How to Make a Cute Polymer Clay Mermaid

Updated on March 8, 2018
My first Sculpey Mermaid
My first Sculpey 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!

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Materials & Tools:

Materials:

  • You'll need Sculpey III Brights or some other clay.
  • Wire

Tools:

  • An oven
  • Aluminum foil
  • A place mat or paper to protect the surface you're working on
  • wire cutters
  • tweezers
  • a flat small paint brush (optional)


Click thumbnail to view full-size

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 started with the tail.
I started with the tail.
To make sure the fins wouldn't fall off I put a small piece of wire through the tip of the tail.
To make sure the fins wouldn't fall off I put a small piece of wire through the tip of the tail.
Then I added the fins.
Then I added the fins.
Next I took a ball of the clay for the body flattened it on one side and pressed it on to the tail--blending the edges and creating a cone shape.
Next I took a ball of the clay for the body flattened it on one side and pressed it on to the tail--blending the edges and creating a cone shape.
I rolled out two little coils for arms and one ball for the head.
I rolled out two little coils for arms and one ball for the head.
I attached the arms then put a small piece of wire on through the neck to make sure the head would stay on.
I attached the arms then put a small piece of wire on through the neck to make sure the head would stay on.
Then I attached the head.
Then I attached the head.
I messed up this one's hairline a bit--it seems she has a widows peek!  To try to avoid doing that I did mark off the hairline very gently with some wire.
I messed up this one's hairline a bit--it seems she has a widows peek! To try to avoid doing that I did mark off the hairline very gently with some wire.
I didn't want the hair too be too uniform so I blended a few shades of the rose purple to work with.   I then broke it into little pieces and rolled those tiny pieces into coils.
I didn't want the hair too be too uniform so I blended a few shades of the rose purple to work with. I then broke it into little pieces and rolled those tiny pieces into coils.
I attached the coils to the top of the head and curled the ends gently. (This was my favorite part)
I attached the coils to the top of the head and curled the ends gently. (This was my favorite part)
I already had a shell to use for her hair, but for the purpose of this demonstration I made a new one with orange and purple coils.
I already had a shell to use for her hair, but for the purpose of this demonstration I made a new one with orange and purple coils.
I twisted the coils together tight...
I twisted the coils together tight...
...then rolled them out until they were inseparable.
...then rolled them out until they were inseparable.
Then I curled the coil up
Then I curled the coil up
All done.
All done.
I then pressed the shell firmly but gently in the hair to secure it (in my first one I put a bit of wire to keep it secure first but I don't know if that's completely necessary).
I then pressed the shell firmly but gently in the hair to secure it (in my first one I put a bit of wire to keep it secure first but I don't know if that's completely necessary).
Here's where it starts to get tricky. Roll two tiny balls, and 4 even tinier ones.
Here's where it starts to get tricky. Roll two tiny balls, and 4 even tinier ones.
Using your tweezer place and press the tiny balls onto the body of the mermaid.   I then used the back of my tweezer to shape it into more of a shell shape.
Using your tweezer place and press the tiny balls onto the body of the mermaid. I then used the back of my tweezer to shape it into more of a shell shape.
I then placed the four even smaller balls on either side of the shell are a little extra detail.
I then placed the four even smaller balls on either side of the shell are a little extra detail.
draw some lines in the shells and there you have it! I did not do this (because I can't find my paintbrushes) but with the paint brush you can gently smooth out any fingerprints you may have left on the clay.
draw some lines in the shells and there you have it! I did not do this (because I can't find my paintbrushes) but with the paint brush you can gently smooth out any fingerprints you may have left on the clay.

Finishing touches

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!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • GetitScene profile image

        Dale Anderson 

        4 years ago from The High Seas

        Love it! My wife actually made one of these!

      • DommaLeigh profile image

        DommaLeigh 

        5 years ago

        I love your mermaid. I haven't played with my clay in a while but I think it would be worth digging out to make a few of these. One tip you might want to add is to wear crafting gloves as the oil in your skin will change the color of the clay when baked. The warmth from your hands still transfers through the gloves when softening your clay without leaving any mess on your hands. I also change gloves when I change colors.

      • PURPLECANDY profile image

        PURPLECANDY 

        6 years ago from ANYWHERE

        I love this, and I am definitely going to make it!

      • prasetio30 profile image

        prasetio30 

        6 years ago from malang-indonesia

        I love this hub. Very creative and the mermaid was so cute. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

        Prasetio

      • manicpanicplease profile image

        L Brander 

        6 years ago from Canada

        Haha ok, I'm sure you'll make a cute friend for your mermaid.

      • followthestray profile imageAUTHOR

        Samantha Harris 

        6 years ago from New York

        No, but I can give a merman a try and see what I come up with!

      • manicpanicplease profile image

        L Brander 

        6 years ago from Canada

        Cool Hub, very well presented. Did you every try making mermen too?

      • izettl profile image

        Laura Izett 

        6 years ago from The Great Northwest

        Very cool. I made things for and with my daughter out of this clay and baked it too. But yours are way more detailed than what we made. Very creative.

      • jpcmc profile image

        JP Carlos 

        6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

        This is so adorable. Cogratualation for being the HOTD.

      • CloudExplorer profile image

        Mike Pugh 

        6 years ago from New York City

        Congrat's on your awesome hub of the day, I love the creativity here, and I too was antisocial in a way many years back, but thanks to the Military it helped me get rid of being so shy, and now I enjoy socializing with folks.

        I love the craft you've mastered here, it looks so fun, and I will share this for you everywhere I can, lovely job! Thumbs up and out!

      • profile image

        v1p3r 

        6 years ago

        amazing

      • jennzie profile image

        Jenn 

        6 years ago from Pennsylvania

        So adorable! This seems like it was a lot of fun to make.

        Nice job. :-)

      • GetitScene profile image

        Dale Anderson 

        6 years ago from The High Seas

        My wife made one of these a few years ago!

      • Joanofark profile image

        Joanofark 

        6 years ago from South Africa

        Totally amazing, wow!

      • Kai0224liu profile image

        kaikai 

        6 years ago from TX

        Omg so cute, already follow u

      • Emma Harvey profile image

        Emma Kisby 

        6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

        Wow, what a great hub. I have never heard of this clay but it sounds like a great way of making cute models. Your step by step guide is really helpful.

        Congrats on hub of the day - voting up and awesome.

      • dbuddhika profile image

        dbuddhika 

        6 years ago

        Nice Project & beautiful mermaid. Congratulations on Hub of the day

      • profile image

        HubTub 

        6 years ago

        Love your colorful, brilliant photographs and all your step-by-step instructions. I love fiddling with clay. I may have to try this. Most importantly, congratulations on Hub of the Day!

      • followthestray profile imageAUTHOR

        Samantha Harris 

        6 years ago from New York

        I added some tips at the end on how to finish this since I sort of left it open ended when I wrote this! Hope that helps!

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        6 years ago from sunny Florida

        this is so cute. Your pictures are the BEST. This step by step model of how to construct this form is excellent. Thank you so much for sharing.

        I cannot wait to make a merman with my grandson. I will make a mermaid with his help and then we will make the little merman. Cute, cute stuff .

      • followthestray profile imageAUTHOR

        Samantha Harris 

        6 years ago from New York

        Oh wow! Thanks everyone!

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 

        6 years ago from Hawaii

        Super cool! I've always loved all the polymer clay colors, but never been able to make something worth having. Thanks for the great instructions and congrats on hub of the day!

      • rituu123 profile image

        Rituu 

        6 years ago from Mumbai

        Nice Hub ,voted useful , Congrats for Hub of the Day award.

      • Robertgillbert profile image

        Robertgillbert 

        6 years ago from UK

        Nice hub...

      • Zoelle profile image

        Zoelle 

        6 years ago from Southern California

        What a cute and fun hub! Congrats on the hub of the day award!

      • Julie DeNeen profile image

        Blurter of Indiscretions 

        6 years ago from Clinton CT

        Wow. Nice job! Very creative and fun. :) Congratulations on the Hub of the Day!

      • MAGICFIVE profile image

        MAGICFIVE 

        6 years ago from New York

        This is so adorable! I love the way you show everything, step by step! I think even I could make this! (I love the colors of the Sculpy Bright)!

      • followthestray profile imageAUTHOR

        Samantha Harris 

        6 years ago from New York

        Thank you!

      • ripplemaker profile image

        Michelle Simtoco 

        6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

        It's so cute. Loved the photos as I can picture how it is done from start to finish. Thanks for sharing :)

        Congrats on your Hubnuggets nomination. See it this way http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hub/HubNuggets-... and be sure to read and vote!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://feltmagnet.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)