Garden Art forum: Polymer Clay "John" mini-sculpture Tutorial

Views: 2395, Replies: 9 » Jump to the end
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
Tip Photographer Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Ponds Orchids Container Gardener
Butterflies Birds Region: Florida Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Garden Art
Image
Sossman
Sep 12, 2011 5:13 PM CST
Thumb of 2011-09-13/Sossman/3a2ca3

As promised, here's the tutorial for how I make my "Johns".


Here is how I make them. I am using Sculpey polymer clay but you can use any brand that you feel comfortable with. For this particular project, I used flesh colored clay and two different push molds.

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/feba17

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/44b3f0


I use baby powder in my molds to keep the clay from sticking and making it easier to remove the clay from the mold. Just dust some into the mold and tap out the excess. You can also use cornstarch. Condition the clay well (I do one piece at a time) until it is nice and pliable. Roll it into a ball in your hands until very smooth, then roll it into a tube shape. Work the clay into the mold and smooth it down flat. If you have too much clay you can either pinch off some excess or, if it's not too much, just push it to the sides to overflow the mold. GENTLY remove the piece from the mold. If you have stretched or bent it a bit getting it out of the mold, it's very easy to gently push it back into shape, being careful not to mess up the little details. Any excess clay can now be removed using a sharp knife.

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/91d861

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/70625b


I used a nice medium weight jewelry wire for connections. Make sure to push the wire into the clay to make the hole before baking.

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/2173d5

The body is free-formed. In order to not waste a lot of clay and to cut down on baking time, I take a bit of aluminum foil, about a 3 or 4 inch wide piece, and roll it into a ball. Take a good sized chunk of clay (you can always remove some as you are forming the body if you have too much, but it's hard to add more in if you did not take enough) and condition it well. Roll it into a ball in your hands then flatten it out a bit. Put the rolled up aluminum foil into the center of the clay and start forming the clay around it, creating a nice pear shape. Once you are satisfied with your shape, add body details if you wish. I take a small stick and gently roll it into the back to create buttocks and the use the end of the straw to make a little belly button. As with the hands and feet, you will need to take your wire and make holes in the body to connect the head, hands and feet. Since my beautician is female, I added a nice bust to her.

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/d82fac

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/8ef5dd

For my creations, I wanted them to hold something, so I take a small dowl and fold one of the hands over it. My beautician needed a hair dryer so I made one out of silver colored clay. Just create the general shape of what you want or go hog-wild and get in every detail. That's the fun of creating these. :)

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/0a4110


Once you have all your pieces made and holes put into all the appropriate places, it's time to bake according to your clay's directions. Each brand of clay has it's own instructions so be sure to check the label. Use only an oven that will not be used for food purposes as the clay releases gases that you sure don't want going into your food! I bake all like-sized pieces together. I put the small items into an oven safe bowl and put that onto a ceramic tile that sits on the shelf of my toaster oven. Once everything is baked and cooled, it's time to put it all together. I clip the wire to my desired size and fit everything together to make sure it looks good. Once I am satisfied, I put a small dab of super glue on the ends of the wires and put them permanently into place.

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/2209d8

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/990948


My John's all had hats so did not need any kind of hair. The beautician, on the other hand, needed some glorious hair! I took a package of curly doll's hair and cut ringlets off. I glued them on her head using Tacky glue. I used super glue to glue her hair dryer into her hand and used the finger of a rubber glove for her dress (but I will be changing that out for the end of a balloon as she needs to wear purple). You can go crazy with this and make her a smock or dress her however you wish. Personally, I wanted my beautician to look just a little trashy and wanted spandex but did not want the bother of sewing something. Rubber worked for me. :)

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/394124

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/73648f

And here's the final project!!

Thumb of 2011-09-12/Sossman/3dbeb6

Let me know if I missed something or if something is not clear enough. Have fun!!



[Last edited by Sossman - Sep 13, 2011 12:46 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #148436 (1)
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
Image
Ridesredmule
Sep 12, 2011 6:16 PM CST
Very good.
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
vic
Sep 12, 2011 7:26 PM CST

Moderator

I added the T so folks will know it's a tutorial!

THANKS for posting it Thumbs up
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
Tip Photographer Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Ponds Orchids Container Gardener
Butterflies Birds Region: Florida Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Garden Art
Image
Sossman
Sep 12, 2011 8:06 PM CST
Thanks Vicki Hurray! Hurray! Smiling Smiling
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
finding joy one day at a time!
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Art Purslane Garden Ideas: Master Level
Region: Southwest Gardening Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: United States of America Birds Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
Boopaints
Sep 12, 2011 10:11 PM CST

Moderator

Thanks for posting this fun tutorial, Sally! I love how easy you make it look.

Thanks for tagging it, Vic!
ALL THINGS PLANTS ~ Garden Art ~ Purslane & Portulaca ~
MY CUBITS ~ Trust in the Lord ~
MY WEB SITE ~ Joyful Times Today
Name: Debbie
Denham Springs, La. zone 8b (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Gulf Coast Region: Louisiana Region: United States of America Lilies
Roses Irises Garden Art Container Gardener Amaryllis Bulbs
Image
Debbie
Sep 13, 2011 2:37 AM CST
Sally, where did you get the molds?
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
goldfinch4
Sep 13, 2011 4:10 AM CST
Great tutorial Sally. These are just sooo cute!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Sally
Wesley Chapel. FL (Zone 9a)
Tip Photographer Plant and/or Seed Trader Tropicals Ponds Orchids Container Gardener
Butterflies Birds Region: Florida Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Garden Art
Image
Sossman
Sep 13, 2011 5:40 AM CST
Debbie, I got the molds from Michael's. But it seems that both Michael's and JoAnns are hit and miss with clay molds. They carry plenty of the clay itself and lots of tools, but molds are really hard to find. However, you can find more molds than you can shake a stick at online. If I had money, this house would be over run with all the molds!!! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
Image
Ridesredmule
Sep 13, 2011 6:46 AM CST
I know that feeling. Molds are great!!!
Name: Robin
Pittsburg, MO
Charter ATP Member I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Art Birds
Orchids Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Hummingbirder Region: Missouri Plumerias
Image
Robynznest
Sep 13, 2011 9:53 AM CST
Great job, gave me an idea for a project. For this winter anyway.
Save the planet, it's the only one with chocolate.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Garden Art forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Lilium 'Pink Perfection'"