Step 1: Begin with Modeling Magic
First you need:
a nice mask - one that is sturdy enough to hold some weight, and takes hot glue (about $3.00 at the craft store - the cheaper ones are probably too flimsy for this project)
Modeling Magic. It's from the craft store as well. It comes in colors, but I spray painted mine for a nice finish
hot glue and glue gun
felt in favorite colors (brights for parrots, black for crows, browns and greys for owls)
surface to work on
something like a rolling pin to use while clay is drying.
FIrst, roll out the modeling magic to about 1/4" thick - thick enough to be able to mold it nicely without cracking, but not so thick that it adds too much extra weight. If you've never worked with Modeling Magic, it is a lightweight material that air dries after 24 hours. Pretty nice to work with.
Shape the Modeling magic into a roughly triangulated shape. I think it looks like a manta ray. The Modeling Magic is very pliable, but it is NOT easy to ADD material too without creating lines. If you make a big mistake, just roll out another piece and start again. I rolled out a piece that was too large (about 6" wide by 8" long) so that I could cut back rather than add to.
take the manta ray, and fold it in half. Pinch the fold together, then open it back up. This will give you a rather "parrot-like" ridge on the beak.
If you need to make more than one, like I did, you can also put the clay on top of another piece to use as a pattern and cut it out. You can use a knife or scissors. Scissors seem to work nicely on this stuff.