The Elusive Fig-a-ma-bug (The Fig Fairy)




About: Full-time dad with a full-time job (metal mill).Full-time husband. Part-time paranormal investigator. I try to get my hands dirty in just about anything. If I see something that interests me I want to learn ...

For starters " thank you " for checking out my little friend and if you find this instuctable worthy enough please vote for me in the Purple contest. :D

I wanted to try something that I hadn't ever tried before and when I saw the purple contest my mind went on a imagination spree. I decided that I wanted to add a little flavor to the idea of a purple fig and give a character. That's when the Fig-a-ma-bug was discovered. I hope you enjoy this as much as I had creating it. Let's Begin!

Items you need:
-IMAGINATION (Although I made this creature, you can make whatever you want by using the same techniques)
Start with your idea or mine:
- Paper
- Pencil
To give your idea a visual concept
For the actual creature:
- Aluminum foil
- Velum paper
- Sculpey firm
- Sculpting tools (you can find a whole lot of things in your house that will do just fine)
- Craft paints
- Paint brushes
- Floral wire
- Convection oven
- Sandpaper (fine)
- Wire pliers
- Super glue

And lots of patience.


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Step 1: Let's Draw!

Draw it up! What else can I say, create it and let it live on paper. Drawing it allows you to decide how big and what extras you will need and so on. Use this a blue print as you work. If you decide to change something there is always time. Just get the idea and then away we go!

Step 2: Who Knew Foil Could Be So Useful and Fun?

Start by taking a piece of aluminum foil and wad it up. It should be about 1.5” in diameter. I use a surface to roll the ball around and get a shape. I also use a paint brush handle to get more smooth areas and curvier by rubbing it prodding it.

I then take another piece of aluminum foil and place the ball in it and bring it up around it. I then twisted the top to get stem part of my creature. I used a pair of wire pliers to skinny enough for me to work with. Don’t squeeze it too much or it will make the foil brittle and fall off.

Step 3: Clay! Yay!

Ok, Sculpey is a oven bake clay you don’t want to get this anywhere close to eating areas, eating utensils (that you want to use again), wash your hands when taking breaks and when handling anything that isn’t involved with your creation. Now, back to our creature…

Now we start adding the Sculpey Firm clay over the foil. You don’t want to make your clay layer too thick. Keep about 1/4” thick. This makes a stable layer and when you end up cooking your creature the clay won’t be burnt and brittle. Use your thumb to create shape and form. Once your form is good enough for you, gently use your fingers and thumb to smooth out the best you can. Just try to get most of the fingerprints out of the clay. If you can’t, you can always use a sand paper later on after it's cooked.

Step 4: Give It Some Character!

Now let’s add some details, mine are going to be simple because I think it looks a lot cuter that way.
I add a mouth, eyes, abdomen, with a tooth pick like metal tool by poking and using it horizontal to make straight lines.

I use floral wire for making legs, leaves & fairy wing stems. It’s inexpensive and quite multi-functional around my house. Anyways cut the lengths that you need for stems (you can trim them later if need be). I then poke the wires into the clay to see the placement. Then I pulled them out and placed them in order so I know where each one went.

Step 5: It's Time to Cook and Take a Break!

It’s time to bake the clay! I use a convection oven that is just for this stuff. NO FOOD EVER GOES IN THIS! You don’t want to cook anything in this after making it a dedicated craft oven. You can pick up a convection oven usually at a yard sale somewhere. Or do what I did and ask for one on your Birthday!

Use a tray that is covered in foil and also has foil on top of it also. You don’t want the foil touching as it cooks your creation. You want a gap between the upper foil and the clay. You can just stand it up in the tray and let it cook that way.

Mine cooked at 275º for 20 mins.


When it is done cooking don’t pull it out. Let it set in there until the oven and the creature become cool. Pulling out the clay too soon can cause cracks because of sudden temp changes. So this is where patience comes into play. Go play for bit, you deserve it!

Step 6: Van Gogh Time!

Once the creature is done cooling down you can make sure your holes for your legs etc…. still fit. Sand it with a very fine sandpaper just get any imperfections out. I now decide what colors this bug is going to be. Purple, green, yellow seem to be a good choice for basics. I start by painting it white for a primer base. Then I add my light green in blotches. Then comes purple and then I mix some red and blue to make different variations of purple to use on top of the purple. I use this in blotches in different areas. Last I put yellow on the abdomen and face. Between each coat I let the layers dry a bit some areas I purposely apply wet on wet paint to blend in better. I use a pretty dry brush technique and clean the brush in between contrasting colors. I used a short bristled brush and a dabbing motion to get the desired look. Let it dry now. Play time again, go outside and throw some frisbee or something! I mean it!

Step 7: Well Were Going to Need Some Legs on This Bug.

Now let’s add our legs by using super glue on very tips and sticking them in the holes. Allow this to sit for just a bit and let the glue set up. If it comes loose then just glue it again. If your wire gets messed up just cut another piece. I actually painted mine afterwards and made sure it sat nice flat. It’s looking good!

Step 8: Leaves and Wings Are Magical!

Let’s make some wings and leaves! I used a card stock from junk mail to create templates of a fig leaf and a fairy wing that I drew. I then folded over a piece of white, semi translucent velum paper from the scrapbook area of your local craft shop. I then traced the shapes along the folded edge and gave myself plenty of area to work with. Make sure when you are cutting out to keep the sheets lined up and make the edge with fold is the last side to cut. You could use a paper clip of some sort if need be to hold it together for you, if need be.

I then take the leaves and use a big paint brush handle tip to round out the leaf. This gives it a lively look. I then take a metal toothpick like tool and draw lines on the other side to give the veins to leaf. Don’t push too hard that poke through the velum. If you need some reference go outside and look at leaves. If you don’t have any leaves around to look at (poor soul) then google leaves and look at the images.

Step 9: Painting Leaves Green! We're Painting the Leaves Green!

Now paint your leaves on both sides and let them dry. I actually used napkins to paint mine because I didn’t want any brush marks. Bonus: No cleaning out brushs!!!

Super glue your stems to your leaves and let them set and cure.

Step 10: Make It Fly!

Now back to your wings, lay your wings out like they are going to be placed on the creature. Use the toothpick like tool to draw your lines on your wings this will create those veins on your wings.

Super glue your stems to them.

Step 11: Thank You!

Now let’s do some finishing touches and let our creature LIVE!!!!!

Place your wings on the creature and make sure the length is correct before gluing them down. Trim the wires if they are too long. Glue them into place, and then do the same for your leaves.

I then add some paint at the bottom of the stems of the leaves to get more of blend into my bug.

Tah-dah!!! The elusive Thing-a-ma-bug!!! I hope you enjoyed my little friend. I took it about outside and took pics around the yard! Thanks for coming along and watching the birth of a new creature! Hope fully you will have one of your own soon. If you need anything please leave a comment and I will get back with you as soon as I can. Thank you!

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    20 Discussions

    curly gurly

    4 years ago

    Why did you not just find leaves outside? Otherwise, great instructable it's ssssoooo adorable!! :D


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is so adorable! I have been inspired! Thank you for sharing and do have a splendorous day!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Aww, he's adorable! In my head I can see him doing a special figgy dance that makes the figs all bloom.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmmm.... maybe it's time for me to learn some stop motion animation! That would be cool!

    You know I was thinking I could picture this little bugger in "Princess Mononoke" or one of Hayao Miyazaki amazing atmospheres. I kept that influence as I developed it on paper. Thank you so much!


    6 years ago

    This is totally adorable!!! Great job and thanks for sharing!!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! You are so welcome! Thanks for taking time to discover my little friend. I think this may have given me a couple more ideas actually. Only time will tell!


    6 years ago

    Also, which tool did you use to get the clay so smooth? Thanks!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    When I work with sculpey I usually just use my fingers to smooth it out. Afterwards, I use a little light sandpaper to get it a little cleaner if need be. On my bug after I baked the clay I went over an area where my fingerprint showed up with 1000 grit sandpaper. Hope this helps! :D


    6 years ago

    Oops, I didn't read it through, sorry!