Introduction: Christmas Tree Angel Topper

About: I'm a self taught polymer clay artist / sculptor making figurines, dolls and accessories. I sell my artworks in pop culture conventions and in my Etsy shop. I also make crafting and sculpting video tutorials…

This tutorial is great to make your own personalised angel Christmas tree topper. You can have fun creating the angel the personality and style that you want using recycled materials. It is also a beautiful gift you can share to family and friends.

To create this, I have combined my love for sculpting art dolls and creating from basic and recycled materials. I have uploaded a video of the sculpting and making process to further help you. I hope you have fun and let me know what you think.

Step 1: Materials

-Polymer clay

-Sculpting tools: spatula, ball stylus

-Drill bit

-Fimo dekogel (Liquid polymer clay)

-Aluminum wire and foil

-Paints: acrylic or heat set

-Wire cutter, Xacto knife, scissors

-Fabric: tuille, faux fur, polyester batting

-Needle and thread

-Glues: craft white glue, 2 part epoxy, glue gun

-Paint brushes

-Rubbing alcohol

-Empty plastic soda bottle

-Scotch tape

-LED faliry lights

-Convection oven

Step 2: Sculpting the Head

Firstly, make the armature of the head with aluminum foil. Wrap the armature with clay and shape as shown on the 2nd photo. To sculpt the features of the face, it is helpful to have a reference photo on hand. I like to map out where the eyes, nose and mouth on the face. After which, I fill the features of the face adding small pieces of clay to create the eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks and chin. To smoothen out the clay I brush on some rubbing alcohol which acts as a mild solvent. I then bake the head when I have achieved the face I like for 30 minutes in 110 degrees celsius convection oven. When the piece is cool enough to handle, I then add more clay on the top and back of the head. Brush on liquid clay such as Fimo deko gel whenever you are attaching raw and cured clay together. Baking the clay multiple times helps prevent distorting what you've already sculpted.

Step 3: Sculpting the Body

Again I start making an armature for the torso and upper limbs using aluminum wire twisted together then wrapped with foil. I check this armature against my sketch. Then I start adding clay on the armature starting with the torso then arms shown on the 3rd photo. Similar with the head, I bake this and then continue adding clay until I fill out all the structures of the body. I then add a piece of wire for the neck then attach the head. Making sure I have smoothen out the seams.

For the hands, I shape it to a rectangular flat piece and cut with a knife to create the four fingers. I then add the thumb. I like to shape the hands and give a sense of movement to it by manipulating the fingers delicately. I then attach the hand on the forearm by cutting the palm midway and enveloping it to the wrist.

Step 4: Painting & Adding Hair

I used heat set paints for the face and acrylic paints for the body. It is best to paint in layers rather than applying thickly to prevent brush marks.

I used wool for the hair. I made wefts by gluing one end with craft glue on a piece of wax paper. I let this dry completely then detach it from the paper and applied on the head starting from the nape of the neck then upwards. To style the hair, I used the glue to keep the hair in place.

Step 5: Making the Wings

I also used armature wire for the wings. I then glued the patterned wings made from synthetic fur on the wire with a glue gun. I used craft glue to hide the seams shown on 4th photo. I made 2 holes on the back with a drill bit and attached the wings using a 2 part epoxy glue.

Step 6: Making the Base (skirt)

For the base, I recycled a soda plastic bottle and cut the bottom part using a knife. The cut part is then taped to avoid cutting myself while I attach the LED lights in the bottle using tape. I then added batting on the top part of the bottle to give a dome-shaped curve for the skirt and held it in place with glue and thread.

For the skirt, I used 2 pieces of tuille fabric and inserted one end in the mouth of the bottle while the bottom part is secured with glue. I sculpted the skirt by sewing on several areas of the fabric until I achieve the shape I like.

I attached the torso on the skirt using a 2-part epoxy then glued a piece of fabric on its waist as a belt. I shaped the ends of the belt by gluing it on several areas on the skirt.

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