How to Make a Clay Man

Written by angela neal Google
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How to Make a Clay Man
Learn how to make a small, proportional clay man. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Make a figure of a man out of clay using a technique that makes it realistically proportioned. Build the inside of the clay figure with a type of wire "skeleton" and body structure to make sure it is sturdy. By using air-dry modelling clay, you don't have to do any baking or firing to get it to harden and it comes in many different colours which you can use for the skin and other surfaces of the clay man.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Wire
  • Bolt cutters
  • Pliers
  • Aluminium foil
  • Air-dry clay
  • Conventional oven
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic paint

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  1. 1

    Draw a rough sketch for how you want your clay man to look. Make notes on how tall you want your clay man to be. For example, if you want your clay man to be 6 inches tall, note that the head will be 1 inch tall and the rest of the body will be five times the height of the head to keep it proportional.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut three lengths of 16-gauge wire, one of the wires to 4 1/2 inches long for the torso, and two others to 6 inches long for the arms and legs. Cut the wires with a pair of bolt cutters.

  3. 3

    Twist the end of the torso wire to twice around the middle of the leg wire and bend the ends of the leg wires down to form a narrow upside-down "V" shape. Bend the ends of the leg wires to 90-degree angles to form the feet. Point the feet forward. Use a pair of pliers to help bend and twist the wire.

  4. 4

    Measure 1 1/2 inches down the other end of the torso wire and twist the middle of the other 6-inch wire around it twice. Wrap a wad of aluminium foil around the twist of the wire to help hold it in place and keep it from sliding. Measure 1 inch out on the arm wire from either side of the torso wire and bend the arm wire down at a 90-degree angle on both sides to form the shoulders.

  5. 5

    Wrap 1/2-inch-wide aluminium foil around the torso wire right above the top of the arm wires to form the neck. Make the width of the neck a little less than 1/2 inch. Mold a 1-inch-high ball of aluminium foil above the neck to the tip of the torso wire to form the head. Build the rest of the shape of the body up this way to put "muscle" on the wire skeleton.

  6. 6

    Cover the aluminium foil with flesh-coloured polymer clay to cover the body with the "skin." Mold details like fingers on the hands, toes on the tip of the feet and facial features on the front of the head. Look at a picture of a real person to help you mould the correct shapes of these topical details.

  7. 7

    Mold hair with a different colour of air-dry modelling clay on the top of the clay man's head. Cover the body with other colours of clay in thin layers to give the clay man clothing. Wait 48 hours for the clay man to harden and paint delicate facial features like the eyebrows and eye colour with acrylic paint and a size 000 brush. Wait 30 minutes for the paint to dry before displaying your clay man.

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