How to Make a Cute Polymer Clay Mermaid
When I was in college I was really in love with sculpting. I took at least 3 courses that allowed me to work with clay and on weekends, when everyone was out partying, I was enjoying the peace and quiet in the ceramics room. Yeah, I'm weird, and kind of antisocial--but that's beside the point.
One of the saddest things about graduating was not having 24-hr access to a studio and kiln and no longer having a limitless supply of materials.
Fairly recently, however, I was introduced to polymer clay--a clay that is essentially made of a magical plastic that hardens very nicely when baked in an oven. I may not have access to a kiln--but I sure have access to an oven!
My first try with polymer clay was okay. I couldn't experiment very much because I was teaching an art class and spent most of my time helping my students develop their ideas.
I didn't give it another try until a few days ago when my husband bought me a pack of Sculpey III Brights.
When using new materials--or starting anything new really--I like to see what I can come up with first by myself, and then I gradually seek out resources to learn new techniques. This way I feel I can build on my own ideas instead of just copying things I've seen. So, I've been just playing around with the clay for a few days and so far, I've made a few charms that I've liked but none are completely finished yet.
My favorite one is my little mermaid which I enjoyed making so much that I thought I should share. It is pretty simple to put together and the result is really cute.
So let's begin!
Materials & Tools:
- You'll need Sculpey III Brights or some other clay.
- An oven
- Aluminum foil
- A place mat or paper to protect the surface you're working on
- wire cutters
- a flat small paint brush (optional)
Mix Your Colours
One thing I really love about the polymer clays that you just can't do with natural clays is blend colours. This was a lot of fun to do--it's just like mixing paint!
The colours in the Brights pack are pretty and, indeed, very bright--but they were just a little *too* bright for me to work with happily. Plus, I needed a skin tone for the mermaid.
- I blended purple, orange, yellow, and a little white for the skin.
- Purple & orange variably for the hair
- Orange & Yellow for the seashell bra
- Green & blue for the tail
- and Green & yellow for the fins
I'm going to add a wire loop to turn this into a charm (once I decide how I want it to hang) then I'm going to fire this.
I read somewhere that place a sheet of aluminum foil over your work when firing helps the process and when I have done this it does seem to be true. So that's most likely what I'll do for my mermaids as well.
Once they're baked I'll add faces and paint on any further details :) (I really wish I had some glaze to make them shiny grr)
When they're done I'll be sure to share! In the meantime I'd love to see what any of you can come up with!
UPDATE: Didn't expect to get Hub of the Day so I thought I better share some of the tips on how I eventually finished these charms!
Waiting until after the charm was baked didn't end up being the best idea. I used sharpie markers to finish off my design, which I hear fade over time--but so far I haven't had an issue.
Here are some better ways I learned to finish them:
The one I've come to prefer the most is rolling out tiny specs of clay--two flat dots for eyes and a skinny long one for a mouth then placing and pressing on to the clay.
You can also add features using Sculpey glazes before baking--or even craft paints. When it bakes it stays solid.
Best of luck everyone!