper leafing, rolling it flat and then cutting the leaves out  of that --be aware though that some copper leafing tarnishes drastically even when captured in the polymer clay (esp. next to Sculpey clay?) (see Leaf for how to avoid)

lesson on child's hand frame for a photo... template of hand is drawn on cardstock or construction paper and placed on clay sheet... cut around template with a toothpick (or hat pin, etc.)... place photo on from of plam and surround with rope of clay... add macaroni letters to spell name, or addother embellishements... bake ...they glue toothpicks on the back of each finger to make the clay stiffer (but could also reduce the template on a copy machine to make it smaller, or place the regular-size ahdn hand on another sheet of clay (a rectangle for example) to make it thicker and stiffer,2025,DIY_13750_2268661,00.html
Mary Lyon's lesson on cutting a sheet of polymer in the exact shape of your hand, then adding a photo and border, etc.... for xmas?,2025,DIY_13750_2268661,00.html
hand ornament or "vase"...lesson for tracing around a hand with a toothpick, then cutting out with Xacto knife (smooth edges)
... add two holes for hanging... a clay "pocket" is added and clay flowers on pocket to embellish... silk flowers placed in pocket.. ribbon or cording strung through holes for hanging (at, Clay Ornament) (gone)


Dimples' lesson on making scrapbook page decorations with sheets of clay and bas relief embellishments
(see more in Cards)

Linda Calef's samples of embellished cutter shapes (from her book Wearable Whimsies)

lesson on adding wire to clay cutouts to create cute bugs, suns, etc, (fairly flat)
...bend wires into various shapes, then sandwich part of the wire inside (two?) clay shapes to hide, for the bodies (leaving arms/legs/etc.sticking out)
.....from Design Originals short book "Down to the Wire")
...see below in Other Ideas for other wire ideas --simple figure with wire & cardboard and a tiny wire figure with "clothing" )

flat figures ..."paper dolls," Flat Stanley, etc.

a [i]polymer clay[/i] Flat Stanley?? As long as you use a stronger brand than Sculpey III, you'll be able to make something quite thin that'll be flexible but won't break or even tear if bent and twisted. Here are just a few examples made by Garie Sim, which are used as bookmarks: Garie used a flexible polymer clay now called "Bake and Bend" for those particular pieces but most of the strong regular polymer clays can be done the same way. Be sure and bake thoroughly or even longer for even more strength. You can check out other thin bookmarks made mostly from regular strong brands of polymer clay on this page that may give you an idea of the range of things that can be done "flat": .... click on [b]Bookmarks[/b] especially, but really most other things on that page are flatties too) You could also make a flat "decal" type of Stanley with liquid polymer clay in various ways. You could use tinted liquid clays, and/or there are various ways to transfer images to liquid clay (as well as to solid clay) so you could transfer a whole drawing or other image of Stanley to one of those, or just do his face in liquid or solid clay then attach it to a paperdoll or other polymer clay, etc. Great possibilities ...

Lynne M's lesson on making a cut out figure from flat chopped clay.. if you don't make you own cutter, use a regular body cutter, but remove head from the clay cutout and substitue a spiral cane slice for head... bit of wire on back to strengthen for pin,1789,HGTV_3238_3335450,00.html

see also
...jointed paper dolls and other figures > Paperdolls .... Pollydollys below?, more?


Mmasaur made pins with cookie cutters and fabric markers... then coated with Future floor wax (or use another sealer, if needed)


 Darla's --lesson on painted, cut out dove shapes (these had a few defining lines inside --were used for xmas tree decorations)
1. I drew the dove pattern I wanted to use, with a black outline for cutting, and red lines for later impressing the details)
2. I cut out the pattern, and used it as a template for cutting the pattern out of a flat sheet of clay. (I would use a fairly thick sheet of clay, if not two or three sheets stacked together).
3. After cutting out the pattern in the clay, using an exacto knife, take a dull knife with a rounded edge to imprint the patterns in the wing and tail. (I used red lines to mark where to make the impressions in the template picture)
4. I rounded off all the edges, which is easy to do with polymer clay if you use a little talcum powder and rub around the edges. (or cornstarch if need to remove traces)
5. After baking, paint with pearl acrylic paint, add a black dot for the eye, and paint the tip of the beak with black as well.
6. After the paint dries, glue a sprig of green statice to it's beak. (if you only have white statice, you can paint it with acrylic paint also, which is what I did for the one in the picture)
7. If you decide to use as a pin, glue on the pin back, or for a gift tag, I would insert a wire loop before baking.
That's all there is to it, and of course, all colors are optional, that is why I didn't really list any. I plan to do this again with some pearl-ex powders. . . It would be very easy to make a mold for this as well, and that would speed up production to almost no time at all. After baking the first one, before painting, sprinkle it with cornstarch or talcum powder, then press some scrap clay onto it to make a mold. After baking the mold, all you'll need to do is add a mold release, then press clay into it. The dove shape will just pop out ready to bake! Darla

Darlene's cutout cat (using animal-skin pattern sheet) with a few embellished details (website gone)
... the cat's heart is a cane slice onlaid on top
... the claws (and facial features?) are incised or stamped, then antiqued (filled with a contrasting color of acrylic paint, wiped off of the upper surface, leaving it in the depressions)

...size... circle or square (4" or whatever size you want), or odd-shaped cut with cookie cutter or freehand
...possible techniques ....cane slice sheets, slice paintings, textured or stamped, mosaics (inlay or caned), faux stone, wood, ivory, or other faus and inclusions, transfers, etc. could embellish with crystals, glitters, beads, charms, fibers. Patty B.

...Patty Underwood's various coasters
...(this lesson was designed especially for people who can't manage accuracy with scissors, but can manage to hold a stamp or a rolling pin... to make as gifts) 
(lesson) Roll out the Premo or FimoSoft to a suitable thickness for coasters.... Cut out circles, maybe with crinkled edges, with the cookie cutter.... Decorate by pushing in clean, dry rubberstamps to impress images into the clay.... Put the maker's initials on the back. ... bake. (If prefered, stamp the images first and then cut out - good for patterns).Crafty Owl.
Rebecca D. has a lesson and examples re making disks to be used for 4-5" coasters by flattening spirals of clay logs or... she says to use a rubber eraser to clean any parts that look dirty after use; drips can be rinsed off (see details in Sheets of Pattern > Dragged Lines) and
...funny coasters
(for much more on making coasters, see Sculpting-gen > Other Items)

bottom part of large star cutout bent upward (like trough)...then attached to bottom of a chalk board as a holder (or chalk)

you can use baked polymer cut-out shapes (perhaps embedded at the end of a chopstick) to stamp with (for example, stamping metallic powders or acrylic paint onto raw clay, or even fabric paint onto t-shirts, etc.) (like these "chopsticks")
(see also Clay Guns > Disks for pattern disks --though which clay can be extruded then have a slice cut off for this purpose)


most info on onlays are on this page:

There are several ways to create mosaic tiles:
...square or other shaped tiles can be cut from a sheet of raw clay with tiny cutters (Kemper makes small ones, or aspic cutters, e.g.)
...or they can be cut in grids by cutting with a long blade or with the tip of a blade... or simply scored in these ways before baking to be snapped apart after baking
.......or squares or other shapes can be cut freehand with an Xacto
.......some grids can be cut or impressed with things like a french-fry cutter or tiny-ice-cube tray
...or make a log of clay (round or square, etc.), then cut many slices (as close to same thickness as possible
Then in either case, bake the pieces to harden them

Tiles can also be created by baking sheets of clay very flat (even weighting down with something smooth and flat), and cutting them after baking while still warm (generally with scissors --thin clay is fairly easy to cut when warm)

....for a matte finish on the tiles, put a sheet of paper on the top side of any weight you use
....for a shiny finish, put a sheet of glass or a metal baking sheet on top of the clay sheet before baking, and then weight it (heated clay will take on the texture of any surface that's placed against in during baking... any spots that don't completely touch, however, won't be shiny)
.......Kato brand of polymer clay has a naturally somewhat-shiny finish though

Tiles can also be re-shaped (after creating either way) by re-heating, then cutting with scissors while still warm... especially if you want specific shapes or smaller filler shapes.

Finished tiles can then be inlaid into a raw sheet of clay (either butted tightly together, or left slightly apart) to form the pattern
........(the base sheet of clay could be a solid color, of course.....or even something like marbled-colors or faux ivory)
...or the tiles can simply be glued onto another material such as wood, metal, cardstock, glass, etc,
.........or items made from these materials like boxes, frames, switchplates, etc..

If the tiles are applied slightly apart, there are several ways the spaces can be treated after baking:
.....ordinary grout can be applied and wiped off in the usual way (damp wipe at end)
.... a polymer grout can be made from colored polymer clay, thinned with Diluent-Softener or even with mineral or vegetable oil
....acrylic or oil paint can be applied all over and forced into the spaces, then the surface wiped clean

If you've used grout, and it isn't all removed by damp wiping, when you've finished baking the mosaic piece, it (may look a bit cloudy). If that happens, you can apply a clear finish like Future floor wax or Varathane (water-washup), or you can sand the surface with wet-dry sandpaper (use it wet) in grits of 400 then 600, then buff with a t-shirt or most any fabric to bring up a shine (the longer you buff, the higher the shine generally as long as you've sanded first)

Sarah Lajoie's mosaic frame (she shows how to cut tiny individual tiles, sells tiles already cut, and has a design-your-own-pattern grid at her website) (lesson)
(click on Design Workshop)

STAMPING.... MOLDS ... & Metallic Powders ...

FAQ-Surface Effects,metallic,paint,rough,antique
Dotty's abstract powders; bicone bead shape lesson
stamped & powdered medallions
Ruth Ann's lesson on very easy stamped disks of clay, some with metallic powders
my kids' powdered pendants (made with molds, stamps)
(website gone)

Irene’s lesson on silver Rub’N Buffed, decorated hearts

Leigh’s leaf impressions with powders, lesson 

Pigment ink pads can be used nicely with stamps --gold/silver/copper or colors.  (I guess regular stamp pad ink can be used too, but it would be best to seal it if it will receive much rubbing from clothing or hands. I haven't tried the inks from  the paintbrush type stamp pens--they might need to be sealed.)

I saw Donna Kato create an abstract design in her clay by using only one area of a larger stamp --either using a small random area from a large stamp, or impressing  the clay repeatedly in different directions with the same corner of a stamp. 

Try the metallic and pearly powders (Pearl Ex powders which are made from mica instead of aluminum--no  precautions necessary, or the Fimo brand which are are real metallics so avoid breathing and use paper underneath to discard all scattered powder).  These are applied *before* baking to either the entire surface with a soft brush, or only to the upper flat surface only (with a finger or something similar) if using with an image stamped into the clay.  Seal after baking if the piece will rub against clothing, lots of fingers, etc. (Future --yep, floor polish) is cheap and effective to seal it; apply with brush or cloth. 

*After* baking, you can use the Rub 'N Buffs, Treasure Golds, or metallic or plain acrylic paints in tubes--I've used mostly the metallic and interference ones. Rubbing Burnt Umber or another brown into the crevices then wiping the excess from the top gives an antique look. (Rub ‘N Buff has a stronger smell than the others, if that matters to you). 

Embossing powders can be used in several ways:  they can be mixed into the clay, applied onto unbaked clay (seal afterward), or applied onto baked clay using those special embossing pens that cause the powder to stick wherever the pen has drawn (someone said regular Bic Stic ink works too)--put back in oven to melt.

As someone has mentioned recently, you can use the fancy-edging scissors to cut very thin, baked clay.  These could be cut into shapes, strips, whatever, after baking, or possibly before (?). 
Shape or regular punchers can also be used with this thin clay for stars, hearts, etc., but make your sheet really thin for use with those little square punches!!  
Wavy rotary blades
work great before baking and the clay doesn't have to be thin.

Make impressions in the clay before baking with screwdriver tips, strongly graphic stamps, toothpicks, whatever...cut out shapes, strips, etc., and use these as is, or apply metallic powder to the raised flat background --the image will be indented like a carving.) 

I made wire shapes, then hammered them flat, then pressed them into clay shapes, then painted with pearlex.... baked them, and started prying the wire up to add some liquid clay to make a strong bond between the wire and the clay. but as I am pulling the wire off, I am thinking they actually look better without the wire maybe (with the black background clay showing through and assuming the wire shape). (inspired by a Mike B. pin) Kellie
...I bet it'd look wonderful pressed into a clay covered votive, leaving a thin area for the light to shine through where the wire was pressed in. Darla
...other stuff could probably be used instead of the wire. a smooth piece of twine, perhaps. lay it down on the clay in a design, and then brayer the twine down into the clay. texture, and apply pearlex, then gently remove the twine. Kellie

The small flat pieces of clay you're talking about making with your group could also be used to embellish cards without being too thick for the mail, I would think by being glued onto colored paper or cardstock. 

You can also make polymer postcards,  which go through the mail just fine! (see Linda Goff's Polymer Postcards  at and more on Cards page). Diane B.

You can also make nifty stamp rollers by carving/stamping a rectangle of clay which you then roll into a log, or use to surround a dowel or another log of clay before baking --this gives you a rollable stamper for continuous marking.  It would be neat also to add things to the surface of the stamp --things like tiny Kemper shaped clay pieces,  etc.

"stones" impressed with individual words, numbers, shapes (for kids learning to read, do math, learn shapes)... good for practice as well as for kids who do best with touch . . . they could also make them themselves) are some made with inclusions
...(see more on making lettering and things like these in Letters-Inks > Stamps and Molds)

as MOLD: I put an inked stamp into a large blob of hot glue from my glue gun (which was extruded in a puddle on glass, a tile, or whatever will release it), then let it harden.... I slowly peeled off the stamp, and later pressed polymer clay into the new *mold*....(because the glue *mold* was flexible, I was able to pry the polymer clay out quite easily). Barbara (temporarily at Denise in Austin's site) could also use one of those glue pads sold for the glue guns for easy release
...Barbara used hot-melt glue; would low-melt work as well?
...........could also be used as a STAMP as well?... either the negative glue or the positive made from the molded clay
make a print: Spread a texture stamp that you made, with paint (or pigment ink), then place a sheet of paper over it and press. Just like doing a woodblock print... OR rub with a pencil or crayon like doing a regular rubbing.

as EMBELLISHMENT (reverse) : lesson on using hot glue puddle placed on a bottle (or other object) to make an impressed medallion ... impression made with a wet stamp (stamp of any kind, moistened with water) when glue becomes cloudy... after glue cools and stamp is removed, glue impression completely covered with Patio Paint (a strongly adhesive acrylic paint, or any acrylic) to color the glue, then highlighted with Autumn Rub 'N Buff (to which a bit of gold RB is added here and there)... (cork for bottle is also painted then Rub'NBuffed)

I've been wondering about making stamps for polyclay from regular Elmer's glue (not their "School" Glue tho').... by drawing a design with a line of Elmer's glue squeezed right out of the bottle onto cardboard.... when it's completely dry, you should have a raised design, and you can ink it and print it. It was fun and looked cool.
(....or use the stamp to impress into polymer clay) wouldn't even have to draw freehand; you could print out something, or trace it, then glue it to the cardboard and drizzle glue on the lines . . . Keep in mind you can't control the thickness of the line too well, and so you get a very "loose"-looking drawing with some extra blobs and thin spots. This would be fine if you plan what kind of design to apply the technique to--a sort of casual folk-art image would be great. Suzanne

making your own Stamps & Molds ....with "Ready Stamps"

Sarajane's page on how to order Ready Stamps, and examples

This is a great idea (and you get to support a worthy cause to boot!) --having your own stamps made.  It's easy and cheap.  All you need to do is draw anything you like (with black ink), or paste on photocopied  images from Dover books, etc., or type type some text onto white paper (if you've pasted  on photocopies, re-photocopy the whole thing so you have just one flat sheet) and send  to:
Ready Stamps  The United Cerebral Palsy Foundation 10405 San Diego Mission Dr., Suite 103  San Diego, Ca 92108 (619) 282-8790
Call to order first, and for any additional information.   **Be sure to request both the MATRIX and PLATE** with your order so you will have  the negative into which the rubber is poured.  This *acts just like a sheet of molds* and  makes great raised designs in the clay! !!!!

When you receive it, take the rubber sheet of stamps and cut around each image as closely as feasible, then permanently or temporarily mount each on a handle/base made from small thick clay cubes or tiles --or whatever shape can mostly easily be grasped, wood blocks, or the bottom surface of one of those clear rectangular  acrylic boxes that come in several sizes and colors--these are neat to use because you  can see through them. .  

Be forewarned:  this is enjoyably addictive!!!  You'll tend to find more and more uses for  them, as well as other images you just *have to have* for clay  :-) --even drawing your own textures like thin lines or little stars, etc., etc! 

Here is a list of things that were used to make impressions in the clay in the "texture swap" I participated in:
--screwdriver tips (star-like impressions) --pen tips or caps --crumpled aluminum foil --piece of wide lace (roll over for impression),  --thin, long strip made with small & lg. teeth of comb --diagonal, wormy, raised pattern (plastic texture sheet--art store) --drywall screen (3-M, med.), or any size --sandpaper --plastic canvas (# 7) --med.curved parallel lines --lines of small, thin, depressions --interesting & fancy buttons (from several people) --small parallel lines (grip area on plastic clothespin)  --rough rock (a cylinder stamp) --rough bark (faux wood?) --open-weave, wire-edged ribbon --tiny cedar branches --irregular lines of bumps --skewer end; scales? (with samples) --insect tunnels from a dead branch --fine, knobby fabric weave? (for borders on pins) --grid of lg & sm discs  --broken taillight --metal studs (stars, rounded, circles--for holding stones?) --basketweave leather tool --raised fat spirals --backpack strap --vent cover impression --rows of logenze shapes (guitar amplifier) --3-diff.-edged cake decorator triangle


Polymer Clay FAQ | Using Molds
Judi Maddigan’s projects with Pushmolds
Marlene's jesters --caned (but could be painted, etc.) molded faces surrounded by hats, folded fabric ruffs, etc.
(website gone)

Heather R's lessons on covering a switchplate, the molded fish (see EZ Molds below in Purchased Molds)
(Tropical Goldfish switchplate --and necklace)
Improvise if you don't have various things: instead of using a pasta machine to make a "Skinner Blend," use a little light colored powder or buffing wax (see Powders) after removing the fish from the mold where the clay looks lighter; instead of using a wavy blade on a stack of layers, well marble some blue and white clay together or just use a solid color; instead of seed beads, use a dot of acrylic paint pressed on with a toothpick; instead of embossing powder in the translucent, use brown play sand or use tan colored clay and add ordinary sand.

Branching out might also include making molds from various household items, jewelry, toys, etc.-- e.g., bolts (make great stripes), screwdriver tips, fancy buttons, wadded aluminum foil (use some of these for texture, masking an area for stamping an  image, or mount a separate stamped piece of clay onto this background), the strip from rubber hose clamp, charms, bracelet patterns, faces from dolls or action figures, wooden  shapes, bits of filigree, netting or fabric, combs, ---this can go on forever!

You could also show them how to make ("outie") molds from their rubberstamps by  brushing a wad of clay with a soft paintbrush dipped in talcum powder, then pressing the  stamp into the clay. They could simply make a number of impressions in one large piece of clay, or could cut around each image to form a "frame" which would show up after baking and impressing into another piece of clay.

~When you use molds, don't forget that you can add, remove or distort what they give you. Add accessories, onlays, etc., stretch parts, or remove them and add other parts you've made or from other molds. DB

purchased molds

PolymerClayExpress' Friendly Impression and AMACO molds (native Amer, geometric, quilt, shells, etc.)
Polymer Clay Express (sells and shows many Push Molds)
Sculpey's multi-mold EZ Release Push Molds (flexible, no release needed, multi-mold sheets --at craft stores, or order from (click on EZ Release Molds)
Etruscan Motif
, Leaf, Celtic, Sconce, Summer Floral, Swag, Grandma/Grandma or Santa   : 2 grandma/grandpa doll styles with hands,feet and ears, Angelic/Young Adult  : 3 angelic/young adult doll styles with hands, feet, and ears, Whimsical Dolls    :    3 whimsical doll styles with hands, feet, and ears, Miniature Dolls    : 7 miniature doll styles with hands, feet, and ears, Zoo Life    : Elephant, Giraffe, Lion, Monkey, Tiger, Toucan, Zebra, Chompers   : Crocodile, bulldog, shark, SuperFlea, T-Rex, Garden Party    : Butterfly, Dragonfly, Grasshopper, Inchworm, Ladybug, Grow a Garden   : Picket fence, Bumblebees, Butterfly, Wheelbarrow, Birdhouse, Flowers (2 styles), Garden glove, Bird, Spade, Flowerpot, Watering Can, Let it Bloom   : Roses (3 sizes), buttercups (2 sizes), Daisies (4 sizes), Lilacs (3 sizes), Butterflies (2 styles), Designer flowers (3 styles), Leaves (5 styles), My Sports    : Sport jersey, Baseball bat, glove and ball, Football, Football helmet, Soccerball, Basketball, Golf ball, Golf club, Gold putter, Golf bag, Family Time   : Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Country Charmers    : Barn, Horse, Pig, Chicken, Cow, Milk barrel, Feed stock, Haystack, Sea Life    : Blue whale, Dolphin, Tropical fish, Seal, Seahorse, Sea turtle, Starfish, Sea shell, My Pets    : Dog, Cat Goldfish, Doghouse, Bone, Fire hydrant, Food bowl, Collar, Fish skeleton, Baby I Love You   : Stork, Baby stroller, Rattle, Block, Rubber ducky, Sheep, Rabbit, Stocking, Angel for All Reasons   : Angel and minature snowman, Valentine heart, St. Patrick clover, Flower, Watering can, Birdhouse, Flag, Watermelon, Apple, Teddy bear, Pumpkin, Turkey, Class Creations    : Chalkboard, Schoolhouse, Open book, Pencil, Eraser, Apple and bookworm, ABC's, School bus, Not So Scarecrow   : Scarecrow, Sunflower, Corn, Pumpkins (2 styles), Oak leaf, Maple leaf, Crow, Kringle & Snowman   : Santa, Snowman, Christman tree, Stocking, Candy cane, Holly leaf, Christmas light bulb, and Ho Ho Ho, six architectural

METALLIC CLAYS ...special effects
(mica-based clays)

Many interesting effects can be created with the special polymer clays which have tiny flakes of mica in them.
...Most of the "metallic" clays do have mica, but a few don't (Sculpey III)... the ones needed for the special effects are the metallic colors of Premo, Kato, and now some Fimo clays (generally, gold, silver, copper, Pearl, and sometimes red/blue/green (those last3 don't have as strong an effect though)
...the mica flakes in the color "Pearl" are in an uncolored and fairly translucent clay base, so many other "mica" colors can be created by adding up to 50% of a regular opaque clay color to Pearl (often resulting in a pastel).

random folded slices ... kellie did this on an egg, but could be on any item or on a base sheet of clay instead, then used as is, or for covering (she didn't do this, but a coating of white glue can be put on the egg first then dried to give more tooth if needed)
.... run the sheet of (mica) clay thru the pasta machine about 10 times to make all rthe mica particles in it lay flat
....then roll this sheet out thin, and roll it up from one end into a log (nowwhen you take a crosswise slice off the log, the center wil be dark, and the outer edges will be lighter & bright.
...cut the log in half and reduce one piece in order to have two different sizes (one big, one small) to work with.
...slice off a thick slice from one log, and run it thru the pasta machine on a #3.... apply this slice directly to the egg
...... (for all other slices:) take another slice off one of the other logs (vary the slice thicknesses), fold it in half ...then run thru the pasta machine on #3... you can also smoosh some of the folded slices
... butt this slice up next to another slice on the egg... add tiny balls of clay to any areas not covered
...for an egg, she made a hole in the clay through the blowing-out hole, and after 15 minutes of baking she plugged the hole with a cone of raw clay and flattened it...and baked another 15 min... while clay was still warm from last baking, she shaved off the excess plus (blade or Xacto)
...after cooling, she sanded the heck out of it, and buffed (or use a clear finish to bring out the depth and shine). Kellie
Kellie's lesson:
more examples of Kellie's folded-slice eggs
Yes, that was my son Kyle's egg that inspired you.... he was 5 when he made it. ... I had given him all my gold scraps, which he proceeded to mush and smoosh as only a 5 year old could, and then placed them on the egg. I smoothed it out for him and baked it. Claire

(...see many more ways to use mica clays for special effect in Mica)

(glass, metal, some plastics, paper-based products, etc.)

(see more of these and on these techniques at:)

LynnDel's kids' pens... grades 1, 2, 3 (at PCC) or (gone) or
Ginger's switchplates with animal heads
Celeste's switchplates with dragon or bear holding onto the plate (sticking out)

Nanette’s relief (kid-theme?) switchplates:
Cindy's switchplates (gone?)
Cecilia's adorable animal votives, with extensions of eyes, ears, elephant trunk,etc...using pastel translucents (FimoSoft's Transparents?)

Singing Clay's stamped, antiqued, faux leather, horse-theme, switchplate, with frame

*Comport's Genie--head on bulb body
PoRRo's birds and witch over a blown-out egg (see Eggs for basic instructions for covering eggs) (face isn't easy, but you could sculpt your own)

Dar covered some metal coffee cans for storage, then "wrote" the content on the outside with ropes of clay
Jean M's cat food can with molded faces (see more on catfood cans in Covering/Metal)

Claudine covered an empty cardboard alum foil or plastic-wrap tube, and onlaid trailing vines with leaves of green, blues and cherry (could be made into a "rain stick" too)

Dotty's lesson on covering a prescription bottle to make a figure wearing a kimono

(she warns not to put white glue on amber prescription bottles to increase tackiness)
Violette's bugs --covering backs of pistachio shells

Trace's mini vases (website gone) (website gone)
lesson on tiny vase pins (for holding real or polymer flowers)... made by covering metal (single) bolo tie findings... for more flowers and wider pin cover two bolo findings and leave area of clay between

my covered and decorated small bottles
(....see lessons and much more on these small bottles on my Bottles of Hope page)

covering an Altoid tin, or other tins (Band Aid boxes, round tins, etc.)
....I used to have them cover the tin's lid, then bake it, then cover the bottom (because if they covered the lid and didn't bake it first, it would be entirely mangled by the time the bottom was covered)
..... Now I have another way. I have them wrap the whole thing in the sheet of clay, trim off potential overlaps with scissors, smooth, then cut the opening with the point of a pin. (Works better for kids than doing half of the box at a time.) LynnDel
...large flat character face covering a whole tin, by Gestalta_Sara (Chocobo-chicken, a Nintendo character )
.....plain yellow clay covering...large simple eyes (like fried eggs) + lg traingular beak onlaid; gloss finish
(see many more covered Altoid and other tins covered in all kinds of ways in Covering > Metal > Altoids, etc)

"blank" metal lunchboxes (8 1/2 x 6)... can also find mini ones at Michaels, etc. sometimes

Lisa Pavelka's lesson on tiny "dressers" made by covering ...stacked matchboxes w/ sides and feet (and more dressers),1789,HGTV_3352_1399691,00.html
. . . s
ee also Covering > Paper for necklaces and other things to make by covering a matchbox

cover a small bottle (make as a pendant if desired) then turn it into a bubble bottle with wand cap
Jody's twisted wire wands in various shapes

Heather R's lessons on coveirng a switchplate with molded fish (...for that mold, see EZ Molds below) (Tropical Goldfish switchplate --and necklace)
...if you don't have various things for the lesson, improvise!...... instead of using a pasta machine to make a "Skinner Blend," use a little light colored powder or buffing wax (see Powders) after removing the fish from the mold where the clay looks lighter
... instead of using a wavy blade on a stack of layers, well marble some blue and white clay together or just use a solid color
... instead of seed beads, use a dot of acrylic paint pressed on with a toothpick
...instead of embossing powder in the translucent, use brown play sand ...or use tan colored clay and ordinary sand.
...(see many more switchplates & lessons on covering them in Covering > Switchplates....)

There are kits for clocks, kaleidoscopes, key chains, etc. at this site which are easy to cover & inexpensive

My pens class was a major success!!
...the whole school has been saying that  this was the best Art Day project ever! ...even the boys that are impossible to interest in art  projects got into it.
...We made approx 700 pens in 2 1/2 school days. The teachers and even the Principal came in to make pens too. Thanks to Prairiecraft's low prices each  student got to make 2 pens (our budget was less than $1 per student).
... Everyone made a  paw print pen --a blue pen with small white balls arranged in a paw print pattern (our school Mascot's emblem, in the school colors)
...Then they were given the option of  embellishing a base-colored pen with dots and snakes etc., or making a marbled pen. 
...After the 1st day, they could also make patchwork pens from the leftover marbled bits. 
....My DH made me rolling pins from a length of pipe and a friend lent me her pasta machine  - good thing she did - mine got trashed (bent scrapers) during the class.
...My problem now  is that I've created a monster!! I'm teaching my son's class to make  roses next week, another class is making more pens (both for mothers day gifts)... . and  everywhere I go at school people are asking me about the clay- where to get it how to  bake it etc..I've been passing on info left and right- but at least now I won't be the only  clay addict in town.I'm sure Michaels and Hobby Lobby are wondering why there's such  a run on clay all of a sudden.
..... (for much more on covering and embellishing pens, see Pens)
(My long-ish wizard's wand) is made over two Bic stick pen barrels placed end-to-end with bamboo skewers inside for added support (just grabbed whatever was laying around the clay table!). Denise

I made a small headstone out of (faux stone) Granitex clay when our guinea pig died this past summer.... I used a piece of corrugated cardboard covered with aluminum foil for a base, and then covered that with Granitex.... I used rubber stamps for the words, and decoration, and the kids loved it. Helped them with the closure part... Judy in MA

lighthouses... depending on the size, these could be solid or hollow
(for much more on lighthouses, see Houses-Structures >

many figures, animals, and items can be made by covering terra cotta pots (regular sizes or the miniature ones) with clay
... or by adding clay embellishments as borders, etc., on plain or painted pots (use acrylic paints)
...lots of lessons: (just use polymer clay instead)
...see Covering > Terra Cotta for more lessons, and also for tips on covering terra cotta

You can cover your existing cabinet knobs, following package directions on whichever clay brand you choose.
Or you can make them from "scratch", and just use the two-ended screws and screw it into both the knob and the cabinet door when it's all ready! Deb

…good idea for drawer knobs . They are a little whimsical and would be great in a kids room. I made gold suns and silver moons using polymer clay and cookie cutters. You could do it any shape, what about dinosaurs or butterflys?

Marie Segal's covered doorknobs lesson --ceramic or metal:  (Polymer Clay Covered Cabinet Knobs)

Russian Nested Dolls” ... see more info on these nesting figures below in Other Toys 
Russian, Chinese, Indian, etc., "nesting dolls"
...also Japanese Kokeshi figures (don't nest)

piggy banks:
--piggy banks actually shaped like pigs-- use a round vanity bulb and make the bulb stem the bottom for the cork.
--I used a glass jar as the base for my Dragonbanks ;)and decorated the top and the bottom with clay, but i left a large piece of the jar uncovered that made it fun to see the money! Ria
--You could make a piggy bank using the rock purse technique. A cork would work, yes... or you could make a hinged door.... or a door that slides in & out of tracks. Something like that. Joanie
--Jan’s very cute piggy bank…What I did was purchase some cheapie ones..and cover them with clay..rather than make the entire bank from clay. I then made a mold from one..and have used scrap clay to create the bank...and then covered with canes etc. You can purchase ceramic ones (unfinished) pretty cheaply too...then cover with clay as desired.  Jan
(website gone)
--You can get rubber stoppers and corks at American Science and Surplus.  Their regular store always carries them, I'm not as sure about their online store. Gerri
--(someone wanted to make a clay lid for a glass jar piggy bank and and just needed a way to get the money out without breaking the whole thing) . . . . My suggestion is to make a clay lid with a slot for money going in, which matches the theme of the jar; (in another spot on the lid, make a bigger hole with a decorative thinigie acting as a stopper which can be removed to pour the money out). eg: flower decorated jar: do a flower that looks like it is sitting on top of the lid but when you lift up on it it pulls a little clay stopper out and you can dump the money out ...JLH
.....or use the whole lid as a stopper for the bottle
--I was thinking of pigs too the other day when deluged with BOH ideas and dealing with the shape of  the top part of the tiny bottles I got from the vet.  They might make great snouts.  These tiny ones are way too small for coins, but you could add a faux hole and attach a tiny piglet to the bigger mama bank :-) . . .Diane B.
--Couldn't you use the bubble bottle technique? (see Vessels/Balloon Vessels ) I think I'll give it a try. Cindy

You can also "cover" polymer clay itself. Usually this is done over a solid polymer shape (e.g., the snakes, etc. below), but it can also be over a scrap polymer core of crushed aluminum foil, for example (see Armatures for more).
Mike Buesseler’s snakes (Jewelry Crafts, & class) (over a long rope of scrap clay formed into a triangle log...see Sculpture/Miscellaneous for details
e also Jon Anderson's using a similar technique to cover a snake, lizard, turtle, etc. --very fancy! (gone?)

"samplers" . . . It's a great idea to cover something with polymer slices (or other things) when you're first getting started (or at any stage along the route for that matter). I covered a tall drinking glass with samples of all my "first" canes (it was for my mother-in-law who was interested in what I was doing ... but I covered a second one for myself while I was at it). I just love having it now.. . . I use my covered drinking glass now as a holder for things like dental tools and paint brushes ( but I could also cover smaller jars/glasses --or perhaps make a draped bowl-- to use for smaller tools, glue containers, q-tips, etc., or even cover PVC pipe or toilet paper rolls to cover for tall tools too.)
Come to think of it, I should have done this even more . . . it's stimulating to have all those samples from the first glass right there while I'm working on other things. Now I'm thinking I should make "samplers" of other things too: for example, maybe powders colors, types of mokume gane, or different ways to use striped stacks, etc., etc,. . . . maybe even molds. Or a collage of various things might be nice too.
Maybe it would be easier to keep a few "category" glasses or jars going all the time, then just add the newest sample with a bit of Sobo or superglue and bake when one gets full enough. . . could always add more later that way too. Diane B.

Denise's "egghive" in 6th row... long strings of clay formed by twisting scraps, wrapped around an egg

for covered but see-through nightlights, freestanding lamps, or translucent screens, shields & luminaria, and also covered lamp bases, see Covering > Glass (...some are plastic also, but still in that large section)

(see more on all types of covering in Covering)
(see Pendants & Cording for using fishing swivels to make a dress-up purse from a covered Altoid box)


(see most info on making canes and using them on these pages here at GlassAttic:) (general info for successful cane making) (how to make canes smaller) (many specific patterns for canes) (face canes only)
...there are also lessons and photos of many canes on these pages:
Halloween, & other holidays
Houses/Structures (candies)

Dotty's lesson on making ("floating") spiral canes to make a large keyring bead
PCC’s  folded canes (see Canes-Instructions for more on Folded canes)
Amy K's lessons on making some very simple canes, then covering a frame with slices from them

Irene & Rachel lesson at PCH on making a snowflake cane (applicable to other types and color combos)--they use translucent, translucent and blue (light blue), and white

Irene C's very simple face lesson, component method (used as centers of different flowers) (gone)
WeeF:dimensional slices "people"

This was easy and fun (they had no facilities like pasta machines.)
...All the kids did was to roll flat seven colours (rainbow-ish range), then trim them into sheets of approxiamtely the same size. Then stack them in rainbow order.... Next, the kids were each given (one block at a time?) of the rainbow 'cane' (about 1inch side) and asked to make it into bead shapes. Some cut it as it was, and then rolled the beads, others put corkscrew twist down the cane's length then chopped it,or whatever appealed to them. It was amazing how many different shapes and designs were made from such a simple start.... A range of bright colours do appeal to new starters (and me too if I'm honest! - I still like the rainbow geometric canes!) Alan V.

Play-Doh type-toy tools for extruding logs of shaped clay (...Play Doh Fun Factory single extruder, available at toy and discount stores)...$4 at Wal-Mart, in the toy section –OR deluxe version: Play-Doh One Stop Playshop (work station - $19.95 at Toys 'R Us)
... Jeannie Havel uses this to make "elements" for canes... after extruding, she lets them set for awhile, then combines into canes the Fun Factory may appear daunting, but you can place tools in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Clay will pop right off. Jeannie H.

(see more on other kinds of "extruders" in Clay Guns)

My sister teaches polymer clay to kids. Blown-out eggs are too fragile for most of them to handle, and she didn't have time to prepare them anyway. So, she had them cover the hard-boiled ones with polymer, and then cured them, as normal. She has one egg that's at least a year and a half old, and no problems so far. The polymer seems to make a completely air-tight cover. I thought it was a great idea! They're a bit heavier than blown out eggs, and she doesn't sand them, but they worked fine! Maureen (only the ones with no breaks after boiling??)

“caning” with food. . . As mentioned in a previous article, refrigerator cookies are one option.  The Joy Of Cooking  has a basic recipie using chocolate and vanilla  dough to make jelly rolls, checkerboards, and bulls eyes. ( Yes, all you clay feinds these  were baking trems first<BG>) You can use food coloring to create your own colored doughs. I recomend paste colors found at your local cake decorating store.      
Marzipan is also an option, although it is a lot more expensive to make  than cookie dough. The colors in both the marzipan and cookie dough will provide you with a  challange because of the natural yellow tint of the doughs.  Also fondants? 
...edible candy dough (make or buy) can be sculpted or molded or caned, then eaten --see below in More (Various)
...also "gummy" "clay" kits

FAUX techniques
(such as jade, turquoise, wood, granite, pearl, & many more)

(see more on these at :)

Faux** (or fake, imitation) techniques don't need to be done very exactly and can produce impressive results for molding,  stamping, or sculpture and bead shapes (faux IVORYcan be made by simply mixing  beige and white--or beige alone--with translucent, rather than the traditional stacking method)

(**pronounced foh, to rhyme with flow or go; the plural is pronounced fohz)

JEWELRY & other Wearables + zipper or jeans pulls, etc.

Helen’s birdhouse earrings, at PCPolyzine (lesson)

Marie S's colorful dangles hung from necklace of "spacer" beads (using colored plastic-covered wire)... several abstract bead shapes strung for each dangle

Carl's lesson on stringing simple seed bead and polymer clay necklaces (Feats of Clay)
Mary's "window" pins, made by duplicating sashed windows, and their views, etc.

Natasha beads lesson (see much more in Beads > Natasha)
Jan R's mask pendants, former over small river rocks; bet it'd be a great way to make light little insects too.... neat!  Joanie (website gone)
Cathy’s kid necklaces with rolled-up beads made with long narrow triangles (rolled up from wide end to tip end) (website gone)
my little brother made snakes and then turned them into neckerchief slides... but u could make them rings
..... or make other animals for a pin or something.

lesson on tiny vase pins (for holding real or polymer flowers)... made by covering metal (single) bolo tie findings
... for more flowers and a wider pin, cover two bolo findings and leave area of clay between

Shellee's kids barrettes (bear face glued to center of barrette made with triple ribbons, & onlaid designs)

Marina's barettes make with lemon or orange slices, plus leaves (lesson on making citrus slices)
*** look now at ---> http://www.marieidraghi.itAgrumi.htm
Shellee's kids' hair "worms" ...with string of beads dangling off bottom

Christel's lesson on making a "rabbit" hair holder, using elastic for the holding band and also for the dangly feet and hands (click on any photo to see enlargement) (unfinished rabbits with clothing)
.....and see more hair ornaments in Jewelry

MandaBeads712 made adorable simple Mickey_ Mouse "ear hats" in bright colors as charms for a bracelet
...for each, she pushed two semi--flattened balls (like M&M's) as ears down onto the top of one semi-flattened larger ball which had been cut in half (half-disk) as hat (like joining ears to a little clay bear head)... then made a hole through each hat from top to bottom (between ears, to beneath hat), later threading through an eye pin and a bead or two for decoration... glazed heavily after baking ...and hung a number of them from a chain link bracelet

Thumbelina made a 4-5" saguaro cactus with a large sombrero to hold some of her jewelry...her rings hang over it's "arms," and her post earrings fit through holes in the hat brim (figure is top heavy so is created on a base, which could be a bit wider)... made from Model Magic but would be better from polymer clay
...the trunk could be polymer clay formed around a bunch of twisted wires, with each wire bent down to make an arm at the proper height, or you also could tightly wrap aluminum foil around the wire(s) if you want, to save clay... just don't leave air pockets.With an armature inside the saguaro couod be fairly tall and thin because it would be strong ... it might need a reasonably wide base though to compensate for the wide hat so it wouldn't tump over! Diane B.
....Monterra made one too
....lesson on making other kinds of cactuses with spines and flowers (spines are V shapes of black or white thin wire, squeezed at bottom then poked into the cactuses... cactuses are taper shape at bottom so can be stuck down into raw rice in
small terracotta pot more easily) crafts/buildmodel/feature/dony0100craftcactus/dony0100craftcactus.html

bead people and jointed figures for jewelry, magnets, etc.... for example: ...
(see many more both types + lessons in Sculpting-Bodies>Jointed, .& Beads
>Misc. Uses)

zipper pulls, key chains, etc.(for boys . . or girls)
...Try a very sedate sports theme with black cord. Or maybe something to hang off a backpack. Elayne
...zipper pulls ... abit of advise. Make a stiff wire core that you work your clay around. the swivel area takes a whole lot of wear and the body receives large amounts of squeezing and knocks. I should know, I just broke a cast metal zipper pull.
.....polymer beads, etc., can be attached with a lanyard hook to zipper pulls, jeans, etc. (zipper pulls --animals, objects) (fat-cane slice zipper pulls) (fan pulls... beads) (with seed bead danglies)
. . . a football,basketball, soccer ball, or baseball ... or sports team colors, etc.
.....see "bead people" just above as possible pulls
......use GITD (glow in the dark clay) if you can. It is a 'cool' thing then. Lysle
(be sure and make any the beads/figures for pulls or key chains, etc. fairly rounded and with a strong clay (no Sculpey), or they will break too easily with use!
...lots more inspiration for zipper pulls,GGLC:1969-53,GGLC:en&q=zipper+pulls

more jewelry things on these pages: (beads) (pendants and cording) (other jewelry... earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, barrettes and hair things, etc.) (buttons)

LIQUID CLAYS (& transfers)
(see Liquid Clays page for much more)

regular liquid clays:
---Liquid Sculpey
... available in small bottles at Michaels (though may be with the clay combo kits and Shapelets) and probably in other places (as well as online in small or larger amounts); it comes in a white (LS) and a translucent version (TLS), but the white LS is available only by mail order (both have a matte finish when cured)
---Kato's Clear Polyclay Medium ("Kato Sauce") is a newer version of liquid clay ( translucent only)... very transparent... (somewhat shiny finish)
---Liquid Fimo Decorating Gel is the newest version (translucent only) (very transparent, maybe more rubbery or flexible)

special liquid clays:
--Colored Liquid Sculpey can be hard to find, but comes in a few colors: black, gold, silver
--Liquid Poly Glo...liquid clay which glows in the dark . . . 6 colors (red, orange, green, aqua, blue, violet). Offered by Puffinalia.
...what a cool thing to decorate a regular lampshade with. You could make loads of little flat backed Liquid Polyglo cameos, shapes etc and glue them on with PVA. Then when you turn out the light, they would be all charged up and glow away like crazy! I bet kids would love that! Emma

All liquid clays must be baked in order to harden ... they will stay runny or gel-like until then.

They may be thinned with Sculpey's Diluent/Softener
... to thicken them, let sit out for a while ...or add a powder such as PearlEx, chalks, etc---would cornstarch work?? ...some oil paints may thicken a bit).

Liquid clays can be colored
....use oil paints, oil pastels, alcohol-based inks like Pinata, heat-set ink or paints, paste food colors like Wilton in jars, or a bit of solid polymer clay ....or teeny bits of acrylic paint or regular food coloring
....some inclusions may thicken the liquid as well as color it (like metallic powders, embossing powders?, powdered chalks, artist's pigments)
.....other inclusions might be glitter, sand, mica flakes, bits of metallic leaf, bits of nature... or anything bakable and small etc.

Liquid clay can be used in many ways!! can be used to transfer images from various sources (photocopies, ink jet prints, magazine pictures, colored pencil drawinsgs, etc.) onto clay ........some of those transfers produce clear decals which can be attached on clay (or most anywhere)
...when painted on glass, etc., it will removable "clings" for windows, etc. (can add colors or inclusions) can be drizzled onto other baked clay to make lines and patterns
...if clay is mooshed into it, it becomes a paste or paint's the best material glue around for attaching clay to clay can be used as a strengthener or filler
...when painted on (or dipped into) anything else, it's used as sealer .... or a decoupage medium can even " fingerpaint" with liquid clay (possibly tinted various colors)
.......use various tools like ball tipped tools, a pencil eraser, etc.
.......or use fingers (possibly wearing a latex glove or one or more little "finger cots" --wash hands afterward)
(...don't overmix colors or will get brown!)

(see much more info about liquid clays, including brands and types, in Liquid Clays)

The clear decal-type or other types of transfers could also be attached directly to the front of glass, metal, or other surfaces (e.g., small glass or plastic bottles with decals would look neat).
...transfers could also be attached with a backing of clay, or metallic leaf and/or clay. Diane B.
...for after dark in kids' bedrooms, Halloween-themed, or maybe planets or other images on glow-in-dark liquid clay or backed wtih gitd clay, or maybe glow in the dark window clings would be fun

Marie R's lesson on drizzling-drawing a shape onto clay with LS, then covering with embossing powder (tamp off excess) and baking

Karen P's lesson on using LS as a decoupage medium . . . here she shows how to decoupage pressed fern and other leaves onto a clay backing (first using as an adhesive on the backs, then covering the fronts, before baking)

sunni's lesson on dipping/painting dried plant material, fresh flowers/etc., and flies! with Translucent Liquid Sculpey (see LS category for more info)

You can make flowers out of tissue paper, and then give them a thin coating of liquid clay
... You can form miniature items out of paper such as a trash can, and paint it with liquid clay...after baking, paint & decorate. Ellen

making a transfer, etc: I used Translucent Liquid Sculpey to paint over a photocopied photograph of my baby grand daughter. I then soaked the paper off the back (thats the tricky part) and then used another layer of TLS to "glue" it onto a disk of pink quartz fimo, and put tiny rose coloured seed beads around the edge. I gave it to my daughter for her birthday, and she thought it was just beautiful. Sera

decoupage --i found a book called Create anything with polymer clay (see above). It was a children's book, but it had a lot of neat ideas in it. One of them was cutting out a paper or magazine picture then coating front and back with sobo glue. The glue gives the picture a glossy finish and also enables you to apply the picture to polymer clay and then bake it. Tootwo2

OTHER IDEAS ..... & misc. techniques

musical instruments & rattles,maracas

Donna Kato's lesson on making a mini-maraca by covering a small glass ball ornament, then adding a solid clay handle,2045,DIY_15079_2504794,00.html
o make maracas for my sons, I covered large light bulbs  with a thin layer of Premo, then applied various 'wild' cane slices.  Very psychedelic. ( I  didn't break the glass to remove the bulb for this project, although I have for others).
......added rice and lentils ...constructed a "stopper" attached to a wooden dowel for a handle, and baked again.  Marie
(more details on covering glass spheres and bulbs in Covering > Glass)
(for making stoppers, see BOH > Stoppers)

covered eggs...Margaret Regan introduced me to "acoustic eggs"...she puts sand, beads, or other materials that rattle inside the eggshell before covering with clay.. could also use plastic eggs
....Mary Lyon's lesson on covering an egg, stamping with powders, then filling with small glass beads, BBs or small plastic pellets (she says organic materials such as rice and unpopped popcorn may also be used but don't produce as crisp a sound as manmade things),2025,DIY_14147_2269547,00...l
...for filler, I pre-bake tiny balls of clay, then put in 5 or 6 in through the drain hole (on a raw covered ? egg)
...... then close up that end the same as the other end
tip for covering: roll raw-clay covered egg around in your hands and on a surface to smooth it...then pierce thru where the drain hole is with the needle tool to release the air while it bakes ....bake ...(more on covering eggs in Eggs)

Malnik makes hollow rattles from clay "pinch pots" ...see Vessels > Hollow Forms > Balloon Vessels for lessons
......small section is cut out after baking... seed beads inserted.... section glued back in.... embellished with canes slices, etc...rebaked

very small rattles (actually hollow clay spheres and "lentil" shapes, wtih rice, etc., inside) ...see les sons and more details in Beads > Hollow

any hollow clay shapes at all could be rattles too, whether traditional round or long and skinny or even almost flat, as long as there is room for the filler to ratttle around
...they could also be used as jewelry, or as a normal part of an object but with interest, or the bodies of sculpts, etc., etc.

(large rattle, exterior)... gourd whose bottom has fish-net type cording all around outside strung with beads (thick cane slices) for shaking
(more info on covering gourds in Covering > Wood > Gourds ... small gourds can create dolls or dragons too)

more rattles and maracas ....some polymer clay, but inspiration too:"polymer+clay"+rattle"polymer+clay"+maraca

what about buying a tambourine? or a drum, and covering the outer edges with clay? Twiggy
...or making a stiff clay vessel (freestanding or over an armature), then adding leather or ohter things for drum heads

covered kazoos (Hershberger)
. . .i have also seen flutes made out of polymer clay, and they work.

a polymer ocarina whistle can be made from two pinch pot hemispheres... add a tube parallel to the top into it; the secret to getting a good whistle is to insert a thin stick into this tube, through it and into the hollow body. The top of the stick must be aligned with the inside top of the clay body. Using any sharp tool, cut an angled opening in the top of the whistle ...The edge of the opening must be vertical and at the point where the stick enters the clay body. The other edge must be at an angle (say, 45 degrees). ...angle, width, and length of the opening are variables to play with. (width should be no wider than the stick, and the length should be about the width.
...(re touching baked clay with your mouth)...well, I wouldn't suck on it for hours, but PC is not toxic, especially after baking. False teeth use a form of PC for the gums, people have them in their mouths daily for years. The BIG reason not to use it for food is that bacteria will grow in any little scratches and grooves, and its very pliable when hot, and soft enough to scratch even when cool. It won't hold up to really thorough dishwashing over time. Sarajane)
(great lesson for earth clay ocarina, but should work for polymer too)
other ocarina lessons: (lesson with polymer) and (listen to ocarina sounds) and and and

magnet stuff

Lisa's lesson on making a refrigerator magnet by cutting a hole big enough for a button magnet in the layers of a clay-sheet-and-backing-sheet, then super gluing the magnet in the hole onto an onlaid sheet of a transfer or other design

I made a number of magnets for the new metal whiteboards my son's teacher received one year. . . . .some were little figures (like a rabbit to represent the class bunny), some were cane slices pressed onto balls or fat disks of clay , one was an "aquarium bead" to represent our aquarium.... I also made transfers, etc., to stand for the themes they'd studied that year (Native American, etc.).. . For some I formed the clay around the magnet and used a little white glue, superglue, or liquid clay to hold, some I glued on after baking. Diane B.

Every year I make an incentive device for my (special ed) elementary students
...I paint a skateboard park "track" onto a metal whiteboard (..each year I paint a new picture after washing off the old one)
.....then students make most of the little clay skater figures with magnets on their backs ...I love the different hairstyles and hats the kids put on the figures
...they get to move their skater one segment per day when they've done their assignments, or come to class on time, etc. (when they get to segment #14, they get to choose a prize out of the prize box)
...I painted the "Skateboard Park" background with straight tempera onto the 3x4' metal whiteboard ...I actually painted on the on the BACK side of the white board (its' metal with a matte finish), since the magnets stick better on that side.
......last year I had no problem with the paint chipping, but this year there has been a little ... (but thanks for the reminder about adding liquid soap to the tempera helping paint stick on waxed milk cartons, etc -- I'd forgotten about that one!) ...the magnets do not often come in contact with the painted areas. LynnDel (click on "Skateboard Park"from 2nd page)
(see more on magnets in Other Materials > Magnets) find more magnet ideas on this page, look below under Motion Toys... and also do a Ctrl + F search while here using the word magnet )

...for many other magnet and magnet sheet ideas, see Other Materials > Magnets, etc.

tacks & pins

There are various ways to embellish or cover tack-type things with polymer clay ..some depend on which kind and shape of tack you're using and what material it's made of
...thumbtacks don't have a natural "riser" between the pin and the top of the head, so generally will have more stress placed on them when removing or inserting into bulletin board
...clay can be added to the top of a thumb tack or pushpin, or it can be formed slightly or completely around the edges (of bakable tacks) to give a "mechanical hold", etc.

pushpins ...very small sculpts or small cane slices could also be glued to the tops of plastic push pins
...Kim Korringa superglues slices from her colorful canes onto the heads of pushpins... I don't see any on her site, but you can imagine what they'd look like by checking out her canes: ( on Gallery of Designs, then check out each page) maybe possible to bake plastic pushpins with clayon them...are they okay at our baking temps? (test!)
..or just use a good superglue or epoxy glue (with instant glues, the more exact contact between the parts, the stronger the join will be so try to make sure your clay is really flat on one side and wide enough where it touches).
...Marty Woosley's more involved lesson on making large, fat, round tacks around a wood bead... by cutting off the topmost part of a wood pushpin (found in framing areas of craft stores) --but could saw off a plastic pushpin instead?, then drilling out a larger hole in the bead (held in a vise), then gluing the remaining head into a round wood bead... she then primes with white glue, and covers the wood bead with a sheet of clay, and then clay embellishments or cane slices, etc.

metal thumbtacks
...make a "mechanical hold" with the clay (having part of the clay go behind the front edge of the tack so it grabs on, or piercing a disk of clay with the thumbtack shaft, then pressing its edges to the underside edges of your sushi --bake)
...if you use a glue with metal, be sure the metal is wiped with alcohol to remove any oils that might resist a glue and it's often a good idea to sand it a bit so it isn't quite so smooth
....there are some strong white glues which are meant for attaching small metal items onto fabric or another surface (Gem-Tac, or Jewel-It), or epoxy glues will may work well, or try a superglue
.....even a blob of E6000 might work, but because these will be subjected to a lot of pulling and stress, you'd want the strongest bond possible.
.....liquid clay may be a good choice, but that would have to be baked afterwards to cure it.
..could also bake the clay on the tack, then pop off after baking and reglue with superglue or another glue if necessary... especially if you've got the clay part way around the edges, but not all the way
..Alicia's parrot head or leaf sculpts or slices placed on thumbtacks
..lesson on covering metal thumbtacks with clay, then adding rose and leaves (gone)
...flower and leaves glued to a metal tie tack
...simple tie tacks made by kids (but don't use hot glue!)
.."post" earrings may be made in some of these same ways... see Jewelry > Earrings > Posts
...and some types of polymer knobs may be inspirational (Covering > Knobs)

very short tacks and pins and nails/brads may also work well for making "tacks"
...tacks map tacks
...pins ....applique pins or sequin pins (with ball heads, or without heads) ...see more just below
...nails and brads and escutcheon pins and from the hardware store (various thicknessnes and head sizes, usually very strong shanks)

PINS for sewing and quilting
...pins work well for inserting into (drywall type) walls (or foam, etc.) or as well as bulletin boards since they are slender and somewhat rigid, and hardly leave a mark
...stiff sharp pins come in various types (both pages)
.....ball point ...
those with plastic or glass heads (heads may be small or large...shafts may be short, med, or long) type of plastic head pin has a large flat head ("flower head" pins) ...sold especially to quilters
.......another type is short (applique pins, sequin pins)
....regular "silk" steel dressmaker pins have tiny flat metal heads can also make your own heads for pins
.....cover whatever head there is
.....or remove
plastic head from ball type pins, make clay top, then bake with the pin, or glue on afterward (see just above for glues)
(...see just above for the very short pins)
...many sculpted figures, foods, etc. on or around heads of sewing pins (she also makes pin cushions for them)


for items to make for bathrooms and kitchens in particular... see Outdoor-Water > Bathrooms, Kitchens

for lessons on making your own notepads with inexpensive padding compound or white glue, see Misc > Notepads
(...also info. on some interesting things to use for pages, and various ways to use the pads)

pencil topper eraser creatures (lesson) using Eraser Clay (see more in Characteristics > Eraser Clay)

memo holders ... photo holders ... place card holders
....can just make freestanding note holders by sticking one or more stiff wires into an interesting clay lump as a base, then bend wire end into an open-spiral shape......decorative uses can somewhat overlap functional ones
...Glenna's note holder with square wire spiral sticking up from base (covered with sculpted clay roses and leaves)
...Linda W's winter figures, holding decorative rods (with wire spiral sticking out of them) to hold a photo
....Miracle's memo holder (dinosaur eyes showing through egg hole, it's hands holding rod with alligator clip? on top for sign) lower the center of gravity of the (place card holder or) photo holder, use a shorter wire, or shape a design into the stem ....for mine, I made the hole for the wire in the raw pre-cured clay, then glued it in place afterward. Barb
...clay faces, with wire loop "antennae" for holding small memos (can attach faces to computer, door, or even dashboard with Velcro)...Confabulations' "computer buddies"

Family Fun's lesson on making a teapot and set by wrapping a wood bead with clay ropes (bees/etc.)

rocks and stones
..."stone craft".... figures and other creations are made with small rocks which are glued together (using a silicone glue like E-6000/Goop, or try Gorilla Glue but may need clamping) then painted
... ... polymer parts or items could be added, or just use these creations for polymer inspiration (lessons & info too) (look in nav. bar on left for lots of info and photos)
real rocks embedded in gray faux mortar used as frame around a miniature "fairy door" by FairyWings (or could use faux rocks) friend paints on rocks to make them look like animals
.... . . she got the idea from making clay chimneys, door knobs, etc. on houses made from real rocks ...
for garden critter signs & rocks, see above & also Outdoor Polymer > Books
covering rocks with clay to make "houses" or "animals" etc., in Vessels-Rock > Larger

(for more fun things to make, and maybe put outdoors, see above in Sculpting > outdoor... and in Outdoors > More Outdoor Items)

mini doors and/or windows for fairies, other critters, etc.-- for outside or inside
...flat small "doors" and or windows, etc., could be made freestanding or with bases/etc., then placed in front of tree trunks, house foundations, dirt mounds, rock piles, or other places outdoors
... or placed in front of baseboards (like mouse holes) or even boxes or other places indoors
see more & examples in Houses-Structures > Whole Structures & Scenes
fairy houses, mini habitats, etc. above in Scenes & Dioramas)

minature Zen gardens ....traditionally a shallow container with sand, tiny rake to make patterns, rocks/shells/other objects to move around inside it--also called "executive sandboxes,"tabletop mini Zen Gardens"
but could also use any scene or objects you want to create....for more, see Misc. > Tabletop Zen Gardens

terrarium in a glass ball ornament (real or fake)
...(could add clay figures or clay structures to it... or just use plastic greenery, moss, etc... if a real terrarium, a baked clay lid could be glued over the hole to keep it going for a long time,21135,785211,00.html

(see more clear display units below in Scenes & Dioramas)

paintings of clay... using a coloring-book-type line drawing, on which clay shapes are added to create a picture
...also, place a sheet of glass over the drawing to create and bake on, or tape a piece of tracing or waxed paper on top to create & bake on); if you want clay be thinner/runnier, mix a small amount of Sculpey Diluent, vaseline or mineral/baby oil into it first); Sculpey clays will be too brittle after baking; use Premo, FimoSoft, Fimo, Cernit, etc.
...(see lessons and techniques for doing this in Paints > Polymer Pastes and "Paintings") (gone?)

Johnny Kuborssy suspended a cane slice inside a bar of handmade glycerin soap.

for making many types of small "bead people" and various types of small figures made with various things, see SculptingBodies > Jointed > Figures

lesson on making a simple figure with wire (Fun Wire or other) plus two or three small pieces of corrugated cardboard

Susan B's lesson on making a tiny wire figure and clothing it (partly) with caned clay (spirals)

lesson on squashing a soda can, then painting with a layer of white paint (thick, tube paints best) as an undercoat, then painting face or clothing or whatever with any acrylic paints (could onlay faces or other bits of polymer clay though) ... fun

make a freestanding figure from an image cut out from a photograph... ( laser cut "Photo-Sculpture" ..."Silhouette Cut Outs" ..."Standup Photos"... photo statue...self-standing figurine).. backed with 1/4" acrylic or foamboard)
... these are then fastened to a base to make them stand (usually in a slot of some kind in the base material)
... they can be ordered from photo shops or Walgreens' etc. from any photo you give them, but why not make one yourself? could just use thickish clay sheet for the backing rather than acrylic (maybe over a stiff vertical something) ...most photos can be baked with clay at 275 ..use white glue between them
..... of you could also add your own face, for example, to a polymer cut out shape of a body, or any other object (glue on, or use a transfer) (these are more expensive than Walgreen's... mounted on acrylic backing) and
...variation: make your own dimensional base from clay to look like sand, ground, etc., then and just cut out photos backed with clay and glue them into slot holes, etc

Lynne M. created a working pinwheel (for a pin) by cutting a square polymer sheet almost to the center from each corner, folding over to the center one tip of each resulting triangle, then piercing the 4 tips loosely with a head pin (etc) to hold them together... (may need to prop open with tissues etc. while baking) ... sort of origami
... for other ways of using clay for origami or other folding techniques, see Sheets > Other Tehcniques > Origami, folding

bending wire and tools for melting crayons, etc. (good site) –can combine wire ideas with clay

Byrd's lesson on making an onlaid mandala design on a ceramic tile (could be very simple to quite complex), but fun (and inadvertent but cool "math lesson" too); plus more examples of her mandalas & more info on making these &
....Jan R's simpler mandalas (made with cane slices on a marbled/etc. background, created on a tile)

(.....for more info on making various kinds of clay mandalas... and also for mandalas drawn by kids... see Onlay > Uses > mandalas)
.....(more info on mandala patterns in general) (click on About Mandalas) (bottom of page) (Sid's explanation and non-pc mandalas)

Faye's elephant boxes ... bottom of "box" is elephant body with head on front
... one elephant box has a dome-shaped lid which completes the figure ..the smaller one is left without a lid (more like an open bowl-body on legs)

In her book, Polymer Clay Techniques, Sue Heaser writes about making what we call "rock purses" (see VesselsRock); for which folks have typically used a smooth rock as the inner plug - shaping the clay around it and baking, then cutting the baked clay free and finishing the purse.

Sue showed how to use a raw potato as a removable armature to create a 3-D shape or vessel-container (with an open back) (in her Creative Home Decor book) ... I like that idea because when you use a rock, you have to find just the right kind of rock with the right shape, but when you use a potato, you carve it to whatever size and shape you find pleasing, and go from there. Gabe
(...more details in Vessels > Removable Armatures > Other Materials)

sunni's lesson on making tiny hinges from wire (for mini books, eggs, vessels, or whatever!); one half shaped like (double) eye part of hook-and-eye clasp with a coil in the middle

polymer clay items can be cast into clear resin?. . .for paperweights or whatever.
...I have done a lot of this, (as have many others in the miniatures world, I am sure), and it is  absolutely fine. I have very old pieces – baked polymer clay fish in clear casting resin ponds, and mermaids, turtles etc in resin-filled polymer clay rock pools... Some are 10 years  old and absolutely fine still.  Sue Heaser

postage stamps or stickers:  you can use them to make pendants, pins, or even to use as central medallions for covered notebooks, boxes, etc.
(website gone)

looking for something that both boys and girls like? .... try fish
...have them make canes of fish and sea plants, then let 'em go to town onlaying slices onto a blue sheet (marbled maybe) or another blue surface, etc.)! Kim K.
...many, many colorful reef fishes photos (salt water fishes )

i think a lot of make boys want to do a project is taking the idea and just adding the word monsters or "power" to the project, lol. monster masks, superhero cuffs, Harry Potter or other wands, etc....also dinosaur themed projects --every boy/man i know went thru the dino phase, lol
......also at a camp (for 6 year olds), the boys looooved making rings out of pipe cleaners and beads. they liked it more than the girrls because one kid staarted calling them Yugi-O power rings!!
...boys in my classes liked doing everything... bowls, simple canes, pens, simple frames as ornaments, little sculpts of bears & pumpkins, even metallic-covered pendants (many boys made these "for their moms")
...scenes, bas reliefs, ornaments & seasonal items, etc. are good too... as well as most anything covered (Altoid tins, jars, little wood or metal cars, etc.)
...many other things on this page ...(bugs, snakes, wind chimes, etc.)

wands .... ... ...
..wizard, magician, Harry Potter, etc. are plainer wanads... usually wood (textured or with onlaid "carved" shapes)... could be highlighted with gold or antiqued with dark brow, etc.
.....lessons & various Harry Potter wands (partly-covered wood dowels) long-ish wizard's wand) is made over two Bic stick pen barrels placed end-to-end with bamboo skewers inside for added support (just grabbed whatever was laying around the clay table!). Denise
..fairy or princess wands have a star at end, ribbons, etc.
... ...
..royal wands and scepters (sceptres) have embedded "jewels," and lots of texture, often gold
... ...

for classes or kids . . .making a flat sheet of clay without a pasta machine. . .. (lesson)
...quick and dirty, use  a smooth sided paint can ...the seams on the ends will give you about a #4 to #6 thickness (dependent on the can seams)
....OR, another way is to make some sticks on a saw with  one side being the dimension desired. You could also make up some 18" long by 1/8" by  1/2" sticks. Also make several like sized strips out of a stiff cardboard (not corragated).  You the deside what thickness you want
......then make two alike stacks that you fasten at the  ends with rubberbands or tape. 
......tape these two strips parallel to your work surface.  Of course they must be closse enough for the roller to span. 
..... Now lay down a sheet of  waxed paper, and then a flattened ball of clay (try to get it flattened to near the desired thickness (but not  less than)
......Cover with another sheet of waxed paper . .....Starting in the  middle and roll away from the middle.
...If you want to get some really 'hard' guide rails get rectangular brass tubing. (I say rectangular so that you can get two different sizes.
.. I have been using square acrylic rods ... I use them lots more than I thought I would--especially  because it seems like I have fewer air bubbles with rolling down a thick slab than with  building one up from pasta-machine layers.
(see much more on various technique and guide-rail ideas, in Pasta Machines > No Pasta Machine?)

sheet of wavy stripes ...... scalloped stripes like some "marbled paper" effects
...(made with scrap bits of clay, rolled into a snake, twisted a lot, then flattened into a sheet... a stylus is then dragged across the stripes creating multiple chevons and indentions --which are then are removed by pasta machining (see whole lesson in Sheets of Pattern > Dragged Lines)
...(example) Juli McCarthy's dragged-lines heart shape ..

swirled bicones .......create a swirl pattern on top of a flat bicone shape (lentil-like)... can be used for jewelry as beads/pendants or as parts of other things, etc.
....this fever is so contagious! Today I showed the technique to some kids at the adventure playground where I work, and we all made swirly lentils the whole day through *LOL* I think we produced about 50 pieces... Kerstin
kids making swirly bicones:
--lessons, tips and ideas: Beads > Bead Rollers > Bicones (using a flat surface rather than a trough-type bead roller)

Kellie's bookmarks website gone)

You can free form the letters of your name (or anything else) with clay and put them on a background plaque, or have them held by characters, on a switchplate in your room, etc.  You could also cut out the letters with letter cutters.Leah's name on a plaque made with pressed-down twisted ropes of two colors
Leah's name on a plaque made with pressed-down twisted ropes of two colors
(website gone)

for mobiles (indoor), see Sculpting > Other Items
.... for outdoor wind chimes and mobiles, see Outdoor Polymer > More Outdoor Items (...though these could be used indoors as well)

Benie's bookends with themes

hair sticks with clay on end (or knitting needles)

(see Cut-outs above for Sarajane's frame ornaments for school or other photos... and also lesson on child's "hand" frame for photo)

I did a fun thing with my 10 year old son and his Cub Scout den.. . . We made decorated snakes. I made a sample one, and did a few hours preparation ahead of time. I conditioned a little under half a small package of clay for each boy, for the body of the snake, but I made a variety of colors for them to choose from. The most popular colors were acid green, turquoise, blue, silver and gold, but I had yellow and black available too. I got one of those plastic divided boxes people use for needlework floss and put groups of large-pea sized balls of clay in all of the compartments. I let them choose 3 balls each for the decorations on the snake to start with. There were a variety of bright colors and some Sculpey Glow in the Dark colors. I purposely made it so no matter what colors a kid picked, there would be plenty of contrast. The Glow in the Dark was from a set of 4 colors, and that was a huge hit! They would have made the whole thing GITD if I'd had enough. I passed out sheets of typing paper to each kid to use as a work surface. The first thing I had them do was make fangs, eyeballs and forked tongues. (Any project with those elements is sure to be cool!) Many used the GITD for those and some added blood dripping from the fangs with red clay. I had brought my small convection oven and we baked them on a sheet of paper that I drew a big grid on. Each kid put their fangs, etc, inside a square with their name on it so we could tell whose were whose. While those baked, they made the snake body and I told them to stop rolling when the snake was a little shorter and fatter than they wanted it to end up. They added stripes and dots and shapes and I showed them how to make a thin log the length of the snake and put it on the underside and press lines across it for scales. That added quite a lot of realism to the underbelly. I had thought that they would then roll the snake to smooth in the decorations, which is why I had them make it short and fat, but nobody really did that. Some added rattles on the tail, too. I sliced each head to open the mouth part for them. Then when the fangs etc. were done, they stuck them in the snake and posed it coiled or wiggly or straight on their typing paper with their names on it. It would have been easier if they had scratched their initials in the clay instead of trying to keep each snake on a sheet of paper. I brought some polyester stuffing they used to prop up parts that might droop. When it was time to clean up, I passed around the divided box and they put the scraps back in the compartments with the same color. It was an easy way to prevent a lot of waste clay.... they were enthusiastic and every kid was completely involved with their snake. Even my kid who hates art (gasp). There were 9 kids and several parents there. Some of the parents were hovering too much and trying to tell their kid what to do, so I gave those parents their own clay and had them do one for themselves. Karen

make your own edible candy dough ........for sculpting, or molding, or caning)
....another fun medium is what I call "chocolate clay." You melt (regular?) chocolate and add white corn syrup (e.g. Karo syrup). The resulting "clay" can then be molded or sculpted and put in the refrigerator to harden. It can be used as a decoration and then eaten. My classes love this! I always make this with regular brown chocolate. Nuchi
...I wonder if white chocolate (with or without coloring) would work, and then be possible to use for canes?
another recipe for edible candy usese Candy Melts instead
.....melt 14 oz. package of Candy-Melts... add 1/3 cup light corn syrup ...stir to blend
.....turn out onto waxed paper and let set at room temperature to dry
.....wrap well, and leave at room temp. till needed (best overnight) --can store at room temp. for sev. weeks
....(to tint mix --white or other light colors presumably -- with coloring made for icing or candy... knead in
........can also mix colored doughs) with polymer clay mix will be hard after sitting, so "condition" small portion by kneading until pliable
...... if gets too soft, let cool or put in frig briefly.
...for making sheets, sprinkle work surface with cornstarch to prevent sticking
OR purchase edible candy dough
...Wilton also sells Kandy Clay... also in kits (at Michaels?, etc.) ......or ( for Kandy Clay)
...another one is called EDO, advertised as "Edible Candy Dough" ...looks & works like polymer clay
...I think they sell it at Target also.... the colors are mixable, and it's moldable
.......good for little sculptures, cake decorations, caning? . . . The taste isn't too bad but unexpected because the texture is doughy and doesn't really match the flavors --kind of like biting into white bread but tasting tangy watermelon. LivingClay

....Wilton also sells Gummy Candy Making kits and tools, molds, etc.

I wonder if the bead rollers of Sue Lee’s (see Beads/Bead Rollers for suppliers) would be great for older or disabled folks. . . Diane B.
Assisted Living Community  . . . .I lead a very active clay group. Yesterday a woman told me that she feels that after working with the clay and placing small beads on  the surface, her handwriting has improved and feels that the fine motor skills needed to perform the activity has been therapeutic.  I've been working with clay in geriatric settings for many years and although the bead rollers appealed to me as does every clay tool I see, I think POLYCLAY is the best most stimulating media for the soul, spirit, imagination and nimble fingers!

Yahoogroups (used to be eGroups and Onelist) “mailing lists”
free online polymer clay groups whose e-mail messages will come to you as e-mail; can read only or  respond too.  There are 1000’s of these groups (many kid-friendly; minimum age is  indicated for each group).  Go to  for a list of relevant groups. They  usually have archives too!


(see much more on the regular Christmas page:

*Adorables' dogs, cats, animals, xmas/thanksgiv/Easter/Hallow., flowers, fish, frames, barrettes

*Holbrook--FaLaLa,santas,snowmen,angel earring,more
*Tamila Darling, figures, xmas

Jan Ohio's snowpeople (for different occasions, seasons)
Ria's Pooh, etc., gifts, on top of glass xmas balls

many ornaments (hobbies, etc.) bas relief sculpting
Cecilia's many framed photos for xmas ornaments (onlaid) ebsite gone) (website gone)

Use cookie cutters to cut shapes from sheets of clay (plain or patterened sheets)
.... can decorate the shapes with impressions made with stamps or any kind of tool/etc.
.....can onlay bits of clay or metallics

Nettie's lesson on making a star-shaped Santa ornament

I made some really cool stars for christmas ornanments by mixing the Premo metallic  silver and gold with the glow-in-the-dark. And people were really surprised by the  effect!  Kimba

Heather P's lesson on making small mitten shapes with clay, then embellishing them with can slices for cuffs and here and there (her mittenshapes are cut around a cardboard template or freehand with a Xacto though, rather than a cutter)... ornament

Wouldn't it be fun to have a bunch of friends over to make Christmas ornaments?

covering light bulbs or glass ball ornaments:
....I used large light bulbs at Christmas to make maracas for my sons.  I covered  the bulbs  with a thin layer of Premo and then applied various 'wild' cane slices.  Very psychedelic. I  didn't break the glass for this project although I have for others.  Added rice and lentils  then constructed a stopper attached to a wooden dowel handle and baked again.  They  loved them
.. . ...also made  Snowman and Santa table top ornaments.  Marie stamped, molded, sculpted clay or cane slices, etc. onto  colored glass xmas balls, or use plastic balls and glue on baked pieces of clay?
(see Covering > Glass Ball & Bulbs ... and also Christmas > Glass Bulb Ornaments...for much more on these techniques)

Dianne C’s “dirty snow man” (lesson)– Make snakes of Fimo Art (00), white, & glow-in-the-;  Bundle the snakes randomly so your bundle has Art, white,and glow next to each other.  Reduce, put the bundles together; reduce, put the bundles together--do this until you can  make 3 x 3 inch squared cane….cover snowman.
     same as Dianne’s except I made a lace can out of white and translucent 06 and put the glow in the dark on under the lace cane …Dawn

Snow people . . . the directions called for spraying with matte acrylic and then sprinkling with fine glitter, so they really do look like snow now.

an easy Santa (head) pin? (lesson): 3/4" flesh ball flattened slightly, then a 3/4" red ball shaped into a fat, flat triangle and attached to the top. 2 seed beads for eyes, white beard, mustache and eyebrows and then roll small balls of white clay for the hat trim. This is also a quicky craft fair pin. Pat

(...for snowmen or other figures made from, or sitting on., glass "ice cubes" .... see Misc > Marbles > ice cubes)

make tiny gingerbread houses (or just house fronts )and/or candies (see Houses > Gingerbread)
candy canes:   start out with one long skinny log of white and one of red, then twist them  together.  If you want a smooth version, roll the  twisted ropes till they're combined and  twist again so the stripes are as close together as you want them (roll again to smooth),  then bend the top over for a J shape.
You can also make the candy cane have more than 2 colors, or different-width stripes,  etc., by using the white log as a larger central log, around which you place smaller red or  green logs lengthwise, for example, leaving plenty of space for the white to show through.  Then roll, smooth and bend as above.  Voila . . . so real you'll want to eat it.
a few candy canes, and other candies (see Houses-Structures > Candies for lessons)
(website gone) (bears holding candy canes)

Elizabeth's lesson on making mini-gingerbread house ...fronts, decorated with candies (be sure and click on Templates and the last photo to see details)
.....I think I'll print out that lesson and send it with some clay to my daughter-in-law wholikes crafts and has 5 small ones at home. Maybe she could do this with them for next christmas . . . I think that they could also attatch them to wreaths for decorating the door, as well as ornaments for the tree. Could even put one tied onto the bow for that special touch on a christmas present. Amanda
(see much more on gingerbread houses, candies and other sweets in Houses-Structures > Gingerbread)

Nf's Santa figure formed on a bottle (from one of Maureen Carlson's books) (website gone)

many ornaments, bas relief sculpting --bears, snowmen, gingerbread houses, etc.) 

Nancy's ducky in soapy barrel ornament, build over a jingle bell (website gone)

clear xmas balls can also have polymer scenes small pieces/figures  inside them; the plastic balls available at Michaels etc., can  be opened in halves then resealed (be careful of the orientation), or items   can be placed inside the regular glass ball ornaments with tweezers
....pigsnstuff's glass balls with scenes inside ( the pieces are baked first and then after raw sculpey is placed inside on the bottom of the glass ball, the baked pieces are added and then the whole piece is baked again...Teresa)  (click on Ornaments, then keep clicking on next ones to see them all)
....Since I started shipping the ornaments, I realize that some base clays in the glass balls (which attach to the figures, etc.) have become dislodged. Now before I add the clay to the bottom of the ball I add a few drops of crazy glue first. So far this has seemed to work.
...her smaller photos make the balls look as if they are frosted glass with an window area unfrosted for seeing inside; clicking on the larger size shows that's not true, but it might be a fun thing to do with glass etching cream, or maybe fine glitter held with glue/water

I just made 'tree spirals' from transluent clay and glitter....super simple to make (photo link now gone, but I think these were disks cut along a spiral line inside it; when the center portion is lifted, the larger part of the spiral hangs down, creating a kind of 3-D tree shape). Dianne C

You can take transparent Liquid Sculpey and color it with pearl-ex pigments (i.e., antique silver for grey or gold which turns out yellowish) and then paint the stripes on (to cut-out animal shapes?). I have been doing this with my cat and dog ornaments (although the dogs get spots instead of stripes). mamadude

gift ideas (for boys or girls)
......8 yo suggests cool figures to sit on the end of their pencil, clay-covered pens, a little dude to sit on the top of the computer, swirly eggs
...zipper pulls ...key chains, etc. or more polymer beads, etc., can be attached with a lanyard hook to zipper pulls, jeans, or to other hardware for keychains, etc.
......My 8 yoboy says a really cool keychain type figure (or crazy creature) to hang from their backpack, zipper pulls for their backpack
......Try a very sedate sports theme with black cord. Or maybe something to hang off a backpack. Elayne
......zipper pulls ... bit of advise. Make a stiff wire core that you work your clay around. the swivel area takes a whole lot of wear and the body receives large amounts of squeezing and knocks. I should know, I just broke a cast metal zipper pull.
(see more on zipper pulls for clothing or jeans or backpacks, etc. (boys or girls) above in Jewelry)
...Or a football,basketball, soccer ball, or baseball type necklace might be accepted by boys...see if you can find out what sport and teams he might like. A black block with a dayglow 'X' made with GITD clay (x-box) is cool
. . . I also suggest necklaces. Though my son doesn't wear them, lots of the boys here do. Think neutral colors, hemp or buna cord, some smooth silver beads and maybe a faux stone technique. But keep it unobtrusive. Mokume gane would be sorta neat in some necklace beads, like cylinder beads, and space with faux ivory beads. Boys fashion right now is neutral colors to the extreme. Khaki, black, gray, dull green. Girls, on the other hand are into light blue, hyacinth, tan, and pink. No bright pinks and no jewel tones atall!! Tie-dye looks and swirly things are in. Like the lava lamps of our youth, but more muted. Ginger
....Use GITD (glow in the dark clay) if you can. ...that makes it a 'cool' thing then. Lysle
........I've found that all the kids, 7 to l6, that I have taught love, love, love, glow in the dark clay! The classes I have tought have been pens, lightswitch covers, and crazy creature key fobs. Shellee
... I made some neighbourhood kids miniature Nintendo 64 controllers they LOVED them, and they still wear them proudly! Adria
(for more info on neutral colors and other looks for males especially, see Gifts > Men)

Wizard's Pantry Swap (ingredients a wizard in training might have in his pantry, inspired by Harry Potter):
Sunni's page showing the swap items she received (pgs. 2 & 3) and the items she made (pg. 1): (click on Next) .......
sunni's list from Dianne C's Wizard's Pantry Swap
....Acoyite from Jody *ewwwww - gooey,* Faerie Stones from Kim2 *ooh, pretty!*, Pulverized Snail Trails from Jean M, A Bottle Pendant (travel size "Floo" powder containers from Celeste, Cedar leaves from Jean C , Dehydrated Muggles (hermetically sealed) from Dianne Cook, Unicorn Hair from Kellie B, Baby Unicorn First Growth Horn Charm from Stephanie G , Dragon Debris (Talons, scales, eggshell pieces, frozen dragon particles) from Jan, Frog's Eyes from Marjorie , Shrunken bottled creepy things from Nuchi , Eagle feather dust from Jean C , A Leprechaun Guitar Pick made of Sidhe Scales, owl feathers from sunni,
and a Nearly Flying Potion, w/all ingredients from Helene: Crushed rose petals and beads in a snape-like jar Porcupine Quills Small, delicate and volatile Eastern Seabord Tortoise Shell Dragons scales with accompanying beads Homemade Birch Bark paper Spiderweb Crystal for dowsing And Phoenix Feathers!!
. . . it wasn't necessary to have read the Harry Potter books, though they are an excellent source of inspiration. I made bottles of aconite concentrate, useful for taming werewolves or PMS. (actually, it's green bubble bath!) Jody

My son and I spent last night making Asian paper amulets because he's a big Card Captors fan. I don't actually read kanji (Japanese letters) so we went through a gift catalog and copied the characters off of stones and plaques. Jody

Lysle’s “Not So Heavenly” Angels  (the larger one was about 1 1/2 inches tall.) --lesson
-I made a #1 thickness sheet of gold metallic and cut this into a 1 1/2 in diameter circle.
-Then I cut out a quarter pie slice; This was rolled around a cone (tip of a large pencil, etc.)
-I then cut two more pie slices about 1/5 of a pie each; these were again formed on a pencil point.
These two for the angels arms and are placed onto the sides of the main cone (the body) place each slightly foreard of the mid line. Bend the arm cones at the elbow then squish them slightly flat.
-Into each sleeve, insert a section of 'snake' which will be formed into the hands and posed according to what they are doing.
-The head is a ball of clay with basic pinched nose and eye and mouth depressions. Hands and head are in appropiate flesh tones.
-I then apply some #9 thickness clay for the hair & style it.  A thin ring of metallic gold forms a halo.
-The wings are cut from one #4 thickness sheet of white. I use my own free hand concepts of the wings; this is a one piece wing.  I then place the wings on the back and use a #9 thickness section of body material to help join the wings to the body.
-I use some #18 wire that is twisted into a hook to enter at the top of the wings behind the head and comes out the botom in the hollow 'skirt'
----(construction time about 1 hour). 


see much more on Halloween, Valentines & hearts, & other holidays
on the regular Halloween page:,etc..htm

(for suggestions on creating non-scary alternatives for Halloween, see Halloween > Non-Scary Alternatives)

Johnny's pumpkin PolyPals (only polypal left?)
*Garie's many figures, chess set (film spool), and magnet fun, horror/Halloween masks, skulls/devil heads in "ClothPins"?
pumpkin cane
(instead of cutting out the features on the votive with an xacto, I put a layer of black clay on the back of the slices, put them in the freezer for a while and then carved the faces out with a toothpick. I enjoyed doing them and my daughter loved them. Michelle)
~Magestic’s skulls & skeletons
aliens and body parts in specimen bottles (Halloween)
*Adorables' dogs, cats, animals, xmas/thanksgiv/Easter/Hallow., flowers, fish, frames, barrettes

ghosts: (lessons) Make a rough head/body shape, bake; take a square of clay and drape it over  the shape, folding on the diagonal so you have a triangle shape draped over (each side of ) the head/body  shape - the points at the sides make the arms. Shape spookily, and use a sharp knife or  tiny cutters to make eyes & mouth. . . If you use glow-in-the-dark for the outer piece, use a  darker colour for the inner (so the eyes and mouth show dark) but if you use white for the outer, use glow for the inner so the eyes and mouth only glow!! . . . .add a loop or  something for hanging. Crafty Owl
...I once made a simple little sheet-drape ghost as a sample for a kids class . . . BTW, how did you form your ghost? I thought of several ways, trying to get it as simple as possible without wasting too much clay for the kids, but I can't remember now if I draped a disk of clay over an alum.foil ghost shape, then pressed down all around, or if I tried a modified pinch pot first (I added black dots for the eyes). Maybe I should have made it smaller...think it turned out about 3" tall. Diane B.
...I made #4 on the pasta machine sheets of white clay and cut lil circles about 6 inches across and draped them on foil cones after cutting the eye slits.. just before I fired them I stuck a tiny flat piece of black clay behind the *sheet* slits to look like eyes... you can put a Hook in the top to hang them if you want to... obviously the larger the circle the larger the Ghostie... (vbg). . .Oh and Sculpter that I am .. I made some look like they had *arms* under the sheet by kinda pulling it out a tad and making it point off in a direction by stuffing a tad more foil under it to keep it up till it was through fireing..(Dont forget to make the top of the foil rounded or you will get a pointy headed Spook!! LOL) Dusty

lesson...we each made a pumpkin with a Jack-o-latern face, and they came out really cute. . . We actually cut out very tiny triangles, and mouth shapes out of black sculpey with an exacto knife, and  pressed them on. We also used a little bit of green for a stem. They came out pretty cute. The are just a little more than an inch in diameter: Laura

Tammy's lesson on making pumpkin earrings (round orange shapes, with leaf, features added with marker)

I'm going to attempt to make some wearable devil horns for Halloween this weekend...advice?
Maybe you could find yourself a metal headband and bake them right to it? I'd suggest you cover a foil core so the don't wiegh as much too! Joanie
...if you can wear those semi-plastic head bands that girls would wear to pull back their hair, couldn't you glue lightweight horns on that? Glue - superglue, Sobo, E6000. Hey, that gives me an idea. I could make Vulcan ears. Desiree
As a matter of fact, tonight I was wearing some horns made by Linda Geer (see Halloween). They're pretty simple 2-3" horns with a hole drilled through the base. She strings them on a stretchy clear plastic cord and you wear them like a headband. I don't know if they are solid clay or made over aluminum foil. Jody B.

masks... polymer, or painted plaster gauze masks without polymer (these could have polymer embellishments glued on later) ... could be half masks or whole masks
---be sure to leave large openings for your eyes if you will wear the mask (any uncovered eye area could have face paint if you want)...
lesson on making plaster gauze masks:
lessons on making polymer masks in Heads-Masks

many tiny ropes of clay can be laid on top of a sheet of cl ay or a clay shape to create tentacle or wavy effects (these can be
creepy or they can be beautiful and organic/mystical)... good use for wild hair too ...see much more on these in Onlay > Uses
...Adrienne's tentacle-looking items (Gorkley swap) (website gone)

all about bats


making scenes and dioramas for your favorite characters or for school projects, and mucn more . . .

...(see websites below, plus Miniatures category, Sculpting > Settings, and possibly Houses-Structures category for more

*Ladybug's many wonderful little scenes
*Jeanne R's "classroom" hut for fairies learning to paint fireflies glow-in-the-dark, stone path, flowers,mushroom, chalkboard, etc.
..... ("Fairy Class on painting fireflies glow-in-the dark" ), mushrooms, chalkboard, etc.
Celadonia's many fairies of diff. kinds, in mini-scenes, etc., plus fairy necklaces
(especially "woods" fairies)
little round bunny house with many flowers,etc.
Garie's tiny Smurf house and yard
Garie's astronaut walking on the moon scene
Yijun's scenes with dragons, hills, and more's%20site/dragland_index.htm
Crealand's various humorous scenes (click on each , but photos are still small)
*Victoria's scene with cats and many items (thumbnails)
Vanessa's Pigmalion and Bearon figures and scenes (click on both in left column)

worthart's wizard and his home interior
Maria Teresa's fisherman on tropical island and underwater scene in two separate hemispheres
L. Osborne (Cath's) underwater scenes (kelp, fishes, mermaids, etc.)
Cathi's open "book" sitting upright on a wood plaque ...with matching scene, figures, parts of story, in front of pages (on plaque).... (for kids or anyone)

Jeanne R's mini sauna (3-sided), with variable colored wood planks, a pot bellied stove, etc.
Lindly's sort-of diorama/sculpture ... an open on one side display box

Lynnette's scenes under mushrooms... and grandpa and veggies in front of 2-sided picket fence base
Bernie's bookends as bases for little scenes

Emily's Japanese room scene...woman, screen, table & Japanese food, seating mats... freestanding wood floor
*Su Lin's "room" box ...with couch, pillows, lamp, hobby horse, curtains, etc., and many wall pieces
Art without Borders' boxes (some are houses) (created by children to express their hopes and dreams --non-polymer, but inspirational) (keep clicking on NEXT)

Helene Grove's simple figures in simple scene set-up (click on Helene's swap photo)

Alexandra's funny flour fairies cavorting around "bowl of flour with egg in it" ... small scene
Pennydolls' lessons on making some items in scenes (pine tree, toy train, snow tunnel) with her babies (click on English Flag, then on Fimo Workshop, then onto a picture to get lessons) (gone?)
Fayette's many mini-scenes (in/around flowers/leaves & themed, etc.) for her bitty bugs

Kevin Buntin's wonderful scene of many woodland creatures (hedge boggles) at a banquet (with lots of natural materials as well)
...more creatures
Celidonia's many little base-type scenes (some with themes) for tiny creatures, etc. (look all around)
many gingerbread buildings and trees in scenes
miniature dioramas with skeletons, etc. for Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)
Eni's student galleries of fantasy structures (interior & exterior) and fantasy critters (not polymer, but lots of inspiration)

Mary's scenes (gone?)
*Elizabeth's miniature home--dioramas in a half-view --many tiny items, smaller scenes for bunny,rabbit,reindeer) (website gone)

Elizabeth's home-burrow for jackalopes ... furniture and (see lessons for many items in

fantasy "gardens" for fairies or critters, etc.... She has an enclosed outdoor room on the back of her house filled with ferns etc. where they spend quite a lot of time. Her granddaughter (aged 2) loves fairies and surprises so under one of the big leaves in her garden she has place a fairy tea party. She made red and white spotty mushrooms, flowers, caterpillers, snails and other bugs (with a piece of wire poking from the bottom to stick into the ground) and placed them around a little log, which a couple of fairies are sitting havinga tea party. .....She added small pebbles, bits of moss etc.
..... Every couple of days, she moves things around and Maddie is absolutely fascinated . . . she checks on every visit to see what’s happened . . . Every now and again, my Sister-in-law picks the whole lot up and moves it to a different part of the garden.

...Northwest Naturals's wonderful minis (cradle, bed, swing, etc.) made with natural materials (the babies & fairies and some others have a bit of polymer) ... also lesson on making a tiny baby on a leaf (house in log and mossy house have all kinds of natural furniture and accessories)
...Ladybug's fairy houses and scenes (also click on Enchanted Gardens)
fairy houses made with natural materials (not polymer, but inspirational),1789,HGTV_3228_2251271,00.htm
I want to make a fairy garden...where could I get some cicada wings? Wouldn't they look cute hanging on a little clothesline somewhere? Maybe I should make a Christmas fairy garden...MizzElf (or Halloween fairy garden, or Valentine, etc.?)
......the first thing that came to my mind was Tinkerbell, so how about a trailing of fairy dust (fine glitter) on the pathway in "her" garden..., a ladies compact with a mirror inside... and a small cushion for a bed on the other side..., a directional sign (the kind with pieces of wood that give names of places and miles to them) e.g. "Leprechaun Lane" -- just over the rainbow, "Tooth Fairy 's Bank"....., "Fairy Godmother's House" ....
. . . I have a wonderful book I purchased called "Tiny Treasures", amazing miniatures you can make, by American Girl Library published by Pleasant Company Publications that have great ideas in it. kidatheart
...Add some tiny mushrooms too, for chairs etc. MissySue47

Maureen's lesson on making a faux wood table, bench, and stool, plus faux rocks (large, and small for path) and teapot
....(she places her items in a med-large terra cotta saucer filled with soil)... could make all items smaller as well
.....her U-shaped table is cardboard which is sandwiched between two sheets of raw clay (may want to consider brushing cardboard with white glue first to help adhesion), bent to create legs... she also covers toothpicks with clay to use as stool legs and X-supports under table
cks:... marble-mix granite, jasper, white & translucent clays ..flatten and fold over (same direction each time) until sufficient layers appear (...for rocks larger than 1", she uses a a alum. foil ball armature underneath) ...then press against rough real rock for texture (colors of stone varied by adding other colors)
(other items shown include fairy, snail, flower,etc.),1789,HGTV_3352_1399774,00.html

polystyrene foam can be used in many ways to create scenes, or the objects in them
.....(after cutting,shaping,etc.) the foams can be used as a form underneath polymer clay (left in permanently or removed), or they can be used alone or simply painted, etc.
...Stephan's play or game scene, with figures, tombstones, etc, all made with polystyrene (blue insulation board foam in this case for better detail)
...for loads more info, ideas, and lessons on using & shaping foams in many ways, see Covering > Plastics > #6 polystyrene,Styrofoam,etc)

see many more ideas (general and specific) for making little scenes in:
for houses, castles, ground, stone-brick, background scenery, etc.
Sculpting > Bases
Miniatures for plants, food, other items & scenes
Halloween > Scenes , Dioramas, Houses
Christmas > Sculpting and Websites

mini habitats for bugs or other critters to live in (or just to play in for awhile)
photos of several variations of ant environments made by Garie inside closed plastic containers (like ant farms)
lesson for 3 ant environments...CaveVironment(pg2), ComtemVironment (pg8), NaturaVironment(pg9) (requires Acrobat Reader)
...see more on lessons re making "AntVironments" by Gari Sim in Houses-Structures > Mini Habitats

Marlies ... scene inside upturned jar for display "box"... some parts photos from catalogs glued onto paper or cardstock
(outdoor) Alice's Tea Party scene under a large glass "pot"
...see terrarium (real or fake) made in a glass Christmas ball above in Other Ideas (could make into a scene)
...clear glass or plastic containers can be good, and large or small ...things like an aquarium, fish bowl, clear plastic storage container, acrylic box or acrylic box frame, large brandy snifter fish bowl (Walmart, etc.), glass jars large or small, large wine glass, clear glass ornament
(for more scenes inside or under glass display containers, see Outdoor > Display Globes

Mary's "window" pins, made by simulating a sashed windows and their views, etc.

Ria's Pooh, etc., gifts, on top of glass xmas balls
(see also pigsnstuff's scenes in glass xmas balls below in Christmas/Winter)

I am playing with clay and a large seashell right now trying to decide on a mini-scene to make in it..for my brother and sisterinlaw who just built a house on the coast. Peggy NC

well-known stories or book, etc.,can be created at least partially in polymer clay too:
Mad Hatter's Tea Party figures and diorama (this one's fancy, but could be much simpler)
Lisa P's Alice in Wonderland scene inside a hinged
, decorated egg

Susan's kid's Easter eggs (cutout dioramas) --not polymer, but could be (website gone)
....(see lessons on making sugar skulls, or sugar egg dioramas, in Eggs > (enclosed) Dioramas)

"furniture" for scenes and dollhouses in Houses-Structures (couches... dressers... tables... rugs... etc.) of Tonja's "covered" Altoid boxes looks to me like a bed . . . it's actually, I think, a painted tin with a large slice (larger than the top of the box) laid across the top like a bedspread drapes over the edged and forms a flare at each corner...with the "feet" she's put under the box . . . (just add pillows for a bed!)

I made some teepees a few years back, and what I did was use watercolor paper rolled  in a cone shape, then stapled to keep it's shape. I placed a thin layer of clay over it, fused  the edge together, cut off the excess, and baked. After cooling, I pulled the paper cone  out carefully and it left the clay teepee intact. I was amazed it worked.

*Kathy's wonderful bonsai trees &. other trees, logs... bushes... fences... rocks & ground effects, stone pagoda, etc., on flat-base scenes

lesson on making lumpy "ground" made from (10 to 12) balls of clay (1-2" in diam.) which are kind of piled together on a flat surface, then pressed together and seams smoothed with toothpick, by Linda WP
(.....she adds a purchased mini-fence and some clay tomatoes ...used as a stand for carrot and broccoli "pens"),,HGTV_3352_1915128,00.html
...what about using balls of scrap clay, then covering them with a thin sheet of ground-colored clay after baking?

"collage" map of Canada, provinces  (click on t-shirt) (gone)
...can cut out the shape of a state, country, or other geographical area (or house, pet,etc.) from a sheet of decorative clay
...state of Florida from a cane-slice sheet

see rubbing plates in Textures for using as backdrops for little scenes (farm life, beach, etc.)

tabletop mini Zen Gardens can also be changeable scenes, if you want them to be
...each "garden" is usually a shallow tray of fine sand (or gravel, rocks, rice, sugar, etc.)
...little clay or other objects can be set into position in the trays as scenes ...scenes could also be holiday themed, or any theme at all
(....see much more on making these in Misc > Tabletop Zen Gardens
... also see Maureen's lesson just above on using soil in a terra cotta saucer for scene)

dioramas in (larger) sand trays for regular play or for "play therapy" (see more Misc > Tabletop Zen Gardens)
... examples: (...and outdoors)

Rod Wicks' fabulous structures (whimsical old "castles", moss-encrusted & forest structures, minaret, old ship (galleon?), fantastical houses, dragon in forest scene, scenes with mouse "pirates?" on another ship, many with humor (he uses ceramic porcelain/stoneware, cement, & polymer clay) (click on each!) & ....... (gone)

.....for more houses, castles, etc., and landscaping ....see Houses-Structures > Scenery)
....also see much more in Miniatures

Tresa's scene from Brambly Hedge & Strawberry Shortcake plaque
Valerie's high relief plaque scenes (outdoor and figures/structures)

**Garie's kids' many wonderful scenes done in bas relief, or in high relief, and some full 3-D (click on each picture for many more!)
Garie's kids' Christmas bas relief scenes & sculpted scenes (& Santa balls)
Garie's "scene" on a watering can (made from recycled plastic soda bottle), with lots of bears playing on it

Garie has kids draw a scene (or anything) on paper, then recreate it in polymer clay (3-D sculpture, or bas relief)
NF's whimsical scenes mostly using overlapped cane slices (forests, mountains, flower hillside, cows)¤t=DSC00048_small.jpg

(......see many more relief "scenes" in Sculpting > Bas Relief Sculpts)


(for more on chess sets, see the Sculpture page, > Miscellaneous)
(see also "Mosaics" above)

Jim's site with printable game boards (chess, Monopoly), game boxes, playing cards, dominoes, puzzles, etc.

GREAT SITE: .Aunt Annie's Crafts illustrations of some game boards
--solitaire, mancala, pachisi, Morris (alignment), Alquerque (war), Spiral and Square (race), hunt games, dice, dominoes, and match-card games, as well as game pieces, spinners, etc,
...these would be good for reference in how the objects actually look, or could be used as transfers (see Transfers).
...just keep clicking and clicking for more gameboards, lessons, etc.
.....Aunt Annie's "solitaire" board games
.....her various pachisi game boards
(and $20 software for making 40 ..."board games, card games, and outdoor games from different cultures with an emphasis on fun. Learn the rules of over forty games and how to make all the equipment needed to play the games" articles on the history of the games)
....interesting game called Waldschatenspeil ("Shadows of the Woods") ... played in the dark with a small candle which creates shadows behind the various standing trees on the game board... dwarves try to gather behind the trees a bit like hide and seek... dreamy, magical.. needs adult because of candle

SOME BASIC IDEAS (for tic tac toe . . . or any board games):
--The board could be a small, freestanding square of polymer, or made on a wood plaque, or wood board veneered with a sheet of clay
--Or a miniature version of a game or a scene-with-figures could be made on top of an Altoid box (with the pieces stored inside) --see examples below
......the pieces and/or boards could be magnetized;
......only the pieces or the board could be made from polymer; etc.
--Many techniques might make interesting boards . . . e.g., mosaics/larger tiles, mica canes, onlay, stamping/textures/molds, etc.
--playing pieces could be anything from flattened beads, to stacked beads, to covered wood or metal shapes, to little sculptures/Natasha dolls, thick cane slices, or just about anything.
......Eberhard Faber has a similar idea with their stacked shapes (on top of corks) used as stoppers for glass bottles

--In fact, games can be used to feature or experiment with all polymer techniques (faux's, mokume gane, caning, transferring, etc.!)

What about your own Candyland or other board game, featuring names, items or other bits relevant to your kids' lives??
. . .what about Christmas, Halloween, or hobbies themes?? Diane B.

I was also considering having the kids in my son's 7th grade classroom make some small games with polymer clay to give to hospitalized kids - from tic tac toe on an Altoid tin, to chess, to board games, etc. We're looking for things we can do under the aegis of "Community Service" without having to leave the school. Diane B. (see more on a similiar project in Bottles of Hope)

You could make little dominoes... or any around-the-board game similar to Parchisi or Sorry.  The boards could be small painted cookie sheets (or sheets custom cut) and you make the playing pieces of clay. ...the reason I mentioned cookie sheets as playing boards is because the magnets will stick to them -- if you use the right kind of cookie sheet or metal sheet. LynnDel

We've done tiled tables and my son has made board game pieces. Try a cookie or Kemper cutter.
....If you make a piece that isn't quite the right size, use an emery board on it. We've never had trouble making the tiles fit, and we do LOTS of mosaic things. Sarajane

I've cut logs or canes while they're still warm on many occasions for making game pieces ...It's works great!! Mary K.

Samara's star-shaped backgammon clay game pieces (with spiral in center) for her hand-made fabric backgammon "board" (which rolls up with pieces inside, for traveling)

magnets . . . see below in Toys for fishing game using magnets
...even the small button magnets can get a bit expensive if you need a lot of them, about 30 -40 cents a piece --fine if you need only one playing piece per person, but a problem for checkers, etc.
....would it work to put a sheet of that magnetic sheeting or some magnet stripping under a thin sheet of clay?
(if the attaction would still be strong enough)
..... (or you could put it under a colored paper or cardstock with the gameboard drawing? ...easier to color on.). That way I think you wouldn't need magnets at all, just something made of steel like hex nuts (bare, mostly covered, or maybe as a design element under some other clay shapes.)
...the magnetic sheeting isn't as strong an attractor as regular permanent magnets. . . .it can be cut with scissors to use as tiles though. . .Diane B.

For games like mahjong, checkers or, dominoes etc., which might require a lot of clay, maybe only the top portion of existing wood or metal pieces might be covered (see Covering); or blanks might be otherwise bought or made from non-clay (balsa wood, bottle caps, etc.)??  Diane B. could also make a spinner instead of using dice.  Dice tend to start arguments in a moving car. . . LynnDel

There are many game pieces one could make to substitute for games pieces which came with a game, or for a made-up game.

One way to make playing pieces for your board game to be freestanding, Weefolk suggests stamping an image into raw clay (then cutting out around it, possibly deepening some of the lines), and attaching a wedge shape to the back
...if you make freestanding pieces without a wedge, remember they must be wide or at least a bit wide at the bottom so the won't fall over . . . using a flat piece of clay attached to the bottom of the figure/item is another way to have a stable base. Diane B.

"rubbing plates" (texture sheets) could be used backdrops, or in other ways for games and toys (more details on these in Textures)

Marty's lesson on covered matchbox pendants (not game, but could be, or could contain pieces) (bottom of page) see Covering for this technique

Anyone say mahjong?? I have been thinking about making tiles for myself. I love that game. Dianne C.
The Mahjong Museum
I've never made a complete mahjong set..but I made some bracelets with tiles designs from mah jong sets. Jan R.
...Tonja's mahjong tiles as a bracelet... one side faux bone, front side stamped and backfilled designs (or transfers?)

sudoku . . .(the clerks at neaby Joann's have made a sodoku game with square ceramic tiles and oven-bake glass paint)
...but one person may do a version in polymer clay with little magnets, for amusing her kids in the car's become a group challenge for the clerks to pull a layout from a book and work through it together on slow days. Mieka

tic tac toe games....I'm working on a tic tac toe board for my grand daughter for Easter. It's got a Spring theme with leaves and flower canes. The game pieces are birds and bunnies. Still have to finish up the underneath side of the board, sand and finish all the pieces, but it's looking good!  JAN
.....Georgia Ferrell's tic tac toe turtles (two sets of colors) on wood plaque board"? (painted, with clay grid lines?)
....Celia's wonderful tic tac toe set with adorable sheep --one set with white fleece (balls), the other with black fleece... board is green "grass" ceated by impressing ballheaded tool in clay sheet, and there is a brown "fence" on two edges of the board (...dividing lines are simple brown snakes)
... (must click on Galeria, then click on Celia, then enlarge)
......Susan's tic tac toe board made from twisted clay ropes delineating the # shape, & around the edges; can use slices for the pieces (website gone)
... Marie S's lesson on making a tic tac toe game with molded shapes for the x's and o's...nd the game board made from a square wood board (with canvas on top?) divided into a grid with square wood dowels
...ScarySmiles's tic tac toe board and thick-disk (round or squarish) playing pieces with stars or moons on top

my tic tac toe game and lesson ...built on an Altoid tin... the playing pieces rest peg-like in clay squares with center holes (like nuts from a hardware store), and the lid has a "knob" for helping to open it easily. ... Playing pieces stored inside... I glued a couple of pieces of black felt to the inside top and bottom with Gem Tac glue to keep them from banging around.
...better photos: (open)
tic tac toe game on lid of metal box (playing pieces are laminated with magnet sheeting)
... could also be on the lid of a cardboard or wood cigar box, a gift box, etc.
on a cardboard box lid painted with magnetic paint (using button magnets under pieces)
2 tic tac toe possibilities on end of mini crate-box desk organizer (magnetic paint.. bees&ladybugs or wood trumpets for playing pieces)
tic tac toe game using painted wood craft spools and other shapes, on a painted board with feet
Georgia Ferrell's tic tac toe turtles (two sets of colors)

I made a (fancy) tic tac toe board for my dad for his birthday. I had been wanting to make one for years! The board is all clay (and uses some mica clay bits) as are the pieces. The grout between the game board sqaures (mosaic style?) is TLS colored with black oil paint. I sure do love that TLS. So much easier to squirt it into those tiny grooves using a needle and syringe than to smash soft clay in there. And the TLS just leveled itself out so nicely and smoothly! Heather
(website gone)
...~I made some tic tac toe pendants last year. The "board" is the pendant.. and X and O (cane slices) were strung on the cord until you wanted to play (they could easily be removed). It would work great for tins too... ...Jan R.
...(see also above for other basic ideas for any game board, and for possible themes )

I also found a really rustic-looking wooden Pachisi board with button game pieces and no  dice. Each home corner is a star of a different color. The board is done in such a way as to be able to be a wall hanging too.
....Have you ever tried to  find clip art in your basic clip art files for this game?
...I scanned the tin and dice I made to accompany  the game, laying the parchment paper on top of it so when printed it would  blend into the background better. DH added the title to it and printed it  out. I was very pleased with the results.

Monica's fabulous clay dominoes ...made with canes slices from different-colored bullseye canes (with multiple wraps) onlaid onto clay bases, rather than using different numbers of pips or twice are placed onto a rectangular piece of black clay (blank domino) depending on whether one side is to be left blank (wild?)

...the matching patterns could also be indicated in various other ways .... e.g., any matching slices from a cane, or cutouts, or stamped (& highlighted?) clay bits, even different marbled colors, transfers, etc.

Sax Arts & Crafts clay dominoes set lesson
...As near as I can figure out, this project shows 28 dominoes created from 6 canes (though it might be less confusing to have the “blank” be a solid or nearly solid color) and a base layer.
.... The twenty-eight bases are created by rolling a (dark?) solid color to 1/4“, then using a 2x1” cardboard template to cut around for each tile.
....The canes can be purchase or created, but must be pressed to a square shape (1x1”) before cutting (into 6 thin slices each). 
..These slices are then laid on the bases in the following combinations, to avoid duplications (e.g., 06 would be one half a “blank” slice and the other half a # 6 cane slice): 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 22, 24, 25, 26, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 44, 45, 46, 55, 56, 66.  They suggest creating a lightly engraved pattern on the backs of the completed tiles while baking by laying them (design side up) on a sheet of crumpled-then-very-flattened aluminum foil; this should make them partly shiny also. Diane B.

Jim's printable domino patterns

transferred Domino rules...I found a wooden boxed set of Dominoes with stars stenciled on the outside and the blanks  embellished with stars. Both games were lacking directions, so I hit the  internet and came up with instructions for the basic Dominoes game.. .  I printed the Dominoes directions onto an  inkjet quality parchment paper, with clipart tiles for a graphic
.... then I transferred them to clay)  (three columns of print on one side with the title and tiles printed on the other side in the middle third, allowing a three fold  pamphlet-style piece...) They turned out looking  terrific! Jean Mmasaurs
...rules for many Domino games

Trax . . .64 identical square tiles . . . 1 1/4" square by 1/4" thick. . . . each tile has a "plus" mark on one side (with a diff. color for each line) and two curves (pointing toward two diagonal corners, a diff. color for each curved line) . . . rules: form track of your color into a closed loop or a continuouus line that joins opposite edges of the tiles in play over at least 8 rows ... ages 10 and up, simple or more complex play

...Tantrix . . . 3 sets of 10 hexagonal tiles with 3 colors of curves (3 backgr. colors) for various solitaire puzzles (or coffee table distraction...very addictive.), or multi-player game . . .also Tantrix Discovery: 10 tiles numbered on the back from 1 to 10. ..start with three tiles, then slowly increase the difficulty by adding more tiles...come stacked within an upright 4 dowel stand or in a bag &

The blank backs of dominoes can be used in various ways --take a look at these, e.g. (...not polymer)

Triominoes . . . my boyfriend had the game at home and it is so much fun to play it in these dark winter days . . . this set is made of glow in the dark fimo . . . the back of each of the 56 equilateral triangle stones/tiles (has been textured as a sheet and highlighted with metallic powder, before being cut into triangles?) . . . on the front of each i painted the numbers at the tips of the stones, but i have ordered little tiny numbers dots to push them in the next time i make one . . Brigitta 0025264293.jpg

...Triominoes Junior has groups of little shapes or pictures to match up rather than the numbers

Charles Mayer's tangram set and round puzzle made with a sheet or sheets of patterned clay, in foldable flat envelope-box
...In my mind the best way to make a thin flat puzzle is to make a finished piece (e.g., a large picture or geometric cane slice or slab) and then turn it over and mark your cut lines. Then using a jig saw or band saw cut along the lines after baking (or pair of scissors if it's thin enough). Could cut before baking too with an Xacto, thin needle tool, or blade if not too thick. Lysle
...For jigsaw puzzles, see various hints on making complex canes and landscape complex canes, as well as Klew's lesson on using a drawing (made with a fine-point Sharpie) under her clay pieces to help shape them, and my explanation of it, all in Canes-Instr./Complex Canes & Landscape Canes; for example:
...(landscape canes) can be made in a puzzle piece fashion from the top down, or the bottom up. . . by making large flat canes (stacks on their sides, caned textures similar to grass, etc.), then cutting the bottom edge (or side/s) off in a particular pattern (wavy for mountains, straight across for water, etc.); for the next lower layer, or part of a layer, cut it in the same shape (can stack under previous layer and mark before cutting) and nest it into the reverse-matching shape above or beside. Continue adding layers/bits until the puzzle is complete.
...Kris Richard's sort-of puzzle figures . . . .some helpful tips?
...Jenn D's puzzle made of hand-colored? transfer, cut into puzzle shapes (how?) sitting in clay "tray" (click on Details)
...three dimensional puzzles are much harder... you make one piece bake it then dust it with corn starch (a mold release agent) then shape the next piece and bake it. Then test for fit. You might have to sand a bit to get a good fit. Repeate till all parts are done. Lysle
...cookie cutters or various things to indent the sides of slabs might be helpful in making pieces too
...tessellations would be fun too (see Canes-Instr > Quilt/Tessellations for details... they're basically made from one tile pattern which has been extended or indented on the sides; copies will nest together)

polymer miniatures accessories for the figures in for role-playing games (including some furtniture)

Think-ets. . . game with 15 miniature items carried in a pouch ( games come with diff. items)
...“What’s Your Story?” First, lay out five to 18 trinkets. Then choose one and start a story using the trinket as the subject. Ask the other player(s) to do the same until you and the players have woven an entire story. One other tidbit you should know: Think-ets encourage silliness! Variations on “What’s Your Story?” Variation no. 1: Using the trinkets for subject matter, tell the story “popcorn” style. This is where storytellers blurt out pieces of the story as they imagine it. Variation no. 2: Instead of laying out the trinkets, leave them in the bag. Take turns pulling out one trinket at a time, and tell the story in that order. games such as "What’s Missing?," "What’s Your Story?" or "What’s Moved?" No two Think-ets games are the same so kids can try and collect all the playing pieces! In addition to fun, playing with Think-ets can exercise the brain by improving memory, logical thinking and creative imagination. The games that can be used with Think-ets can be played with one or more people. "What’s Your Story?", first, lay out five to 18 trinkets. Then choose one and start a story using the trinket as the subject. Ask the other player(s) to do the same until you and the players have woven an entire story. The game in its easy travel pouch can be played anywhere.
“I like playing the ‘What’s Missing’ game at restaurants. I like the story game, too, because I get to make up stories. I also like inventing new games!” –Ryder Perry, 14 “My children and I play Think-ets when we’re waiting in the car, at a restaurant, or sometimes during a quiet day at home. At different ages, they go through stages of which games they like to play. There was a real memory fascination stage as well as a storytelling stage, which is my personal favorite. Since I am an artist, I often add my own miniatures to the collection to surprise them and to make the game more personal for our family. It is a great way to unite as a family and to get your creative juices flowing! –Rebecca DiDomenico, artist “Think-ets are fun and a great way to start conversations with your children. You can play the games suggested or design your own. The possibilities are endless. Once you get started you won't want to stop playing, and neither will your kids. This simple special product by virtue of its intrinsic play value will take you back to a time when people really played with and talked to their kids.” –Lynn Rosenblum, President, Toy Power Consulting
...moments when you need a fun game with your child but cannot commit the time to a board game. This is also a game you want to have in pocket, purse or bag for those long waits in the doctor’s office or waiting for a table at your local restaurant. Look out, tho’, because you are going to catch the attention of other waiting children. And you can bet their parents are going to ask you, “Where’d you get that?” The only warning we can give about the product is that the parts are very small and present a choking hazard. This game is clearly not designed for the little ones who still put everything in their mouths. Use wisdom and caution when playing this game with young children and supervise carefully any child to whom you give the game. and we agree.
...great crowd breaker and a way to ease folks into the concepts of storytelling in a non threatening and inclusive manner
... beware of any items too small for little children

Dice (swap)

Now, as to the tin and dice...The tin is one of the tiny Altoid tins. I used an almost navy blue for the  top and a deep red for the bottom and the stripes. For the stars, stripes,  and the dice, I made a simulated bone...I've had the bone cubes sitting on my desk the better part of a week  and have tried various ways of setting the pips to them...I made several attempts to make my own smaller star texture tube or eraser end cut to size. I tried stenciling some small stars, I tried pressing the stencil into the cube but could not get it to line up right...Finally, I decided to press the  blue clay up from behind the smallest star on the brass stencil I was using  and shaved off enough stars to do 3 dice (2 for the set and one for me... I baked the stars for about 10 minutes  and pressed them into the raw bone cube, dome side down, flush with each  side. I then baked the dice for an hour. When I sanded them down, well, I  want you to know I was simply delighted with the outcome! I added the (faux) bone stars to the tiny tin and found a brass-toned star from  which I removed the hanger to press into the stripes and baked the tin,  sanded and coated with Future. The tin just holds the four sets of 4 different colored buttons and the two dice...Mmasaurs  

I've found that stamping numerals into the dice is tricky; tends to get the dice off square, so you have to carefully re-shape without mashing in the grooves...
...try baking small plain cubes then put sheets of clay onto the cubes and then impress the letters. The dice would probably hold their shape alot better that way. Linda

I made a pair of dice with PC the other day -- and afterwards learned something about dice from watching "The Weakest Link" on TV. I learned that opposites sides of the dice must equal 7. I looked at the dice I made and they are all wrong. I've since made a pair that's "anatomically" correct. Just thought I'd pass that on. BJ

...Do you know that the tiny Altoids tin will just hold 3 sets of dice the size I used? Wouldn't that be a nifty little go-with for Christmas gifts? Jean/PA

I do have plans to make a complete gameboard, pieces and dice for a game that is sometimes brought for the day by a little girl in my care. Her grandfather    the board and they use marbles for pieces -- they call the game "Marbles" ("Chinese Checkers"?) and it is similar to Parcheesi but the board has holes bored for the marbles to sit in. I've been toying with how to do the whole thing in clay for some time. Maybe I'll make it a game Christmas this year!

I once made a gameboard and pieces for a cooperative-type game my child loved in pre-school but which seemed to be now unavailable for sale
Something about a beanstalk, giant, magic harps, golden eggs, cherries?, etc.  The board was long, not square, and featured the beanstalk surrounded by a series of squares forming a trail up past the sleeping giant and back "home."  I think all players had to not use up their supply of soothe-the-giant-if-he-wakes-up items and make it back home, or no one won --something like that.
I copied the board and colored it with markers, then made the little cherries, nests with golden eggs, playing pieces, etc. (think the golden harps were photocopied onto small pieces of cardstock & colored with gold paintpens?).  It was a great hit. It also gave the kids the idea that they could make their own games or pieces, and was very satisfying to play with something I/we created, or rather re-created. Diane B.

I am considering making a PC mosaic tabletop for a play table for my currently 10 month  old son. I'd like to make it a "play dough" table top, with shaped depressions and  projections for him to play with. Some animals and some geometric forms. . . .  Your play dough table sounds like a great idea!. Depressions would be wonderful built-in  molds, but be careful with any projections. Could cause injuries. . . or break off if thin.  I  think it would be plenty safe if you cover it with several coats of polyurathane so it is  easily washed.

I am going to go to the thrift store and buy a bunch of chess sets and cover the pawns  with canes. (that is if they pass the oven test first!).   Or, I have seen little wooden  "playschool" shaped pieces that I will cover with canework. I'm even going to put little  caned faces on them.
...make faces for “Russian Nested Dolls same way? (...see those below in Toys)

Norse games

Mary Lyons' lesson on creating cubes of clay with a pasta alphabet letter pressed into each side for a spelling, etc. game for kids
(see Letters-Inks > Letters for more ways to create lettering on clay) other/article/0,1801,HGTV_3116_1380656,00.html

magnet "sheets" have an adhesive back, so a layer of baked polymer clay can be adhered to them; other magnets may have to strength to hold on top of the clay as well?
(could be used for small frames for the frig, gifts, postcards, games... for fishing games see Toys below)
available at crafts (?) or office supply stores (these are NOT the ones which can go through your printer, but a printed sheet can be pressed to the back of the magnet sheet after the release paper is removed) Diane B.

graphics for game boards can be transferred to felt by using an iron set on cotton (no steam) for 12-30 seconds

chess + checkers + boards

... I was making for a friend's 12 year old son. . . has turned out great!I used a small amount of blue granitex mixed with translucent [Sculpey III] for one set of squares, and white pearl mixed with translucent for the other set of squares. I made a template out of cardboard for the size of squares I wanted, and then placed them on a sheet of black clay, which I had rolled out on the thickest pasta setting and then cut to the finished size. I also used the largest pasta setting for the squares. Anyway, I then baked the board, and it came out great!! Still have to sand it...
using a set of square cookie cutters on a sheet of clay works great for making the (squares) for the board. Dotty in CA
...someone also made a beautiful checkerboard with mokume gane...each color used just translucent, foil, and possibly other shades/tones/tints of that color. might just use small ceramic tiles pressed in grout, in a grid, also

lesson: Chris paints a chess board using strips of blue painter's tape for a stencil, on top of a an old end table with drawer (legs removed) ... could also use a tray or large frame?,1801,HGTV_3122_1397493,00.html
(simple) chess painted board (cardboard?) and pieces, made by kids
Varda's chess board and (larger) pieces and board (all made with mica metallic clay)
Jan R's chess board and (simple) pieces (all made with mica metallic clay)

Jim's printable graphic of a chess box to hold board and pieces (images of chess pieces on outside)

chess PIECES (more):
Suzanne's Day of the Dead chess set (isn't completed yet) ..with skeleton in coffin and stacked heads
Georgia Ferrell's chess pieces ....pillar-type Medieval? figures with capes, etc. on disc bases faces... castles are cone of stacked clay "bricks"
Garie's chess pieces made by covering 35mm metal film cannisters
Sally's simple chess pieces (pillars with various wire configurations at tops) and fancier board (faux abalone & solid color)
PCC's chess pieces swap
Marie S's cute chess pieces
various chess sets (figures)... later from molds?
Alan's chess figures made by making molds of sculpted faces, then "dressing" them with jester hat, cowl, etc., and adding a bust
Tracy's high-end themed chess sets (at DoveCeramics) (safari animals!)
Rick Whites' many chess sets collected from all over the world
Magestic’s various chess sets (not necessarily polymer)
atherine Dewey's booklet on sculpting realistic horse heads, "Equestrian Busts"

Dinko Tilov's chess set with many whimical male figures (gone.... boohoo)
Boris Tilov's chess set with many whimsical male figures (gone?)

molds can be used to help make chess pieces in several ways: time when sculpting your own figures or faces, etc., by making molds of them after baking ,...then use those molds to get an easier start on any similar pieces (see Molds)
...whole- figure chess pieces can be made by making clay heads, hands, feet & boots from molds, then adding themto a simple body and clothing
..........Maureen Carlson suggests using her "What a Character" molds of faces, hand & boots .... (bottom of page)
...many other molds (purchased or homemade) could be used in various ways:
..... for example, themed chess pieces could be created with purchased molds of a Santa Claus ( face or whole body), or a scarecrow body, or an Egyptian, African, Victorian, Whimsical, Garden, etc.(....see Molds > Purchased Molds)
.....or themed pieces could be made with any molds you've createde yourself
.....or casts from any mold could be used just as embellishments for each piece

more themes for chess sets:
...white vs dark "chocolates," misc.cartoon figures, baseball, cowboys & Indians, the Flintstones figures, Star Trek, golf, lighthouses?, etc. made chess pieces representing members of their family as a Christmas gift for their dad
........the dad was one of the kings and had black hair and a mustache; the queen was mom, the bishop, knight and castle resembled each of the other daughters...the pawns were crawling baby brother
.......the other set was made to resemble another family, with their dog(s) as pawns. (or find "Family Chess Set" under Drawing > Cutting & Pasting > winners?)
....Tadd used an underwater sea life theme ...pawns =seahorses, knights =dolphins, bishops =squid, and rooks=pillars of coral ...hasn't decided yet on king and queen pieces but some suggestions have been opened oyster with different colored pearl inside for each side, whale-orca, shark, octopus, seal, starfish, crab, angelfish... or Neptune + mermaid/siren merman... trident, moon, wave

TIP: if you can't at least guess what the piece is just by looking at it, you probably won't like playing with it... I've learned that from playing with various 'fantasy' chess sets. Tadd

To differentiate the 2 sets of pieces, I'll mostly use the color of the bases under each piece... the 'light' side will have bright blue bases, and the other side will be dark-blue based (probably the colors of the peices themselves will be darker as well to further differentiate). Tadd

more ideas for materials:
...polymer fauxs... like ivory, stone, jade turquoise, marble, metals, wood, leather, etc.
...or real nuts and bolts, quilled paper, yarn (crocheted), etc.

cutters for chess pieces (6 cutters)
(pages 10-19 of the "catalog"... now on a diff. page???)

Sandy Selfridge, gave a demo on using the mini-lathe to shape baked clay and immediately everyone said: "chess pieces!" Makes a great gift. Trina (who has never done them...yet)

chess pieces --meanings:
--the Bishop is the Religious and Spiritual Advisor to the King - (that is why the two bishops flank the King and Queen, and is traditionally shown with a suggestion of a Bishop's mitred hat.)
--the Knight, though traditionally depicted as a horse, is actually a (usually) armored warrior who pledges allegiance to the K&Q, and fights their battles. The horse is used because all knights were mounted, and would engage in jousts, etc. Katie
-- Pawn basically means footsoldier. Usually sent in to do the initial dirty work in battle. I guess I picture them as loyal, hard-working folk that are under-appreciated by the royalty on a chess board. Considered most expendable, but in truth, probably more valuable than considered.
-- Rook is an old word that means to nest very high in the trees. In chess, it's symbolized by a castle tower. I would assume the rook serves lookout and also has an attack advantage from his high roost. Manx
-- Rooks are a kind of bird, and were often kept in places up on the castle tower roofs called "rookeries", or at least thats the explanation I was told a long time ago. Sarajane
......The Chess Game is a feudal kingdom at war with another feudal kingdom.
The Pawns are the serfs, the poor rabble who work the farms for the King and are pressed into battle in the front line. They are also known as "fodder," and that is why there are so many of them. They are expendable. That is also why they can only move forward, for them, retreat is not an option. They are expected to just push forward until they die, for their King.
The Rook is the castle, the fortress, that protects the King. It is usually represented by some sort of tower-looking piece, made with blocks or bricks, and battlements on the top. It is solid and dependable, and protects all the other pieces, but especially the King. That is why the two rooks are placed on the outside edge of the row, for protection. The solidity of the rook is shown in the way it moves; only in a straight line, in any direction. Its power is that it can move as many spaces as it wants, and is useful in causing check from too far away to be vulnerable. Katie


For games like mahjong, dominoes or checkers, etc., which might require a lot of clay, maybe only the top portion of existing wood or metal pieces might be covered (see Covering)..... or blanks might be otherwise bought or made from non-clay (balsa wood, bottle caps, etc.)??  Diane B.

lesson on making molded faces and hair for individual checkers (board made from cardboard or fabric with fusible webbing),2058,2951,00.html

Joe Lamancusa's checkers were made with molded faces on faux marble pedastals
.... (he suggests using a poker chip or 50 cent piece as a template)

Chris makes checkers by pressing clay into plastic bottle caps (and then? makes an impression in each with a fancy button . . . or in oppposite order?)... leaves clay in?
... could also use a fluted metal bottle cap as a mold ... checkers would be stackable for kings?

checkers (or poker chips or coins, etc.) with image/texture on both sides) could also be made with a 2-piece mold, like these by Michael & Donald (lesson)
(... see more on 2-part molds in Molds > 2-Piece Molds)

"kings" in checkers:
I recently made 5 checker sets (you read right) and then dahhhh, you have to have kings for them! They were made from a button mold, so any ideas? I tried dusting them with corn starch and then putting a "cap" of clay on them, but since there are all individual to an extent they don't want to fit well on top of the clay button. cowgirlsrule
--How about making little pedestals for them to ride upon once they become "Kings?" I'm envisioning something with a little rim around the top to keep the piece from sliding off when it's moved, and maybe 3 legs, or even a solid little stand...Linda
--howzabout a little tag (neck or finial?) on top of each, with a corresponding hole in each "king"? Then the buttons would remain intact, but one could still connect a king, if they were so inclined. deb
--in many games that I have used, you flip the piece over when it is 'kinged' and there is a crown on the second side. So, I would add another layer, different color of clay (or a lighter color) on one side of your pices. Possibly with a crown stamped lightly on it? byrd
--or could make each checker stackable with others by using 2 molds from an existing finished checker
.... make one-sided checker, bake... press into raw clay to make mold #1, raw clay into mold #1, bake to create mold #2
......then to make each checker, press new ball of raw clay between mold 1and mold 2 (like a 2-piece mold) ... each should come out so it nests with another checker, if I've got it right(?) though one side will be an innie image and the other will be an outie (to make a different image/pattern in center but still with nesting rims, little more complicated)

I'm not a miniaturist but I've thought about making a checkerboard on the top  of an altoid box, and miniature chess/checkers to fit it that would fit in  the box. Emily N. :) (see above in Games for tic tac toe game on top of Altoid box)
... just cover a bigger cookie type tin for the board for a checkers set! Joanie  

Several years ago I made a pendant that was a small checkerboard. Not  thinking, I glued the checkers to the board so they wouldn't fall off when I  was wearing it. You can't believe how many people at Ravensdale (where I  first wore it) wanted to play a game. Shucks. Next time I'll use an altoid  tin so I can keep the checkers inside, and be able to play when someone  asks. Dotty in CA 

other TOYS, etc.

(see also Sculpting above, and various other places on this page)

my heads (DB: add lesson)

molded, sculpted or caned heads/faces used on jointed "bead people" bodies

Kelly H's clay fingerpuppet heads
my fingerpuppets (DB: add lesson)
MysMyers' 4 clay fingerpuppets (faces and clothing painted on top of one-color clay... characters from musical group MSI)
... for actual use, especially with kids, would probably need to make hair less projecting, or use wire/etc armatures inside each projection
Janey's all-clay fingerpuppets (website gone)...
like a finger puppet ... I used an (tilted backward) egg shell as a core for the head which makes it very light ...After forming the (clay) neck, which is hollow with walls only 3/16" thick, I used my Dremel tool with flex cable to remove the part of the shell inside the neck so that now you can place a finger inside the skull and touch the inside of the top of the skull . Lysle (see more in Heads-Masks)

tallmouse's glass salt shakers made into tiny Middle Eastern-clothed figures (could be clay figures or fingerpuppets instead)

abstract figures
Sarajane's "girl beads" ...cane slice faces on slightly flattened round or oval "bodies" (Japanese, Indian, Island, and Southwest themes)
Kim K's goddess beads with cane slice face, and "gorkley" strands for oval body
Japanese Daruma ...face (in depressed are), as half of abstract round body
....see also Faces for faces canes
Japanese Kokeshi dolls/figures aren't just round and "one-piece"
...kokeshi can have separate heads, hair, and/or arms, accessories, and can have various shapes for their bodies, etc. ...

(see many more abstract figures of various types in Sculpting-Body > Abstract figures)

nested dolls ...Russian, Chinese, Indian, etc.
...there could be several ways to go about making these depending on the shape desired, and how much difference there might be between the graduated sizes.
....the tightest fit would come with surrounding the smallest (already baked) doll with Repel Gel, or with smoothly-wrapped aluminum foil, before making the next size doll around it ... metallic powders also work as releases, and ArmorAll might work or not (cornstarch thickly applied to the inside of the new raw clay might work too, but would be a little tricky)... more info on various releases in Molds >Releases
......after the new unit was baked, the horizontal (equator) cut for making it into 2 halves could be made while the clay is warm (or go over a previously lightly-scored line)... after cooling, one could proceed with the next layer-figure
...a looser fit (with more space between each figure) would come from surrounding each new doll layer with something thicker, like polyester stuffing or batting or wound fabric strips, totally-dry paperclay, etc.?, or even wadded aluminum foil, though the cut might be harder to make
........for more on that general technique of cutting in half to create two parts, see Vessels-Rock
...creating a new figures by coiling a long rope of clay over the spacer could be one way of maintaining a sort of even thickness of the clay for each new doll layer, but still allow the exterior to be reshaped a bit make the individual figures stiff enough... use a thickish layer of clay, or usea layer of Sculpey underneath a layer of a strong clay because it bakes up "harder" (though it is weaker when thin)
...... could also stiffen somewhat with a coat or two of acrylic finish or liquid clay (liq. clay must be rebaked... and acrylic finishes will be "harder" if rebaked at 250 or less for 5-10 mini)
(for more methods of making hollow clay items, also check out Vessels> Hollow ....and Beads> Hollow )

lesson on flexible figures made over simple wire armature... could be Bendies, or they use for plant "ties"

(see macaroni figures on pipe cleaners above in Sculpting... but use tube beads instead)

Garie's various creatures and chess piece figures made with film canisters
.... lesson on making a robot (Marsbot) from a film canister + a plastic dome from candy machines (it also can be made with l.e.d. eyes controlled by a switch and/or a sound chip)
"articulating shoulder and hip joints are done with insertion of soft wires into the film canister, open up the canister you can hot glue inside to hold the bend wires (flexible black straws are the best for the robot though).
"You have to bend the end (of the wire) or loop it... hot glue is a better glue to use... and if you want to hold them down, scratch the surface inside the canister at the place you want to apply the glue."
"Soft wires" are possibly same as twist ties?

sunni's dog necklace collar--maybe with a Christmas or other holiday or indivdual theme? --be sure the collar is for adornment only and that the recipient pooch -or other animal-- isn't one who eats everything! (the cording is that stretchy clear plastic fishing line looking stringing material) . . . these could be made for stuffed animals or dolls too!

"modified" toys (altered or reborn dolls, etc.)
. . . there seems to be a whole community out there of folks who like to make customized toys and/or dolls and figures by modifying a purchased one (like a Barbie or Furby) by:
..creating new clothing or make-up, etc., adding or substituting parts f rom other toys, or making their own parts and accessories to add --sometimes with clay...
..some of these are traditional figures/dolls with more elaborate or different costumes, but in many there can bean element of humor, wackiness, or satire
...Kim glues polymer clay wings onto the back of Barbies (she uses hot glue, but 2-pt epoxy would be stronger)
Here are some websites with info, photos and links:
....lots of ideas on reconstructing and repairing .... and some other good links. kd
...baking Barbies & plastic figures :
......different plastics have different softening and melting points, so one part of the figure could be different than another. ...a lot of plastics will begin to slump if bare at around the 200-325 degree range it's best at least to bake at the lowest temp possible (say 250-265), and shortest time for the thickness of clay you're using, for a particular clay brand
.............I took a Barbie apart and put both her body and head in the oven at 300 F - at the end of 5 min. everything looked fine. However, at the end of 20 min., surprise! head still looked fine, if maybe a little soft, but -- the body was ...melted. Subversive can always try to protect the figure from the heat by making the clay for the parts you're covering reasonably thick, and also protecting any bare parts (by surrounding with baking soda, etc.... more info and ways in Baking > Darkening)... those things should moderate the temp actually reaching the plastic figure (see also Covering > Plastics > Film Cannisters)
......or you could also use a heat gun on just parts of the clay/doll (outside an oven) to cure the clay, but you'd need to hold the gun at a certain distance for the right time to be sure the clay is thoroughly cured.
......of course, you can always form the raw clay parts on the doll, let the clay firm up (wait some hours, or refrigerate or freeze a while), then carefully remove and bake them--with supports if necessay to hold thin parts.... then glue them back on later.
(see more on making polymer clothing in Sculpting-Body > "Clothing")
...Donna Anne's lesson on painting facial features on a plastic doll/figure, from which the factory applied coloring has been quickly removed with acetone .......but don't use solvnt-based "enamel" paints since they will dissolve the plastic (or will become sticky, or not dry)-- instead use acrylic paints ("artist grade" acrylics that come in tubes are thicker than bottled craft acrlics, for thicker coverage) ...another site suggested using "vinyl" or soft vinyl paints (diff. from acrylics?)
....for dyeing Barbie or other plastic figures' hair, etc., see Sculpting-Body > Hair ....and also Pendants & Cording > Plastic > dyeing for more ways

very cool play structure (scene) by Stephan, with figures, tombstones, etc --all made with polystyrene foam (blue insulatiiton board foam in this case)
(for lots more on covering polystrene foams, see Covering > Plastics > #6, Polystyrene)

play scenes with freestanding figures could be made
.... even a really tiny version inside or on top of an Altoid box, etc., like the old Mighty Max hand-held, openable, playsets
. . . "girls' versions" of these games, Polly Pocket, came out as little rooms with furniture, playgrounds, carriage and part of ballroom for Cinderella-type, etc. (click on each year, then on separate compact)

Marie S's miniature toy train, with each car carrying a (cutout) letter (of a child's name, etc.)
...see more (non-working) cars, trucks, trains above in More figure & other toys + mini-home accessories/furniture, and other places on this page)

Garie's tiny Smurf house and yard scene

all kinds of toy-type things at Garie's website! (see some specific categories above in Sculpting)

put real or polymer bugs & critters into a mini habitat you make, for display or for pretend-play
(for more info, see above in Scenes & Dioramas for ideas, plus some made by Garie Sim inside closed plastic containers)

various wooden thinking toys (tangram, puzzles, pyramid stackers)

active toys (...motion)


"cover" wooden vehicles (small ones... buy at Michaels/etc) or small metal cars, with clay (see also stationary train just above)
..could also make clay scenery or ramps, etc, for playing with them... see Scenes above
(......see Covering > Wood or > Metal for more info on covering these materials with clay)

cover or decorate wooden yoyo blanks or painted yoyos" (DB: add lesson)


spinning tops and dreidels
....cover a wooden top or dreidel... or make your own
....Naama makes her dreidels with a large flattened bicone with a thin rope around its edge (or make edge "sharp"), then attaches a tall clay handle to the top and a solid clay cone to the bottom (could pierce bicone with dowel, then add handle and cone over it)... (make sure everything is centered and weight-balanced for best performance)
(for making bicones, see Beads > Bicones > With Flat Roller)

toss and catch toy ...make a rod or tube (could cover a tube or rod/tube with small taper-candle cup at top) (rod/tube can be rolled under a perpendicular paintbrush handle to create the impression of having been "turned")...embed a string or cord (2-3 times longer than distance from string attachment to top?) into a round bead, and tie the other end around the "turned" rod somewhere or embed it into the end of the rod ...make depression in top of rod if it's not a tube ... bake ...(to play, toss ball up and try to catch it in the depression at the top end of the rod/tube) (this one not polymer)

Jacob's Ladder (cascading clacker toy) ...also called "clacker blocks" ...originally a Chinese puzzle
..(often 6) thin square or retangular wood blocks --but could be polymer clay (one thick square for each tile, or two squares attached back to back esp if covered with different designs-- connected with ribbons glued or nailed in certain areas... they "fall" in a very interesting way when the top one is turned downward
lessons for assembling the blocks with ribbon's%20craft%20corner/jacob's%20ladder.htm
many examples of regular wood ones
animation of movement
...Bob Wiley's polymer clay Jacob's Ladder ...5 clay tiles covered with faux wood parquet designs

...the 2005 winter edition of Polymer Cafe has tutorial for polymer clay versions of this traditional toy
.... the first one I made was based on instructions for a wood version was too heavy though - clay is denser than pine - and it kind of fell apart.... so I halved the sizes and thicknesses, and tried again.... this one is small - the tiles are 1.5 x 2 inches or so. Worked much better. tooaquarius (...tiles covered with diff. cane slice sheets on each)
...embellished Jacob's Ladder necktie!
...could be a "book"?

Pier Voulkos gave a class on folk toys which spin, balance, jump, rattle and surprise:
......Jumping Jack, Balancing Acrobat, Color Spinners and Tops, Floppy Animal, Rolling Dragon
..Desiree's toys from Pier's class
....collapsible animal (deerlike)..."automatic" rocker... kinetic roller on rails
....balance-on-one point mobile (made from wire + clay blobs here and there for balance) (bottom of page)
........Desiree's short video of another balancing-on-one-point mobile (short video)

Judy's lesson on making a polymer acrobat that does sommersaults on a string between two 9" pieces of of basswood (which are separated by 2" of 3/16-inch dowel rod, forming an H)
.... the string is strung through holes in one end of the upright wood pieces and also through the hands of the acrobat... squeeze the other end of the H to make the acrobat do sommersaults... (the acrobat itself is made from baked pieces for arms, body, etc., which jointed together with wire ---spiraled and flattened outside each join),1789,HGTV_3237_2831708,00.html

(...for rattles, see above Other Ideas > Musical Instruments & Rattles)

all polymer, or just parts polymer
...various other wooden action toys of the past for inspiration (dancing man, toss and catch, squeeze acrobats, etc.)
...balancing toys (item balanced on point) (Google search for balance toys)
...more folk toys and

What about small versions of keep the rolling ball out of the holes game boards? ...sort of a maze in which a small ball is rolled along a path bordered by short walls.
....I would think that creating a drawn version of the desired ball path on a separate piece of paper would be a good thing to figure out first, marking all the walls and openings. Decide on the size ball you have or can make (hard to make a really round one though) and what size holes you'll need --actually they could be smaller holes and the ball would just stop there rather than falling through). Be sure to make the base on something very stiff like a tile to keep it as flat as possible (*roll* the clay sheet down on it to prevent air bubbles). You might want to lightly mark where the walls begin and end, then begin laying them down, mark lightly where to cut, remove and cut, then replace; they don't have to meet well, just enough to guide the ball. You could use ropes of clay of your own making or use a clay gun to extrude square or round ropes; press to connect well or use a bit of white glue (not Elmer's *School* Glue) on the raw clay. Diane B.
"Spice-Tin Pocket Game" lesson
(simply use polymer clay rather than the cardstock they recommend); they use glass-lidded (spice?) tins to put their game surface in, using a ball-bearing which rolls around till it rests in a hole ... they used a 1" deep 2" diameter can with a glass lid... could also glue a piece of plastic for the cover or just not have a cover.,,HGTV_3352_1396692,00.html

(DB..... add my lessons on these)
pop-up figures, with polymer heads
physics play toy
balloon obstacle course ... and others

SNOWGLOBES and waterglobes
...for lessons and info on making globes in various sizes, and out of various glass and plastic containers, look in Outdoor-Snowglobes > Water > Lessons) of the waterglobe lessons on that page also allows movement of the figure inside the globe (a fish) because it's on a long flexible spring, and also has a tiny magnet in its mouth (which can be affected by waving another magnet outside the globe)

....floating toys of all kinds can be used for play in the bathtub, a sink or puddle (or container)
(duckies... little figures or creatures... marinas or "bases" of any kind --space station, house, farm, etc.)
...boat (with tiny passenger) made by Jerald...probably made by using polystrene foam (packing foam, Styrofoam, or solid sheets of insulation/Home Depot) under the clay for floatation before baking (whole "rough-carved" boat shape, or just boat's bottom?) --polystyrene is covered with alumin. foil (or oil?), first to prevent claycracking while baking
(for lots more on covering polystrene foams, see Covering > Plastics > #6, Polystyrene)
...corks also float well... they can be used whole, or several cut and put together to make a shape... then covered with clay or just parts covered (paint with white glue first for tack, let dry) ... they also sand easily (...if corks were not purchased from craft or hardware store, or American Science and Surplus, and you're concerned about odor or squished shape, boil for 10 min to restore size and get rid of any odor)
.......wood dowels, strips, and shapes would work too, but would sink with less weight on them than corks (if not covering completely with clay, best to seal first with acrylic paint or white glue)
...or floatable toys can also be made with hollow clay items
...items made with Sculpey Ultralight clay (or over it) will also float (see Char's )
(for floating or submersible items which are also magnetized, see just below)


for LynnDel's magnet-containing skateboarder figures which are moved on a metal whiteboard painted to look like a "skateboard park" (as a motivational tool, but wouldn't have to be), see above under Other Ideas > Magnets

magnet bug on cardstock-painted "path" --add my photo? (fun for younger children too)
...lesson: make a small bug of some kind from clay (or use a small pompom, or other item)
...attach a small round magnet to its underside
...draw a path, bushes/whatever, on a sheet of cardstock with markers (or use a large index card?) the magnet-bug on the top of the cardstock at the beginning of the path
...then use another magnet on the underside of the card to move the bug along the path.
This is a fun game for kids, and also a good way to practice hand-eye coordination.
. . . one variation I've wanted to try is to use baked clay to border the path . . . by using a flattened clay rope, or square log extruded from a clay gun... baked (could be baked on a sheet of glass which had been placed over the cardstock drawing to create it)... then removed and glued to the cardstock. Diane B.
...see for a texture sheet of "mazes" that could possibly be used for this, or in some other way)
...similar ideas for inside Altoids tins:
......skating scene with tiny figures on pond, by mamakittyx2... she created a white clay "bank" around the inside bottom of the tin and baked, then filled the open area in the middie with clear acrylic finish tinted a bit blue and let dry throughly...she also glued button magnets to the bottom of the little "skaters", then used another magnet underneath the tin to move them around on the pond...she also used paper, glitter, etc., as trees inside top of lid as background, and glittered the white snow clay
......another scene with surfer and jet skier on "water," with magnets to move around... "sand" next to water is clayas well as tiny umbrella & sandcastle, by sweets4ever

fishing game .. Garie's lesson on making clay fish, each with a tiny "rod magnet" in its mouth... and a fishing pole made from a long "drinking straw"?, fine nylon string (fishing line), and a small donut magnet
... these fish can also be submerged in a container of water for fishing out, but also see Garie's fishing game using fish enclosed in a water globe just below
...many other fish could be made for a fishing pole with magnet
....these could be made with small magnets in the mouth area somehow (make sure they're in the correct orientation for attraction!), or with pieces of iron or steel in the mouth area (to which the pole's magnet would be attracted)
.... if very thin clay were used, the weight of the fish wouldn't be a problem, even if using a small amount of metal on (or in) the fish (like a paperclip, etc.)
.... thin clay fish could be created simply with a cutter (or freehand with a needle)... and the clay could be marbled or made into a decorative sheet before cutting out
...Michelle Ross' fish have disk shaped bodies, with added onlaid cutouts for fins, tails, stripes, heart-shaped lips (or rope), and bubbles.... she used a die cutter and a laminator for the body, but could certainly use all clay... if using wire for fins, it might be attracted to the magnet too though,,HGTV_3236_3071209,00.html

Garie's lesson on making an "aquarium" (no water) with scenery in a shallow or deep box (created with plastic corrugated sheets, glued together and painted.. wooden frame for front side)
...then suspending fish/sharks (with magnets inside) in the aquarium so they can be moved by their clear strings from above (hole in top of frame/box, end of string tied around a ring outside), or from the front with another magnet (also click on Project Demonstration)

Garie puts magnets in some of the items in other categories, such as:
......submersible tub toys with magnets also ("aquafloats" --skin diver and dolphin-shark)
....coating will make the clay non-porous and will give a better finishing. I do not coat the figurines, as any coating or varnish will make the surface of the figurine turn whitish after few days of submersing the aquafloats into the water
(. . . . polymer clays are somewhat porous, (you can observe this) if you throw the figures into the container full of water, some of them will float ...after a few days, they will sink to the bottom...t varies from clay to clay... then the only way to make them partly floatable again is to them dry them out after playing with them. Garie
...some clarification on Garie's magnetic and other moving devices (in a water globe) moves toward or away from "food" held outside the bottle ... "Soft wires" are possibly twist ties?. . . The fish "food" is held on a pole and string *outside* the jar (not shown)? "Try not to use large bottle, if the diametre is too big, the big worm magnetic field is not strong enough to attract the fish."
...."The mouth of the Panda is inserted with a tiny magnet, you can determine the poles. Conceal another magnet on the bamboo branch, if you present it on the same magnetic poles the panda will turn his head, as it repelled each other. If you turn the branch around, the magnet on the panda's mouth will attract to the clay bamboo branch, North and South attract."

(see more on magnets in Other Materials > Magnets)

Garie Sim's book Got Clay Can Play has lessons on other clay
magnet toys and motion toys:
suspended bear "dances" at end of line, submersible submarine with magnet inside, aquarium in shallow box with suspended magnet-sharks, etc. (with pteranodons), flipping dog (around swing), volcano (can make it "explode"), water globe (rainbow & dog inside)

...can make these over a cylindrical armature like a cardboard tube, multi-layer rolled-paper tube, metal tube or rolled-metal sheet, PVC pipe, wood dowel, which is removed after baking (or maybe a metal one would be good for the sound if left in?)
...the "rain" is often rice or beads... for larger rainsticks could be lentils or pebbles, aquarium gravel, etc.
.....we liked the sound of a mix of split peas and small beans the best. Libby don't necessarily want to go too small on the bead size... a little variation in size is good too since you can actually hear the difference in sound from different size beads. Judy MA create interference for the falling beads, something is placed in the tube to slow them down & make the sound longer and allow each "tap" to be head more separately... the pattern used is a helix (long spiral) ...and often wire or wood rods are placed inside in that pattern**
..Hava's newer lesson on any size rainstick... she's added lots of clever & helpful tips too:
......thin walls create louder sound... longer tube, more pins, tighter spiral of pins all create longer & louder sound
......larger holeless beads = louder sound, smaller ones = softer sound... she like s a combo of sizes to create fuller, more complex sound
......beads should fill less than 1/10 of the tube ..uses thin # 6 base layer (+ liquid clay coating... or another layer of # 6 if want decorative layer) create a spiral guideline for the pins, wrap a string evenly around the raw clay on tube, then roll tube to imprint the line.
..... after baking, put dowel most of the way back into the clay tube for support...begin inserting pins in extending end, moving tube up as needed
......she also suggests using armatures like Bic pen, roller, or M&Ms tube
...Pamela's lesson on a mini rainstick (used as pendant)
.... I took a 1/4" diameter dowel rod, wrapped aluminum foil around it and, using scrap clay about 6" (rolled to about a 4 on the pasta machine), wrapped the dowel rod (for a base layer).
...poked about 25 holes all over the clay with a toothpick (will work best if they're in a spiral-helix pattern) and baked it
...after twisting out the dowel rod and foil from the clay, I took head pins and cut them to a little over 1/4" long and stuck one in each hole--the head pin needs to be long enough to go through the thickness of the clay and be about flush with the opposite wall of the tube.... I didn't even need to glue them--they seemed to fit snugly enough
... I plugged one end of the clay tube with clay, and then put in the very small seedbeads or holeless beads (the "rain" must be glass or metal for a good tinkling sound, not plastic) see how many beads were right, I tested it by putting my finger over the hole and trying it until I liked the length of time the 'rain' fell when I turned the tube upside down
... I then plugged the other end of the tube, covered the entire tube with cane slices (a decorative layer), and baked it again. . . .! Pamela
... the wire I used inside my rainstick didn't make the kind of sound I wanted.... I had too much mass inside. Dotty
**other possibilities for interference for the beads/pebbles instead of wire/nails/toothpicks:
.....strawberry basket --cut into quarters and inserted in tube... or hardware cloth --cut into strip(s) a bit narrower than tube opening, zigzagged inside tube... or plastic 6-pack can holders --twisted to fit into the tube (not too tightly packed)
....I used wire in spirals instead of pins. Cláudia
....matte board strip... this was the mechanism shown by our local RAFT group at the yearly Kids Art Day here
...... it ended up like a column of extending "blades":
.......cut a strip of matte board (almost as long as the tube and slightly narrower)
.......make cuts on each long side of the strip about 3/4" apart (for what size tube though?), alternating one cut on one side with one cut on the other side (each cut should extend a little past the center of the strip)
***here I don't quite get their instructions (and I've lost the instruction sheet I got), but if you just hold one end of the strip firmly, then begin twisting it from the other end, you'll see it begin to form vertical blades between each cut (...probably better to do first with a cardstock strip just to see how it works, because the matte board may not bend as easily... then you can see where to "fold each strip, one side then the other" looks like they've also folded one corner of each blade (alternating directions, or alternating strips-segments?) to further impede the falling bits ("fold “flaps” in alternating directions in each successive strip")
...simpler metchanisms, but sound not as good?:
......cut 1-2 sheets of heavy paper into 1" strips lengthwise and tape end to end... fanfold (like lots of W's) into sections no bigger than will fit easily into tube... attach each end of folded strip to each end of tube interior
......pieces of alum. foil tightly rolled into snake twice as long as tube and 1/2" in diameter, zigzagged inside tube.

...see also Kaleidoscopes for inspiration on covering and embellishing a long cylinder shape
...see also rattles on this page


many projects (large and small, toys mixed in here and there...+ counting beads on rods, etc.)

"tablet weaving" ....the equipment for table weaving ("tablets" --rounded flat squares with 4 holes punched out-- and a "shuttle" for holding the cording) could be made from clay?
...fairly simple weaving technqiue which creates long strips of weaving (like a belt or strap, or applied to clothing,etc.)
....lots of patterns (simple to more complex)
... could be used with clay or clay beads? (scroll down and click on Table Weaving) (galleries)
... little equipment needed (one version is backstrapped weaving)

BOOKS on making motion toys
...various clay motion toys in Garie Sim's book Got Clay Can Play (see above under Books)
(... not clay... details on these in customer reviews at amazon)
*The FunCraft Book of Action Toys (Scholastic Book Services, Usborne Book... 0-590-11931-1, by Heather Amery)
*The FunCraft Book of Action Games (Scholastic Book Services, Usbourne Book... 0-590-11930-3, by Anne Civardi)
Paper Automata: Four Working Models to Cut Out & Glue Together by Rob Ives
Automata Too: Four Working Models to Cut Out and Glue Together by Magdalen Bear
Automata and Mechanical Toys by Rodney Peppe (Pepper?)


Using Kids' Art to Make Clay Items

There are a number of things that children's artwork can be used for, especially by their parents and older friends, though kids themselves can also transform their own artwork into polymer clay items.

some basic ways to use pieces of non-polymer-clay artwork could be:
...make it into a "transfer" (perhaps photographing it first, etc., if dimensional) (see Transfers for ideas)
......transfer directly to clay or make as decal (if decal, could be cool as a window cling, etc., too)
...decoupage the artwork itself (under liquid clay, etc.)
...make the main lines into a carved flat piece... or make a stamp from it, then use the stamp on raw clay
...make it into a painting (bas relief or flat)
...make it as a sculpt

some ideas for using the polymer artwork:
...boxes, Altoid boxes... other vessels, large or small
...covers fo a book or notebook... scrapbooking
...greeting cards (esp for Grandma, etc, or as birthday cards)... postcards
......transfers could also be made into a "book" as bundled pages
......or sewed or glued onto fabric, clothing, back packs, tote bags, etc. pieces or boards
...figures or dolls
(just about anything!)
(DB:where are the other suggestions and projects done?)

Jeanne Rhea has done a number of things with her children's early artwork:
...transfers on matchbox pendant and magnet
she also memorialized her son with his crayon drawings transferred to tiles for a necklace

Why all kids. should clay! + Learning Differences

Most kids will understand a concept more easily and thorough if they engage with it physically
...hand-eye coordination... understanding of scale... patience... developing their own creativity
"...All the kids in the world are imaginative and clever.... as teachers, we must give them guidance and set a direction for them in anything that they are learning.
....Understanding a child and their abilities is important... some kids might be slow in learning academics, but very talented in music, sports or arts. Motivate their talents and they will definitely improve their academic learning as well. Through years of teaching play clay classes, my students have become very confident and creative in claying.
. . Play clay classes have also helped to improve many children with their academics in school. ...parents play an important role by not putting too high an expectation on their kids." Garie
.......from Garie who teaches polymer classes to kids in Singapore (more in his book Got Clay Can Play)
"Clay as Art Therapy" (then click on link for complete text)

A mother talks about how learning to use polymer clay helped her ADHD child tremendously (from age 8)... and see some of Yijun's clay work

Rod Wicks' uses clay (and other materials) to help work with young kids and teens having behavioral or social difficulties ...he has done similar things in youth detention centers, with street kids, and in residential care of the psychologically disabled
...("...contemporary gurus in education for boys will tell you that such hands-on activities provide the perfect opportunity for listening to and counselling young males"...)
... (some of Rod's on each!)

Are there any kid's troops that have made their own clay badge, and earned it?
... or church or synagogue that had a craft sale with kids selling their clay art?
... or kids' guilds or groups? Kim

School projects, etc.

school projects (science, art, music, any type) + learning
...polymer clay can be very useful for making school projects!
......the clay can be used alone, or it can be combined with other materials like wire or natural materials or paint, or anything
......clay can be used for individual items, or just as pieces or parts in scenes and dioramas, etc
...lesson on large eyeball made for science project (with a wadded aluminum foil interior to save clay)...could be made smaller as well
...Linda B's lesson on making a bas relief flower, by putting the proper scientific parts together

...make beetles and bugs with correct anatomy
(see Sculpting-Gen > Other Animals to Sculpt > Bugs)
...see terrarium made inside a glass xmas ball below in Other Ideas
...fossils in stone... made by transferring a pencil drawing directly to raw clay, then pressing down lines with toothpicks, skewers, etc., and building up other areas
...Kathy Davis' topographical map of ocean and islands (geography project?)
...Cheryl's tiny planets beads
..motion toys involve science principles and can be a fun way to learn them, create a science project, or just play around with balance, motion, etc.
(for those, see below in Other Toys > Active-Motion Toys)
...Middle Ages dwellings, 5th- 7th grade (castles,cottages plus landscapes, open-roof room) made with bulk white Sculpey, then painted with tempera l
...Colonial style houses done by students with bulk white Sculpey, then painted with acrylics
(lots more dioramas, houses, landscaping, furniture, etc., in Scenes below, and in Miniatures and Houses/Structures)
...duplicate an everyday object (to learn proportion, scale, detail, etc.) (but do it with polymer clay)

see many more ideas below in Younger Kids (letters & numbers) More Math, Art ...& various other categories
+ Garie Sim's book (motion toys)



Anyone who feels overwhelmed at where to start or what to do... it's natural to feel like that with this stuff. You can do so much with it and you want to try it all.. . . .I really, really like something that Tory Hughes repeats often in her videotapes though.... "You can't do anything wrong but burn it."
....So, get a good oven thermometer and go with your instincts.
...... sit down and just play with a blob of one color, without any real idea of "making something." ...just poke it with different implements and tools, squish it, roll it into snakes and other shapes (see Beads > Shapes as well) ...etc.
.......what can you do with the snakes? Smash it flat... what can you form from a pancake?
....see how many different  kinds of critters you can make from just balls, snakes and pancakes.
Just let your mind wander and wonder and question and experiment..... You'll be adding colors and textures and embellishments without even thinking about it. Zig

Project ideas (various ages) & samples

finished items from kids

Marie R's projects for parties (underwater scene on votive, garden scene on flower pot, animal pen holder stand, animal coaster, & various sculpts)
(various types of things, by various ages... caning on tiles, pencil cups, paintings, etc.)
Deb's class for kids
Garie's photos of giving a polymer clay class to 140 elementary school students
(see Garie's many other classes ..and many items made by his students at: )
Poly's Clay Castle's polymer clay items made by kids and
kids make polymer masks

various made by 12 yr old ...Ruth's daughter
various, made by 9-yr. old

frame of leaves made by 9-yr. old Heather (see above under Cutters for details)
Bev's 4-yr. old playing with clay and pasta machine, & a few tips on kids
Claire's 5 yr. old's items from playing with clay (website gone)

Garie Sim's blog
Garie Sim's
Laurie's links to many different projects

Sculpey's "Teachers' Lounge" page with project lessons, etc.

If you want to work with your kids and do some easy projects
....try rolling out the clay (you can marble it if you want)
....using a smallish  cookie cutter (or canape cutter, etc.) , cut  out some shapes
... let the kids embellish them (clay worms, cane slices, or  anythjing else you can think of)
... then punch a smallish hole near the top ... bake.
... Voila! ...a pendant or a christmas tree ornament..... or glue on a magnet for use on the fridge. .  byrd

my projects with kids:
simple canes... bowls... .pens... bears... twisted frames ...using powders, stamps, molds to make pendants (website gone) DB add
heads & fingerpuppets for kids' parties and classes

We've made food for Poly's Clay Castle, and Y2K bugs. A cartouche with their names in Egyptian glyphs on one side, in English on the reverse.

quick way of making "instant" canes for beginners (lesson)
In a class that covers a wide variety of techniques, (not just canework) I get the students to make small sample canes so they get the idea but the conditioning does not take for ever.  
...form flat blocks of diff. colours, each the same size... ours were 1 1/2" square, but 1" tall. ...cut each into an identical geometric shape (triangle, rectangle, etc.), cutting right down through the block. Now  replace sections of one colour with sections of another color from a different block (you'll end up with as many  canes as the blocks you started with but the colours all alternating). ... reduce easily create more complex canes, you can stack the canes and reduce again (or wrap, combine etc etc)... they will be all colour coordinated and it looks great. . .Sue Heaser .

make erasers with kids, or for teachers...see ideas in Characteristics > Eraser Clay)
...Yes, the erasers do work. I think this would be a very cool project for kids to do at chool or at a party. Kim
...This is a cool little thing to do with the eraser clay, Sculpey or Premo --(SuperFlex?)
.....(lesson) - Working on an index card or sheet of paper --Make 5 equal sized balls of, say, orange clay - about 1/2 diameter or a little smaller. --Set them in a circle so that they just all touch each other. -- Now put a ball of a different color in the center. --Make a ball of green and point on end (to make a teardrop). -- Stick that somewhere on the outside circle of balls. Repeat with another if you wish. --Now take something stiff, like a clay package or a sheet of plexiglass and flatten the whole thing to half the depth. Add some textures on the leaves and petals if you wish. Voila!! a cute little flower with leaves!! ..
My son...made a green dinosaur the same way - by rolling cylinders and balls and then flattening together. We also added textures and eyes with the back of a skewer. syndee

I also teach children with polymer clay...
... I've used cheap eye shadow, in glitter metallic tones- the same way we use the metallic powders.  It's safer around children- no dust.  They can stamp the clay with stamps and textures and then add the shadow by touching it with their fingers and smoothing it over the clay.
....I teach a "bug" class that the boys enjoy as well as the girls.  We make caterpillars- just circles of clay attached, with small accents of color; lady bugs, beetles- with wire legs (and "magic" wings: mix at least 3 colors of clay into a ball- I then slice it in half for them to reveal the mirror image) 
.... and a snake - usually a dark color that they stamp and add the metallic powder (shadow). 
The 2 Klutz Press books are full of great ideas for children (...see above in "Books and Videos).  Kathndolls

Small kids can mix or marble colors ... make beads

we used to make bugs--bumpy green worms with antennae, lady bugs, etc...very simple ones.....
...I kept some simple canes available for  them to decorate them with. Dotty

with flat sheet magnets and a few small molds of things like flowers or butterflies, you can have them cover the sheet magnets for their mom's refrigerator.  Dotty

Oh teaching young children is so cool :))
....take some comics or pictures of kid-theme characters with you :) ...children love to make their fav.cartoon :) in Holland we have alot of polymer clay books for children with great instructions in them. has a lesson on covering a matchbox with clay, and make a little figure on it :)  Ria

Pinchy's lesson on making a bug body with a Natasha "bead" technique, which is pressed around a blob of scrap clay to form a fat bug shape...for legs and feet, bits of clay are then added to the end of each of 4 wires which are inserted into the body with LS (could use short wire pieces and superglue rather than LS), or telephone wire. . . (could use less chopped up clay for Natasha for a larger pattern too)

julie's coiled-snake (bead).... natasha (symmetrical) beads and figures made from them (website gone)

Something I did with my Brownie group last year was have them make pins for Mother's Day: (note, they were 6-7 years old, so I did a lot of prep work ahead of time)
.... I pre-made some square and heart shapes.... they placed different cane slices on top of the shapes (I had pre-cut the slices and placed on them on sandwich wax paper).... I still hear raves about that evening, and the Mom's DO wear their pieces!  Patti

use colored clay, then texture or stamp ...and apply one of the Pearl-Ex powders before baking (see  specifics below) or Rub"N Buff after baking

we covered Bic Round Stic pens ...and also make stands for them....pens are a real favorite.. ...and they're gifts present they can give to their parents that their parents really use.
we covered small candle holders using translucent clays.
...we used leaves we found near the house as stamps
....covered cans with clay to make pencil holders. . . and made picture frames for snapshots.  Lenora

key fobs (we did our with) glow in the dark clay! I send them home with a giant split ring, with 3 chain links and a jumpring attached. The jump ring can easily be opened and their art attached. I have used a small eye screw that I get at local hardware store that is embedded into the clay prior to baking. Thought maybe this would be a great way for them to use there beads. Shellee

Just thought I'd mention the project my students did last week: eggs.
First I had to decide on what the eggs would be made of. I quickly nixed real eggs -- didn't want to blow out that many, especially since some eggs would inevitably be broken when the kids were putting clay on them. I ended up handing each child two feet of aluminum foil and having them crunch it into egg shape.
They filled dents, dips and flat spots with bits of scrap clay.
Then I gave each student several strips of scrap that had gone through the noodle attachment on the pasta machine and showed them how to coil it around and around until all the foil was covered.
I had several cookie sheets full of pre-sliced canes (this lesson was only 55 minutes, or I would've had them make their own), and each student filled a 3x5 card with their choice of canes --I limited them to no more than 3 different (cane slices), or all the eggs would've ended up with one slice of each kind I had available!
They arranged the slices on the eggs, smoothed them out, and I baked them.
I learned, after the first batch, that even foil eggs need an air hole. One pin hole is enough, and hard to find later. I cut off the bubbles and repaired them, most repairs were nearly invisible.
No time to sand, but Future polish made the eggs look beautiful. The unsanded but shiny eggs have a childish, primitive appearance that I find charming, and the kids were thrilled. LynnDel

Kids can make transfers of their own drawings (which are first reduced in size on a copy machine). Max(ine)

I haven't worked with kids and polymer clay much but I taught my eleven year old grandaughter how to make a jointed baby doll (about 6 inches) with Super Sculpey. Don't know right off how that could be done with a class but I'm sure it could. Marlene

I've taught faux ivory with prebaked inlays and photo transfers to 6th graders and it was awesome. Max(ine)

I'm going to be making some mini? books this year with the 6th grade. Max (ine)
...can also make notebook covers (see Books-mini & Covers)

We stamped a shape, (in this case a frog) ....then I cut around it and put it on the pan to be baked. I also use glass from a frame to bake.
...Once all the pieces were made I hung around and superglued the pinbacks to the clay. It worked out really well and only took about an hour and a half to do . . .
At the same time another mother had another project going on. doing the same working one on one. with first graders this works great you don't have to have your eyes on two or three at a time. I believe that is why it took minimal time. while we were working the teacher read to the students and did minimal involvement activities so that all the kids were having fun. They did coloring, and cutting. That way we had all kinds of activities. Oh yes and they made Christmas cards. Sounds like the class could work on Cards then calling the children one at a time make their brooch, the re join and finish their cards. A nice floral Rubber stamp would be great. I also use Pearlex powders to stamp in. If you spread the pearlex with a soft brush on a piece of glass and stamp into it as you would a stamp pad it works great. Or you can stamp with ink and the brush pearlex on top. Annette

Here is what my DD did for me on her own. She shaped a flat heart of clay. (You could let kids use a cookie cutter & cut whatever colors they like.) She rolled snakes & used them to shape the letters spelling out, "I U Mom" She made a smaller red heart and arranged it on top of the bigger heart along with the letters so it said "I (heart) U Mom". (I love you, Mom.) You would then have the option of either:
1) putting a small hole in the top of the heart so that, after baking, it could be threaded on a ribbon or piece of yarn to make a necklace for mom.
2) after baking, you Superglue a pinback on. (Don't let 1st graders do this! You'd have to do it for them.)
The great thing about this is the kids would be able to make their own gift for mom with minimal demo & help from you & it doesn't need any sharp cutting instruments! clayfreak

Another thing you might consider doing with extra beads, cane slices and "boo-boos" is donating them to a teacher. Kids love sorting out the different shapes and colors and looking for different designs.  I have a bag in my class and it gets almost constant use!.
… would be a great way to teach color names, shape names, and work on classification skills.

I just downloaded a catalog from a site called The Compleat Sculptor and it  mentioned that they have special events, projects and even do parties based around  getting children involved with polymer clay. They use Sculpey III in these things.. . .

ADD: puzzle-pieced pictures (see Paints > "Paintings") ...and bas relief pictures (Bas Relief above )


Younger kids (ages 3-8 or so)

It just might  surprise you how creative they are once they get some in their hands. 
...The biggest  problem with kids is getting them to keep it small.   (another reason pushmolds are nice--already a set size). KleeBug

pushmolds. ... be sure to dust them with cornstarch first  so that the clay won't stick, and then push in the clay
....You can make lovely little pins  using molded flowers or animals, on just a circle background  (use a jar lid like a cookie cutter to make a circle from a rolled out sheet of clay.)
....The kids can use colored clays for the flowers (or one color and paint them afterward). 

I brought PC to my son's pre-school class a couple weeks ago (I had 9 children, around 5 yo)... all had a wonderful time & played clay for about an hour!!
.... I brought preconditioned Premo, cut up into little squares (maybe 1" square on thickest pasta setting) ... brought lots of different colors
....then I showed them how to roll the clay into balls ...then how to make snakes, and then just let them run with it.
.....each child got their own "tool kit" which consisted of an empty yogurt cup filled with a couple popsicle sticks, some tooth picks, a large nail, and a few other assorted findings I had. 
... I brought everything home to bake it ... then I scanned each child's creations and put them up on my photosharing site...  What a thrill for both the kids and their parents to be able to see their creations on the internet!!!  Claire

lacing beads (wood stringing beads)... make sure to make the holes extra large!
---made in various colors
---and/or shapes (cutting mulitple thicknesses of polymer sheets with small canape-type cutters):
---patterns or designs
.....all-over patterns made from sheets of clay or 6 slices of a cane placed over an underlying square clay bead (see Sheets and Beads > square and Canes-Instr.)
...each side different (with numbers, letters, counting bits like 3 tiny star cane slices in a row, stripes, spirals, etc.)

I have taught this age group and they  love clay.
.....They mostly like to do their own thing with minimum nudges on what  to make.  I had a four year old here yesterday that did quite well just twisting  several colors together and made "figures". All she had was clay and a work surface. She stayed busy for about a half and hour.  deb jean
...canapé cutters are easier for little hands than small the Kemper cutters
...this age also loves and responds to textures so have some safe textures to "mash" in the clay...burlap to roll over the surface... rubber stamps... big buttons are quicker than the adult eye! so don't use anything small that might go into a mouth...
some chopped up clay pieces... 
....then just GO WITH THE FLOW!... the kids will lead ....once they know they have the freedom to create, they are fearless and will create things that will astound you in the complexity of their concepts will end up having more fun than they do! Sammy... who used to do this all the time....
....May I suggest that you teach them some simple basic shapes to create animal sculptures: ball, teardrop and snake. ...Combinations of these forms will make bears, dogs, cats, catapillers, etc.  Patty
...You will find there is a great difference in developmental concepts and abilities in the 5-8 year age span, so be prepared.
I use the softest clay available and/or I do any needed pre-conditioning before the class starts.... young children,even 8 year olds, do not have patience with the conditioning process and want to dive right into making things.
...You didn't mention the time period allotted.... but the younger ones will need a change of pace in the middle if it is an hour class so be prepared with "extras" to perk up their interest....keep it simple

Occasionally one of the kids may get a little bored, so I took that moment to demonstrate something:
....for example, I made a candy cane by twisting red and white snakes together, a little teddy bear figurine, even made a Pikachu. . . that was enough to get their attention again.  Claire

pinch pots (or coil pots) are wonderful for the age group... introduce them with a "Little Jack Horner" routine and ending up with a wad of clay on thumb and they will immediately get the idea

making letters and numbers, words & names
with clay

A fun thing, as well as something "physical" and hands-on that helps kids learn letters and other abstract shapes more easily
...letters, numbers, or whole words could be made by kids
..... or adults could make letter and number things for kids to learn and play with
...(other clays could be used, even bread dough, but the advantage to using polymer clay is that "ropes" of it can be much smaller, make more precise lines, don't swell or crack during baking, and are strong after baking, etc.)

....these are good for practicing letters and numbers, spelling, etc.
...because the letters can be hardened, they're also something permanent to "show for their work"

....although all kids learn better using multiple senses to interact with whatever they're tring to learn , some kids definitely learn best with physcial manipulation
....esp. good for any who have learning difficulties ... vision problems

...the letters or numbers can also be used later too in lots of functional ways, which makes them even more interesting for kids (see below)

make letters with ropes
...roll out some ropes of clay (or the kid could do this if reasonably coordinated)... then have the kid form the letter on a surface that's safe for baking (so they won't be disturbed when transferring to the oven)...after cooling, the letters won't be "rock" hard, especially becuase of their thinness, but will hold together quite well). ...try to make sure any places the clay touches itself, it's pressed together a bit for the best join, but it will work even if not.
....can use a butter knife to cut off any excess raw clay once the letter is formed (or you could use an Xacto, etc.).. Diane B.
...Marie's letters ... some are fat ropes, and freestanding but joined together ... with figures, etc. at end of name or word (also Old Stuff galleries 3 & 4?)

...Karyn's names on kids' pins (or anything) made with thin polymer ropes ...letters are printed (not cursive)
...... along with simple flowers, faces, cutter shapes, etc. ...
...Leah's name on a plaque made with twisted ropes of 2 colors which have been been flattened a bit (after forming letters) (?) ...old link

cut out with cookie or canape cutters
...letters and numbers can also be cut from sheets of clay (plain or patterned) with cutters of various types and sizes
....(see Cutters for finding and buying these)'s also possible to cut them freehand from a sheet of clay, but not easy for younger kids (use needle tool or craft knife, with clay stuck to a tile, etc.)

cut out with scissors or with pattern scissors (use cooled raw clay, or thin baked clay).
.for more info on how to do that + samples, see Letters-Inks > Lettering ...and Cutters > Other Blades

making stamps of letters, numbers, words
Mary Lyons' lesson on creating clay cubes with a pasta alphabet letter impressed into each side for a spelling, etc, game for kids,1801,HGTV_3116_1380656,00.html

making molds of letters, numbers, words
..Marie's lesson on using alphabet pasta to make letters or lettering on backgrounds (for tiles, on strip "banners" or on shape "plaques") pasta letters (facing upward) however wanted onto #1 sheet of raw clay, which is on a sheet of glass or ceramic tile down on all lettering at one time (not more than 1/2 way through clay sheet) with foam side of foam-backed stamp (or something else stiff, but with a little give maybe) to make all letters extend upward ti the same height
...cut a strip or other shape around each set of letters (or make several strips for rows of words)... remove all excess clay
...bake, on tile without moving clay... let cool on tile
...mix 2-part silicone putty (see Molds>Silicone Putties) --or use flexible clay, regular clay or another molding material, with a release) but silicone will give the greatest detail to the molded letters slab of putty (roughly same shape as clay shape) over baked clay and pasta on tile, pressing down all around onto tile just past baked clay (don't let putty get too thin)
...let putty cure 15 min or recommended time for brand... remove from tile, then remove mold from clay
...use logs, strips, or balls of raw clay to fill the molded areas (see Molds > Making Yourself for info on how to use molds, releases, remove clay, etc)
...apply raw clay to an item as embellishment... or bake clay and glue on later or use singly as spelling tiles, etc.

individual letters (or letter tiles) can be left as single pieces, so that names or words can be spelled out anytime
individual numbers can be added-subtracted ... or made into addresses, tel. no's, etc.

letters can also be glued onto or pressed onto almost anything else
...non-polymer items
.....baked clay shapes can be glued to many materials and items... for example:
.......wood plaques/boxes... cardstock... plastic switchplates/pens... papeir mache boxes/chests... glass ornaments, etc.
.....raw clay can be baked onto some of those surfaces or items, but not all of them... see Covering for details
...polymer raw or baked letters onto a raw or baked clay sheets or shapes, etc.

or have your word or name held by a little figure, doll, animal, etc. ( you've made, or one you have)

kids can make their own gift for mom with minimal demo and help... & without any sharp cutting instruments
...they'd roll snakes & use them to shape the letters spelling out, "I U Mom" onto flat heart-shape sheet of clay
.....(or could let kids use a cookie cutter & cut whatever colors they like.) ...would then have the option of either:
1) putting a small hole in the top of the heart so that, after baking, it could be threaded on a ribbon or piece of yarn to make a necklace for mom.
2) after baking, superglue a pinback on (don't let really young children do this part!). clayfreak

fake "stones" can be impressed with individual words or shapes or numbers, etc. (for kids learning to read, do math, learn shapes)
......some made with inclusions (more on these in Letters-Inks > Stamps ,Molds)

(much more on making letters in various ways can be found in Letters-Inks > Lettering...)

Older kids (6-12 gr)

projects done in class with kids (Patty Barnes, art teacher)
Practical applications work best rather than just lecture and rote learning, at least in my opinion. Patty

Jr. Hi:
beads ... have each student make enough of one kind (marbled, simple cane) to share and have an in-class swap. Make into necklaces on S'ghetti cord. (cheap & stretchy) This will also work for Art I H.S. students
molds (make from found objects, or use candy molds, paper molds, polymer clay molds) to create a pin and card
.....then made a Valentine card using construction paper, doilies, glitter, imitation 'pearl' strands, ribbons and decorative scissors... on a white paper insert, they wrote their message to correspond with the pin motif. (for a teddy bear "I can't bear to be without you" ....great Mom gift)
cutters, small ...they used canape or small cookie cutters in various ways
snow globes using the clay to make clay critters(after watching Kris Richard's great video) for inside donated baby food jars

painting ...on gessoed masonite, or plexiglass (see Paint > "Paintings" for techniques)
relief collage ...pieced together like a crazy quilt (each student made a 6" square)
....they used only the 3 primaries, plus white & black ...then we went through the steps of color mixing to get secondary and intermediate colors

.....created their own original jewelry ...and some added macrame cording
.... made a mold .... then replicated it and used it to cover switch plates... picture frames... and glass votives
...designed furniture and accessories for 2 doll houses we built for the kindergarten classes
...made marionettes to act out plays/stories they had written (and presented to the first grade) on the stage they built and decorated
....3-d sculptures

followed blueprints and built the frames of 2 houses. ...they learned a lot about cutting angles and measuring for accuracy. Patty B.


Special Needs ... & Disabilities
(though most of these ideas and tips could also apply to any kids)

please NOTE:.
of the info re kids with special needs and disabilities is on the Disabilties page here at GlassAttic
...look there for loads of suggested activities and tips and tools for kids with cognitive and emotional difficulties as well as physical disabilities, etc.

Sculpey's website now has a long page on various disabilities and special needs
....this is their list of things which can be helped by working with clay:
.........Patience Problem Solving Position Visual Processing Matching Finger Exploration Precision Tactile Exploration Creativity Attention to Detail Imagination Memory and Recall Self Esteem Sequential Thought Pincer Grasp Bilateral Coordination Early Literacy Eye-Hand Coordination Wrist Rotation Part/Whole Relationship Motor Planning Range of Motion, Reaching Visual Attention Functional Finger Movement Manual Dexterity Cooperative Hand Movements Fine Motor Skills Sorting – Colors, Sizes, Shapes Cause and Effect Finger and Hand Strength and Control
General Play Tips.... and Things to do to incorporate therapeutic goals
...the disability categories they address are:
.......cognitive (attention difficulties), communicative (autism, etc.), physical (low strength, coordination, etc.), sensory (low vision, blindness), emotional
...for each "disability" there are suggestions for tools or tool modifications... various activities... and special tips for working with that child

for learning letters and numbers (hands-on), see also above in Younger Kids

more Math, Art

Arts and Activities ( magazine for teachers)
... looks very interesting and I understand it has quite a few polymer clay projects as well....(the mask) is done by Rebecca Zimmerman. Very cool! Mirella & Geo
...this mag has been a staple in the education world for years...there's always a copy in the teacher's lounge. The few times I looked at it (before) there wasn't much related to clay...glad they are getting aboard. Trina

more math:

I also used art to teach math . . . practical applications of math work best (rather than just lecture and rote learning), at least in my opinion to make multiples from a mold they made, how to measure with a ruler to provide a border on their paper, how to measure volume for the concrete we mixed to make our stained glass stepping stones, how to make a tessellated image using, flips, slides, rotations, etc. There is a lot of math in every day art work and it is relatively painless. Patty B.

I used to teach middle school math and used a lot of craft projects in my classes (for teaching surface area = plastic canvas boxes, fractions = quilt squares ...) Ruth
....Fractions and measuring were also part of my class on making a teddy bear since the kids had to cut logs into specific lengths (and somtimes "in half, then in half again"); they did this to get specific proportions of their alloted clay for heads, arms, noses, etc; they fist rolled their whole amt. of clay to a specific length according to a simplified paper ruler I'd made and photocopied (taped to the underside of their clear work surfaces), e.g. 6", then cut say at inch marks # 1, 2 and 4. Some of those lengths would be rolled out and subdivided further. Diane B.
....see also just above for following blueprints (Older Kids)

more art:

In my classes, we discuss basic color theory .....and how to mix colors make bears, birds, butterflies and beads. Lenora
...lesson on making a 12-color color wheel with canned white frosting and food coloring (red, blue, yellow)... each color spread on a Vanilla wafer
...could do the same thing with cookie doughs...candy doughs... doughs made from other clays... fondant ... white glues... white paint, etc.
There is a whole vocabulary used in art that children could learn as they are going through grade school. Unfortunately kids are usually told how to do a project but not what they were learning in the correct terms.
.....Nor were they taught basic beginning color theory such as the three primaries and the order of the color wheel. When you get 6th grade students who don't know anything about art, there is a lot of ground to cover in a very short time to bring them up to par. Patty B.

I am not sure if I tie my kids' classes to the principles of art or not
...I do introduce them to color mixing, textures, a variety of ways to use the clay to accomplish a task/project, we talk about shapes, mosaics, much more. I want them to appreciate the medium as much as the art.. . . polymerclaycreations

When you teach, do you use the (formal language of art) with your students when working with the clay?
If these are taught beginning at an early age, it makes it easier for students to talk about their work, and also to understand why they may have done something the way they did.
.... All works of art can be broken down into their various "Elements of Art" (which are like the words in a sentence... the basic components, and their "Principles of Art" (like the rules of grammar, the guides to the way components are assembled).
(there is some slight difference between textbooks as to what comprises each, but for the most part these are the most common ones:)
ART ELEMENTS ....or components:
: (straight, curved, diagonal, modulated, broken and implied)
: (primary, secondary, tertiary, intermediate, complementary,monochromatic, triad, split compliment, analogous, positive/negative, warm/cool, intensity, saturation, hue, tint, tone and shade)
: real and implied
: (light and dark and the range between, chiaroscuro )
.....and Form: (geometric, organic, realistic, abstract ..... 2 dimensional {flat} and 3 dimensional {form} )
ART PRINCIPLES: .....or how the various elements are used:
Contrast: (differences in individual elements... such as a smooth texture contrasting with a rough texture)
Space: (positive and negative... as used in the piece)
Emphasis: (also called dominance or focal point)
Variety: (use of different elements to create interest)
Harmony: (use of repetition, rhythm, pattern or motif)
Balance: (symmetrical or asymmetrical, or radial)
Unity: (the whole or total effect of the piece)
(.....Not all elements will appear in every work of art.)
.....Of course, art is made of many more (components): style, medium, abstraction, realism, narration, meaning, and so on. Patty B.

Supplies, costs

children ages  5-8. . . keep the class size small or get help! more than 9 or 10 kids (with help)...4-6 without help. deb jean

Saran's cutting sheets worked pretty well for us as work surfaces and they are a lot cheaper than plexiglass can get in the grocery store. Anna
...The Saran sheets are awesome. I just recommended using them at our guild meeting where we are going to have a troop of girl scouts come and play. I think a package of 20 is under $5 and they last quite awhile. Andrea
...may need to tape down though if rolling logs, etc....
...(see more ideas for work surfaces on Tools page)

I think the only thing you need is clay, some sort of roller (PVC tube cut  into maybe 4" pieces), a work surface like wax paper or freezer paper, and something to cut with (depending on the age) maybe plastic knives (see below for more on "knives"). 

keeping clay costs down in the classroom..... for about $300 a year, I could manage enough clay for all 120 junior high and about 75 high school students.
....if you use a school purchase order and order from the online companies, most will give you a good discount..... I always bought Premo because it held up well to designs students invariably do with thin parts. I bought the 1# bricks, and I doled out the clay in very small amounts.
.......I always cut the clay off the brick and told them to bring back any excess, and they were able to have more if needed more than I originally gave them. Some how it always worked out.
...each student had to have a sketch of the proposed project, with colors indicated.
...size was controlled by such things as the size of the baby food jar for making snow globes... or a pin for Mom had to be the central component to a Mother's Day card (half sheet of construction paper)
...high school students were also limited in the amount of clay used again by which projects I assigned... such as designing furniture and accessories for 2 doll houses we built for the kindergarten classes, or the marionettes they made to act out the stories they wrote and the stage they build and decorated. .Patty B.

Blades and kids

Adults or helpers could do all the cutting (esp. for canes) when it's time, but many kids won't like this much because cutting is so much of the fun (esp. some boys)
(...whether adults or kids cut slices from canes, make sure to separate the slices immediately or they get stuck together)

Shorter blades like those in Xacto craft knives can be useful for some kids' cutting
even the top of a needle tool or hat pin can be used to cut flat sheets

Mid-length and long blades can be used in many more ways though
...blades to be used for just cutting pieces or chopping clay can be blunter than those needed for cutting slices from a cane

For his students, Garie Sim makes "long" blades, short-blade Xacto substitutes, and dough scraper type tools from the 2-sided aluminum piece on (the outside of) a floppy disk (3 1/4")
.... the aluminum piece pops right off and can be cut with scissors (just don't use your best ones!!!) Kellie B.
.....this is a fairly high grade of aluminum (maybe tempered?) which is pretty stiff even when it's as thin as this --1 1/4" x almost 2" for each side-- though each has a rectangular hole inside)
...Garie's large rectangular cutter which can function like a long blade or be more like a "dough scraper"
......he shows one with a curled-over handle, and anoother with a thick clay covering/handle (...both handles run all along the side of the "blade" opposite the cutting edge)
......this type can also be used to cut cane slices as long as the canes aren't too old and hard (still possible)
...Garie's lesson on using this metal to make small "pencil" cutters like Xacto blades (which he embeds in long clay handles)

duller blades ... for really young kids (7 or under maybe), some of the simpler and duller blades are:
... ordinary tableware knives (as thin as possible) ..... also some palette knives are quite thin
....metal  potter’s blade or "rib" (buy them at crafts or art supply  stores) ...about 4” long and 2 ½ “ tall, flat on the bottom and rounded on the top
....none of these will work well with cane slices though  (but the smeared images can be sanded after baking to remove the smearing)
....though any of these can be beveled-sharpened just a bit (...see just below... or in Cutter-Blades > Sharpening for much more info)

I use a cheese plane to take my slices (from the final mokume gane stack, or from ghost image mica?)
....this is not as dangerous as a blade, and you have more chances of cutting a large complete slice, which is not as easy to do with the blade. Amanda Rose (make sure your distortions/pokes/etc. are very deep though)

In the kitchen store, they have this dough scraper .... It is a sheet of stainless steel with one edge rolled over to make a handle.
.....To sharpen this (could sharpen on a little for kids, I bevel only one side of the blade (I used the side with the handle curl) ...the beveling-sharpening is done by hand and with water... do not use an electric grinder to do the sharpening because power sharpeners can overheat the metal and destroy the temper (that means you will need to sharpen it a lot). Lysle

sharper blades ... (esp. for canes)
... utility knife blades (come in invidual blades a couple of inches long (or in snap-off type blades ) (utility and snap-off blades)
...wallpaper scraper blades (Target, etc.) 3 or so inches long (...or other blades for scraping

..a length of unseparated snap-off blades, especially the cheap, smaller, long blades that can be extended from plastic handles (someutility knife blades also come this way)
.....blades in these small knives are thinner than the heavier duty blades ... and also have a handle to hold onto
......will work even better if the clay is placed very close to the edge of the table (or a raised area), and parallel to the table edge if its' a cane, before cutting down to give the hand holding the handle more room (off the table)!/Main ...

I use cheap, small paring knives for my classes... the blades are around 2 1/2" long with plastic handles... can buy at dollar stores
.... to make sure all class knives are accounted for , I took a piece of poster board and folded one long edge up about 3”. Then I stapled both ends of the fold and then about every 1 1/2” to create pockets for the knives to be slid into blade first. I was able to see at a glance that all 20 were there and I not, no one left the room until all of them were in place.
....And of course, everybody was told that if they misused the knife, they wouldn’t get to play with the clay. Worked pretty well. Patty B.

..however, some of those blades above may not be flexible at all... and most are thicker than blades we usually use
..some may also have holes in their sides which could interfere with some kinds of cane slicing (these might be fine for cutting sheets though --with the whole edge or just with the tip-- or for regular chopping and cutting)

The end of any longish blade or snap-off blade unit could be also embedded in a polymer handle (see Tools > Handles)

When I gave cane classes to end-of-3rd graders (just me and 6 kids at a time), I gave each kid a single-edge razor  blade which had been dulled somewhat by scraping the sharp edge on sandpaper
...I also covered the top (thicker) part of the blade with clay both to use as a handle and to easily see which was the business end.
...I gave each kid a jar lid to hold the blade in when not actually in use....  I also told them to help each other notice when the blade was not in its "home."
...I also gave them a visual demonstration of what could happen if they left a blade on the work surface which had gotten stuck on some clay with its edge upwards, and they rolled a log of clay ..... I rolled my clay just until my finger would have touched the stuck blade, and asked them to imagine just what would have happened if I hadn't  stopped.  They were always gasps of realization, and that made quite an impression! 
....For the rest of the lesson, I always tried to say  "OK, blades up!" after they were to have made some cuts --and they all helped each other. 
This system worked really well, and I never had a single problem.  --now they're 6th  graders, and I've eliminated the clay handle, but kept the lids.
    I  let my child use one of these at home too with no problems, even at that age.  Some  kids may just be more accident prone or careless by nature though. (The main problem  with using a single-edge razor blade is that it won't cut well through thicker canes or  pieces of clay, because of the lip.) Diane B.

If you only want to mark the blade so it will be immediately obvious to the kids which side is which, you can try one of the following things on top of each end of the dull edge (rather than along the whole length of the edge, which might interfere with cutting):
--paint with red  fingernail polish (the enamel-based ones won't interact with the clay)
--put a bit of masking tape on it
--make a small clay marker or handle-covering on one side, or on both sides (glue on)... if you place only on one end, the tip of the other end will still be free to use easily as a pointed cutter. Diane B.

(...see much more on blades, for kids or not--esp. types, sharpening, marking, uses, kids & blades, etc.--- in Cutters-Blades > Blades)

more Info ... & Misc.

for more ideas and suggestions on working with classes, see Teaching

for more on teaching classes (to kids or adults) at home or at school, also see Start a Business > "Parties"/Demos ....Shows > Home Shows

for ways to prepare and warm clay for classes or to have a supply ready for kids, see Conditioning

...polymer projects can also be a great thing for a birthday parties ....sleepovers ...or other gatherings


my kids' "pocket pals" ... disk-button faces with twist-off plastic tops for arms, on toothpicks, decorated, used for bookmarks, etc. (website gone)
*many interesting projects from Washington Middle School
also their yarn painting, a technique of the HuicholIndians of Mexico
Enchanted Learning's crafts for all ages, plus much more
DIY's (Do It Yourself) Arts and Crafts projects for kids,2041,DIYC_57,FF.html,2041,DIYC_70,FF.html
puppets and puppet theatre,2041,DIYC_238,FF.html

website with lessons on loads of things to make from several hundred different materials

As a child, I used to make jewellry with pill bottles and crayons - shave crayons into the  bottle then bake in the oven.  The bottle and crayon would melt together into a neat  looking puddle which could be made into a pendant, key chain, etc. As I recall, the oven  temperature was fairly low, otherwise the plastic would burn.  Of course, they are  probably making pill bottles out of different plastic now, so perhaps they are more  temperature resistant.

I read an article in a model railroad magazine, about 20 years ago, about someone using  the plastic worm fishing lures as a casting material. He was melting the plastic worms in  the top of a double boiler, pouring it into a mold and letting it cool until it was solid. The  casting was as soft and squiggly as the original worm. Don't remember what was used for  molds. These worms come in more colors than you can imagine.
... plastic army men work the same way (though they'll be hard when cool).. As a kid I used to melt them all the time. Seth
...old vinyl records, etc. can be slumped in a low oven over a form to make bowls
(see more on all these in
Misc. > Melting or Softening Plastics > Slumping)

(DB: also see Kids –Other Crafts file)