Introduction: Tiny Faux Succulent Garden
In need of a plant companion, but don't have a green thumb? Try your hand at these perfectly zen Tiny Faux Succulent Gardens!
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- Polymer baking clay
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Small paintbrush (optional)
- Powder eye shadow or chalk pastels (optional)
- Aluminum foil (optional)
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Step 1: Preparing Your Clay
These succulents can be sculpted as realistically or fantastically as you desire, so pick your clay colors accordingly. Fortunately, there is no wrong way to pick your shades; the more colorful the garden, the better!
Start out with a small chunk from your packet of polymer clay and work the clay in your hands until it becomes soft enough to mold easily. Once the clay is soft, you can mix it with other clay colors to create custom shades for your succulents.
Step 2: Shaping Your Clay
Separate seven large balls of clay, five medium balls of clay, and three small balls of clay from the larger softened piece of clay. The relative size of these balls of clay will determine how large your resulting succulent will be, so I recommend making your large pieces no bigger than a marble.
Then, shape each piece of clay into a leaf shape with your fingers. You have several options for this step; some shapes that work well are:
- Flattened cones,
- Upside-down cones,
- Balls, and
- Flattened cones with pinched ends (all shown above).
Step 3: Assembling Your Succulents
It's best to assemble your succulents on a sheet of parchment paper so that you can easily remove them later on if you need to. Lay out your parchment paper, and lay down your seven large leaves first in a circular arrangement. Then, add your five medium leaves on top of the large leaves in a circular arrangement, pressing down gently to secure them.
Do your best, but don't worry too much about attaching them well; if they become detached during the baking process, you can always glue them back together with Elmer's or super glue. Finally, arrange your three small leaves on top of the medium leaves, pressing down gently to secure them. Now you've got the body of your first succulent!
Step 4: Adding Details
This stage is optional, but it can really bring some life to your tiny garden. With a small paintbrush or makeup brush and powder eyeshadow or chalk pastels, dust a bit of pigment onto the tips of the succulent leaves.
If you've done classic green succulents, pair them with a soft red, pink, or dark orange for a realistic look. Blues look wonderful with a purple tint, and warmer colors like light orange and pink tend to work well with their darker counterparts, like dark orange and red. If you're scared of color commitment, play around with pigment shades on leftover pieces of clay.
Step 5: Assembling Your Garden
Repeat Steps 1 through 3 to create as many succulents as you would like in as many shapes and colors as you would like. This is the fun part; get as creative as you'd like! You can adjust the number and arrangement of leaves as well to create larger or smaller succulents.
Once you have your desired amount of succulents, softened a ball of clay in the color you would like for the succulent base that is large enough for the number of succulents you have created. You may need to use more than one packet of clay for this step, so don't be shy. This is a perfect time to make some custom shades.
Squash the center of the ball of clay until it's reached the desired height for the garden base. If you find that the center of the ball of clay is too flattened for your liking, you can always add more clay in any color. The succulents will cover up the top of the base anyway. Now, arrange your succulents on top of the garden base, making sure not to crush them in the arrangement process, as they are quite delicate at this stage. The arrangement itself is up to your aesthetic preferences! Play around with a few different arrangements to see what looks best to you.
Step 6: Baking Your Clay
It's time to make our tiny gardens a little more sturdy!
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake your clay according to the directions on its packaging; baking time and temperature can vary, so pay attention to what the manufacturer suggests. If you're worried about burning your tiny garden (which can happen at higher temperatures), lower the temperature slightly and cover your garden with a piece of aluminum foil. You may need to add on a few minutes to the bake time if your clay does not fully harden according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Once the clay is fully baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool.
Step 7: Enjoy!
After your succulent garden is cooled, you can remove it from the baking sheet, and it's ready to be enjoyed in your home! These tiny masterpieces make great gifts, paperweights, and desktop companions.
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