Betsy Madson, Sculpey Teacher Ambassador

It is a challenge to create non-denominational clay projects keeping the wintery season in mind I am sharing a few past projects that have been favorites by my students for our winter crafting.

My number 1 piece of advice is to convince the students that the less they touch the clay the better their project will be.  This is very hard for little guys to understand because they love their creations with their whole heart, and they want to play with them.

One of my rules of thumb is to always purchase the larger block of white and black clay, you can never have enough because once you bring the Sculpey polymer clay out the kids come running. 

RED is the last color we always use when creating. My students have a special name for Red because "red wants to take over the world", or maybe just your projects.  I always have lots of wipes on hand when using red so that students will not get red on the other colors of clay they are using for a project.

The first project that has been a stand-by favorite for several years, is a raw turkey on a roasting pan surrounded by “peas and carrots”.

Supplies needed: Silver, Emerald, Just Orange, Red Hot Red, White, Black and Tan Sculpey III clay.  You only need little amounts of each block of clay it will go a long way. My students would squeal with delight as they finished this project. This was a great project across several grade levels, I worked with students Kindergarten to 5th grade to complete this project.

The second is a Turkey created from brown Sculpey III clay and various other fall clay colors.  The body looks like a peanut, with eyes, and mouth and gobbler. This turkey had feathers that were essentially rainbows of Chocolate, Red Hot Red, Gold, Just Orange and Tan Sculpey III clay.  Students rolled about 4 “skinny snakes” shaped them into the rainbow arch, then pulled the plastic knife through the arches to blend them a little, once the rainbow wall filled, students would place the Chocolate clay peanut shaped body in the front of the rainbow and stand the whole thing up to cook, I could not make enough of these, students and staff all wanted one of these festive little birds.

Wintery seals: Students had so much fun creating these seals, learning how to mix clay to get just the right color of gray.  Students then molded their seal into the perfect seal shape, adding 2 little circles for the cheeks of the seal, then sticking indents for the whiskers then little black circles for eyes and nose.  This seal could have been ready to cook at this point however, some of us chose to add a little holly and some little white dots to the head for decoration. My students made at least 3 of these seals each in various sizes so that they could have a "family." Sculpey III clay colors used: Elephant Gray, White, Black, Emerald and Red.

Over the past few years, I noticed that the red holiday truck has been a popular decoration, working with students we created our own miniature version. Some of my students decided to branch out to different colors, the only problem is that we needed to do work on not having all the wheels go flat in the oven.  Sculpey III colors used: Red Hot Red, Black, White, Chocolate, Emerald.  Students used additional colors of Sculpey III clay: Gold, Just Orange mixed with white. 

Kids love penguins of all sizes and colors, a fun winter project I helped my students create were some playful penguins. The kids LOVED giving the penguins their own personalities.  These little friends all took a very small amount of clay enabling a larger number of students to be able to create a clay project. The various colors of the actual penguin made it fun for all the students and showed them that the penguin does not have to be the typical black and white penguin, we had so much fun talking about our penguins and even making very small baby penguins.  My students played the entire afternoon with their penguin families! Sculpey III colors used: Black, White, Yellow, Turquoise, Just Orange, Granny Smith, Red and then Sculpey Premo Gray Granite.

Over winter break when some students spend many days in school-age care working with Sculpey clay becomes a creative outlet for those that love to create. On a full day of non-school day students have been known to create as many as 4 projects.  One year we made these cute winter houses using a block of brown clay then decorating with Red, Emerald, White, Lemonade and Blue Sculpey clay.  I love how each house was uniquely different yet showed the personality of the creator.  It is surprising how far a little clay will go students support each other and share, we even have a bag of extra bits we call our garbage clay, my students will tell you it is not garbage but a beautiful work waiting to happen, decorations for these houses could just have come from the extra bit/garbage bag of clay. Sculpey III clay colors: Chocolate, Emerald, Red, White, Candy Pink, Blue, Lemonade, the lighter trees were made of Emerald and white mixed.

The sky is the limit to what you can and will create with Sculpey clays so don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty, soon you will be like my former students and proudly proclaim that you have a hundred projects sitting on your dresser.