Clay sculpting might seem intimidating, but your local craft store carries a wide range of products that can get you, and your kids, started off to a fun hobby. A single 2-oz package of Sculpey Bake Shop Oven-Bake Clay, geared for children rather than artists, only costs $1.20 and comes in 12 colors. It is the size and shape of a brownie and packaged like one, so stress to kids that it is not edible. Have them use their hands or found tools for scoring, poking or moulding. Let’s make a painted trinket dish.
One 2-oz. package white Sculpey ‘Bake Shop’ Oven Bake Clay
Tempera paint (or Sculpey ‘Bake Shop’ Oven Bake Clay) at least 2 colors
Small oven-proof bowl
Prepare work area as uncured clay will damage furniture or unprotected surfaces. Preheat oven as instructed on the Sculpey packet.
Birds: Cut a third of the clay. Knead 2 minutes or until clay feels like dough. Hand-form two birds. Use toothpick to poke eyes on either side. Set aside.
Bowl: Knead the rest of clay two minutes or until soft. Slightly grease outside bottom of small oven-proof bowl (like Pyrex ramekin). Form clay around bottom of bowl. Press down on work surface for a flat bottom so bowl won’t tip.
Adults, place birds and bowl (upside down with clay) in baking dish or foil-lined pan in pre-heated oven. Follow product’s baking instructions. Pull out bowl five minutes before recommended time. Gently unmold with tongs; it will be hot. Put clay bowl, upright, back in oven. Continue baking. Watch baking time closely as thinner parts will brown if over-baked. Let cool completely. Have kids paint birds with strokes in one direction, beak to tail. Paint bowl in circular direction, leaving rim and underside white. Once dry to touch, glue birds on rim of bowl and let dry.
Bunnies or bears are easier alternatives. Kids can roll varying sizes of clay balls for head, body, ears, arms, and legs. Make sure bowl size is larger than animal height or dish will tip over. Follow directions above. If using colored clay, choose colors accordingly, and skip painting. You can also leave birds white and attach with strong, fast-drying glue on rim of small, colorful bowl from the dollar store or home goods store. The white will look crisp against the brightly-colored bowl.
For the Sculpey Bake Shop Oven Bake Clay, visit your local Jo-ann etc at 21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050 in the Desert Ridge Marketplace or go to www.joann.com for a store near you. Check out www.sculpey.com for products, kits and projects. See part 2 for affordable sculpting-related youth and parent-and-child classes in Phoenix.
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