It’s A Bust!

NO really, it is! A miniature one anyway…
I once made an exact polymer clay figure of my dear Daddy. But I forgot to bake it! So it sat on the shelf for years and years and as we watched it lose it’s structure, my Dad joked that it’s decline posture was a little too lifelike! I’ve since remembered to bake my little creations or at least use materials that can air dry. Which brings us to this project…

What is a home without a little breath of whimsy? A full bust of a famous composer might not fit your decor, but a silly little character fits in just about anywhere! Make monsters, gnomes, little ladies…anything you’d like to liven up a quiet corner or sleepy bookshelf.
Want to make your own shelf-sized “bust?” Here’s how to do this super simple project…

Make your own paper clay character
Make your own paper clay character

What you’ll need:

2 small Styrofoam balls. For this Paper clay project, I used one round for the head and one egg shaped for the body.
Paper clay (you could probably use paper mache instead but Paperclay is a joy to work with – try it if you haven’t!) You can get a product called Creative Paperclay: http://www.paperclay.com Check out their site to find retailers near you.
Paint – I used watercolor paints to give it a little more variation in color and so that it would dry quickly.
(optional) A toothpick and some small clay shaping tools – I just used a Popsicle stick

How to do it:

1. Work the clay over the egg shaped Styrofoam ball. This will be your base and make up the body and shoulders of your finished mini bust
2. Next cover the round ball with paper clay as well. You can pop the head on the body and join them with a toothpick.
3. Next smoosh the extra clay from the head in with the extra clay at the top of the body. This will join the pieces together and give you a figure that looks like a default avatar. (hehe)
4. Next take small pieces of clay and use your fingers to begin to form the figure’s facial features. Refine the features with your Popsicle stick tool.
5. I made paper clay “worms” to make 3D hair. You can do this now or plan to add some other kind of hair and hats and accessories later. They can be glued on with craft glue after your piece is dried and painted.
6. Once you are happy with the structure of your design, you will need to let it dry. This can take a few days and depends on how thick your clay is. You may need to turn it each day to make sure all sides are dry. When you can tap it and it makes a hollow sound, you know it is ready to be painted.
7. Time to paint the features. I painted the face in a pale peach, then added layers of other colors for blush, ladylike lipstick, and brown mascara.
8. When your paint is dry, feel free to add crazy accessories. My figure is just painted, but that isn’t to say it wouldn’t be really fun to glue on a feather boa or beads. Have fun with it…the point is to make you smile every time you walk by it so go crazy!

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