TUTORIAL: Santa Head Ornament

The countdown to Christmas has started and I’m determined to upload as many tutorials as possible to keep my fellow crafty folk busy over the holidays.
This piece is a little.. different. It won’t appeal to everyone, but that’s okay. I love my new little Santa head, even if nobody else does! You’ll either find him adorable or terrifying.

This one is going to take quite a bit of patience, but it’ll be well worth it. It’s a little more advanced than my earlier posts, so you may struggle if you’re a completely beginner. Don’t let that put you off, though- I’ll make the instructions as simple as possible! Have fun!

What you’ll need:

  • Foil
  • Craft wire
  • Polymer clay (beige/light tan, white, red)
  • Pastels (red, light brown)
  • Doll eyes (mine aren’t specifically for polymer clay work- they’re plastic, so I expected them to melt and for the whole thing to be a disaster. In fact, due to the low temperature my oven was set on, they turned out okay. That said, I do not pretend to be an expert so I would recommend using a company which clearly states that the dolls eyes are safe to bake.)
  • White acrylic paint (optional)
  • Clay varnish (I use regular Fimo gloss)
  • Paintbrush x3
  • An oven
  • A very clean surface
  • A rolling tool
  • A cutting tool
  • A ball tool / dotting tool
  • A pin or needle

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Step one: 
Gather some foil and roll it in the palms of your hands until it forms a ball. Keep adding more layers until you have your desired size. Try to smooth out the bumps as much as possible by pressing them in.

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Step two: 
Cut some wire and fold it in half. Push it into your foil until it feels reasonably secure. This part isn’t too important, it just gives you something to hold onto later when you’re adding details to the face.

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Step three: 
Roll out a large sheet of skin coloured clay at around a 1/2 centimetre thick. Cover the ball with it and roll it in your pans until it looks fairly even. You’ll be adding some more “flesh” to his face later so don’t worry too much if the odd bump is visible.
TIP: Please be careful to clean your hands and surface thoroughly when using clay- especially light colours.

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Step four: 
Push your eyes into place and decide where you’re going to build up the nose.

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Step five:
Begin to build up the flesh around the eyes, the eyelids and the nose.

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Step six: 
Use your fingertips to gently smooth out the seams as you go.

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Step seven: 
Use your ball tool and needle to add in some detail. You’ll want some wrinkles around the eyes, nose and chin. You also need to add the natural details, such as the nostrils, the fold of the eyelids, etc. If you make a mistake, simply smooth it out again.

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Step eight: 
Wash your hands again and mould an eyebrow shape out of white clay. Press it on above the eye, then use your cutting tool or pin to create lots of hairline strokes, beginning in a diagonal direction. Keep doing this until you have something similar to the photo above. Repeat for the other eyebrow.

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Step nine: 
Use the same method to create the moustache.

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Step ten: 
Roll out a sheet of white clay (around a 1/2 centimetre thick), cut out your desired beard shape, then gently press it onto the chin. I want to be vague about the shape because I want you to make it as bushy, long, messy or wiry as you like! It is down to personal preference.

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Step eleven: 
Roll out a long, thick snake shaped piece of white clay and wrap it around the top of his head. Trim off the excess and smooth the seam. Now take your cutting tool and very gently scrape into the surface, making lots of small circular motions. If you’ve ever made miniature cakes, it’s similar to that technique, but using larger circles. You want to end up with a fuzzy-looking texture rather than a crumbly one.

 

Step twelve: 
Roll out a big sheet of red clay (1/2 centimetre thick) and cut out a large triangle shape. Ensure that the bottom side will fit around the white fuzzy piece of the hat. Wrap the bottom of the triangle around the inside of the white fuzzy shape, so you can’t see where it connects. Now connect the other two sides together around the back and smooth down the seams. Try to let the hat shape fall into a natural droop, and keep those folds as long as they don’t look too messy.

Step thirteen: 
Roll out a ball of white clay and softly press it onto your surface so that the back is slightly flattened. Use the same method used in step eleven to create a “fuzzy” texture on this ball, then attach it to the top of your hat. Bake the whole head and hat until hard (around 35 minutes on gas mark 4 or 180 degrees Celsius). Check every five minutes to check that it isn’t burning. If the white browns even slightly, turn down the heat.

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Step fourteen: 
Once cool, use your paintbrush and pastels to add some shading. I brushed some light brown into the wrinkles to make them stand out more, and I also brushed a little red pastel onto the cheeks and nose.

Step fifteen (optional):
If you have any discolouration on your white clay (such as burning, pastels, bits of fluff, red or beige clay), use your white acrylics to brush over it. It’s important that the white clay looks clean.

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Step sixteen: 
Once everything is dry, varnish it. Make sure you get into any nooks by pressing in with your paintbrush. Leave to dry again, trim off your wire, and you’re finished! Yay! 

 

Thanks for reading! 
Please leave a message below with any questions, suggestions or constructive criticism. 
Check out the rest of my site for more craft tutorials. If you’d like to keep up to date with my creations, feel free to add me on Facebook. 

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

 

 

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