This is such a simple craft project that is perfect to use for any occasion, such as party favours, bag tags for your children's backpacks or they make for super cute key ring's to keep your keys visible. It's also a great craft to involve your children in too, but for those too small substitute the polymer clay for play dough.
To make these key chains you don't need a great deal of supplies, the costliest part really is just selecting the colour's of polymer clay you like. I opted for the Premo Sculpey brand of Polymer Clay which cost me $4 per colour on sale though are usually about $5.50 depending on the retailer. However Monte Marte is an inexpensive and quality alternative which is $4 per colour at most dollar stores and at any Kaisercraft Store.
Other than that you just need some key chains and thread which you can get for cheap at your local dollar store. You don't need to use a cookie cutter to make your shape you can simply cut it out by hand, though it does make it easier. It also ensures you have smooth edges when using a cookie cutter. The wooden decorative accents are optional, you can use any decorative accent you like. Though I used the Kaisercraft Bombay Sunset Wooden Flourishes.
When it comes to baking you don't need any special craft oven as you can simply use your home oven. It is safe to do so and is not harmful. Though it does produce a bit of a smell that can irritate those who are sensitive so best to do so when no one is around.
What You Need
- Polymer Clay
- Elephant Cookie Cutter
- Round cookie cutters
- Sharp cutting tool if cutting by hand
- Straw or something with a small round hole
- Rolling Pin
- Baking Paper/ Parchment Paper
- Key Chain
- Decorative Accent
1. Roll out the colour of clay you have chosen to make the elephant with. When rolling out the clay to prevent sticking I use baking paper which is also known as parchment paper. However you can't keep it on there for long periods of time as it will draw out all the active ingredients in the clay that help it to bake hard. So transfer it immediately onto a hard surface like plastic, glass, stone or anything that won't draw out the active ingredients. Don't roll it too thin or it may break too easily once baked. So make a decent thickness but not too thick either. Using your elephant cookie cutter cut out the shape, then transfer your piece of clay onto a hard surface. Smooth out the edges of your clay elephant using your fingers or you can use the baking paper. Even better if you have clay tools at hand or perspex plastic.
2. Now to decorate your elephant I used round cookie cutters to make a blanket, though you can really do anything that suits you. Or even just leave it as it is and hand draw your decorations. All I did was cut out another elephant shape, then using a round cookie cutter I cut out the top rear of the elephant so that it looks like a small tear like shape and used it for the top of the blanket. Keep in mind which edge was the edge of the elephant when you cut it out and line it up with the edge of your existing elephant, and firmly but lightly press it into place.
Then cut out another elephant in another colour, I used the frilly side of the cutter to cut out the blanket trim. Cut out a bigger size than before from the rear with the frilly side of the cutter. Then using the circle cutter in the opposite direction so that you have a thin frilly trim for your elephants blanket. It should then wrap neatly around the blanket piece you already placed down. You can cut any shape you like or cut out the same shape by hand. But using cookie cutters I find makes all your edges smooth and its easier to make multiple if you are using them as party favours for instance.
3. Using your straw or any other tool you have to make a small hole, place it evenly at the top centre and make a hole. This is where you will attach your key chain. Make another one at the bottom parallel to the top hole. This is where you will attach your tassel, or if you prefer you can use the top hole to attach your tassel. Or just leave it out altogether.
4. Give your elephant a good smooth to remove any fingerprints, using your baking paper or any other surface that will produce a nice glossy smooth finish. If you like you can also add some texture by indenting a ball shape such as a pin top into the surface. Or engraving lines around the edges to imitate stitches.
5. Place your elephant on a baking tray that is lined with baking paper and cover with aluminium foil over the top of the tray. The aluminium foil I used as extra protection in case of burning but it isn't necessary. You can use your home oven as there is absolutely no harm in doing so much to popular belief. You just need to ensure you follow the instructions on your polymer clay packaging so that you don't burn your clay.
Make sure you bake it long enough at a temperature that is hot enough so that your end product is hard. I baked mine an hour despite the packet suggesting to do so for only half an hour. As long as you don't exceed the recommended temperature you can bake it for as long as you like without burning it. It's actually better to do so as most products will always use a happy medium or err on the side of caution when it comes to instructions. So baking at the recommended time may actually result in a more fragile end product.
6. Once your elephant is cooled you simply need to attach your key chain, tassel and wooden flourish. For a how to on making a tassel you can google a step by step picture guide. Though really it is just a matter of using something such as a bank card or business card and wrapping your thread around the end of the card, firmly yet loose enough to remove. Once you achieve your desired thickness slide it off the card and firmly wrap thread around the entire bunch of thread just a little way in from one end. Be careful so that you don't mess the thread as you want it all to be even. Then cut through the other end so that you then have your tassel.
To attach your decorative accent you can use the ring attached to the key chain you're using. Or if you have made a hole at the bottom of your elephant then you will need to use a separate ring to attach it. Otherwise you can use string/thread or any material suitable to attach your tassel and accent with.
Check out how I used them as party favours for my son's Bollywood Inspired 1st Birthday Party
Once you have mastered a basic design you can get as creative as you like. I'd love to see your creations so be sure to use #thewhitepunjabibride