How to Make a Clay Wolf

Written by nora zavalczki
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How to Make a Clay Wolf
Use a picture when shaping the wolf. (Anup Shah/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Make an original clay wolf figurine using the technique of hand-building. The materials you may use for this project include air-dry clay, which is the most practical choice and doesn't necessitate firing, polymer clay, which can be fired at low temperatures in a regular oven or cold porcelain, which is a combination of cornflour and white glue that hardens at room temperatures. Regular porcelain is fired at higher temperatures in a pottery kiln, so choosing this material involves more steps and is more costly.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wire or toothpicks
  • Wire cutter
  • Polymer or air-dry clay
  • Water-based colours
  • Nail polish

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Get a picture of a wolf and make a sketch.

  2. 2

    Cut four equal pieces of wire or use four toothpicks, about 3 inches long. These will be the "skeleton" for the wolf's legs. Cover the wire with clay, leaving half an inch at both ends of the wire uncovered. The wire makes the figurine more resistant, because the legs need to support the weight of the wolf's body. The entire figurine will be about 5 inches tall.

  3. 3

    Shape four paws using four small clay balls and clay coils. Make the clay balls and flatten these. Form a longer clay coil by rolling the clay between your hands. Cut the coil into smaller pieces, and add these to the flattened clay balls. These are the toes of the wolf. The two front paws have five toes and the back paws only four.

    Stick the end of each wire into the paws you created.

  4. 4

    Form a cylinder and shape it to make the body of the wolf.

  5. 5

    Place the body on the four legs, covering the wire that sticks out from the legs.

  6. 6

    Shape the tail from a thicker clay coil. Insert a piece of wire and join the tail with the body of the wolf. Allow the piece to dry for two hours if using air-dry clay. If using polymer clay continue your project.

  7. 7

    Shape a head, starting from a round ball. Elongate the front part to obtain the muzzle. Place two small triangular ears on the top of the head.

  8. 8

    Form two small balls and add them at the level of the eyes, on each side of the head. Alternatively, use a toothpick or wire to carve the eyes on the head, before the clay dries.

  9. 9

    Allow the figurine to dry. Air-dry clay and cold porcelain harden within 12 hours. Polymer clay should be placed in the oven for 30 to 60 minutes to harden, following manufacturer's instructions.

  10. 10

    Paint the wolf with water-based paints. Nail polish works best on polymer clay, but if you want to use acrylic paints, prime the figurine first.

Tips and warnings

  • If the wolf is not stable after placing the tail, lean it on some stacked books or a thick piece of clay.
  • If using polymer clay, use different colours to make the wolf, so you don't have to paint it.
  • If using regular porcelain don't use wire to make the legs. The wire may melt in the kiln and destroy the figurine.

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