Elves Bearing Gifts-Polymer Clay Christmas Sculpting Elf Figurine Tutorial Part 1 of 2
Elves Bearing Gifts-Polymer Clay Christmas Sculpting Elf Figurine Tutorial Part 1 of 2

You are going to love sculpting these
cute little elf figures! There is absolutely no complicated sculpting of
faces, hands or feet. It’s all simple shapes put together into this really
adorable package, and speaking of packages, the elves are both holding
packages that actually open and you could put a gift inside. What a fun idea! Hi there, Sandy here, welcome to another Christmas polymer clay video at
keepsakecrafts.net. When making your little elf you can make him or her in
any colors that you want. The first one I did was in traditional Christmas colors.
I used sculpey souffle in cherry pie, Jade and igloo, and also it’s nice to add
in another color that just kind of gives it a bit of a pop, a little brightness. So
I use Premo wasabi for that and I really like the way those look together. I
decided for the next one to do a little bit more non-traditional colors and so I
pulled out sculpey souffle in royalty, turnip and robin’s egg. For an accent I
chose Mai Tai. For the accent colors both times I just chose something that
was went well, contrasted nicely and was a little bit bright. So to make our
bodies we’re going to take some aluminum foil. I have here about a six inch wide
by 12 inch piece, and just crumple it up into a ball. You’ll end up with about a
one-inch ball and make sure it’s nice and round and smooth as you can. Yeah, the
smoother and more round you make it, the easier it is to cover smoothly. And we
want to do this instead of using solid clay because if you have a piece of clay
that is this big, as big as his head, it’s very thick and you end up with cracking
problems, and then you have to bake it a long, long time, you would you end up with
darkening problems. So it’s better just to have a ball of foil or something in
the middle to help conserve your clay and make sure you don’t have any
cracking problems, and you’re going to make two of these, one for the body and
one for the head I decided that my colors were just a little bit dark and I
lightened them up a little. I added three parts of the
royalty to one part white to get just this lighter purple. I did the same with
the turnip to get just a lighter pink because they tend to darken in the oven
and these were just a little dark to begin with and I added I think maybe one
part white to make four or five parts of this robin’s egg just to tone it down
a little bit. By the way you’ll need about an entire block of clay for the
color that you want for the pants and the hat and half of the stripey legs. Then for the shoes and the shirt and the sleeves you’ll need about half a block
and you’ll need half a block for the other half of the legs as well as other accenting
bits and then scraps for other things. So we’re gonna start by making our legs. Now
the first ones I did were these candy cane legs and they drove me crazy
because red is one of the strongest colors of clay it was very difficult to
keep the red off of the white, it was difficult to keep the white clean. So
this time I’m using a fairly low contrast mix for the legs, but if you
have trouble with the red and the white 91% rubbing alcohol is your friend. You
can just put that on, put it on with a little brush, wipe it off and get
yourself some nice clean white clay. So take half of your mix that you’re going
to use for the pants and the hat and half the legs and roll that into a smooth
ball without any creases, pull off a little bit of this in case you want to
use it for something else, and then do the same with the second
color. In my first figure this would have been red and this would have been the
white. I really, the only other place I used the white I think was on the pom
pom for his hat mostly because the white was driving me crazy getting all dirty. Once your balls are nice and smooth without any creases go ahead and roll
them into about 1/2 inch thick logs. I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial,
this was a lot of fun to make for all of you and if you’ve been inspired
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level and $10 levels get one and two bonus tutorials every month. So once you
have your two logs kind of just flatten them out a little, this just makes it
easier to get started on our twisty bit. Put them on top of each other and now
roll these into a round, and it’s at this point when you have all the rolling done
so that this line between the two colors is smooth again if you’re using colors
with a high contrast, this is the point when you want to take your alcohol, put
it in a little dish, get a brush, wipe it down with the brush, and then wipe it off
with a clean paper towel and if you’re using red and white, the red, will which
is like will be this pinky haze on the white, will actually come off. Also make
sure to clean off your tile, clean off your hands, try to touch it on the red
part and not the white part because astoundingly this clay will get into
your fingerprints and then come off later when you’re conditioning clay. It’s
really amazing how persistent, especially the red color, is. So once we have that
now you can start twisting, just hold it on one end and twist your hands
in opposite directions. Don’t let it get too rough before you go ahead and kind
of smooth it out cuz it’ll get lumpy and bumpy and I don’t think his legs ought
to be lumpy. Oh, that’s cute, I like that. So you keep twisting as much as you want
so you can have as tight or as as wide or as narrow stripes as you want to. To really smooth everything out I like to use one of these, an acrylic block, this
is for rubber stamping, but this does a great job of just smoothing all of that
out. Go ahead and cut that right in half this should end up being about a half an
inch or a little bit thicker. So we’ll set these aside for a moment while we
make the body. For that you’re going to take your remaining purple clay or red
clay or whatever color you’ve decided you want for the pants and cover the ball
with that, and then at one end you can go ahead and let it overlap a little and be
a little thicker. Let’s take off the excess, try not to trap air bubbles in
there, and then roll this into a smooth ball. Now I can sort of feel the end
where that extra bit is and that is what I want to roll up into more of an
egg shape. So once you’re happy with how smooth that is take a look at your legs
again. I think these legs look a little thick for that body so I’m just going to
take my acrylic roller and roll them down closer to a half of an inch thick. I’m
using my fingers to gently round this and this will be underneath but if
somebody were to pick up the figurine and look at the bottom they would see it
so I like to make it neat. It doesn’t have to be perfectly finished but at least a
little tidy looking. Put those together just kind of use your thumb to squash those down.
I’m going to make that kind of neat, and now you can put the body on there. If
there’s one part that maybe looks a little better or a little smoother put
that on the front. Hey, cool. And now you can trim you legs. I trimmed
that mine so they are just under an inch and a half from the front of the belly,
so about one and three-eighths here, just do what looks right and proportional to
your figure, I’m gonna thin this end just a little, sort of make an ankle, it just
looks a little better to have it be slightly tapered here. So do make that
flat. These you could use for another pair of
legs or something else. I am just gonna take my blade and shave off that part
that kind of caved in as I was pinching it so that we can stick the shoes on
nice and neatly. Next I’m going to take my blade and trim off some of the top of
this because these are his, this shape actually
represents his pants and his shirt so we need to cut off some. Here’s a look at
what we’ve got so far. I am going to take my blade and cut off about 1/3 right
about at that line, cut off that top of the cone, and if the shape distorts when
you do this that’s okay, we can fix it. And some of the foil may actually be in
the way and that’s okay we’ll just cut around it. Fix your shape if you need to and then
this cut edge you just want to take your fingers and softly round it. Now the
color I’m using for the shirt and the shoes is a much lighter color so I’m
going to get out a baby wipe and wipe my hands down as best I can before handling
this lighter blue. Take about half of that color that you mixed, roll it into
a ball, then you’re going to cut off somewhere around a third to a half of
this. I think in this case probably close to half, it really depends on where you
cut this piece, how big it ended up and then just kind of test it on there and
see if that’ll work. I think that’ll be just about right. So you kind of want to
reshape that into round cuz it probably got distorted when you cut it and I’m
also using my fingers to soften this cut edge, rolling it under and then I’m gonna
pinch and squeeze and try to kind of get a little bit more of a point up here,
basically get it back to the shape that we started with for the body, more a bit of a cone like that.
and let’s see… that needs to be wider. So I’ll just try to match up the two
shapes so they, so basically we’ll make one smooth teardrop, a little bit pointier than your average egg. Now I have chickens and we actually get some
really pointy shaped eggs, it’s funny how they’ll come out, there’s all these
different shapes that you don’t usually see in the grocery store. And there, it
kind of looks like he’s got a shirt tucked into his pants. Take my remaining
blue clay, cut that in half, roll that into whatever shape you need so that you
can cut that pretty evenly in half, and as always, roll it into a ball. So the
shoes get rolled into a nice long pointy teardrop and I suggest you do both of
them at once, don’t finish one shoe and then go back and make the other because
it can be hard to get them the same size. It’s actually at this point that you
really can compare and see if you’ve got equal amounts of clay. Once you have both
of your long pointy teardrops just go ahead and flatten maybe three-quarters
of an inch to an inch around that bottom end, hopefully you see where I’m going
with this, put them side by side lined up and that makes it easy to do this next
detail which is kind of fun. Place your clay blade, oh maybe a little under
half an inch from the rounded end which is, of course, the heel end of the shoes,
press it down not quite halfway and then bend it forward and you have just
created little heels! Isn’t that cute? This is why I wanted this to be flat and I’m
going to actually have a tiny bit of the heel of the shoe sticking out, so you
just place those on there like that, just like that, and then this part is fun. You just take those little pointy ends and curl them up. That’s funny, these have much bigger
curls than the other pair, it’s funny how they all come out a little different
even though you’re trying to do the same thing. Haha. So there’s the shoes, aren’t they’re fun? Those are cute. One more detail before we give this its first bake and that’s to add some,
actually a couple more details, but add some suspenders and buttons. I have a
sheet of my royalty purple pants clay rolled out on a medium setting about a 5 on an atlas, just a medium setting, and I’m going to use my blade to
cut a couple of nice straight strips somewhere around a quarter of an inch thick. If you’d like these ends to be a little rounded which i think looks nicer, one
thing you can do is take a cutter, this I think is a half inch, just under
half an inch cutter, just tilt it at an angle so that you can just cut that
little roundy bit. Place them on like suspenders, let’s see if I can tilt this up for
you so you can see what I’m doing. So it’ll overlap the pants by a little
bit and go around the back over what would be the shoulders. Oh look at that, it did that for me. Crisscross it around the back and then I’m going to put my finger
under there and use the cutter so that that’s cut off. Oops! I was afraid of
that, if you’re doing it you won’t be picking it up so that somebody off
camera can see it, so pieces won’t be falling off, but I’m trying to hold
it so that you can see what I’m doing. Here I’m just gonna use some of this
blue and roll a little 1/8 inch ball, cut that in half, roll those into balls for buttons. Now
you can just put on flat buttons but I happen to have this stamp. It’s a leather
stamp, I’ll have a link to it in my blog post and it makes the cutest little
buttons when you press into it just like that. Now for the more traditional red
and green elf I made his buttons gold. I just dusted
them with some perfect pearls in perfect gold. You can leave your buttons as is
but I’m going to just dust them with a little bit of mica powder, we’re using
the color perfect pearl. Oh that’s purty, and then use whatever
tool works for you, I found a craft knife is great to slide under it, pick them up
pop them right in place, just a little bit of pearly shimmer but with the
blue clay it matches. Let get this shape back, there we go. That’s probably the smarter way to do it, it
would be to roll the balls, dust them with mica powder and then press them on
with this. Let me see, okay, I’m gonna add two more balls and we’ll see if that
works better. Flatten them slightly cuz I don’t want the mica powder getting
underneath cuz then they won’t stick. If you don’t have the stamp you could
just put them on like that and use a needle tool to poke a couple little
holes so they look like buttons. Let’s see… now that’s on there, that’s pretty good, too. I think that’s
much neater. She’s ready for the first baking except for one thing, we want to
make sure when we put her head on that it doesn’t fall off. No heads falling off of elves. So grab a toothpick, jam it straight down
through the aluminum foil ball and now go ahead and bake this. I baked mine for an
hour because this there’s some fairly thick areas, the legs are a half inch
thick so that would warrant an hour right there. So here’s our little figure’s
body and legs and feet out of the oven. I had to laugh when I went and compared
the these feet with these. It’s funny how different they are but these are
cute, too. So sometimes it’s fun to just try different variations on things. Obviously I used a lot more clay on these and made the heels smaller.That’s
kind of funny, kind of goofy-looking, I like them. So what you want to do now is
grab a pair of pliers and trim that toothpicks so if there’s only about a
half an inch sticking out, then go ahead and pull it out and put it back in point
up. This will make it much easier for inserting and supporting the head. The
next step is to add the head so you’re going to take your flesh color clay, pull
off a bit for the nose, this guy got a fairly big nose, you can make them bigger
you can make them longer, you can make a little teeny-weeny nose, whatever you
like, but just pull off more than you think you’re going to need for the nose
because the rest is going on to the head, and I just realized I’m not actually
rolling this into a ball I’m wrapping it around the second clay core. I know I’m
just gonna try to wrap it evenly this time. So when you wrap… I know other people do this much more neatly than me, when you see it overlapping, just
kind of tear it off, pinching it around, trying, like I said on
the other one also, not to incorporate air bubbles, and once you get one layer
take the rest of your clay, this is about an ounce of clay for the head and nose
or half a package if you’re buying it that way, and this is, um, this is sculpey
living doll I believe in baby. It’s not actually my favorite. I haven’t found a
favorite clay for sculpting doll colors, they just all seemed so soft to me, they
kind of make me crazy they’re so squishy and they often have
to be leached but this will do for this particular project. So obviously we’ve got
to make that nice and smooth. It’s up to you, you can make your
figure’s head any shape you want. This guy’s faces is an oval, a little bit wider
than it is tall, but you could actually make it going the other way
so you could have it taller than it is wide, you could have it perfectly round,
you could have it egg-shaped. It’s going to go like this and then grab an awl and
jam it down in there, it’s okay if you come out the other end because there’s
gonna be a hat and that way you can just put this right onto that toothpick. Now
even though your figure is top-heavy you’re not gonna lose that head because
of the support that is in there. By the way, I put this here to remind me to
remind you that when you put your pieces in the oven things like this which are
kind of heavy go ahead and just tuck some batting into it, gently into it,
you’ll be able to peel it off, it may be stuck on there when you take it out of
the oven but you’ll be able to peel it off, but give it some support. This fella
is leaning back a little so I made sure when I put him in the second time with
his big I head on top then I put a bunch of
batting all around him and the arms I was a little concerned that they might
slide off because they went on last, and I put batting all around him
like this and had him like up against the foil container that he was baked in
but then with the batting all around him like this
and under it supporting his arms. Just because clay gets soft when it’s in the
oven and it’s heating up it gets soft and that is when it will slump. You can
take some time and smooth out your head a little bit more. Of course you don’t
have to put it on straight, you can put it on at a little bit of an angle you
can turn the head at an angle. So now I’ve got my piece for the nose and I
would say that is, well goodness, well you know you could use, that but I think
I’m gonna maybe give a slightly daintier nose. I kind of like the little oval
nose, so I just rolled a little oval and I’m just putting that there lightly to
sort of get an idea where it want it and then we’re going to make this
exceedingly complex nose. No, kidding! Get yourself a cutter, it can be any, it can
be round, it can be oval anything you want. You might want to practice on some
scrap clay and see if you like what you get. So I’ve got an idea where the nose
is gonna go which is just about halfway down the face. I’m gonna take my cutter
and go below that and just tilt it at an angle and press. Oh, that’s a happy
little smile! I have a needle tool which I like to just poke into the corners of
the mouth because it makes these little dimples and now I can pop the nose on. Oh that’s cute, that is adorable. One of the things that made me think of
this particular project is that I have been making figure sculptures this year
in 2017 and I consider faces, hands, feet my worst enemies. They’re just so much
work, and when I saw this the simple little face that’s so cute and it
occurred to me I could put the hands in mittens, put the feet in funky shoes and
have all the fun of making an adorable little figure without all the trouble of
sculpting a complex face. Although there’s something rewarding about that. So now
what you’re going to do is grab up all of your remaining purple or in his case
red or any color you want but I just made his hat and his pants match but you
don’t have to, but you the way I’ve measured it out for you is that the
remaining half of that clay that is used for his pants and his legs will be his
hat. One more time I roll it into a smooth ball. And this is kind of fun an very satisfying to do. So you’ re going to first roll this into a cone, don’t let the wide end get too narrow, you’re gonna leave that fairly wide and we’re
gonna widen that even further, but roll this out until it’s pretty long, just keep
tapering it out cuz this is the part that we’re gonna curl and spiral around
to make his jaunty little hat. So, yeah, somewhere around, yeah, five inches long. Now this wide end, I’m gonna just kind of
press that onto your work surface to flatten it out a bit and then start to
go in there with your fingers and open it up. You can use a tool and awl will
help you get started, just kind of crank around in there, I find sometimes finger
nails on… my long nails on my thumbs can be a detriment be cause they kind of dig
in instead of letting you get this smooth transition. This tool is also
useful for just kind of going up in there sort of rolling… another tool
that’s useful for that although I wish it was a little wider for this purpose
is this Christi Friesen tool cuz it’s a nice smooth taper, you can use it as a
rolling pin on the inside, but I’m always watching this transition edge because
what I want is a nice smooth taper. I don’t want big stair steps there, and I’m
also gonna thin this edge down pretty thin because that’s the edge that’ll be
around your figure’s face. So you just keep working that, here we go
and it’s smoothing out and of course what you want is to be able to pop that
on the head and have it come down almost to the nose. So that needs to be a little
bit wider which I think will be just right because this needs to be a little
thinner so as I thin it out it’ll get wider, and up here it’s starting to not
be smooth so I’m just gonna roll that some more. So this takes a little bit of
time but like I said, it’s very satisfying that you just went from a
ball of clay to this great shape and if you have rough spots just stroke your
fingers consistently. The fingerprints will make, leave a
texture but if you understand that and don’t do this so that you’re leaving
fingerprints, but if you do this, then that’s going to give you kind of a nice
almost satiny smooth texture. So keep going until you’re happy with the shape
and the size. I like the hat, that’s fun. I kind of like the head tilted a little.
Oh, that’s cute. All right, I just want it to come down a little further so that it
definitely looks like it’s hiding the eyes. And this wants to curl this way, so you
know what, we’ll let it. It doesn’t seem to want to go the other way and that’s just
the way it wanted to curl, and so there we go.
I’ll put that there, I could put a little pom-pom there. Oh my goodness, that it’s
just the cutest thing. The only thing remaining to be done is to add a little
pom-pom. If you want to make it look fluffy take your needle tool… I’m just
gonna hold it very lightly, mostly holding the bum in my hand cuz I don’t
want to wreck everything around the back… and just stab it repeatedly. This one is
behaving much nicer I must say then the white. The white was giving me fits and
it had all kinds of schmutz in it, when I tried rolling it into a ball it pulled
all the red out from my finger prints and became pink, and… white clay it’s just,
it’s tough. But this one’s cute, I like that. So now it’s time to bake this but
let’s do one more thing first. We need to get started on the present. Earlier you
were looking at this fellow without his arms. The reason is that you kind of need
to get the gift all done and made before you can add his arms so that you can get
the gift perfectly positioned. Wou want to get the gift going and get that
baking because that actually bakes in three steps. This is where your accent
color comes in I’m going to use this, that’ll be really pretty. You need some kind of form. This is just a piece of wood. You know, somewhere I
have blocks of wood that my husband made for me ages ago that I had in mind I
wanted to use. They’ve been in the same place for I don’t know how long. I
reorganized maybe a couple months ago and now I have no idea where they are, so
annoying. But all that to say find yourself a block of wood. This I found in
my husband’s scrap pile and lopped off just a small section and that’s just
a perfect sized gift. You’ll want to cover this smoothly with a little bit
foil. As you’re covering it think of covering a present that you would cover
smoothly rather than crinkling it around. I’m going to get the bottom and two
sides and smooth it and then I’m kind of gonna tuck in these edges just like if
you were wrapping a present you’re trying to make them smooth, the corners may
not be perfect and what shows from, what texture shows from the foil will be on
the inside but you know, make it as nice as you can. Oh, this is what I mean when you get the corners, that one behaved so nicely, I don’t know why, but yeah, you just do this, pinch in your corners, smooth them out, this crumpled bit down here it’s kind of a handle to hold it. Now
when you wrap your clay around it you’ll be able to easily remove it because
you’ll be able to peel off the foil. So whatever color that you want your
present to be condition about a quarter of a block of that and then roll
it out on a medium like a number five setting. I’ve mixed up and rolled out
some colors for the gift box. This is the Mai Tai which I don’t know if you can
tell I added a little bit of white to just to lighten it up, this was also a
scrap of the turnip this pinky color that I added probably four or five parts
white to, this will be the ribbon, and I also rolled out some white on a very thin
setting. I’ll show you what I’m going to use that for in a moment. So first I need
to cut a strip that is the same width as the package. These little quilting rulers
are fantastic, I have found so many uses for them for things other than quilting. You
can cut one end square, then you can wrap it around your box. So start at a
corner, if you have some corners that are cleaner than another, just try to
start at a clean corner. Smooth out that corner, if it’s being
stubborn you can use like a little rolling tool, something smooth that will roll
that nicely. Then set your box down on your sheet and use your blade to cut
around all four sides. Take a little time to smooth out those seams. Now you
can decorate your box in lots of different ways, and this one I just used
a rubber stamp. I showed this in a Friday findings video
recently it was a new one and I wanted to play with it and I just used the same
section on all sides and then I lightly brushed it with some interference green
perfect pearls. Now if you want a perfectly fitting lid like this one you
will have to bake it in three stages like I said. First we bake the base and
then we’ll bake the lid then we can add the ribbon and put it all together. This
one I decided instead of doing the texture which is cute but I had it in my
mind to do polka dots and that is why I have this sheet of clay rolled out as
thinly as it will roll out on a number nine on my pasta machine. If these edges
get a little ragged, which they will probably do especially if you add a
texture, go ahead and take a minute with your blade and you can just press them
down. I wouldn’t try to trim them, not right now, it’s hard to do with the foil
all crinkled in the way but you can smooth them out a little like this got
kind of uneven and if it’s really bad after you bake it you can sand it and
it’s really easy, you just hold it upside down on a piece of sandpaper. And what
I’m doing with this because I’m not adding a texture I’ve actually got
this tool and putting it down on my surface and rolling and that’s doing a great job
of not only smoothing out those sides, but kind of crisping up those corners. Once
you do have it all smoothed out you can just add on some polka dots. Then you’re
going to bake your box and your figurine with now the finished head and hat. The
figurine bake for an hour. The box, of course, being so thin if you think of it
you could take it out sooner, and let it cool for a few minutes, but it actually
is easier to kind of wiggle it off of the foil and the form while it’s still a
little bit warm. So although this project isn’t complicated, a lot of the steps
take some time and this video is getting to be really long so I’m going to stop
here and then next week I will post part two showing you how to add the rest of
your sculpture and finish the box. So if you’re interested in the supplies I used
you can click on the link in the upper right of the video it’s also on the
lower left at the end or in the description box to go to my blog post where
I always have a complete supply list and links to products. Be sure to subscribe
if you haven’t already and take a look at my patreon page for how you can get
bonus tutorials and help support these videos. Happy creating, bye bye.

17 thoughts on “Elves Bearing Gifts-Polymer Clay Christmas Sculpting Elf Figurine Tutorial Part 1 of 2”

  1. Jane A. Thomas says:

    Super cute Sandy!

  2. Leona Nelson says:

    Love these guys, I'm going to make one. Thank you

  3. cazhowe says:

    That is super fun Sandy. I Love everything you do. Many thanks.

  4. Teresa Barnes says:

    These guys are adorable! Can't wait to try one 😁

  5. *Tracy Born Again Farm Girl says:

    Oh I love this ! awesome Sandy !

  6. Kim Michaels says:

    ohhhhhh they are just soooooo cute………thank you……hugssss

  7. Joyce England says:

    What fun! Great video. Thanks.

  8. Artistry In V says:

    Super cute! I was just today making mini poly clay presents. Definitely going to do it your way tomorrow and make some elves for them. Thanks!

  9. Melissa Malone says:

    I can’t wait for part 2 😁😁. I’m making some of these.

  10. Polymer clay Inspired says:

    Those elves are the cutest elves I've ever seen πŸ‘πŸ»β€οΈ

  11. GentlemanBunny says:

    These are adorable =)!

  12. 1994abbygirl says:

    So adorable! Merry Christmas Sandy!

  13. Marion Mathews says:

    These are adorable. Love the colours you’ve chosen.

  14. Aztec Girl says:

    The Big Feet actually add more charcter! πŸ€—πŸ€— Soooo cute!! And fun too!!!!

  15. Donna Richey says:

    You have a button missing on the red one

  16. Jane A. Thomas says:

    Sandy, have you ever made nutcrackers out of P clay? I love these elves. Great tutorial.

  17. Tatum Hontz says:

    This is so cute! Ty for sharing β™₯️

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