Homemade Clay Bugs

by Christine Wheatley, Demand Media
    Use clay to create a multicolored snail shell.

    Use clay to create a multicolored snail shell.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    Make your own clay bugs as cute and whimsical family craft project. When you're done, use them to liven up a garden, a flower pot or your indoor decor. Polymer clay works well because of its low firing temperature, while the pliability makes it useful for forming the bugs' small features. Because polymer clay comes in so many colors, you can make your bugs as fanciful as you like.

    Preparation

    Once you know which bugs you want to make, buy the appropriate colors and quantity of polymer clay at a craft, art or bead store. Tape a large piece of wax paper onto the work surface, as clay can damage wood and plastic surfaces. If you are using marble or glass as your work surface, you don't need to use wax paper. Condition each piece of clay by kneading and warming it in your hands until it is pliable and soft.

    Forming the Bugs

    Form a ladybug by shaping red clay into a half circle and attaching a smaller, black circular head. Roll out tiny black balls to form the ladybug's spots and roll a thin, black cylinder for the line down its back. Finish the ladybug with tiny clay balls for eyes. Make a snail by rolling a long, thin clay cylinder in any color out on your surface, then forming it into a spiral. Roll a shorter cylinder out in a different color to make the body. Complete the snail by attaching eyes. Create a fly with a black sphere for the body and a small round head. Attach large, flat white ovals for the wings and add eyes. Attach pieces of coated wire to make the legs and antennae for the bugs.

    Firing

    Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the clay bugs on the baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 30 minutes. Take them out and allow them to cool before handling them. Firing polymer clay will not change the color or size of the bugs.

    Considerations

    Store unused clay in a sealed bag or plastic container at room temperature in a dark place. Do not overbake the clay or heat it above the recommended temperature. Overbaking or heating it above 375 degrees Fahrenheit causes the clay to decompose and release toxic fumes. Do not inhale clay fumes while baking. Do not allow anyone to eat the clay or eat while working with it.

    About the Author

    Based in Royal Oak, Mich., Christine Wheatley has been writing professionally since 2009. She contributes to several websites, specializing in articles about fitness, diet and parenting. Wheatley has a Bachelor of Arts in art from Calvin College.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images