Friday, October 28, 2011

Polymer Clay Horns Tutorial

No time to order horns from Bunny's Craft Hutch?  Why not make your own?  

Supplies needed:

1) At least 1 ounce of polymer clay (Sculpey III, Premo!, Fimo, etc.) Usually I use about half a 2-ounce package for one pair of horns.

2) Long thin tool to make the holes in the horns. I use the medium Sculpey Etch n’ Pearl tool, but you can use a large needle or something similar.

3) Cord, ribbon or elastic to attach the horns to your head. You will need enough to go around the top of your head, tying at the nape of your neck, plus 2-3 inches to allow for the knots. I usually use about 42” of cord per pair of horns.

4) Clean, level work surface.  (I usually cover my surface with wax paper, especially when working with red clay, which tends to stain.)

5) Cutting blade

6) OPTIONAL – Clay pasta machine, if you prefer to use one to condition the clay.

STEP 1 – Cut your desired amount of clay. An average pair of horns for me is about 1 ounce of clay, but if I want to make them larger or more complicated, I use more.

STEP 2 – Cut the above amount of clay in half.

STEP 3 – Condition each section of the clay. The more you want to bend your horns, the more flexible it needs to be. Work the clay in your hands until it becomes soft, warm and pliable, or use your pasta machine if you prefer.

STEP 4 – Roll each section of clay into a ball. Make sure at this point that they are about the same size.

STEP 5 – Using your fingers, pinch each ball into a rough tear-drop shape. Roll on your work surface to create a more elongated cone shape.

STEP 6 – Gently grasp the cone shape by the sides, and push the bottom down on the work surface to create a flat bottom for your horn.

STEP 7 – Repeat steps 5 & 6 until you end up with two similar cone shapes, with smooth sides. 

STEP 8 – Using your long thin tool, carefully punch a hole all the way through the horn, parallel to the bottom of the horn. Don’t punch it any lower than a quarter of an inch from the bottom. Remove tool, and reinsert from the other side of the horn. Repeat for the other horn.

STEP 9 – If you have the Etch n’ Pearl tool, thread both horns on it a few inches apart. Otherwise, place horns upright on your work surface, making sure the holes all line up.

STEP 10 – Shape your horns. Make them curvy or curly or twisty, it’s up to you! Just try to keep both horns looking like mirror-opposites of each other. After you get them how you like them, be sure the hole at the bottom has kept its shape. If it’s become distorted, carefully use your tool again to fix it.

STEP 11 – Carefully transfer to a baking tray and bake according to the clay’s package directions.

STEP 12 – OPTIONAL – Immediately after baking, submerge horns in a bath of ice water. (This gives them a little more strength.)

STEP 13 – Cut your cord/ribbon/elastic to size. Find the center. Lay out in a straight line. Determine where you would like the horns to be placed on your head. Tie a knot on the inside of where you want each horn to sit. Slide the horns on the cord, snugging up against the knots. Then, tie a knot on the outside of each horn, as snugly as you can. 


NOTES: If you use thick, clear elastic for this, you may not even need to tie knots, and it gives you a lot more flexibility over where you where your horns on your head. However, I’ve found that the cord stays on a bit more securely and looks more natural. It’s up to you what you use!