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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 3-Polymer Clay Teddy

I LOVE play-dough! Everything about it makes me happy, the colors, the smell, the texture, and the oh so many things you can make with it. It is indeed a wonderful thing-unless it gets stuck in your carpet but that's a whole other issue.

I truly believe polymer clay is a grown up version of play dough and it too makes me happy. So today, I'm breaking out my secret stash {yep, my girls love it to, I have to hide it!} to show you how to make this little guy.

Here's what you'll need:
Polymer Clay  
1 pkg of the color you want to use for the body
1 pkg red (hat and scarf)
1 pkg white (hat band and puff)
1 pkg black (nose)
Small black seed beads
floral wire or a small paper clip
Ribbon to hang

Tools Needed:
Straight Pin-the kind with the colored ball on the end
wire cutters

**Just a few things to note when working with clay. It's very forgiving, if you don't like it, roll it back up and try again. It picks up EVERYTHING! Be sure your work space is super clean-hands
 too! The red clay has a tendency to bleed onto your hands more than the others, use it first, or last-either way wash your hands before you move on to another color especially the white! And last clay is very therapeutic, relax and make a dozen of these, think how amazing you'll feel when you're done!
Here we go... 

 First, you're going to break up the body color clay. You will need a total of 5 pieces to form the body. The head, tummy, 2 arms and 2 legs. Roll your pieces into balls to check the sizing. The body should be about an 1 1/2"  round ball, the head and legs about 1" round, and the arms should be just a bit smaller.
Lay out the pieces like the picture to your right to help check your sizing. It should all look proportional.
*You should have some clay left over, it doesn't take the entire package*
 Next, you're going to shape the pieces. They're all going to be rolled into a "tear drop" shape- smaller on one end than the other. To do this place your hand on one end of the rolled ball and roll it back and forth, applying slight pressure so that it elongates. Keep in mind that the arms should match each other in size and length, legs too, and that the arms should be a bit longer and thinner than the legs.
The overall dimensions should be:{about}
Body height: just over 2"
Arm length: 1 1/2"
Leg length: 1 1/4"
 Get the arms and legs to the length you like, then push the larger tip down onto your work surface to create a flat edge.
To shape the head I hold the clay in the finger tips of my left hand and pinch and pull gently with my right. You don't want the head to "grow" so much as just take shape.
The good news is, if you don't like it-roll it back up and start over! Play with the shape until you get it where you like it.

Once you like the shape of your parts, start building the whole! Set the body piece upright and sandwich it between the two leg pieces. Blend the clay at the back of the legs into the body piece until there are no seams and the 3 pieces are now 1 across the back.

Place the arm pieces on next. Because they are a bit longer, curve them in so they wrap around the belly a bit. Then repeat the same blending process for the arms. Again it should be one solid piece across the back.

The head piece goes on next. Center it on top of the body piece  with the smaller end pointing directly front. This is where his nose and eyes will go. Gently blend the back of the neck into the body.

You then want to create a flat spot on the head piece where the bridge of the nose would be. Gently press on the clay with your thumb to create this area.
 The base of your teddy is done! Now we move on the accessories!
You will need to roll out another 1 1/2" red ball for the hat.
 Roll out a "snake" of red about 4-5" long for the scarf.
Another snake about 3-4" long of white for the hat band and a small white ball for the puff on the hat.
And 2 small balls {1/4"} of body color for the ears.
To make the hat,  roll out a ball of red clay about 1 1/2" round. Press it against your work surface to flatten one end, then pull at the other end and flip the tip down to make a Hershey's kiss shape. Place the hat on
top of the bear's head. Very gently press the edges of the hat into the head piece.
Press the white ball onto the tip of the hat. Be sure it rests on the base of the hat as well. Place the white snake onto the brim of the hat, gently pressing it as you go. Be sure the seam of the band is on the back of the hat. Blend to join the seam.
Press one of the round brown balls on each side of the hat for ears.

Using the pencil, flatten out the red snake until it's not quite half an inch wide.  Wrap the scarf around the bear's neck to your liking. Pinch the scarf together where it touches in front. Roll a small ball of red clay and press it over the pinch to make the knot. Using your scissors cut the clay so your tails are as long/short as you want and then cut the ends into fringe.

 Last are the details. Using the ball end of the straight pin create the indents in the ears and on the paws. Press the straight end of the pin into the face clay to make the mouth line. Roll a small ball of black clay for the nose, press it into place.

Place one seed bead-these are the eyes, onto the end of your straight pin and press it into place on the face. Be sure the bead goes into the clay. Your pin will leave a small mark on the clay, add another one just above it to form eyelashes. Repeat for the second eye. If you want, you can add powdered blush at this point. Use a q-tip and apply it to the cheeks, ears, and paws.

Make your hanger next. If you have floral wire twist it into a loop with a 1 1/2" long tail. If your using a paper clip, open it up so it forms and "S" and cut off the smaller end so you end up with a 1 inch "U". Slide the tail ends into the back of the hat piece until only the loop or 1/4 " of paper clip are showing. Press the clay back around the hanger to seal it in.
Follow the directions on the packaging for baking instructions. Once your little guy has cooled, thread a piece of ribbon through the hanger and add him to your tree!

Happy Crafting!

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