©Diane Stafford DipRSA

FEBRUARY 2008

How to make A Paper Clay Worm or Snail
by Diane Stafford
February 2008

Steps: 1. Make the Body 2. Make the ‘horns’ 3. Make eyes & nose 4. Attach 5. Create Mouth 6. Paint eyes 7. Dry 8. Seal Equipment: 1. Kids (optional) 2. Plastic Paper Clay 3. small pot of water 4. or paperclay slip 5. pointed object** 6. clean work area 7. Poster/acrylic paints 8. varnish ** a needle or similar to scratch & attach. see content re: pressed eyes & to create mouth.

Here’s a cheeky chappy that the kids will enjoy making. I’d love to take the credit for him, but this particular one is not one that I made myself, although the worms and snails my kids and I have made are very similar. This snail has actually had his top half dipped in glaze, wiped off his nose and eye surrounds and white glaze added to his inner eyes, before firing in a kiln.

For this HOW TO MAKE, if you

If you want to make have a kiln, then a worm you don’t you can fire him, if Decide whether you need to make the not you can leave want to make a ‘horns’ (the curly bit worm or a snail. him to air dry, on top of the head).

FIRST:

then seal.

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©Diane Stafford DipRSA

FEBRUARY 2008

ⒸWWW.ARTHOBBY.CO.UK February 2008

NEXT
Decide whether you want your worm or snail to be wandering freely or whether you want him standing on steadier ground.

If the paper clay is reasonably moist and ‘plastic’, the ends will stick together without any problem, if it’s a little on the dry side, just moisten the ends with a little bit of water.

To make a stand, take a small ball of clay and flatten it with the palm of your hand, or Try not to press them too hard in case you use a rolling pin or bottle to roll out to shape, flatten them. making it at least 3/4 of an inch thick. Put to one side until ready to assemble all Point to remember, paperclay is very light the features. and a stand needs to be long and wide enough so that the weight of the body Create the facial features doesn’t tip the whole thing over. For the OUTER Eyes and Nose, roll out THREE small balls of paper clay about the same size. Put to one side.

To Make The BODY
For both a snail or worm:

For the INNER eyes, roll out TWO smaller balls of paper clay. Put to one side.

Roll out a piece of dough into a sausage shape about an inch and a half thick - or bigger if you want a giant one - and make that long enough to be able to fold/shape his You should now have the body, base if you body into an ‘S’ bend. have one, all the facial features and snail horns if you are making a snail, ready and You should shape the body into the ‘U’ waiting to be assembled. before it dries, you may require a drop of water to fix the touching parts. The body should be in it’s “S” shape and be able to stand steadily. Holding the body gently but firmly, tap the body on a firm surface to create a flattened Attaching: base are for your worm/snail to be able to stand upright. For clay pieces to stick together and stay together there needs to be a secure bond If you have made a stand for him, refer to the created. assembling instructions to attach.

Attaching

AFTER YOU HAVE MADE THE BODY For a snail only, make a long thin sausage, to scale, so it balances the size of the snail’s body Bend the sausage length into a U shape, curling the ends in and over to resemble the picture.

This is where the magic of paper clay comes in. Because paper clay has cellulose fibers in it, from the paper obviously, and when you follow the cross hatching technique, explained below, the combination of water, clay and hollow fibers creates an interconnected bond, adding security to the connecting parts.

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©Diane Stafford DipRSA

FEBRUARY 2008

ⒸWWW.ARTHOBBY.CO.UK February 2008

Assembling Parts cross hatching & attaching
look at the photo to copy the style/finished look. You won’t need to press too hard if Cross Hatching Technique: your clay is still quite soft. note: please supervise very young children, 3. Next add the inner eyes, firstly, flatten the perhaps use a plastic knife. small balls of clay and attach onto the outer eye. I like to take the sharp end of a Cross hatching : diagram pencil and press that into the center to create the look of the pupil, but you don’t have to. 4. Now add the nose, following the same process to attach it to the head. 5. Make the mouth - you can use the end of Take a pin or needle, or for kids a plastic an old spoon or anything that you find that knife, and scratch ‘cross hatches’ into eg: the is suitable to make the mouth as you want head, just where the body part is going to be it. attached, and ALSO on the body part being 6. Attach the body to the base if you have attached, only at the point of attachment. made one. Take a drop of water or a little paperclay slip and drop it onto the cross hatched area of the body. To make paperclay slip, just put a little paperclay into a jar or dish, add a little water so that it is like think cream, not too stiff, not too runny. If your paperclay is reasonably plastic you may only need to add slip on one cross hatched area, but if it’s on the dry side, add the water or slip to both cross hatched parts. Take the body part and fix it in place on the body.

Finishing off
If needed, smooth over with a damp sponge to remove finger marks. With acrylic or poster paint, paint the eye details. Leave the whole piece to dry out thoroughly if you are not firing it. Finish with a coat of yacht varnish or other suitable household varnish, can or spray follow health & safety instructions. You can use PVA glue to seal if you prefer but will not be as long lasting. Yacht varnish is recommended if he’s going to be placed in the garden, and don’t miss a spot to avoid moisture re-wetting the clay. Or Fire in your kiln and glaze if required.

POSITIONING 1. First position the ‘horns’ for the snail if you are making the snail. 2. decide the best place for the outer eyes. To fix these, do the cross hatching and slip fixing, place the outer eyes in position and take the blunt and of a small pencil or similar round object or tool and press the ball of clay, to flatten and indent is slightly,

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©Diane Stafford DipRSA

FEBRUARY 2008

Art H o bby
co.uk Another in the Art Hobby Crafts Series of free how to make guides
Don’t forget you are not trying to make the exact same worm/snail as the picture, that is purely a guide to help you. You really want to get your own personality into what you create, so let yours and your kids imaginations go wild. Perhaps you want to make a grumpy snail or your worm might have really big eyes, or you might want to turn it into a really scary imaginary creature, maybe give it some spiky hair or even fangs???? Whatever you create, have fun. Diane
Diane Stafford

What can I do with this document? copyright notice This guide has been written for your reference and personal use, which hopefully will inspire you to try out the many positive benefits of paper clay as a creative medium. you may print a copy for your own use and forward on to friends, provided you do not change the document in any way. All content and images have protected copyrights of their respective owners and may not be used or copied in whole or in part without their expressed written permission. diane stafford
photo credit: Vaclav Skrivanek

Artist Bio: Diane Stafford DipRSA Mainly self taught Art Foundation Studied at Chester Art College specialising in ceramics Distinction Life Drawing A part time artist, using Acrylic, pastel and mixed media as well as paper clay, working from her home studio. She has exhibited and sold in the UK and Spain. A collection of her work can be seen in Chester, 2008. Diane rarely undertakes commissions now as she prefers to indulge in the creative and experimental process rather than work prescriptively. Even the ‘moderately famous’ have purchased her work, but she is not telling us who!
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