This instructable will also be my entry into the valentines contest. My wife is also pretty geeky so I'm sure she'll love the tentacle heart, but shh! Don't tell her before valentines!
As with most of my project nowadays if you can see it you can buy it, this is due to the fact that I'm currently unemployed and I have a lot of time on my hands, but also because selling little things like this, even with these minimal margins, allows me to save up for workshop improvements. So if you're not creative or you haven't got time to make your own then buy one from me and contribute towards my laser cutter/ leak free shed roof fund.
More information and paypal links about the tentacles can be found here (https://sites.google.com/site/msraynsford/tentacles)
The Octopus and the other monsters under my laptop can be viewed and purchased here (https://sites.google.com/site/monsterundermylaptop/)
Step 1: The basic tentacle
A smooth board to roll clay on.
A smooth piece of plastic to use like a rolling pin (clear plastic allows you to see the tentacle as you roll it).
A scalpel or other sharp knife to cut the clay.
A paintbrush, used to create the shape of the suckers.
2 colours of clay, one for the tentacles and one for the suckers
Start with a block of clay, I used sculpey which comes in 12 handy blocks straight out the packet), so I just cut one of those blocks off.
Kneed the clay until it become malleable,
Sandwich the ball of clay under the plastic sheet, keeping one edge of the sheet against the cutting matt, slowly start to roll the clay into a cone shape.
Taking a much smaller piece of clay for the suckers, roll that clay into a thinner cone, this will become the suckers.
Cut this cone of clay into equal width pieces, because each piece has an equal width but slowly increasing diameter the volume gets larger.
I like to arrange my suckers at this stage into rows that will go onto the tentacle, each tentacle has 2 rows of suckers so if I'm making 2 tentacles I would arrange 4 rows. This ensures that the first row of suckers on the last tentacle are smaller than the second row on the first tentacle (if that make sense).
Roll each of these suckers into a small ball shape trying to make them as round as possible.
Press the point of the paintbrush into the smallest ball, it should stick to the paintbrush, then press the ball against the tentacle, it should leave the brush and stick to the tentacle. (further internet research advises doing this stage on some baking paper which helps with the stickyness)
Arrange the suckers in 2 lines along the tentacle, once complete you can bake it according the instructions on the packet.
Step 2: Making the Valentines goodness
Stand the 2 tentacles upright on the table and press the bases together, I also made sure the bottom 2 suckers were also pressed together. This is the main join for the two tentacles, so ensure they are attached firmly.
Gently bend the tentacle into a heart shape, be careful to do this slowly because the clay can tear rather than bend.
Fold the ends of the tentacle right over and press the tips together, making sure there is enough left over to wrap round each other.
Finally wrap the ends of the tentacles around each other and bake to harden.
Instructables user Clonebear made the blue and red tentacles shown in the images. He added a rather fetching puddle underneath which was made by marbling some of the blue tentacle clay with the white sucker clay to provide a neat little water effect.
Step 3: Valentines Tentacle 2
The flowers were made by taking a 1cm ball of clay and spliiting it into 7 equal sections. Each of these sections were then rolled into a ball and flattened between the fingers.
Gently flatten a small section of the disk so as the make the circle slightly wider on one side (a bit like a guitar pick)
Roll the first disk into a over upon itself so it forms a little spiral and becomes the central bud for the rose.
Wrap the other disks around the central bud continuing on the spiral shape and making the top edge of each petal slightly longer and thinner than the previous.
Once finished the flower is finished it will have formed a stem that you can wrap the end of the tentacle around. Add the flower to a standard tentacle shape and bake as usual. (photos to follow once the wife isnt looking)
Step 4: Fridge magnet tentacles
You will also need some release agent to remove the magnet prior to baking. I used some KY Jelly, just remember to pull a really big grin at the cashier who sells it to you to see who will blush first.
Start the tentacle cone as usual, but this time when the wide end starts to form press the lubricated magnet into it.
Finish the tentacle as usual and form it into the desired shape.
To remove the magnet take the stack of magnets and place it against the base, they'll stick and you can pull it out, leaving a hole the right size. Once baked you can glue the magnet back in to the hole.
Make four and arrange them on your fridge in interesting patterns.
Step 5: Tentacle box
They are pressed onto the edge of the box so that form a lip on the end of the tentacle, this helps relocate them once they have been baked and stops them being pulled off so easily.
The other trick with the tentacle box is to leave the tentacles exposed to the air in the desired position overnight, this way they harden slightly and won't loose their desired shapes when baked.
Step 6: Monster under my laptop
These tentacles were made with 1 and a half blocks of sculpey and the rest of the pack went into making the head. The head was shaped over a ping pong ball but became distorted when I realised I couldn't bake the ball and had to remove it. I think it worked well.
This is one of a series of monsters that I created to fit in the gap created under my laptop by it's fan pad. The others are all viewable on my own site (https://sites.google.com/site/monsterundermylaptop/)