Introduction: Just Monkeying Around

About: Here to learn from the amazingly talented people on here. Posting this here so I can find it again.

I'm one of those people who see something, get obsessed and MUST HAVE IT!

I am also a monkey fanatic.

Well, I saw a monkey lamp on Ebay. $549? Pfft, they're dreaming.

Being crafty, I knew I already had a few things lying around. 1kg block of air-dry clay. Yes! Wire? Check. Foil? Gotcha.

So here is what I started with.

  • 1kilo (1/2lb) block of air-dry clay.
  • Salt lamp globe holder with cord (Ebay $11)
  • Foil - Monkey is only 10" high and used almost a full 5 metre roll
  • Wire - mine was 16 gauge left from another project, but you could use any gauge that will hold some weight.
  • Wire cutters & pliers
  • Clay tools - scraper, ball roller, brush.
  • Dremel with small sanding attachment. Or sand paper if you prefer that to the electric drill.
  • Water
  • Optional - 8mm doll eyes.

Step 1: The Armature

I started with a basic armature.

Wire twisted to make up the body frame. He needed a head, torso, limbs and a tail.

Then came the foil. I wrapped this as tight as I could around the wire frame. I wasn't too sure at this stage whether I wanted to suspend him from the ceiling by rope, or have him sitting. I have included a couple of steps ahead why he ended up in a squat. If you're going to hang something, ADD THE HANDS TO THE ARMS FIRST.

Ah, lesson learned. Did I tell you this is my first attempt at a clay sculpture?

Step 2: Taking Shape

I actually enjoyed this part.

I can't tell you how many times his position changed, but trying to keep the movement looking natural was a learning curve. Here, I was trying to get upward sweep of his arm to look natural. Fail. Ha.

Step 3: Taking a Break

If you need to take a break, be sure to keep the clay moist.

Here he is in the bathtub after being sprayed with water and covered in plastic wrap.

Step 4: Oops

Now here is the breaking moment where his final position was decided (it came with a DUH and a few face palms).

His hands and feet.

These are just wire cut to length and bound tight with wool. You could use tape, wool, string, whatever you have handy.

TIP: Make these and attach them to the armature BEFORE you begin doing anything else!

I left this in the order I followed so my mistake doesn't happen to you. Without his hands being made (firmly) into the armature, there was no way he could be suspended without them (the hands) falling off with the weight of his body. The fingers (should) be a continuation of his arms and the rest of the hand built up around them. I used two wires in his arms, so if I'd done it right, then the two arm wires would have been left untwisted at the ends to be made into fingers.

Step 5: Hands & Feet

Now that his hands & feet are secured to his body, the clay was pressed into the palm and fingers formed. Making tiny clay sausages and feeding the wire through was how I did these, but being a beginner here, I'm always happy to listen to how you guys do it.

Step 6: Fitting the Lamp

While the clay was wet, I fitted his hand around the globe holder. A few final adjustments to his fingers, and he holds it firmly without it wobbling around.

Step 7: His Eyes and Face

If the clay is too dry, you can wet it and score it. The new clay (if needed) adheres better to a rough surface.

Here, I have created holes into his face and inserted the 8mm doll eyes. If you're handy with a sculpting tool, these aren't really needed. You could easily carve his eyes.

I've added a bit of facial hair and roughed up his body using the brush tool and also the scraper.

Once dry, the dremel made the sanding job easy. Again, this isn't needed as sanding paper does just as good a job.

Step 8: Where to Put Him?

As is clearly visible in my photos, I am a beginner.

This was so much fun and I have learned from both my mistakes and also from making this instructable.

I see his hand needs to be fixed. And the lamp holder cleaned.

I had to laugh when reading up on 'How to make an instructable'. They suggest finding a "clean" area to work. Ha! They have obviously never worked with clay before. It's messy. It's dusty, but it's fun.

Happy creating.


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