Experimenting With Air Dry Clay ~ Mini Gnomes & Hanging Crows

Hello my crafty friends!!! Is anyone else officially sick of winter? I have those winter “blahs” and have been less than motivated lately. I can’t wait for nicer weather so I can get outside and do some spray painting, sanding, and most of all, someΒ  “pickin!” In the meantime, I finally got around to experimenting with some air-dry clay, which I am loving!!!

It’s Crayola Air-Dry Clay to be specific, which is wallet-friendly at a whopping $4 per tub! And if you are planning on doing small figurines, this tub will go a long way! πŸ™‚ You can get this stuff anywhere; I got mine at Target!


I have a long list of “creatures” I’d like to make, but decided to start with gnomes and birds due to their easy, basic shapes. I eventually would like to make little pumpkins, little snowmen, crows and stars, and maybe some other types of Christmas ornaments. We’ll see!

I had a small bowl of water on hand for when the clay starts drying out. Just a little water helps make the clay nice and soft again.


For the hangers, I cut small pieces of thin wire and folded them in half to make little loops. Then I pushed them straight down into the top of the clay birds. Now that they are dry, the wire loops seem to be pretty firm in place.



You can make whatever shapes you’d like, as this clay is very soft and easy to work with!


Here’s my gang of gnomes, drying on the counter. I let them dry for a good two days before painting them. Obviously the thicker they are, the longer they’ll need to dry completely.


Before painting these guys, I looked up gnomes online and just got some ideas. I didn’t want to paint anything too complex. I like to draw out ideas before I start projects to decide which direction I’d like to go. I also found that drawing gnomes is really fun and addicting. LOL!


I lightly drew some lines for the beard and hat. Don’t press too hard or you’ll make indents in your clay.


And start painting! I used acrylic paint for this project. Now that I am done, I would recommend using water-based acrylics rather than the thicker, higher-pigmented acrylics. The thicker acrylics did not adhere to the clay as well and “chipped” off in places. The only down side to the water-based paint is that it is significantly thinner, so multiple coats are needed to get complete coverage.




You can see in the picture below, the difference between the 2 types of acrylic paint. The one on the left is the water based paint which adhered much better. The one on the right tended to “chip” more. I will definitely be using the water-based paint from now on.


And here’s one of the completed gnomes! Isn’t he cute? After the paint dried, I seal it with 2 coats of glossy mod podge. It created that shiny glazed kiln look! Here’s a before and after…




And here is a completed birdie. I painted the tip of his beak yellow and did little gray dots for eyes. I haven’t sealed this one yet, but I will use the same glossy mod podge. I used some thin jute twine to hang him up!



I love the black birds, but I also plan on painting a some red and some americana blue. I only painted a few of my creatures last night because they are a bit time-consuming, and I was also itching to post something since it’s been a while! πŸ˜‰ I’ll be sure to post the rest once they’re painted, but it might be a while. Hehe…

Let me know if you give the air-dry clay a whirl, and how it goes! I think it would be great for kids crafts, but there’s a whole world of possibilities for folk art or “prim” type crafts too! Happy crafting and have a super-duper week!

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Navy Wife Chronicles
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 13:05:52

    Oh my goodness, those figurines are so cute! Wow, who would have thought Crayola? πŸ™‚


  2. Kim Territo
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:05:16

    Luv the gnomes, they’re so cute!!!


  3. cheryl
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 17:12:25

    Love the little crows, and with the gnomes, I see little santas for Christmas:)


  4. Gale H.
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 18:35:23

    Great idea and so cute. Add a couple of ears for Easter too! Oh what fun you can have. πŸ˜‰


  5. Barbara Briggs Ward
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 23:38:06

    Never heard of air-dry-clay! So cute-so many possibilities! Love your gnomes!


  6. Margaret S.
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 07:38:05

    Can you please explain what you mean by water-based paint? Thanks so much! Love your stuff!


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jan 30, 2013 @ 08:24:03

      Hi Margaret! The water-based acrylics will say they are waterbased on the side of the bottle. They usually come in small round bottle and tend to be less expensive. They are a little thinner and seem to work better on the clay. The more “professional” acrylics (expensive ones, very thick and come in tubes almost look like tooth paste) were a little too much for this project. I hope this helps. Just read the labels and look for something that says water-based – usually near the spray paint, tempera paints, etc. in the craft store. Thanks for reading my post and have a great day! πŸ™‚


  7. Margaret S.
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 11:09:28

    Got it! So my little cheapie bottles are what you are talking about! πŸ™‚ Need some craft therapy these days and I love those little birds!


  8. bymy2hands
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 14:03:56

    Most adorable little guys! Great work!


  9. Mardell
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 08:33:36

    Adorbs!!!! Love them all! It’s good to have you back. Jan. blahs are over ~ it’s Feb. now ~ yay!

    I’m thinking mushrooms to go with your gnomes (or “toad stools.”)
    Have a great weekend.


  10. Matt
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 00:18:16

    Glad to see your back:-D! Love the new project idea. I’m going to give it a try. I agree with Mardell as well, the toad stools would go great in a set with the gnomes. So many possibilities! Ready for the warmer weather.


  11. Sara
    Feb 07, 2013 @ 13:51:45

    Love these! The birds r so cute! You did a awesome job πŸ™‚


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