Introduction: Clay 101: Make a Snake!

I havn't played with clay since grade school art class- looong time ago.  Every so often I'd buy some stuff to try out, but then get distracted with other projects and forget all about it.  This clay had been sitting around for about a year now, and before it turned into yet another rock hard lump, I thought maybe it's time to take the plunge.  So I made a snake- it didn't take very long, wasn't very difficult, and really was fun.

Step 1: Materials

I wasn't sure what would be needed, so there's a few things in this photo that weren't used.

wax paper- keeps the clay from sticking on work surface
clay- this is some air dry clay, but I imagine that the baking kind would work just as well
straw- to make the scale pattern
toothpick or other sharp pointy thing to draw eyes, nose
paintbrush & water- to moisten base when adding snake
an empty can or a lid from a jar- something round the size you want to make the base- use as template

There's another photo further on with the paints I used after it dried.

Step 2: Make the Base

I ended up using the top of a spray can to cut the base with- just flattened out the clay and used like a cookie cutter.

Step 3: Make the Snake

Just rolled the clay on the table to make a long cylinder- one end pointy for the tail, and on the other a bit of extra clay to form a head.  I used a straw to make the scale marks- you have to do it on an angle, otherwise snake will be spotty instead of scaley.  A wooden skewer marked the eyes and nose.

Step 4: Add Snake to Base

I jiust brushed some water around the edge of the base and coiled the snake on it- as this was going to hold rings and things, made sure the tail was up enough to accomodate them.  The directions on the clay said it dries in 24 hrs (approx- depends on thickness), but I waited 48 just to be sure- and also it was geting painted.

Step 5: Paint the Snake

Ended up using just the gesso and the watercolors.  A good coat of gesso then a yellow wash, and then the pattern got blocked out.  Google images has vast snake images- some of them are just amazing!  This isn't any particular one, but it could be. 

Step 6: Add Some Green

I gave Snakey two coats of green paint and finally a bit of yellow for highlights- originally I was going to paint the base dark and leave it, but decided to put felt there instead.

Step 7: Finish With Felt

I measured a circle on the felt with something that looked like it would fit inside the snake coil- cut it out and set it in place.  And that's it!

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