Beginner Modeling Clay Projects

Working with modeling clay is great creative fun for kids and adults. You don't need to be a professional potter to create beautiful and functional projects out of clay. There are a wide variety of craft modeling clays available at your local art supply store, many of which can be baked or air dried into long-lasting pieces of art. Here are some ideas to get you started working in the medium of modeling clay.

Catch-All Bowl
Place this beautiful, rustic bowl by the front door or on your dresser, to catch keys and loose change.

Materials Needed

  • Air-drying clay in the color of your choice
  • Acrylic sealant

Before you begin, it is important to prepare the clay. Cut off a piece of clay about the size of a small grapefruit. Have a cup of water handy, and with wet hands begin to squish, press and fold the clay, repeating until the clay is soft and pliable. It is very important not to rush this step, as clay that is not properly prepared will crack when drying.

Once your clay is ready, roll it into a ball and press your thumbs into the middle, forming a hole. Keeping your hands nice and wet, begin using your fingers to press and pull the clay up and out, forming a bowl shape, taking care not the pull the clay too thin. Press the bottom of the bowl onto the table, to make a flat, stable bottom. Keep smoothing and shaping your bowl with your hands until you are satisfied with it's shape. This type of bowl will have a more rustic look than a wheel-thrown bowl, so don't expect to be able to get it perfectly symmetrical. When it is done, leave it undisturbed to dry completely. Depending on the thickness of your piece and the brand of clay you used, this may take several days. When it is completely dry, paint on an acrylic sealant for extra durability.

Flower Pot Friends
Stick these cute little bugs into your plant pots to perk up your houseplants.

Materials Needed

  • Polymer clay in a variety of colors
  • Bamboo skewers

Polymer clay is a wonderfully versatile modeling compound. It won't dry out while you're working with it, but it can be baked in your home oven to make a durable, lasting object.  Before you begin, you must work the polymer clay in your hands until it is soft and pliable. Shape the clay into cute little bugs. Ladybugs are the easiest to start with, but once you get the feel of working with the clay you can move on to bumblebees, butterflies, dragonflies, etc. When your bugs are finished, carefully stick the end of the skewers into the bottom of the bugs, and bake according to the directions on the package of polymer clay.

If you find you enjoy working with modeling clay, try experimenting with the different types of clays available at your local craft store. This will help you find the type of modeling clay that suits you best.

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