How to Make Clay Cows

Written by alex smith
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How to Make Clay Cows
A cow like this can be sculpted out of polymer clay. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Sculpting figures of animals can be a fun and rewarding hobby. A material that many artists use for this task is called polymer clay. It will not dry out due to contact with air, and can be baked hard in a household oven. You will sculpt your cow on an armature, which is an under-structure that gives support and fills in bulk, reducing the amount of clay that you have to use.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Aluminium foil
  • Polymer clay
  • Polyvinyl glue
  • Sculpting tools
  • Baking tray
  • Oven
  • Acrylic paints

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    Making the Armature

  1. 1

    Cut two pieces of stiff wire, each long enough to serve as two legs. Cut a third piece to be the tail, spine, neck and head.

  2. 2

    Wrap the first leg wire around the spine where the rear legs will be positioned, forming a cross shape.

  3. 3

    Wrap the second leg wire around the spine where the front legs will be positioned.

  4. 4

    Bend and adjust the legs, tail, neck and head portions of the wire into the position that you want for them. Use images of actual cows as a guide if desired.

  5. 5

    Add bulk to the torso and head by packing on wadded aluminium foil.

  6. 6

    Brush the armature with polyvinyl glue to help ensure a good bond to the clay. Allow this glue to dry before sculpting.

    Making the Clay Cow

  1. 1

    Add polymer clay over the entire armature, keeping it 1/4 inch thick.

  2. 2

    Smooth the clay with your fingers to remove any noticeable lumps or problem areas.

  3. 3

    Add details to areas such as the cow's hooves, udders and face using sculpting tools. If you are unhappy with a detail, wipe it smooth and try again.

  4. 4

    Set the finished cow on a baking tray once you are done sculpting.

  5. 5

    Bake the cow according to the instructions on the polymer clay packaging.

  6. 6

    Remove the cow from the oven once it is done baking and allow it to cool.

  7. 7

    Paint the cow with acrylic paints as desired.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not try to sculpt a solid cow. If polymer clay is too thick, it may explode in the oven.

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