Friday, January 26, 2007

Sculpting a Party Chick!

In case anyone wanted to sculpt their own little party chick ... here is the way I made him. To begin, you will need paper clay, sculpting tools, water, a small flat paintbrush and a Styrofoam egg and ball, paper tape and 20 gauge floral wire.
Begin by twisting and shaping wire into bird feet and legs. Cover with paper tape.

Soak Styrofoam egg in water and then cover with paper clay, smoothing and shaping with your hands and paintbrush. Insert legs into bottom of egg, and pose in any fashion you choose. Indent Styrofoam ball with smooth barreled paint brush handle or a smooth barreled pencil. Shape Styrofoam to create a head shape.
Soak Styrofoam head in water and cover with paper clay forming a smooth surface with hands and brush.
To create the face, form two small balls and 2 small cone shapes. Flatten balls in to "puffy pancakes" and attach to head, one on each side, to create cheeks.
Attach cone shapes to create beak. Smooth face with paintbrush and water. Shape beak with sculpting tools and paintbrush to create a smile.
Using paper clay, create a small barrel shaped neck to attach head to body. Smooth with paintbrush and water.

Adding a wire here also adds extra strength to your piece. You can tilt the head to the side to add some personality.

Shape wings and attach to chick body with paintbrush and water.

I didn't take pics of the painting process, but I recommend that you let the chick dry for a least week before painting. I always gesso paper clay before painting with good quality acrylic paints, and finish the pieces up with a matte acrylic sealer, which is then antiqued with watered down burnt umber paint. After I attached this chick to a hand painted paper mache box, I added just a touch of glass glitter here and there to give him a little sparkle.

I hope you have fun with your creations! If you decide to make one I'd love to see the finished pics!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this you make it look so easy! I have never used paper clay, only the strip method, so I need to find a supplier first.

The Polka Dot Pixie said...

Thanks Carolyn! I buy paper clay at Michaels or directly from the manufacturer at

Claire said...

Cool tutorial! I definitely wan to try this someday!

Kari said...

Wow...can't wait to try this. Looks like FUN!!! Thanks so much for the tutorial:)

The Polka Dot Pixie said...

:-) !!!

Shirlee said...

I use styrofoam as a base too but have never soaked it first. I'll have to try that next time.
I just bought some paperclay a week or so ago at Michaels and they raised the price (in Canada). How dare they! :)

The Polka Dot Pixie said...

Don't soak it too long, just make sure it's wet enough to help the clay adhere!

If they keep raising your paper clay prices and you want to have a lot of stock, the company sells packages wholesale if you order over $50 worth. It's a good deal

Niki Fretwell said...

You have been very generous with your tutorial - thank you!

I love your gallery of little characters....clever you!

Shirlee said...

I'll have to check out ordering from the company. I paid close to $10 for the small package at Michaels. I'm sure it's cheaper in the states.

The Polka Dot Pixie said...

It's my pleasure to share the how to! Even with the same instruction I know everyone who tries it out will add their own creative "stamp" and I love to see the differences in the results.

Shirlee, definitely try out the paper clay website. Their prices are much better than what you'll find retail :-).

Anonymous said...

Ohhh How coool!! Giving away secrets!!! LOL! Really fun Jenny!! I'd love to try one!! When I do..I promise pics!! I am sure it is not as easy as you make it look!! lol!

Thank so much for sharing!!

xoxo Jenny

Melissa said...

Thanks for the tutorial! This little guy is adorable and I can't wait to try it! Where would I find paper tape and in what department in the craft store?

Melissa said...

This little guy is so cute! You are so talented!
In what department in the craft store would I find paper tape? And what brand of paper clay do you use? I've used Celluclay but it's so bumpy!

The Polka Dot Pixie said...

Hi Tootie :-)

You can usually find paper tape in the floral department of the craft store. When I want a smoother surface to paint on, I usually use Creative Paperclay :-)