Experimenting With Air Dry Clay ~ Mini Gnomes & Hanging Crows

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, someΒ  “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! πŸ™‚ You can get this stuff anywhere; I got mine at Target!

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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.

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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.

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You can make whatever shapes you’d like, as this clay is very soft and easy to work with!

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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.

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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!

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I lightly drew some lines for the beard and hat. Don’t press too hard or you’ll make indents in your clay.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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! πŸ˜‰ 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!

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Navy Wife Chronicles
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 13:05:52

    Oh my goodness, those figurines are so cute! Wow, who would have thought Crayola? πŸ™‚

    Reply

  2. Kim Territo
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:05:16

    Luv the gnomes, they’re so cute!!!

    Reply

  3. cheryl
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 17:12:25

    Love the little crows, and with the gnomes, I see little santas for Christmas:)

    Reply

  4. Gale H.
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 18:35:23

    Great idea and so cute. Add a couple of ears for Easter too! Oh what fun you can have. πŸ˜‰

    Reply

  5. Barbara Briggs Ward
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 23:38:06

    Never heard of air-dry-clay! So cute-so many possibilities! Love your gnomes!

    Reply

  6. Margaret S.
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 07:38:05

    Can you please explain what you mean by water-based paint? Thanks so much! Love your stuff!

    Reply

    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jan 30, 2013 @ 08:24:03

      Hi Margaret! The water-based acrylics will say they are waterbased on the side of the bottle. They usually come in small round bottle and tend to be less expensive. They are a little thinner and seem to work better on the clay. The more “professional” acrylics (expensive ones, very thick and come in tubes almost look like tooth paste) were a little too much for this project. I hope this helps. Just read the labels and look for something that says water-based – usually near the spray paint, tempera paints, etc. in the craft store. Thanks for reading my post and have a great day! πŸ™‚

      Reply

  7. Margaret S.
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 11:09:28

    Got it! So my little cheapie bottles are what you are talking about! πŸ™‚ Need some craft therapy these days and I love those little birds!

    Reply

  8. bymy2hands
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 14:03:56

    Most adorable little guys! Great work!

    Reply

  9. Mardell
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 08:33:36

    Adorbs!!!! Love them all! It’s good to have you back. Jan. blahs are over ~ it’s Feb. now ~ yay!

    I’m thinking mushrooms to go with your gnomes (or “toad stools.”)
    Have a great weekend.
    Mardell

    Reply

  10. Matt
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 00:18:16

    Glad to see your back:-D! Love the new project idea. I’m going to give it a try. I agree with Mardell as well, the toad stools would go great in a set with the gnomes. So many possibilities! Ready for the warmer weather.

    Reply

  11. Sara
    Feb 07, 2013 @ 13:51:45

    Love these! The birds r so cute! You did a awesome job πŸ™‚

    Reply

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