Introduction: Eeeek! It's a Handmade Wine Stopper!
Clay is such a versatile medium, and anybody can find a level of expression with it. Here's a sweet and easy stocking stuffer that will actually be used.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Clay (I used a mid-fire Clay, but you can use low-fire or even Sculpey)
Glaze (or paint for Sculpey)
Access to a kiln (or an oven for Sculpey)
A wine cork
Needle tool or toothpick
Step 2: Make the Body
Form a wedge that's pointed on one end. Shove the cork into the wedge and continue to sharpen the nose area. The rear end should be rounded. Try to balance the weight of the clay on the cork, but don't worry too much if it won't stand alone; lots of wine stoppers don't stand alone.
Step 3: Form the Ears
Take a tiny piece of clay and form a ball. Flatten it and pinch one end together. Curl the large edge in to make an ear. Then do it again and make a set.
Step 4: Attach the Ears
Identify the placement for the ears, and score those spots. Use a bit of water to make the attachment spot nice and gooey. Then score the back side of the ear, add a drop of water to that, and press the ear gently onto the head. Do it again on the other side. Check placement to make sure they look like ears. If you need to move one, do it before you press too hard. You can repair the scored area with a bit of water.
Step 5: Give Him a Tail
Roll a small amount of clay into a slender three-inch coil. Attach it to the butt end of the mouse, and curl it over the back. A touch of water helps adhere the tail to the body.
Step 6: Give Him Eyes and Fur
Using a needle tool or round toothpick, give him eyes. Again, placement is important here, so make a faint mark before you give them any depth. Then give him some fur using a dry paint brush or just some stiff broom bristles.
Step 7: Finish
A mid-fire clay will require several days to dry, then a bisque firing, a glazing, and a second firing. Sculpey clay can be baked in the oven. It might take longer than you'd usually bake it (around 20 minutes at 220°) because the mouse has some bulk to it. Sculpey can be painted with acrylic paints, or you can use a color appropriate to a mouse. This is really fun, and it's easy to make it look sweet. If you haven't used clay before, find a studio and get to it!