Silly Creature Sculpture

“If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” Ludwig Wittgenstein.

He’s got a point, and that’s what this project is all about. Making a silly creature means letting your imagination go wild and the sillier, the better. Think wings, multiple eyeballs, crooked and disjointed parts, anything goes. Then we can move onto something more intelligent.

Making the wooden base does involve tapping into your inner carpenter, but it is worth making, and great for all kinds of sculptures. I went to Home Depot and bought a  2″x 4″  which was 8 feet long and had them cut it into 6″ pieces. I know, you’re probably thinking what to do with so many of them, but there are certain givens in life:  kids love to make things, and they love having friends over to make things. The dowel also has to be purchased in a long length, but you can easily cut that at home with a small saw. You will also need to buy a drill bit the same size as your dowel. Then again, if this is putting you off, you can dispense with the base and plop some clay on any available hard surface.


If you are making the base, you will need:

  • wooden base (2″x4″x6″)
  • dowel (7/16″x4″)
  • small saw
  • drill
  • drill bit same size as dowel
  • white glue
  • safety glasses
  • wire (to create an armature & allows you to rotate the sculpture on the base)
  • wire cutters
  • foil

No base? Then just these items:

  • air drying clay (eg.Jovi, in a light colour)
  • sculpting tools eg. garlic press, skewers, etc.
  • paint
  • brushes
  • bowl with water


1. The wooden base and dowel sizes are simply a suggestion, and can be any size you like. With safety glasses on, drill a hole (the size of your dowel) into the wooden base. You can center it widthwise and lengthwise. Add a little white glue and the place dowel inside, giving it some time to dry.

2. Take a length of wire and loosely wrap it around the dowel from the bottom to the top, like a coil. Make sure it’s not too tight, and that it can move around the dowel. This will allow you to rotate the sculpture on the base once it is finished, which is really cool! Also, leave enough wire at the top to create the skeleton or armature for your creature. Add some foil to this basic shape (see photo below). The details will come when you add the clay.

3. Now begin adding small pieces of clay on to the foil to create your creature. This type of clay dries quickly, so work as fast as you can. Keeping a bowl of water handy allows you to moisten it if necessary. If you are not using a base, simply make your creature on a hard surface.

4. When the clay has hardened, at least overnight, you can paint it along with the base. Remember, this is a crazy creature, so don’t hold back on the colours!

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Filed under clay, sculpture

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