Return to the Clay and Ceramics Forum | Post a Follow-Up

SnowLady Tutorial

Posted by lamb43 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 23, 02 at 10:17

**My appologies. I thought I had posted this days ago!**

Step One: Wash light bulb and rinse well. Wipe bulb down with 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Allow to dry. Cover bulb completely, screw end included, with Sobo or Tacky glue.

Step Two: Condition white clay, and run it through a paste machine, or roll it out into a sheet that is 1/16" thick. Drape sheet over light bulb, and working from the center out to ends, begin to pat, smooth, trim and butt clay sheet over the light bulb. Eliminate any air pockets you may see.*1 When you have the light bulb covered completely, form a 1/2" ball from remaining white clay. Place it on your work surface and flatten slightly to form a fat pancake. Press the glass end of the light bulb into the pancake of clay to form a base or 'feet' for your snowperson to stand on. Smooth edges together to make a smooth seam.

Step Three: Place snowperson on your clay-baking tray, and put it into a cold (not preheated) oven. Set oven to recommended temperature for the clay you are using. *2 Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, then turn off the oven without removing your snowperson. Allow to cool completely before removing.

Step Four: If you choose to put a scene/picture on your snowperson's belly, refer to "2D Scene Project". Otherwise, move on to step five.

Step Five: Dressing your snowperson.
For my SnowLady In Waiting, I began with her hat. Cut out donut shaped hat brim template and trace onto cardstock.*3 I used scraps of ecru colored clay and pearl gold, mixing them together and rolled 2/3's of the clay into a sheet of clay 1/16" thick. Place hat brim template on one end of the sheet, and cut that end of at least 1/8" larger than you need. Place both sheets onto pieces of waxed paper. Mix a small amount of burnt umber into the remaining 1/3 of the clay. You want this clay to be just slightly darker than the other clay. *4

To make the basket weave for the hat: Pinch or cut off a portion of this clay and press it through a clay gun fitted with 1/32" coil (snake) plate. Or do as I did, and roll small pieces of this clay into evenly sized coils (snakes) Take one sheet of the hat clay, and begin placing coils on it approximately 1/8" apart. Keep them straight and evenly spaced apart. When you have all your rows in place, roll out the remainder of this darker clay into a sheet approximately 1/32" thick. Place on a sheet of wax paper, and cut into strips about 3/32" wide.

Carefully pick up one strip of clay and place it beside the clay sheet with the rows of clay on it. Cut it into rectangular shaped pieces and place it over the middle second coil. With a needle tool, carefully press each end of the small strip under the coil beside it. See basket weave illustration.

When sheet is complete, place hat brim template on it. Trace template carefully, making the outside edge just a shade wider. Note: Carefully cut out the center hole of the hat brim. Set the inner circle of hat aside as this will be the crown of our snowperson's hat. Remove template, and coat both sides of the paper with Sobo or Tacky glue. Peel the wax paper off of the basket weave hat brim, and place on top of paper. Very lightly press edge of clay then place clay covered template on second sheet of clay. Cut this out, matching edges, and again press lightly on the out side edge of brim. Cut out center of hat. Next, pat and smooth down the outer edge of the brim. Place lightly on top of the head and position to your liking. Remove brim, and rub a drop of liquid dilutent onto head where hat will be. Replace the hat brim, pat and smooth the inner edge to snow person's head. Take the inner circle of your hat brim and place it into position, centering it inside the hat brim. Smooth edges of hat down onto brim. There will be a band around the bottom of the crown that isn't covered by the basket weave. To cover this, form a ribbon like strip of violet clay, and wrap around the base of crown. Trim and smooth seam together. Decorate as desired with flowers and leaves, a pretty bow, or perhaps some fruit. I made two roses and a rose bud from a peach shade of clay, and put leaves between the roses and hat. Believe it or not, the hardest part of dressing your snow lady is over.

Jacket and arms: Apply a drop or two of Liquid Dilutent to the snow lady where her jacket will be. Next, I took a strip of paper about 1" wide, and wrapped it loosely around the snow lady marking on the paper where I wanted the right edge of her jacket to be, and the left edge also. Roll out a 1/16" thick sheet of clay, and use the paper strip to measure how wide (long?) the clay will need to be. Lift carefully, place, and smooth from the center to the edges. To form her arms roll a snake of clay approx. 4" long and 3/8" to 1/2" thick. Divide in two by making a 45-degree cut in the center. Round the angle edge slightly to shape, and press into place. Blend edges at top/collar. For a 'lace' trim for the collar, roll out a thin strip of the lighter shade of violet approximately 3/16" in width. For the two button plackets, form ribbons of violet clay approx. 1/16" wide and place one on both the right and the left edge of the jacket. I made indentations along each side of the edges to mimic stitching, and buttonholes. For each of the buttons, I rolled a tiny cone of gold clay. I made a tiny dent where I wanted to place a button, and placed the point of the gold cone into it. Press lightly into place, then make the holes for the thread. Roll a thin strip of violet 1/8" in width, and place on top of the ribbon of lighter shade. I find it's easier to add the lace details once the collar is in place. For my faux lace I used my blunt needle tool to make evenly spaced 'holes' along the edge of the lace, and gently pressed the edge of the clay up in between each hole.
To form her mittens/hands, I rolled two 1/4" balls of violet clay, and then formed them into cones. Make a small hole at the bottom of each arm and press the cone end into it. Smooth, and then make a small indentation for the thumb. Arrange arms into desired position.

Bake at 260-275 for 25 minutes. Sand, buff, and glaze/finish as desired.

And there you have it, your very own light bulb snowlady!
1. I don't worry too much about air bubbles when I'm making snow people. If I miss one or two (or more) before baking, I think they add to the realism of my snow person. I've yet to see one in real life that was completely smooth. You can always see bumps and dents where mittened hands patted snow into place.
2. I use SculpeyIII or Premo, and find 30-35 minutes at 260-275 degrees sufficient. I have little experience with Fimo so I can't give you times and temperatures. The clay continues to bake after you turn off the oven.
3. See hat brim template.
4. I use this color combo because I think it gives more depth to the shadows, etc., makes it look more realistic. See basket weave picture.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: SnowLady Tutorial

Thanks so much, Lamb! This is terrific information!

RE: SnowLady Tutorial

This took a lot of time.......thanks for sharing the info with us.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Clay and Ceramics Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here