Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Fun - Mermaid Balancing Toy

Although Summer hasn't officially started yet, the temperatures are rising, school is out, and people are heading to the beach.  On my last trip to the beach I noticed a group of mermaids playing in the waves, and was inspired to make this balance toy.  It is based on the old fashioned balance toys made from carved wood & metal, so, not a whole lot of detail, just fun and kind of soothing to watch her swing back and forth.

This mermaid is fun just to balance on a shelf, door frame, or table edge, but I've included the pattern and instructions for a stand you can create for her if you want her to have a resting "hang out".

To make your own mermaid you'll need:

Delight™ Air Dry Modeling Compound
corrugate cardboard
1 round wooden toothpick cut to 1 3/8" long
white glue
craft knife
two round glass decorative vase filler pieces (the kind with a flat bottom and rounded top, about 1/2" to 5/8" diameter.  These can be found in the "floral" section of most major craft stores)
acrylic paints in your choice of colors
paint brushes
acrylic varnish in your choice or choices of finish - you may want to use gloss for the tail and hair, and matte for the body.
1 2" x 3/8" strip of watercolor paper (90 to 120lb) or card stock
double stick tape


 Transfer the red outline and markings to cardboard.

Measure the width of your cardboard and mark it along the center length of the watercolor strip.  Score along those lines.  Fold and sharply crease strip in the center, then fold edges in along the score lines.  Cut tabs along the length of each side as shown.

Cut out figure, carefully pierce through each side of the cardboard with the tip of your craft knife blade, where the small hole is indicated at the shoulder area.

Glue watercolor strip along lower tail fin as shown.

Use small pieces of double-stick tape to attach glass pieces to each side of figure where indicated from pattern.

Push toothpick through hole at shoulders, center on each side, and glue in place.

Set the figure on a ledge or the end of your finger and see how it balances :)

Mix clay with acrylic paints in your choice of colors, then sculpt figure.  The toothpick is used as a gauge for the shoulder area.

Sculpt the flesh color onto the cardboard first, tapering onto the tail.

Add colored clay for tail and sculpt tail.
This is a good use for those credit card sculpting tools I talked about in the tips post!  I used two credit cards and made a set of 4 double-ended tools with graduated scale sizes.

One of the nice things about the credit card tools is that they bend to fit!

When you've finished sculpting the tail, sculpt a pair of arms and add those to your figure.

Add hair and whatever embellishments you choose.

Paint on facial features.

Finish with several coats of acrylic varnish.

If you'd like to make the stand for your mermaid, you'll need:
corrugated cardboard
white glue
craft knife
Creative Paperclay® modeling material
acrylic paints, paintbrushes

Transfer pattern to cardboard and cut two side pieces.  Cut one base piece and two triangle pieces in dimensions indicated on pattern.

Glue side pieces to base, and pre-bend triangles while the glue on the base and side pieces dries.

Glue triangle sections in place as shown, starting from base.  You may not need to go all the way to the tip, so trim if necessary.

Cover cardboard with clay, then add extra clay to sides and sculpt into wave forms.

Allow to dry, then sand and paint as desired.

Thanks for visiting the blog, and I hope your summer is starting off with a splash!

I'd love for you to join me for more projects & art adventures on my personal blog
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Unknown said...

precioso y buen tutorial

Proxxon Tools said...

OMG, I love this project

Gina said...

Incredible! Beautiful work.