Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Make a Mandrake with Glowing Eyes

Of course it's not too early to start working on Halloween decorations!  This year one of the "themes" of the Halloween party is going to be a spooky/haunted garden, so we started making mandrakes.  These are so simple and fun to make, we might have a whole greenhouse full before Halloween.

To create your own you will need:

Delight™ air dry modeling compound
an empty clear plastic bottle
fake foliage
white glue
acrylic paint
gallon size plastic bag for mixing clay and paint, if desired.  You can just mix it with your hands if you prefer
LED tea light
newspaper or stuffing of some sort to support the bottle during sculpting
planter with dirt

Start by cutting off the bottom of the bottle, I cut mine at an angle so it would sit back a bit in the pot.

Next mix the modeling compound with some acrylic paint until you get the color you prefer.  I mixed burnt umber and brown in part way and decided I wanted to leave it with the mottled look.

Stuff some newspaper or stiff paper into the bottle to keep it from collapsing while you work on it.  Roll or squish the clay flat in the baggie, then pull off sections and apply to the bottle.  If you have a problem with the clay sticking to the bottle, apply a layer of white glue to bottle and allow it to get tacky before adding the clay.

Cover the bottle completely - you might want to put it on a tile or piece of cardboard to stick it down before sculpting the face and adding foliage.

Use bits of clay to build up and sculpt the face, and add extra clay for arms or hands.  Remove clay from the inside are of the eyes (and mouth, if you like) so the light will shine through.

Cut foliage into individual stems, then insert them into the top of the bottle and put clay around them.  Again, if you have trouble with the clay sticking, use some white glue.

 I am making the hands separately to make it look like the mandrake will be climbing out of the pot. The hands for this one are just roughly sculpted from rolled clay to (hopefully) give them appearance of roots.

When everything is dry, brush a layer of acrylic wash over the piece to bring out the sculpting.  Turn on the tea light and place it in the planter, remove the stuffing from the bottle, then "plant" the mandrake over top of the light and push some of the dirt around the base.  Obviously, I went with a different pot than the one I used for sculpting, since my daughter had made one that fit the clay pot better and I thought mine looked better in this one.

Here they are together and with a few extra decorations

Thanks for joining me here again!  As always, play, experiment, and have fun!

Tori West

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