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Craft with modeling clay - instructions for figures and decoration

  • General information
    • Clay / clay
    • Plasticine
    • plaster
  • Tips for modeling clay
  • Basics Guide
  • Romantic light house
  • Individual coasters
  • Noble leaf bowl
  • Nice vase

Modeling mass is one of those simple and inexpensive crafting utensils that are versatile and promise magical results. In this DIY guide you will learn all you need to know about crafting with the special materials. In addition, we present five different ideas for figures and other decoration. There is something suitable for every room of your home. But see for yourself and above all: Follow your preferred guide!

General information

Before we introduce you to the basic instructions and ideas, we would like to give you some general information and tips on crafting with modeling clay. Among other things, we clarify which species exist and with which colors you best paint your creations.

First of all a short overview to the usual modeling materials, before we describe the characteristics of the respective variants in more detail:

  • Clay / clay
  • Plasticine
  • plaster

Paper mache and wax are also among the modeling materials. These two variants are not important for the instructions of this guide. If you also want to make papier-mâché or wax, you might want to take a look here: Do handicrafts with paper mache and candles yourself.

Clay / clay

Clays and loams are similar - with the difference that clay has a reddish-brown color and a sandy consistency (as it is composed of clay and sand). In contrast, clay is fine-grained and slightly more supple. In nature, the materials are found especially near water.

The trade holds many clay and clay products for crafting ready. It is generally recommended to set to soft sound. The material can be kneaded particularly well and formed into detailed figures. When crafting you help yourself with some water to process the clay into a pleasant clay. The resulting decorative accessories can usually be cured in the oven or in the air.


Classic modeling clay mainly consists of water, oil, salt, flour and color pigments. In addition, manufacturers use potato starch, kaolin or waxes to prevent the mass from hardening even before it is used. There are different types of modeling clay, such as eco-clay or edible plasticine. Here you can find out how to do craft do-it-yourself yourself: make dough yourself.

Tip: Since plasticine contains water from home, you do not need to add any in the crafting (unlike clay / clay and plaster).


Gypsum is not only used in hospitals or in construction, but can also be used for crafts. There is special craft plaster ready for that, which is known to be very easy to mold. Adding water gives you a sticky modeling clay that lets you get creative.

Tips for modeling clay

  • Regardless of which modeling clay you are working with, you should seal a package that has been opened once airtight. Otherwise, the material quickly becomes useless.
  • You can eliminate wrinkles, tears or fingerprints on the resulting artwork with moistened fingers. Just swipe easily over the places.
  • Smaller bumps or dirt can be removed with soft sandpaper - but only after hardening and with a lot of feeling!
  • For filigree elements, it is advisable to use wire as a supplementary (stabilizing) tool. Often he can even use the oven.
  • Especially with very detail-loving works of art utensils such as knives, forks et cetera are important. It is best to order a special modeling set with matching tools.
  • For painting (after curing!) Acrylic and craft colors (also spray paint) are recommended in the first place. Opaque paints are also suitable, but at the end of the day you need a coat of clear coat to avoid smudging (clear coat is basically useful, even with acrylic and craft colors). Alternatively, you can apply with Edding pattern.
  • BEFORE modeling, you can color the mass with food colors if desired.

Cure in the oven or allow to air-dry ">

Oven hardening modeling clay

+ cure faster (minutes to a few hours)
+ Modeling work does not have to be done in a day or two, but can take weeks without the material hardening (this is especially useful for very elaborate figures and decoration elements)
+ allow more detailed figures (due to the special consistency of the mass)
+ are more stable
- risk of occurring and irreparable cracks (which you can counteract by increasing the temperature gradually and gradually lowering towards the end, but a guarantee also does not provide this method)

Air-drying modeling clay

+ any damage can be repaired (eg cracks filled with fresh mass and allowed to dry again)
+ no oven required
- Curing takes much longer (days to weeks - the thicker and bigger the work, the longer it takes)
- not quite so stable

Basics Guide

The procedure is basically always the same - no matter which modeling clay you use and what you want to make.

Step 1: Prepare the mass if necessary (mix with water).
Step 2: Knead the modeling clay with both hands for a few minutes until it becomes supple.
Step 3: Make a ball out of the mass and then squeeze it into a flat flat.


  • You can also use a rolling pin for this.
  • Put the ball in a plastic wrap and roll it flat. This will prevent the mass from sticking to the wood.

Step 4: Make your desired figures.
Step 5: Allow the finished accessories to harden in a uniformly warm and dry place (or in the oven if possible).
Step 6: Paint and decorate the artworks.
Step 7: Let the colors dry long enough. Finished!

According to this principle, you can make a variety of figures and decorative elements. Choose your preferred guide (idea) or follow your own ideas. Have lots of fun with it!

Each manual is easily implemented. Start your creative DIY adventure with inexpensive modeling clay ( 1 kg available from about 5 EUR, 2.5 kg from about 12 EUR )!

Romantic light house

Materials and tools:

  • Modeling clay (clay, loam or modeling clay optimal)
  • cardboard
  • sharp knife
  • rolling pin
  • Cling film
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • Kraft or superglue
  • spray Paint
  • our template
  • copy paper
  • printer
  • tealight


Step 1: Print our original on ordinary paper.

Click here: To download the craft template

Step 2: Cut out your desired front / back and the matching side panel with scissors.

Step 3: Knead the modeling clay until smooth and then into a ball.

Step 4: Put the ball in a plastic wrap and then go over it with the rolling pin to evenly flatten the ball.

5th step: Lay the first template on the mass and trace the outlines with a sharp knife to have the part of the house in the sequence as modeling clay.

Step 6: Repeat steps 5 to 7 until two fronts and two sides of the modeling clay are in front of you.

Step 7: Cut the front panels as you like - again with the knife. Here you can let your imagination run wild.

Step 8: Place the discs in a sheltered place to dry. Alternatively, you can place it on the heater (to speed up the process).

Step 9: Glue the four parts of the house together with adhesive at the edges. Let it dry well.

Step 10: Color your light house with the spray paint of your choice. Let it dry again.
Now all you have to do is light a sparkling tea light - the pretty deco, which can be used all year round, is ready!

Effect / Uses:

The light house creates a warm, romantic atmosphere and fits particularly well into the living room or bedroom.

Individual coasters

Materials and tools:

  • Modeling clay (each variant equally suitable)
  • wide cup or beer mat
  • sharp knife
  • Edding or acrylic paints (with brush)


Step 1: Knead the mass first smoothly and then to a ball, before you press this strong flat.

2nd step: Take a wide cup or an existing coaster as a template and place the utensil on the plate.

Step 3: Firmly squeeze the tool in and trace the circular or angular outlines with a sharp knife.

Step 4: Repeat the steps to make several coasters.

Note: If you roll out the mass on a textured background, it transfers to the modeling clay and creates creative patterns. We used table sets made of different materials.

Step 5: Let your creations dry for two to three days.

Step 6: Paint the coasters as you like. Possibilities: modern (abstract) patterns with an edding or a motley variety with acrylic paints.

Then the paint just has to dry and your work is done!

Effect / Uses:

Individually designed beer mats made of stable modeling clay are a long-lasting eye-catcher in the kitchen and can be used for beer glasses as well as for all other drinking containers.

Noble leaf bowl

Materials and tools:

  • Modeling clay (clay, loam or modeling clay optimal)
  • big leaf from nature
  • small bowl
  • rolling pin
  • Cling film
  • sharp knife
  • Spray paint or acrylic paints
  • clearcoat
  • brush


Step 1: Knead the modeling clay until smooth and then into a ball.

2nd step: Put the ball in a plastic wrap and roll flat with the rolling pin.

Step 3: Lay the sheet on the pane and press it gently but also vigorously.

Step 4: Separate the excess mass by tracing the outline of the blade with the knife.

Step 5: Remove the real leaf and gently place the artificial one in a small bowl, turning the flat leaf shape into a shell.

Step 6: Let it dry for a few days.

Step 7: Once the sheet has hardened, you can take it out of the bowl and decorate it to your liking, such as spray paint or acrylic paint with a brush.

Tip: Wild scattered glitter particles look great!

8th step: Let it dry.

Step 9: Paint your artwork with clearcoat. This supports a beautiful look and provides stability.

Finally, let it dry again and the shell is done!

Effect / Uses:

We recommend placing the leaf tray on a small cabinet in the hallway. It can serve as a key container or be provided with a Dekokerze. A stylish reception!

Nice vase

Materials and tools:

  • Modeling clay (clay, clay or gypsum optimal)
  • big glass (or other round cookie cutter)
  • sharp knife
  • rolling pin
  • Bowl of water
  • Spray paint or acrylic paints (with brush)
  • 240-grit sandpaper


Step 1: Knead the mass first smoothly and then to a ball, before you press it flat (but not too thin).

Step 2: Take a large glass or other round cookie cutter and press it on the flat disc.

Tip: If necessary, cut out the shape with a sharp knife.

Step 3: Lay the round element aside, it will later form the bottom of your vase.

4th step: Make a flat, sufficiently large rectangle from the remaining mass. Again, this should not be too thin.

Tip: You can now decorate the outer wall of the vase, for example, with a modeling tool press in small depressions.

Step 5: Moisten the long side of the rectangle, which you will attach to the round bottom, with a little water.

Step 6: Gently lay the moistened long side around the floor. Always press a little bit.

Step 7: Moisten the short sides of the already "rolled up" rectangle and connect them. For a proper DIY look, the ends may overlap.

Note: The water acts as a kind of glue here. Even small bumps in the resulting vase you can balance well with water.

Step 8: Let the decorative element dry for two to three days (depending on the size and thickness of the work, it may take a little longer).

Step 9: Sand the vase a little bit with 240 grit sandpaper to get a smooth surface.

Step 10: Paint the vase as you like. Let it dry and ready!

Tip: The modeling clay is not waterproof. Therefore, you should put the desired plant in a glass jar and the glass jar in the crafted DIY vase.

Effect / Uses:

If you have a rain-protected balcony or a suitable terrace, you can easily place your work there. Otherwise, the vase is also nice to look at indoor.

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