Introduction: How to Wrap a Blanket to an Animal Head in Clay

About: My hope is to inspire and move others with my art while exploring and nourishing my spirit through creativity.

On my previous instructable I covered "How to make a dog's head in clay". This is the second part to that instructable. Rather than making a body, another nice option is to wrap the animal in a blanket. This allows for the exploration of different patterns and textures on the blanket. It is also much quicker to put together. About 2 hours from start to finish.

You will need your standard hand building tools and low fire clay. (Use the same clay that you used for the head). You will also need the following:

  • 2 sheets of craft foam
  • Rolling pin
  • 2 paddles or sticks 1/4" thick
  • Variety of stamps
  • Semi circular pad or resting surface
  • Large piece of foam

Step 1: Getting Started

Cut 2, 1" thick pieces of clay. Make sure it is the same type of clay you use to build the head. I used low fire Phoenix clay for the head. Mixing clays is not recommended. Pinch them together to form a long rectangle.

Step 2: Roll Out the Clay

You will need two pieces of craft foam sheets (I bought these at Michael's) to roll the clay and also to pick it up and move it from one place to another.

To have a consistent thickness when you roll out the clay, place 1/4" thick paddle or wooden stick. You could tape those down if you don't want them to move as you roll the pin.

Cover the clay with another craft foam sheet and use a rolling pin to make a rectangular sheet of clay that is 1/4" thick.
Don't worry about the edges being perfect. The overall look is more organic and the final product shouldn't look like a cylinder, so you don't need a perfect rectangle. Your final piece should be about 10 or 11" x 16 or 17"

Step 3: Decorate the Sheet

Decide which stamps you will use and think of a preliminary design, or simply have fun and press away. This is the most fun! Think of which side will be on the front and design it accordingly.

Step 4: Setting Time

Your clay should still be very moist. It is not recommended to attach it to the head at this time simply because it's to wet and it won't hold up.

Find a half round surface to rest the clay. This is where having it on the craft foam sheet helps because all you need to do is grab the sheet to move it! You may need to cover it with plastic if your environment is too dry to avoid any cracks on the clay.

Step 5: Create a Base

If you want to make your figure longer you can do the following: Follow steps 1-3, but with half of the amount of clay. Cut the sides to make a perfect rectangle this time. Scratch and score the long ends and join them to form a cylinder the cylinder will be the base of the animal and the blanket will wrap around the neck of the head (at the top of the figure), and around the upper part of the base (at the bottom of the figure). The circumference of the base will be bigger than the neck, but smaller than the blanket 's.

Also, if you are adding paws or a tail, make those now and set to the side.

Step 6: Assemble All Pieces

Once the blanket piece of clay feels firm, but is still movable it is time to assemble all the pieces. The amount of time you wait for the clay to be firm will vary depending on humidity conditions. In my case, I waited about 30 minutes. Scratch and score the neck very well. I like to add some fresh clay to make it as mushy and sticky as possible. Do the same to the bottom of the base and place the base standing up on a firm surface.

If you have a large piece of foam, place the blanket piece of clay on this foam with the pattern facing down. Be aware of where the front of the blanket would be so you roll that last on to the neck. Scratch and score the parts of the blanket that will be attached to the neck, base, and outside part of the blanket.

The next part is tricky and it requires some careful maneuvering. (It was so tricky that I couldn't stop to photograph!) Start attaching the head to the back of the blanket and begin rolling the blanket about 1" in each direction around the neck. Press firmly and blend... Then stand entire piece and begin attaching to the base. At this time, it is important to work quickly, so continue to wrap the blanket around the neck and the base until it wraps around with a fold over itself.

Before you press too firmly on the folds of the blanket, tuck in the paws. Now you can blend and smooth all the joints. Oh, and don't forget to attach a tail if your piece has one!

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