Make an elephant ring holder | Nicola Mclean | Skillshare
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10 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Elephant ring holder intro

    • 2. Elephant pose sketches

    • 3. Making an armature

    • 4. First layer of clay

    • 5. Elephant legs

    • 6. Elephant trunk and ears

    • 7. Elephant head and face

    • 8. Elephant toenails

    • 9. Preparing it for the oven

    • 10. Painting the elephant

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About This Class

In this class we'll make an elephant ring holder out of polymer clay. Don't worry if you haven't used polymer clay before as the lessons will take you through the process step by step. 

First, I'll do some (very rough!) sketches of the pose we want for the elephant - I've attached these sketches to the class project section for you to refer to as you create your own elephant. 

Then each video lesson will show you how to create your very own elephant ring holder before popping him in the oven to bake and then painting him.

This is a class for all skill levels and I hope you will join in. 

Thank you,


Meet Your Teacher

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Nicola Mclean

Artist, Student, Daydreamer


Hello, I'm Nicola.

I'm an artist from the north of Ireland, currently living in the far north of Scotland with two dogs, two rescue rats and one husband.

Inspired by all animals, the wonder of nature and the sometimes surprising beauty of the urban landscape, my paintings tend to include elements of all three to varying degrees, all of which I re-imagine with a vibrant palette and a vivid imagination. 

As well as being a professional artist selling my paintings in local exhibitions, in my Etsy shop and on my website, I'm studying part-time for a degree in Arts & Humanities with Creative Writing, I've just finished my first novel and am in the process of finding out the best way to become a published author. I also volunteer at my local a... See full profile

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1. Elephant ring holder intro: hi and welcome to my latest skill share class. My name is Nicholas on I'm Nikolic artist. If you join me in any previous classes, you'll know that we painted Seascapes and landscapes and most recently, we meet miniature dream catchers on. We used polymer clay to make the feathers for those we're actually sticking with Palmer K for today's project. We're gonna make this be elephant on these little ring holder on. If you haven't used polymer clay before, then don't worry. You don't need much experience to be able to make your one elephant too tall. I'll take you through a step by step exactly what you need. Today. I'll add a list to the class project to let you know what supplies you're gonna need, but it's really be a second straight forward. You you want to need about five things and to be able to make your elephant on all of them , you can get online very easily or in any craft or hobby shop. And that's really by that. If you do decide to make your own elephant, I really hope you'll upload him. Let me see how it turns out. But other than that All we've got to do is get on with making them. So I will see you in the next video. 2. Elephant pose sketches: Okay, So before we start to actually create our polymer clay elefant, I thought it would be a good idea to sketch right some rough guidelines off how he's going to be posed. Please excuse the sketches. This isn't an art lesson, so they are in any detail at all. They're really just to serve as a reminder. And when we start cheap him out of clay, you'll see that it's quite a whimsical pose that I have in mind and certainly not how you imagine elephants actually sit in the world. But I want the body to be quite solid and sturdy so that he's likely to topple over. I thought if he was standing up on all four legs, that might make him a little bit but less steady, which is why he's sitting at more like you might expect a dog to sit. And the only part that we really want to have sticking up, obviously, is the trunk, which we want to have current up like this, because that's what's going to make him the ring holder. So I'm going to sketch him from three different angles as well. Aside on like this, I'll sketch him from the back and from the front just for something to refer back to when we start to shoot the might of clay. I'm going to use speed this next part up because you don't need to draw him out yourself unless you want to, of course. But I will add these sketches to the class project information so you can feel free to use him as a guide lying to your own elephant on. Other than that, I will see you in the next video on. That's where we're going to start off by making an armature, which is a sort of skeleton or fully ephraim on which we build up the clay. So I will see you in the next video. 3. Making an armature: Okay, so the first thing we want to do is cut off a piece off the aluminium wire bite six or seven centimeters long. Should be enough on. That's what we're going to be using for the elephants trunk. Okay, The second stage, then for the armature, is a sheet off 10 4 aluminium foil, probably about the size of an A four page of paper. We're just gonna screenshot up quite tight. Form it into very loosely sort of para shipped. Just make sure the BS is flat so that it's going to stay upright. Um and then we will that the wire in roughly where you would expect the elephants trump to be based on the sketches that we did earlier. I just make sure that it's cordoned off the ways so that will work as the ring holder. When we get to that point, the next stage then, is to start wrapping it up with the polymer play. So I'll see you in the next video for that 4. First layer of clay: So, uh, this video is really just a bite, getting during a first layer of play to completely cover the 10 point. If you've worked with Colin McKay before, you'll know that it needs to be warmed up to make itself enough to use the skull P that I use comes in strips on. I tend to just well, one night at a time, just so that I'm not using more than I need to, and I expect you to the video up so that you don't have to watch me roll invite each time. But basically, all you need to do is, well, it between the palms of your hands. Need it the way you would dio on, just switch it around until it's warm enough to flatten it right on. Then just start to wrap it around the tin foil. I break it off and doing it in little sections on. Then just use my fingertips to smooth the sections together. Make sure that's think enough. You don't want it too thick but thick enough so that it covers the 10 4 um, and the 10 4 doesn't poke three on also, so you can smooth the joints off the different sections off play. I'm not worried at this stage about trying to make it look like an elephant that will come in the next video. But for now, you will really just wanted to get the 10 foreign covered. Okay, so then I'm just going to do the same with the wire, disrupting the clay around it on losing it in with the clay that's already on the floor That will help to keep the way really shaken. See, it's moving around a little bit at the minute, so hopefully once we put the clay on the old start to hold that in place a bit more and then, obviously, once we bake until it will be in baked into the middle of it. So you just want to make sure you've got enough clay around the way, or so that the wire is not gonna poke through and it's well hidden in the central way. So I'm just going to keep Adan play to build up the shape of the trunk on and make sure that I've covered all of the tinfoil. In the next video, we will start to look at the actual ship off the elephant and build it up based on the pose of Beaudry in the sketch at the beginning. But for now, we were just gonna keep on building up that first layer. 5. Elephant legs: Okay, So take another strip off the polymer, clay on If you pull it out into a slim ish cigar ship, Onda, we cut that into three equal lengths initially on. Then take one of those and come back again in half. On there was two small pieces. They are going to make the front legs of the elephant. So if you take them and just squeeze them like that onto the bs off the front of the body on just made them on certain there, attached on. Just keep putting it back down on the ground so you can make sure that he is stable and that the legs of the same length, um And then I'm just pushing them in that further sort of, um, making sure that there, the clay from the legs and the body, the land totally together Just keep submission that right until you're happy with it and then just soften the the cut that we need in the front of thumb. Just so from that rind make little grind it elephant feet. And then when you take the two longer pieces that were left on, these are going to form his back legs on again, which is going to attach them underneath the body off the elephant on just setting. Don't make sure that they they don't come out further than hes front feet. I just switched the play together with the clay on the body on. Just use your thumb or your your fingers to smooth away any line to riches. Just tough him as if he's sitting on his bottom with his legs coming out to either side. I have ruled out more clay, and now I am building up the bulk of his body. If you have a wee look at the sketch that I did, it'll give you an idea of how you want to shape the clay for the position that the often just sittin in. So I'm just adding to his hips and giving him a little bit of earth across his bottom. Uh, do the CME to both sides on just keeps moving the clay together to blend the joints every time you add a new piece on top Again, If you said I'm doing on the work top, you can make sure that he's level and sitting perfectly flat as I go along. I'm just continually smooth in the clay out with my fingers. But don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. So it doesn't matter if you have any We dancer lines, because don't forget we're going to be a paean to the elephant. Anyway, on I quite like those we imperfection. I think they should. What's a handmade item? And not just something I did for mold? I hadn't covered the beasts off the elephant with play, so I'm going to do that. Night on the legs came during the lower than the original air body that we had. So I'll fill in that dip with clay and smooth it over to completely hide the 10 point you can see. That's what I'm doing. I just letting it all in together, By the way, in case you wonder to bite the tinfoil, it serves a couple of purposes. Firstly, it gives you a structure to build the clay on top. Off on. It also means that you're not having to use as much play to get the same bulk, so you're seeing your clay for other projects. So once you're happy with the bs and weaken, start toe a little bit more definition to the elephant s. So I'm just going to use a scalpel to separate the front legs on. We'll come back to them in a little while to add some little elephant toes. So I'll see in the next video, and we can start to add some more definition to his trunk on add some elephant years. 6. Elephant trunk and ears: right, So and I were going to move back to the trunk on. I'm just using the scalpel again. Toe add little lines all the way up on doing just to make it look a little bit more like the wrinkle she would see on an elephant's trunk. Apologies for the times when I'm leaving a little bit out of shot. I didn't realize until I came to edit the video that I had done that, but hopefully you can still make out what I'm doing. And by the way, you might notice. Or you might not until I pointed out, just know. But in this video, I actually have the top of the trunk of runway behind. My husband actually pointed it right to me when I was just about to put it in the open to bake, so I was able to fix it before I baked it. If you look at the photo off the finish Elefant, you'll see how it should look. The longer part off the tip off the trunk is at the back, not the front, as I have it here. So just make sure her when you come to mold your trunk, you get it right. And before you bake yours. So I have ruled out some more clay and just listening shape in the clay into sort of an elongated diamond or reveal exhibit. Mollica Qassem. Um so I'm going to use this to shape the elephants years. I'm going to just cut that in half, and I've ended up with, um, continuously shipped triangles. So I'm just I'm gonna do know is attach one to each side on Sorry. If it's difficult to make out what I'm doing here and attach in their triangle upside dine with the pointy end at the bottom on to sort of creating little falls bands at various points in it to make it look more like a an elephant here. Then again, just blend the play into the site off the head on the top of the head, exactly the same on the other side, and could see here. I'm just sort of creating little ripples and bubbles. I'm just to get my speak gumbel ears. Once you've got you, either sort of the way you want the you can start then to move the shape of the top of the head. I just used the excess clay that you've got from the top of the years. Okay, so what I'm doing, I is really just continued toe to blend the clay from the years into the top of the head flat on the matter to be bet more on we will start them to add some little features into the elephants bs saucy in the next video for that. 7. Elephant head and face: Okay. What I'm doing here is just very Leslie and chip in the to the born structure off the elephants. Yes, I'm not getting bogged doing in creating perfect facial features because this is just a whimsical little figurine. It's not supposed to be realistic, so don't worry about that. If you wanted to have a look at some elephants photographs online, if you're not too sure off how you should be ship in the Fiesta, I'll give you a better idea. Obviously, the sketch I did was very rough A list. It was just for the actual body ship. So if you want to put a wee bit more detail into it, then feel free, but a say, just keeping this very list. It's just started to get the basic outline off his born structure around recipients. That's where I'm just doing my Okay, So now we're going Teoh 38 the elephants, my life. The trunk is sort of his nose and his top lip, so we really just need to create a lower lip for him. What I'm doing here is I'm just pension A little bit of the clay, uh, just a form that into his lower lip. If you have a look again at photographs on the Internet, you'll be able to see what that should look like. I'm just in case you can't make out what it is that I'm doing here. And then just to give a little bit of definition between his head on the rest of his body, I'm just digging my heels. And across here, as you can see, the tips of my fingers action the thumbs just to show definitions, you can see that he has actually got her neck and is, if that isn't just going straight into his body, I'm just using a knife there to open up the life a little bit more. Okay, so I'm just gonna add a little more clearly to the back of his head, and it's a little bit flat at the moment, so I'm just gonna build out a little bit. And it's the same thing again. You just added on and then start to smooth it out with your fingertips so that it blends in with the clay that's already there. So when you're smooth in a tight, try to hold it as gently as possible because obviously it's still soft, so your fingers will make little impressions in the soft clay, perhaps where you don't want them to be. So it's just holding it quite gently so you don't squish your your handiwork, and so you can see starting to take shape as an elephant night. But something that is still missing is ah, little Teal. So we'll have that next. So just got a little tiny piece out off the clay. Um, elephants. Tales are sort of hairless until the end, and then they seem to have some wispy hairs. And so I'm just sort of getting the impression of that. And then it's just a case off stick deal on the elephant and have to do a couple of times forget it into the right place on, then again, just smooth and so that it stays attached. And with the clay that surrender and then coming up in the next video, we are going to add some little to Neil's toothy elephants speak. So I'll see in the next video 8. Elephant toenails: OK, in this video, I've assumed in a little bit closer, so hopefully you can see the detail. What I'm doing is making little tiny two meals for the elephants. Sweet. So I'm ruling night. Really small. No circles, which I'm flattening off. Play on. I'm gonna cut each of those in half and then each half will serve as a Tonio for the elephants feet going to put three toenails on each bit dependent. Hari a big or small your major elephant. If you stuck chest similar sizes as me, then that should probably be enough for the feet of yours as well. So I'm just gonna put them onto the front of each fit. I'm going to speed this video up a little bit because the process is the CME night. It's just it's really straightforward. You just cut each of the little discs in half and use half for each Tonio way. So coming up in the next video, we will get him ready to bake in the often 9. Preparing it for the oven: Okay, that's our little elephant. You can see I've made a couple of little lines for his eyes. Is if they're closed because I thought he looked quite sweet like that. And so he's finished on. He's really ready to go into too often to be baked. But first I just wanted to try you might as his intended purpose, which is as a drink holder. So that's pretty much what he's gonna look like not just take those off on the next stage, then, is to wrap him up in foil and put him into the often to bake. So I will show you next Exactly how you he do that. Okay, I like to use one of thes little ceramic dishes just to set them into on What I'm going to get is a sheet off tinfoil. Just me. If I might have the way, I'm just enough so that it will wrap right around over the top of the elephants without actually touching them, because you don't want him toe to get bent or scores before he's baked. Hard to just talk it right going into the dish. And then if you set the elephant just into the middle of it, and then you're just gonna wrap that up on sort of pinch it together, but with eight touching the elephant inside. So the baking time, then, is, um, 30 minutes on. That's at 135 C, our 275 degrees Fahrenheit. What I do is, I leave it in, put it in for 30 minutes, and then I turned the open off on a leave it in until they often has completely cold on. Then that way you're just sure that it will be probably baked on. Then in the next video, we're going to paint him. 10. Painting the elephant: Okay, So this is our little elephant. He's being begged in the open, and he has a big heart on. So, no, What we need to do is Panton. Um I have chosen to colors. Um, you can see of it's right there on the plate. This is what I'm using. A lavender on arctic mixed together will give a nice sort of repeal. Bluey Grey, you can choose whatever color you want to do yourself. So I'm just gonna blend them together, and I'm going to start painting and little late. You're just painting him entirely the same color all over. Um, you'll probably need to give him many at least two coats, possibly three, just to make sure that the paint is thick enough to cover the beige off the clay. So I'm just going to speed the video, apply because I'm literally just painter nimal over. Just when you're holding a night this stage, be very careful not to drop him because he's baked hard and he will be fragile on the way that you're just stick a night there. They would be prone to snapping off if he was to fall. The elephant's trunk should be okay, because he has the wire run into it, but he still donor take a chance on dropping it, so just be sure to hold tight onto it. I had a little bit and we have here and decided to set him into the dish so that I could turn the discovery. And rather than turning him around to make a little bit easier to get all this angles soap in thermal over and then once the top strike, I compared the underneath and at that dry and then come back and give him as many more coats as needed. That's the first coat dry on. We're just gonna paint the biggest snow for first coat that that dry as well. And then we'll see how many wonders we need might need after that. So he's had a first court all over Andi. I'm going to give him a second coach ni, and again, I'm just speaking this because there's no skill involved here. It's literally just painting him the same color all over on. Just try to make sure you get into all the little cracks and nooks so that he is completely covered. So two coats were enough for the body of the elephant and I were going to plant is to Neil's. This is the color amusing. It's cold beige, but it's it's really quite a creamy color. That's what I'm going to use again. Just be really gentle with him when you're picking them out. You don't want to drop him at this stage. Will probably have Teoh at several layers off the cream just to make it pop against the Grey office game. So again, I'm just going to speed this up because it's just using a very tiny brush, smallest one that you have. Um, this is a 10 off zero on. I'm going to just keep going over the two meals, let them dry between coats until they are covered enough. Okay? His toenails have had to code so far on while I wait for the 2nd 1 to dry, I'm going. Teoh, add a little bit of pink. Teoh Hayes, the inside of his ears have The cover I've used here is called Orchid screen. Makes it a little bit the cream on. Um, it's just a little pop of color into the inside of his ears on. You don't need to do this any great detail. It's just Millis Lee. Not a little hint of color. That's it. What we ate for history. Nails to dry and then we'll give him. Get him another coat. So here's the finished elephant. He ended up with the three coats of cream Honest your nails to make them pop. But he's finished night on. I have to say I'm really pleased with her Eastern dote. He is lumpy and bumpy on perfectly in. Perfect on. I think he makes a really cute little ring holder. I hope you've enjoyed this video. And I would really appreciate it if you would give me some feedback. Let me know what I did, right? Let me know what I could improve on for next time on if you have any other ideas off anything you like me to make on a problem of play or if there are any things you like me to pee intern acrylics. I'd be happy to do that if you did enjoy it. Please give me a thumbs up. Andi, please. Also a few Mitchell on elephant. Add it to the class project so I can see how years turned ICT