It's the most magical time of the year and I don't know about you, but I always feel extra crafty. I've been really enjoying working with modelling clay lately and came up with this spooky ghost figurine project. This would be super fun to do with kids and doesn't require any hard to find tools or supplies. I'm sharing these step-by-step instructions so you can give it a try. If you do, please either tag me on social media or send your photos, I would love to see! Also, don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need help finding something.
Things you'll need for this project:
+ protective matt to work on (the clay is messy)
+ DAS Air Dry Modeling Clay (white)
+ wood dowels for propping while the figures dry - you need to use these thicker sticks as the figures are quite heavy. You could also use chopsticks.
+ a pokey tool to shape the eyes and mouth (could be a toothpick)
+ larger wood dowel for rolling your clay (you could use a rolling pin for this but will need to be very careful not to roll to thin)
+ pot with soil
+ small foam sanding sponge
+ small paintbrushes
+ acrylic paint or gouache
+ bowl or jar to cut the circle
+ glass of water
Poke your small wood dowels into the styrofoam balls.
Take out a substantial chunk of your modeling clay. Make sure you seal the package after doing this as the clay dries quickly. Roll out the clay.
You want a rough circle that is an even thickness and large enough for the bowl, glass, or jar you're using to cut the circle - the bowl I used is about 4" wide. Then cut like a cookie cutter.
Dip your fingers in the water and gently smooth the edges of your clay circle. Then place it in the palm of your hand and insert the styrofoam ball and dowel into the centre.
Begin to close your palm around the clay and it should naturally fold into pleats. You can use your hand to squeeze and tease certain sections until they look how you want them. Then you can turn your ghost upright and use the dowel to hold it while you mold (the clay is very flexible and you won't be able to rest it on a surface while it is wet).
My biggest tip here is to be careful how much you press and mold around the "neck" area. You will want to squeeze around the styrofoam ball to create a head shape, but if the clay gets too thin in this area, the weight of the folds of clay may cause your clay to tear. If this happens, it's in your best interest to just start over as the weight will always be working against any repairs you try to make.
Dip your fingers in water and begin shaping to create the illusion of movement or floating. Then use your pokey tool of choice to shape the eyes and mouth. I poked through until I hit the styrofoam to create deep eye wells.
Once you have the figurines looking how you want them, you can leave them in the pot of soil to dry. I found that because of the folded layers inside the figure, it took extra long to dry, roughly 3 days.
Once they are dry, use a foam sanding block to sand off any rough bits and to smooth the surface overall. There will likely be some small lines and cracks in the clay that you can sand out if you don't want them to show up when you've painted.
Use Mod Podge to seal the surface - you need to do this or when you apply paint the clay will become wet again and make your paint very gummy. I used gouache to paint my ghosts because I like the matte finish but you can use acrylic paint as well. If you can afford to buy a better quality one, it will save you time often cutting the number of coats you need in half. I did two coats of gouache.
Then paint! You will get better results doing multiple thin coats than to try getting full coverage on the first coat. I used a flat brush for the surface and a fine pointed brush to paint the eye sockets a darker colour.