How to Make a Polymer Clay Turtle Figurine | Kathy Austin | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

How to Make a Polymer Clay Turtle Figurine

teacher avatar Kathy Austin, Owner of Bits of Joy

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Supplies

    • 4. Making the Body

    • 5. Flower Tutorial and Baking

    • 6. Finishing Touches

    • 7. Bonus Projects

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This class is perfect for animal lovers and plant lovers alike! 

Join me as we make a cute little turtle figurine piece by piece, from the head down to the tail! We will be working with polymer clay today..think of it as Play Doh for adults! We'll brainstorm some fun themes and take a look at all the color possibilities!

Sculpt along with me as I teach you how to make a succulent out of clay as well as a rose and a simple flower. I'll also show you how to make accent pieces like leaves and little dot accents! 

By the end of this class, you'll have the skills and knowledge to equip you with making your very own turtle! Give it as a gift or keep it near your desk or side table to bring some extra joy to your day. I'll show you some bonus projects you can make with your turtles as well as give you some ideas on other animals you can create! 

Instructions and a supply list are included. 

To see my favorite materials, visit my Amazon shop here!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kathy Austin

Owner of Bits of Joy


Hi! I'm Kathy and the owner of Bits of Joy!

Bits of Joy was founded in 2011 and is a small business featuring handmade polymer clay products! My favorite things to make are miniatures, food & dessert charms, and kawaii characters! 

Connect with me on any social media platform, shop supplies, and find out more here:

I was recently featured on H&R Block's Female Founders series. Read my article here!

                                                                       Photo by Holly Beasley.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi there, My name is Kathy and I am the owner of bits of joy. I make and sell Q custom and creative polymer clay products to people all around the world. And best known for my Kawhi magnet sets, earrings, and ornaments. I've been working with polymer clay now for over ten years. It's a really versatile medium that allows you to make pretty much anything you can think of. I've also been an online ESL teacher since 2017. So my experience in teaching online will ensure that you'll have a fun and engaging class. In today's class, you'll learn how to make a super cute turtle figurine featuring succulents, florals, and other accents. This class is for those that have at least a beginners knowledge of working with polymer clay, you'll be using some basic tools such as an exacto knife and acrylic ruler, and some dotting tools. And you'll also be able to use your imagination to create the turtle of your dreams will start off the class by taking a look at some possible turtle themes, color combinations, and giving you some inspiration. By the end of today's class, you'll have created your very own turtle figurine. I'll also show you a couple of bonus product at the end of class that you can create with the same techniques that you learned today when you complete this class. If you could do me a big favor and show me your turtle, other desktop figure in animal. I would love to see what you create. You can also tag me on Instagram at bits of joy, crafts. 2. Class Project : All right everyone, welcome. Let's go ahead and discuss some color palette and Theme Ideas. The easiest thing you can do is to pick your favorite colors. You can also select complimentary colors opposite of your favorite color on the color wheel, jewel tones and even cool colors. If you have a favorite flower, you can design your turtle around your favorite flower. You can also use muted shades by adding just a tiny bit of black. Or you could just pick one color and add whites and blacks to that one color to create multiple variations of it. Rainbow ones are even more fun. You can do a rainbow gradient or one with actual rainbows on it. My favorite thing to do is to select a theme. So here's a pandemic turtle for 2020. There's toilet paper lysol mask. And here's a fun in the sun turtle with like a beach theme and junk food. This is so cute. There's Cereal, Donuts, coffee, macrons, tacos, and then even science themed ones. I recently made some Halloween ones. So take a moment and think about your favorite colors, objects, items, subjects, and get creative. Let's go ahead and start making our turtle. 3. Supplies : Let's take a moment to look over our supplies for today. First, you'll need gray granite score be Primo clay. I'm also using blues today. Don't need some black for the eyes. You can use any colored clay you want. I'm also using liquids skull be to help adhere the turtle pieces together. And I'm also using gloss glaze and a paintbrush to glaze our Turtle at the very end of the class. You'll also need a few tools. These can be simple objects you find around the house. And I'm also using some wire and acrylic roller and exact dough knife today and a dotting tool. Don't forget about an oven to bake your turtle in and a slab to work on, as well as something to bake your turtle on. You can use a glass dish, a ceramic tile, or even a baking dish. 4. Making the Body: Okay, friends, let's go ahead and get started. Grab your gray granite clay and start breaking the pieces apart. The first thing we're going to do is make the turtle's head. This is probably the easiest shape. It's just a little circle. The next part are the little fins. So break apart for pieces of clay. Squish it between your hands. If the clay is too hard, you can use clay softener. Now you're going to create like a little teardrop shape. Go ahead and make for these. Try to make them about the same size and the same thickness all around. Okay, now we've made our head as well as our four little fins. So the next thing we're going to do is take a little tiny bit of clay and create the turtles tail. This will be more of an ice cream cone shape. And you can use a little bit less than what you used for the fins. Just make sure the bottom of the ice cream cone shape is flat. The next piece is going to be this little snake that goes along the bottom of the turtle shell. And to do this, you're going to just squish out some clay and roll it into a long thin log. Makes sure it's even. Okay. Once you're thin log is long enough to cover the entire span of your turtle's shell. You're going who put it aside? And we're going to create the base of the turtle shell. For the turtle shell, we're going to be using a bit more clay. Now my clay is on the hard and today, so that is why I am rolling it multiple times to try to soften it up. Again, you can use school be clay softener and just add a drop or two if you need to soften your clay. Otherwise, if you just run it through a pasta machine or do this manually, it'll soften up over time. Now to create your turtle shell, we want the bottom to be flat. That way we can add here the fins to it easily. But we also want the top part to be rounded. So make sure that you're using enough clay. Once you're done with your turtle shell, make sure all of it is flat on the bottom, as well as completely smooth on the side because the next part we are going to attach is the little thin log that we made. For this part, you're simply going to start at one end of your turtle base and slowly wrap your snake around the base. Once you get to the other end, go ahead and slice it off with an exacto knife and then use two fingers and smooth it out so it looks seamless, right, that looks about good. For the next step, we are going to attach all of our little turtle pieces. You can use leftover wire from head pins or iPads or just by some galvanized steel wire from the hardware store. I'm going to apply some liquid scopy because this helps adhere the clay better and then insert a little piece of wire. And this just keeps the pieces a little bit more durable and gives it longevity. So repeat this process with sticking a piece of wire in using a little dab of liquid scopy. The combination of the liquid school B, as well as the wire will ensure that your turtle stays more durable and protect it from drops. Should that happen. Once you've attached your tail in your head, go ahead and flip your little turtle upside down and apply for little dabs for the four little fins. You don't need to use wire for this step. Okay, once we've got our main turtle components assembled, we are going to take a little bit of black clay and are dotting tool and create a little face and two eyes. So take a tiny bit of clay, roll it into a circle, and simply press it into your little indentation that you've made with your dotting tool. And repeat the process with the second eye. And then you'll create a little thin log and curving upwards to create a smile. You can also change this up and add little eyelashes on the side of your turtle to create a little girl turtle. Or you can even carve out a mustache. You can carve out a little half circle with a pink piece. For a tongue sticking out. You could create little teeth for your turtles. So just get creative with this next step and add some personality to your turtle. If you're ready to up the cuteness factor of your little turtle sculpture. Go ahead and take a sip of water, take a break, stretch, and get ready for the next part of my class where we'll be making little succulents, flowers and accents for our turtle. See you soon. 5. Flower Tutorial and Baking: Let's go ahead and make some succulents and flowers. So go ahead and pick your favorite color that you want to start with. I'm going to start with blue. This really pretty swirly ocean. He colored one and start pulling out little pieces and rubbing little balls and forming little triangles. Try to flatten this out a bit. A couple millimeters thick is fine. And you're going to create multiple triangle shapes. I would recommend starting with at least eight to ten of them. Okay, let's go ahead and get started. So take your first petal, squish it down so it's easy to bend and then curve it into a slightly rounded shape. Take the next petal and do the same thing. And continue until you use up all of your petals. Try to space these out as evenly as you can. If you want to make bigger succulents, just use Baker petals and smaller petals for smaller succulents. This is going to be the centerpiece of our turtle, so I'm making a fairly large one. You can continue pinching the corners if they get flat or to round it. If you don't have enough petals, you can always pinch from the very bottom of your stem and create an additional pedal. And keep going until you're happy with your design. This one needs just a little bit more to round out the symmetry. So I'm going to add these additional petals in using the same techniques. And then once you're ready, we are going to slice our succulent. Okay, so roll it out a bit and slice it carefully with your exacto knife. You want to make sure that the bottom is flat. I'm going to apply some liquid scopy and some gentle pressure underneath to make sure my flowers sticks to the turtle. Up. Next we're going to take another color and learn how to make a rose. So the same concept applies in making tiny little petals, except these are going to be rounded petals rather than triangular petals. So go ahead and make a bunch of tiny little circles. You can pinch them between your two fingers to flatten them out a bit. You just want to make sure that they are pliable and easy to bend and try to keep them about a consistent shape. This flower is going to be a little bit smaller than my succulent. So you can see that I am rolling out smaller petals. Once you've got about 10 petals, go ahead and take your first petal and roll it slightly between your fingers. You're going to repeat the same process like we did with the succulents. Except you are going to round these out a little bit more and overlap the last petal slightly. You can make this as big or as small as you want. By adjusting the number of petals that you use. When you're happy with your flower, go ahead and slice it carefully with your exact a knife again and decide where you'd like to place it on your turtle. I'm going to place it right next to my succulent and gently press the liquid scopy is optional. I like to use it for the bigger pieces, but as long as you adhere it carefully, it will bake together. Let's go ahead and make our third and easiest flower. Go ahead and take a third color, roll out a little snake, flatten it out. And this one we simply will twist until we run out. Think of making cinnamon buns. This is the same process but with clay. Once you're done, taper off the ends and go ahead and slice this one carefully with their exact dough knife. You can also adjust the thickness of the clay as well as the length to create different sizes of this rolled flower. Next, I'm going to take my fourth color and I'm going to create some accent pieces. So I'm going to create a tapered log. So make sure one side is thicker and one side is thinner. I usually do these in sets of threes or fours. And these are super easy. You just take three or four little logs with a thick end on top and pinch them together and slice. And I like to use these as little filler pieces in between the flowers. Up next we're going to create some little leaves because what's a succulent turtle without some leaves? Go ahead and take a color. You can use blue or green, whatever you'd like and roll it out flat with your exacto knife, you're going to cut a little leaf shape. And then cut a little line, not all the way through the center of your leaf. To create a leaf pattern. Go ahead and place this wherever you'd like on your turtle. Now that we've got our core pieces in as well as a couple of flower shapes and some succulents. We are going to just create filler pieces using the same techniques to fill in the rest of our turtle to create a pleasing aesthetic. So go ahead and pick whatever flower succulent leaf combinations you'd like and start making. If you find that you're struggling and see some little areas where you can't exactly fit a flower or a leaf. Another thing you can do is just create little tiny dots out of clay. They're really queue and they kind of remind me of babies. Breath. Just take little circles. Pinch them out, roll them between your finger or your palm, and gently press onto your turtle. You can create multiple variations are patterns. I also like to take my dotting tool and create an indentation. It gives it a little bit more depth. But this is completely optional. You can do some with little circles inside and some without. Hi. Okay, Now that we're nearing completion with some of our turtle floral accents, I am going to create some beach accents. The first thing I'm going to make as little starfish, so I'm going to roll out some clay flat and carve it out manually with my exacto knife. You can also use a tiny cookie cutter if you have one. And once I get my star cut out, I'm going to take something sharp like a toothpick or a little dotting tool or a needle, and go ahead and poke little holes in for some texture. You can also use a toothbrush if you want to create some additional realistic texture. And once you're ready, go ahead and start this and gently press against the $1.90. Take a needle with me within the sandbox. Once you're done with that, carefully lifted off the surface and place it anywhere you'd like on your turtle. The next thing I'm going to create is a little wave action. So I'm taking this really pretty swirled blue color and I'm going to manually cut out some wave shapes so that I can add it onto my turtle. I'm also going to take a little bit of a lighter colored clay and put it on top of the waves to create some sea foam. You can gently adhere it with your finger or the edge of your exact dough knife to create some texture. That looks about good. Just have fun with this. Add whatever accent you'd like. And it fits perfectly right at the very bottom of my turtle. Alright, I'm almost finished. I'm going to speed up the video a little bit with the final remaining accents and tell you a little bit about the baking process. What you'll want to do is look at your package of clay and follow your manufacturer's suggestions for baking times. I personally like to bake my clays at 275 degrees Fahrenheit in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Make sure not to handle your clay components while they're in the oven or before they've completely cooled down because you do risk the chance of having your turtle break apart. 6. Finishing Touches: Once you pull your little turtle out of the oven, wait about 20 to 25 minutes before you glaze it. You don't want it to be too hot. Make sure it's cool to the touch. And gently squeeze a little dab of gloss on. Take your paint brush and brush it around. I usually do one whole side, let it dry maybe five or 10 minutes in between coats, and then do the opposite side. Don't use too much. A little goes a long way. Now we don't have to. 7. Bonus Projects: Thank you so much for taking the time to watch this Skillshare class. Now let's take a look at what else we can make. So take everything you've learned and turn it into a mini baby turtle. You can also make a family of turtles and mom, dad siblings. You can make them even smaller by adding an iPad and fishhook dangles and turning them into earrings. And then get creative, make other animals. Here's a bunny and Narwhal. Some fun dinosaurs, a cute little fall fox, and a lazy slob. And then you can apply the same techniques and use colored clay to create other animals. I cannot wait to see what you create, so please upload your class project and I'd love to give you some feedback. Thanks for watching.