Introduction: Gremlin Tube Hitch Cover

About: I love making things and keeping busy. I prefer making things rather than buying the finished products. People say to me 'you know, would have been cheaper if you just bought it', but they don't understand t…

I used to ride about 170+ miles a week on my road bike, so I had a hitch installed on my car for easy access.  Now, sadly enough, I'm down to 0 miles and no longer carry a bike rack so I wanted something to cover the hitch.  I decided to go with Gremlins to go with my 'mixed tape' in my car of 80's new wave and hair bands.  I took a break from creating cutesy bears and ventured beyond my sculpting comfort zone.

NOTE:  I partially bake the pieces for about 10 minutes during various stages of assembly.  Before baking the pieces, make sure it fits in your hitch.  I didn't do this and ended up trimming small piece of the back of the head and shifting the ears.


Polymer Clay - I used Fimo Clay purchased from Hobby Lobby, Joanne's, or MIchaels (depending on sales)

Steel tube cover-  purchased from Amazon.  I made the mistake of using the cheaper plastic thinking the low oven temperature would be ok but it warped.

Pasta machine or rollers - for flattening the clay.

Varathane Polyurethane High Gloss Varnish - I bought this from Amazon.  This could probably be omitted if you use Environmental Technology 32-Ounce Kit Lite Pour-On, High Gloss Finish.

Environmental Technology 32-Ounce Kit Lite Pour-On, High Gloss Finish - to waterproof and increase protection against the elements.  One thick coat is supposed to equal about 50 coats of varnish.  I purchased this from Michaels using their 40% off  coupon.

Step 1: Cover the Face Plate

1.  Flatten out a sheet of black clay using either the pasta machine or hand roller.

2.  Cut out a retangular piece from the flattened sheet to fit the face plate of the tube cover.  Place the cut clay over the face plate and fold over the edges.  Smooth the edges  of the clay on the back of the face plate. 

3.  Flatten a piece of grey metallic clay and cut a small retangle piece that will fit under the jagged black edges (refer to picture)

4.  Cut a small retangular piece of black clay (slightly larger than the grey piece in step 3).  Split the retangular piece of clay by cutting a jagged line.  Place the 2 cut pieces on the face plate on either sides of the grey piece.  Smooth the edges of the clay (excluding the jagged edlges) to blend the seams.

4.  Fold back the jagged cut edges.
NOTE:  I wish I had flattened the cut edges a little more so that it would not stick so far out (and make them less fragile and possible breakage).

Step 2: Add the Gremlin Head

I used green, tan, and white fimo clay for the Gremlin.

Follow the pictures to sculpt the head.

Start off with a rolled ball of green clay and add additonal clay pieces for the facial features.  I found that the tip of a knitting needle and a small ball tool are useful fo blending the seams.

I added some Sculpey Translucent Clay to the head as glue and attached it to the back of the face plate before proceeding with the ears.

Take a needle tool and create striations in the clay next to the mouth to make it appear as if the Gremlin is biting the tube cover.


Cut two small pieces of wires for the ears. Drill a small hole in the back of the head, and insert the wire to make sure it fits correctly and is the desired size for the ears.

To create the striped ears, roll a long sausage of tan and green clays and cut into pieces. 

Take the cut pieces and alternate colors, starting with green, and connect them into a long piece.  Roll gently to blend the seams. 

Cut a line along the length of the striped roll gently (don't cut all the way through) to insert the wire and gently roll to blend the seams.

Flatten a thin piece of tan clay and cut into an oval.  Take a needle tool to gently created ridges along the ear, and pinch the clay with your fingers to sharpen the crease.

Add this tan clay to the striped clay and blend the seams gently.  Add the ears to the holes in the back of the head.

Test the tube cover and make sure it fits in the hitch before baking.  Adjust the clay pieces as needed.

Roll a small piece of foil large enough to support the back of the head (so that it doesn't roll off) and partially bake for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Add the Gremlin Arms

To create the arms:

Roll out a sausage piece of green clay - make one end fatter then the other for the forearm. 

Roll a smaller sausage piece of green clay for the upper arm. 

Connect the upper and lower arms and blend the seams.  Texturize the arm by pressing a piece of aluminum foil against it.

To create the hands:

Roll out 2 small sausage pieces of green clay and blend together.  One will represent the thumb.  Add additional small sausage pieces for more fingers and blend together.  Elongate and shape the fingers.  Pinch the ends slightly for claws. 

Add the hands to the arms and blend gently.

Take the arms and place it on the face plate (refer to the pictures) and blend the seams behind the face plate.

Take the fingers and place it around the pieces of the jagged edges of the seams to make it appear as if the Gremlin is pulling on the pieces to tear it apart.

Cover the tube cover and bake for 10 minutes. 

Step 4: Finishing Touches

Teeth - roll small pieces of translucent clay, making one end into a point and add to the mouth for teeth (refer to picdtures).

Hair - roll a round piece of white clay and shape into a flattened oval.  Create striations in the hair with a needle tool.  Add some  Sculpey TLS as glue to the back fo the hair and add it the head.

Bake - Place a piece of foil over the tube cover and bake as directed for the final bake. 

Paint the piece -

After the sculpture has cooled, paint the Gremlin.  I took some white acrylic paint and wiped off as much paint as possible against a piece of paper towel, and dry brushed the Grelmin.  I also dry brushed the ripped seams. 

Mix dark green acrylic paint with little bit of water to create a wash and add to the Gremlin to darken the creases.  I went back and added additonal dry brushing, focusing on the edges and ridges.

Take some black acrylic paint and paint the nostrils and forehead.  Take some white acrylic paint to create the dots along the forehead.

NOTE:  I didn't add pupils because I thought it looked creepier without it.  I do wish I had added some tan paint on the arms for more color.

Seal the piece -

At first I added 3 coats of Varathane.  I then decided to try Pour On for additonal protection.  Mix the Pour On following the direction and pour/brush all over the clay sculpture and allow to cure.

Step 5: New Zombie Gremlin

I created a new smaller hitch for 1 1/4 after making the original 2" gremlin. 
Inspiration came from the Great Unclean One and the flesh wounds were taken from that sculpture. 

CURT Manufacturing 21900 1-1/4 In. Chrome Steel Tube Cover - purchased from Amazon for about $8
Polymer Clay
Sculpey liquid transfer
Environmental Technology 32-Ounce Kit Lite Pour-On, High Gloss Finish
Paint - I used Games Workshop paints as they are easy to use.

Base and Umbrella Corporation Logo -
1.  Find an image of the logo you want and print the image in reverse on a laser printer.
2.  Cut out the image and cover it fairly thickly with Sculpey liquid transfer.  The liquid is milky in color but becomes clearer with heat.
3.  Bake in the oven per instructions.  The hotter and longer I baked it, the more translucent the image.  After baking is completed, if the image is still not clear, I use a heat gun for a minute or two over the image.
4.  Wet the paper side of the image after it has baked, rub off the paper.  Continue wetting and rubbing until the paper is entirely removed.  Cut a flatten sheet of glow in the dark clay to the size of the logo.  Cover the clay with a thin layer of the liquid sculpey.   Lay the baked image over the clay.
5.  Roll out a sheet of black clay and cover the front of the hitch cover.  Take the clay and image from step 4 above and position it over the black.

Gremlin -
1.  I don't have a detalied step by step on this particular gremlin.  However the Gremlin was created same as the original one so you can refer to those steps. 
2.  Green was used for the entire body except for the eyes. The spine, mouth, and wounds were also created in grean and later painted.
I used glow in the dark clay for the eyes. 
3.  The wounds were created simliar to the Great Unclean One so refer to that instructable for the spine and the decaying flesh.
4.  After baking the entire hitch cover, paint the Gremlin.  Painting was simliar to the Great Unclean one except I didn't base coat the entire model - I kept the original green color of the clay.
The color names below are from Games Workshop paints.
Dry brush some Orgryn Camo over the raised areas of the body.
Paint the spine with White Scar.
Paint the mouth and open wounds with black.  Paint the teeth with White Scar. Add Blood for the Blood God around the wounds and mouth.
Wash the entire scultpure in Agrax Earthshade.

For added protection, I covered the entire clay sculpture with the pour on gloss.