Hello my crafty friends!!! Is anyone else officially sick of winter? I have those winter “blahs” and have been less than motivated lately. I can’t wait for nicer weather so I can get outside and do some spray painting, sanding, and most of all, some “pickin!” In the meantime, I finally got around to experimenting with some air-dry clay, which I am loving!!!
It’s Crayola Air-Dry Clay to be specific, which is wallet-friendly at a whopping $4 per tub! And if you are planning on doing small figurines, this tub will go a long way! You can get this stuff anywhere; I got mine at Target!
I have a long list of “creatures” I’d like to make, but decided to start with gnomes and birds due to their easy, basic shapes. I eventually would like to make little pumpkins, little snowmen, crows and stars, and maybe some other types of Christmas ornaments. We’ll see!
I had a small bowl of water on hand for when the clay starts drying out. Just a little water helps make the clay nice and soft again.
For the hangers, I cut small pieces of thin wire and folded them in half to make little loops. Then I pushed them straight down into the top of the clay birds. Now that they are dry, the wire loops seem to be pretty firm in place.
You can make whatever shapes you’d like, as this clay is very soft and easy to work with!
Here’s my gang of gnomes, drying on the counter. I let them dry for a good two days before painting them. Obviously the thicker they are, the longer they’ll need to dry completely.
Before painting these guys, I looked up gnomes online and just got some ideas. I didn’t want to paint anything too complex. I like to draw out ideas before I start projects to decide which direction I’d like to go. I also found that drawing gnomes is really fun and addicting. LOL!
I lightly drew some lines for the beard and hat. Don’t press too hard or you’ll make indents in your clay.
And start painting! I used acrylic paint for this project. Now that I am done, I would recommend using water-based acrylics rather than the thicker, higher-pigmented acrylics. The thicker acrylics did not adhere to the clay as well and “chipped” off in places. The only down side to the water-based paint is that it is significantly thinner, so multiple coats are needed to get complete coverage.
You can see in the picture below, the difference between the 2 types of acrylic paint. The one on the left is the water based paint which adhered much better. The one on the right tended to “chip” more. I will definitely be using the water-based paint from now on.
And here’s one of the completed gnomes! Isn’t he cute? After the paint dried, I seal it with 2 coats of glossy mod podge. It created that shiny glazed kiln look! Here’s a before and after…
And here is a completed birdie. I painted the tip of his beak yellow and did little gray dots for eyes. I haven’t sealed this one yet, but I will use the same glossy mod podge. I used some thin jute twine to hang him up!
I love the black birds, but I also plan on painting a some red and some americana blue. I only painted a few of my creatures last night because they are a bit time-consuming, and I was also itching to post something since it’s been a while! I’ll be sure to post the rest once they’re painted, but it might be a while. Hehe…
Let me know if you give the air-dry clay a whirl, and how it goes! I think it would be great for kids crafts, but there’s a whole world of possibilities for folk art or “prim” type crafts too! Happy crafting and have a super-duper week!