I hope you’re feeling crafty! As promised, I’m going to share some of my favorite craft projects with you on this blog. Today, I’m going to lead you through a tutorial on how to make my Sculpey Penguin Christmas Ornaments!
One of my favorite craft materials is Sculpey polymer clay. It’s non-toxic, comes in tons of fun colors (including sparkle, neon, metallic, etc), and is easy to use and bake. Sculpey is fairly inexpensive (especially if you get it on sale) and is available at craft stores like Michael’s.
I have been creating clay figurines ever since I was a counselor at my church summer camp in high school. One of the girls on staff brought the stuff for kids to play with during their free time, and I basically spent all my time at the table, helping kids with their projects and working on my own. I’ve created a whole menagerie of animals and people (which I would show you, but they’re packed away from our move and I couldn’t find them in time for this post).
My Penguin Christmas Ornaments are a great project for a beginner, have tons of charm, and make great holiday gifts. In my experience, kids LOVE working with Sculpey; however, these penguins do require a bit of a delicate touch, so this project is probably best suited to kids who have fairly well developed fine-motor skills (or who have older helpers to assist them with some of the small details). (Please excuse the poor photography and lighting…for now I’m working with my iPhone. They’ll get better, promise!)
So, without further ado, here’s the tutorial! (In order to better understand the written instructions, I recommend scrolling through and looking at all the pictures first, so that you have a better idea of what I’m talking about while you’re reading.)
Step 1: Gather your materials. Everything you see here can be purchased at a craft store.
- Sculpey clay in black, white, yellow, orange, and a fifth color of your choice for hat and scarf
- String, fishing line or alternative for hanging ornament
- Small metal eyelet pins (one for each ornament you plan to create)
- *optional* tool for creating small details–you can use your fingernails, a tooth pick, and other objects you have at home
- *not pictured* a pyrex baking sheet or dish to bake your finished penguin in
Step 2: Roll the clay into balls which will become the body of the penguin, two wings, the white stomach, the hat and scarf, two feet, and the beak. You’ll also create two tiny eyeballs, trim and bobble for the beanie, and a tail, but I usually do those later. Rolling the clay into balls first makes the clay much easier to work with. Also, when you have a pair of things that you want to be the same size (like the wings or the feet) it’s easier to make sure they end up the same size by creating to equal-sized balls.
Step 3: Take the largest black ball and roll it between your hands so that it becomes narrower one one side.
Step 4: Pinch and roll the clay near the top to form the head of the penguin. It should end up looking like a fat bowling pin.
Step 5: Take your white ball of clay and flatten it into a circle. Pinch one side of the circle so that you end up with a flat teardrop shape. This will be your penguin’s belly. Press the white belly gently on to the penguin’s body. You don’t need to smoosh it too hard, the clay should stick together easily.
Step 6: Take one of the two smaller black balls you created and form another flat teardrop shape. Do the same thing to the other small black ball. You’ve just created your penguin’s wings. Make sure they’re approximately the same size and thickness. Gently attach them to your penguin’s sides.
Step 7: Create two tiny white balls for your penguin’s eyes, making sure your hands are fairly clean (you don’t want the black clay rubbing off onto the white clay and creating grey clay).
Step 8: Roll two tiiiiiiiiiny, black eyeballs for your penguin and stick them on to the whites of the eyes.
Step 9: Create a triangular shaped beak out of your ball of yellow clay by pinching it into a point on one side and flattening the backside. Gently push it onto your penguin’s face, right under it’s eyes.
Step 10: Flatten one of your red balls of clay into a flat, round disk. Place the disk on top of your penguin’s head. You’re making a beanie!
Step 11: Roll out a length of white clay into a thin tube. Wrap this white tube around the outside of the beanie. Cut off any excess and smooth out the ends with your finger. I also like to add some small line details around the white part for texture. **I forgot to take a picture of this, but roll a small ball of white clay and stick it on top of the hat for the white bobble.
Step 12: Roll out a long tube of red clay. Flatten the clay out gently with your finger. This is going to be your penguin’s scarf. Wrap the scarf around the penguin’s neck. **optional: I like to add a little fringe to the ends of the scarf by rolling out tiny ovals of clay. You could also add in a fringe detail by pressing into the clay with a toothpick, or other thin object.
Step 13: Take your two balls of orange clay and flatten and pinch them into flat, rounded, triangular shapes. Use a tool or your fingernails, or a toothpick to press in small webbing details. Line up the feet side by side and press the bottom of your penguin into them. They should stick pretty well with moderate pressure.
Step 14: Create a flat, triangular shape for the tail. Stick on your penguin’s behind.
Step 15: Push in the eyelet pin straight down into the top of your penguin. I usually put mine right behind the bobble on the hat. **Make sure that the pin hole faces left to right instead of front to back, so that when you put in your ornament string, it will allow you to hang your ornament so that the penguin faces outwards instead of to the side.
Step 16: Bake your penguin (or penguins) according to the instructions listed on the Sculpey packaging. After they have cooled the proper amount of time, you can add the ornament string. The penguins are ready for hanging on your Christmas tree! Enjoy!
I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you found the instructions and photos clear. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments. Also, yes, this design (and all future Sculpey designs on this blog) is of my own creation. I didn’t use any instructions or “how-to’s.”
If you have any requests for a specific clay-molding tutorial (i.e. different kinds of animals, people, etc), please let me know in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do!