Several weeks ago (while I was looking online for some random crafts I wanted to do over the weekend), I came across this Etsy page, featuring little tiny air plant pots. I immediately fell in love! Of course, I wanted to see if I could do it too. A few experiments later, I felt pretty confident in my abilities.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I was doodling in my notebook. I took a second look at what I had just created: it was a little monster air plant pot! I knew I had to bring him to life, and here is the result: A little monster, made of purple "sculpey" clay, and a little flowering air plant to top it off. I am so enamored by the result, that I want to show you how I did it.
*Note: These little pots are waterproof, so of course you can plant any little thing in it you want.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
What you need:
Bake or air-dry clay ( I used Sculpey's Oven Bake Clay)
Air Plant (they flower, but you can also plant little succulents, or cacti)
Oven (if you're using bake clay)
Step 2: Mixing the Colors
This step is probably the easiest one, but I figured it would be helpful to know the proportions. When mixing clay, always remember that it is better to make too much of a color than too little.
The different proportions will be different based off of the size of your final project, but it is helpful to have three balls of premixed clay for the three parts. The largest ball will be for the base, the main part of the pot. Then there will be a ball, probably about half the size: this will form the arms. And finally, smaller than the clay for the arms, will be the one for the feet.
For my monster, I made the largest ball about the diameter of a quarter, and the others about a third of the size, less for the feet.
Step 3: Making the Body
While in this step, it is very important not to let the clay get too thin--your pot could crumple and break--or too warm--it is very hard to work with super soft clay. A couple of ways I found to avoid these problems: If it feels as though the clay is getting too warm, place it in the freezer for a few minutes before continuing work. I used this trick a lot to get through this part. Also, if the clay seems too thin, you can either add more of the color, or ball it up and try again. I added more clay at least once, and started over again no less than four times!
So to start the body, I took the largest ball, and flattened it out into a circle.
Next, bringing up the sides--the hardest part in my opinion.
First, I took the edges of the circle a little ways apart, and then smooshed them together. This I repeated over and over again, all the way around, until I had some semblance of a pot.
Then, to make the sides taller, I placed thumb and forefinger on the inside and outside of the pot, and gently rubbed them together, continuously pulling up.
I repeated the above steps over and over, until I ended up with a tiny, finished pot that fit my little air plant as hair. I did make the edges at the top close in a few millimeters, and the body have curved edges, but this was to exaggerate the chubby little monster body.
In order to smooth out the fingerprints and the nicks, gently and quickly brush the pad of your finger against the surface of the clay until it has the smooth, finished look.
Step 4: Making the Arms
My little guy really started to come alive here!
Ok, so remember the three balls of clay from the beginning? Since I've already used the biggest one for the body, I took the next largest one for the arms. I cut the ball in half, so that he would have even arms on both sides. :)
Then, I rolled the one of the pieces into a ball, and from there into a fat little cylinder, about 3/4 of an inch in length.
To get the arm shape, I flattened one half of the arm so it would easily join to my monster, leaving the other alone. I curved it slightly, so it resembles a kidney bean with half flattened. I repeated above for the other arm.
This next part is very important! If the arms are not joined well, they will fall off (and probably break) while cooking or air drying.
To join the arms to the monster, I first picked which side of him I wanted to be his face. I loosely pressed the flat part of both arms to opposite sides of his head, to make sure I liked how he looked before permanently attaching them. Next, firmly supporting my monster from inside his head, I smoothed and blended the flat part of his arms until they were seamed with his head, leaving the more rounded part unblended--while still attached. (If that makes sense?)
Step 5: Making the Feet
To make the feet, use the last ball. Again, cut the ball in half for even sized feet. I realized after I began to make the feet that I needed to use only one of the halves to make both feet--otherwise they would have been too big. So after rolling one of the halves into a ball, I cut that one in half, and rolled the two sections into balls. Phew!
Then, I rolled each ball until they were about the size and shape as a tic-tac, which turned out perfectly for my little monster.
Attaching the feet was a lot easier than the arms, though. I firmly pressed the two little tic-tac balls of clay, horizontally, onto the monster. This gave his little feet a rounded shape, like a chubby little baby's feet.
To further attach the feet, I blended some of the 'heel' into the bottom of the monster pot, where the blending would not be seen.
If you like him just like this, without a face or toe pads, skip to step 8. I think he is perfectly adorable like this, though I personally wanted to add a face.
Step 6: Making (and Adding) Feet Pads
Again, this step is totally optional. I did these, however, just to give the option and instruction in case it was desired.
*Heads up: for this step, you will be working with very small amounts of clay (so it can get very frustrating).
First, take a small piece of black clay, about the size of a large bead. Then, roll it out into a very thin string/rope, a 'snake' as we call them in my house. ;) It will be about as thin as a toothpick, maybe smaller (depending on how you roll it).
Using a toothpick, cut off a miniature little section of the clay. I'm honestly not sure how to describe the size of this (other than tiny), so I hope you take a good look at the pictures above... Roll it into a tiny ball, and flatten it against the table for a miniature toe pad. This you can leave on the table until all parts are completed. Make two more of these pads for his other toes.
Then, for the larger foot pad, cut off a section of clay (still from the same 'snake'). For the proper proportions, make this length between two and three times as long as the ones for the toes, again flattening it after making a ball.
Finally, to attach these pads to his feet, press the three smaller and one bigger firmly onto the foot, in the classic arrangement--the big one in the middle, the three smaller arrayed near the top of the big pad. (See above photo)
Repeat all steps for the other foot.
Step 7: Making the Face
If you want a face, follow this step. Otherwise, skip to the next step. Either way, I'm sure, will be absolutely adorable!
Unfortunately, I don't have very many pictures of this step. You use a lot of the same techniques as from the last step, so it will be very simple. The most important part of making 2D clay objects, especially from balls of clay, is to remember that the area will increase dramatically as it is being flattened onto the monster.
For the eyes: Using the same length of clay from before, cut about half a centimeter of clay and roll it into a ball. Flatten it out--this is one eye. Repeat the process for the other eye. If my instructions leave eyes that are too big or too small for your monster, it is as simple as adding or removing clay, and re-rolling the eye balls (hee-hee!) (...sorry) and re-flattening them.
For the mouth: Cut a section from the clay length--but don't roll it up into a ball! Instead, roll it around until the ends are flat, not pointed, and it is as long and thin as you want.
For the tooth: Optional, but I think it just makes him look cuter ;) I cut a tiny section of white clay, rolled it out into a 'snake' with pointed ends. I cut off one of these pointed ends, and when I flattened it on the table, it turned into a crooked little triangle, perfect for a snaggle tooth on a (baby) monster.
Attaching: In order to avoid obvious seams, before putting all of the face on the monster, I put the tooth on the back of the mouth. Then, I pressed the eyes onto the monster. They seem really far apart at first, until you add the mouth. The exact structure is above in the picture, but I positioned the mouth almost between the eyes--hence why they were so far apart.
Step 8: Cook! (Or Wait...)
Here's where the real difference between bake and air-dry clay comes in. Personally, I'm very impatient, and I wanted to see the final result as soon as I could, so...that's the real reason I used the bake clay.
With air-dry clay, depending on the type, it could take days, even weeks (depending on the type) for the clay to be hard. With the particular type of baking clay I used, it took less than 15 minutes.
This step though, is really easy. All that you have to do is follow the instructions on the package of clay. For me, it said to bake the clay at 275' for 15 minutes per 1/4 in of clay. I first put my little monster in for 12 minutes, but when he came out, it was clear he was not completely done, so I put him in for another 2 minutes. All done!
Step 9: Admire! <3
I guess this isn't really a step--but it should be! Just sit back and relax in the adorableness of the tiny thing you created. Maybe have a photoshoot, I know I certainly did! ;)
Ideas: Give one away as a present; air plants are low space, easy maintenance, and really cute as monster hair! Who wouldn't want one? Keep him in your car, desk at work, or any other place that needs something cute and green.
Thank you for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it. It's my first Instructable, so I hope that is was helpful. If you make a little monster from this, please post pictures! I want to see him (or her). I hope I've earned your vote! Thank you and have fun crafting.