Please make sure your work area is covered and you are not working on an unprotected surface. We recommend working on the Sculpey® Work ‘n Bake Clay Mat, wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. Uncured clay may damage unprotected furniture or finished surfaces. Be sure to cover your crafting area appropriately.
Start with clean hands, unwrap and knead clay until soft and smooth, or condition by running clay though a Pasta Machine. We recommend using a designated machine for clay purposes only. When working with multiple colors, clean hands with soap and water or baby wipes (we have found that baby wipes work best) before switching colors. Shape clay, pressing pieces firmly together. Wash hands after use.
Begin by preheating oven to 275 °F (130 °C). After you are done creating; for best results bake clay on an oven-proof surface such metal, aluminum foil, an index card or the Sculpey® Clay Mat at 275°F (130 °C) for 30 minutes per ¼" (6 mm) thickness according to package directions. Oven safe glass or ceramic surfaces are also acceptable for baking; however please note that the baking times may take longer as the glass or ceramic surfaces take longer to heat up. For best baking results, use an oven thermometer. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME.
First condition your clay! We start with the earth colored scrap clay and make it into four small balls, about the size of a hazel nut each. They do not have to be the same size.
Use your acrylic tile (or a flat tin) and roll them in one direction back and forth to shape small logs. This makes it easier to shape the pots around the earth.
Condition and mix the colors for your plant pots:The Terra Cotta color is mixed with ¼ block of Mandarin and a small amount of Poppy Seed (about half the size of a pea! Start with very little black, because it goes a long way! You still can add more if you like your color a little darker!). For the blue color use Cornflower as it is.
Roll out the clay for your pots. I rolled the clay out on a number 2 setting on my clay condition machine (the second thickest setting, about 2 mm).
Cut a stripe a tiny bit larger than the hight of your earth and roll the earth in the clay for the pot. If you roll the beginning of your clay strip over it will make a mark on the rest of the stripe, where you can cut it so it will fit exactly around the earth! Cut the stripe off at the mark and roll it around the earth.For the rim of your pot you will need a narrow strip (same length as your pot). For the bottom of your pot you will need a little round piece. Use your small cookie cutter for that.
To assemble your pot carefully wrap the wider strip around your earth, close the seam with your fingers and use your knitting needle to roll over the seam and join the two parts together. Do the same with the narrow strip for the rim of the pot. Add the little round piece to the bottom of your pot and close the rim with your knitting needle, carefully rolling back and forth over it. Be careful at the top and bottom part of the pot so you will not distort the shape. Turn the little pot upside down. Close the seam of the rim at the top of the tiny pot with your knitting needle!
Use your needle tool to poke holes into the earth, to make the texture look more like that of earth in the pot. Make 4 more pots in the same way. You can vary the sizes and shapes, make your pots with or without rim or make them all look the same, just as you like!
Now its time to make the cactus plants! Condition your Shamrock clay and roll it into a small balls and logs for the cacti. The ball should still fit into the pot, so don’t make it too big. I made four different kinds of plants here ( starting from the left):The first is just a small ball.The second is a small log and two even smaller logs, that are bend where they are connected to the bigger log.The third is a small ball, that I cut in 8 pieces ( like you would cut a big cake) and then turned with the inside out.The fourth is made of 3 little balls, one bigger and two smaller ones, that are flattened.I find it helps to have a look at pictures of real cactus plants to have a good idea about the shapes they come in!
Press your plant components together and pinch the to the shapes you want. Sometimes you need to adjust the size, because they are too big for their tiny pots. Use a needle tool or a Etch `n`Pearl tool to get into the tiny shapes! Now place the plants firmly but gently into the first pot and now add your plants to their pots so they will have a good connection to the earth!
Use your needle tool to add some lines along the cactus like you can see in the picture. Add the spikes of the cactus by making tiny holes all over the plant with your needle tool. Be careful not to press too hard.
To be able to add the chains of the key rings later we need to embed the first loop of the chain into the top of the plants. Use a small craft knife to cut a short slot at the top of your plants. Use the strongest part of your plants for that! Insert the first ring into the slot, about a ¼ of the size in, and close the slot again. You might need to add a small ball of Shamrock on top out the ring to really secure it in this position. Also you might need to add some more holes with your needle tool to cover up where the ring was inserted!
Finally its time to add some tiny blooms to your cacti! Roll out some Raspberry clay on a very thin setting of your clay condition machine (I used a no.#6 ). Use your tiny Kemper cutter (star or round shaped) or your smallest etch and pearl tool (that you dip in a bit of water first!) to cut out small circles or starts for the flowers. Use your smallest ball pointed embossing tool to lift one small circle and press it onto the cactus plants. The circle will come up and shape a tiny flower! You can also use the flowers to cover up the place where you inserted the ring for your key ring chain.For the cactus with the white spikes I added very tiny balls of Igloo on the surface and pocked them with the needle tool until looked more like spikes and not so much like a ball any more!