Tutorial: Clay Bird Pendant

Clay Bird Pendant
During my big Christmas plans I bought a big tub of airdry clay I thought I was going to turn into nativity ornaments. I never made the decorations, but I thought it’d be fun to experiment with for some simple jewelry. Plus, I didn’t have a bird necklace, and Portlandia has shown me that you are not an indie crafter until you’ve put a bird on it.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 1
I’m sure that any airdry clay would work about the same, but I bought this enormous tub of Crayola clay because it was the cheapest option. If I were a real sculptor I might have an opinion about this kind of thing, but I’m not, so it worked good enough for me.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 2
OK, we’re going to go through this step by step, so even if you think you could never sculpt anything you’ll be able to sculpt this. You could, of course, make your bird any size you desired, so I’m not going to get worried about measurements. You just need to start with a hunk of clay, rolled into an oval shape.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 3
Take one end of that oval and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger while giving it a gentle pull upwards. One pinch and you’ve already got a tail.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 4
Now push the other end up and smooth it over to make the bird head. It’s almost like you’re making a V-shape, but one end is skinnier than the other.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 5
From the front of the bird head, pinch forward a little bit of clay until it comes to a point to make the beak. That’s it. You’ve sculpted. The airdry clay can be softened with water, so if you get your fingers just a little bit damp you can smooth out any roughness you created with your pinching.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 6
If you want to use this bird as a little trinket, then you’re done. But if you want to use it as a pendant then push a piece of wire through the clay from top to bottom to create a hole for beading.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 7
Give your bird a couple of days to dry. If you make it pretty big you might want to wait a couple more. A light sanding with finish sandpaper will remove any fingerprints.

Clay Bird Pendant Tutorial Step 8
From here you could decorate it however you wanted to. I painted these birds with a coat of ice blue acrylic paint, a coat of pearly white acrylic paint, and then a couple coats of clear artist’s sealer. Once it’s all dry you can use this bird like any other bead. Since I was going for simple, I put it on a head pin, attached it to a jump ring, and threaded it on a silk cord.