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Polymer pinata pendant

Who can resist the festive appeal of a piñata? Create a party atmosphere by making your own fun, fringed pendant with polymer clay.
Polymer pinata pendant hero

Be bold with your color selection and don’t limit yourself to mammals when deciding what to make. Why not make a fish, a bird, a lizard, or even a cartoon character? Enjoy!

This project uses cornstarch peanuts as armatures for the piñata’s main components. The peanut in the body section is removed after baking so glass beads can be inserted to make a rattle. Plan for added touches according to the animal or figure you are making. Add a gold jump ring to a bull’s nose, a bridle for a burro, or a saddle for a horse.

SUPPLIES 

  • 1 2-oz. (56g) pkg. Premo polymer clay, white
  • 2-4 2-oz. pkg. Premo polymer clay in various bright colors
  • 1 oz. (28g) Premo polymer clay, black
  • 2 cornstarch packing peanuts (DO NOT substitute Styrofoam)
  • Sobo or PVA glue
  • 8-12 size 8/0-11/0 glass seed beads
  • coordinating plastic-coated paper clip
  • standard metal paper clips
  • waxed paper
  • fiberfill for baking
  • rubbing alcohol
  • 4 in. (10cm) 1⁄8-in.-wide (3mm) satin ribbon in each of three colors
  • pasta machine or acrylic rod
  • X-acto knife
  • tissue blade
  • small paint brush
  • wire cutters
  • needle tool
  • pin vise
  • roundnose pliers
  • Zap-a-Gap cyanoacrylate glue
  • bowl

    Optional: Puffin Wand mini-roller

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Polymer pinata pendant Photo A
PHOTO A
Polymer pinata pendant Photo B
PHOTO B
MAKING EARS AND HORNS
1. To form the horns, roll two 5⁄16-in. (7mm) balls of conditioned clay. Roll the balls into cones and shape them to resemble the horn of the animal you are making— in this case, a ram. Cut two 3⁄8-in. (1cm) wire lengths from a metal paper clip and insert them halfway into the horns’ bottoms (PHOTO A).

2. To form the ears, roll a 1⁄2-in.-long (1.3cm) oval of conditioned clay and slice it in half. Insert a 3⁄8-in. length of paper-clip wire halfway into the bottom of each ear (PHOTO B).

3. Bake the horns and ears at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature for 15 minutes and set aside to cool.
Polymer pinata pendant Photo C
PHOTO C
MAKING THE LEGS
1. Condition the black and three or more colored clays for fringe. Run a little of each color through the pasta machine on setting #6 for sheets about 1⁄16 in. (1.5mm) thick. Slice the sheets into 1⁄4-in.-wide (6mm) strips and set them on waxed paper.

2. Use an X-acto knife or tissue blade to slice fringes along the length of each strip (PHOTO C). Slice straight down; do not drag the blade. If the blade sticks to the clay, clean it with rubbing alcohol.
Polymer pinata pendant Photo D
PHOTO D
3. Straighten two or more paper clips and cut four 1 1⁄4-in. (3.2cm) lengths of wire. Roll a 1⁄4-in.-diameter snake of white clay and cut four 3⁄4-in. (2cm) sections. Insert a wire down the length of each section so it is almost flush with the bottom. Cap each hoof with a small ball of black clay (PHOTO D, far left).

4. Peel a black clay fringe carefully from the waxed paper. Wrap the fringed strip around a leg so it is flush with the bottom and trim it to make a butt join at the seam (PHOTO D, center left). Add a colored fringe slightly above the black one, overlapping it approximately 1⁄8 in.(3mm) (PHOTO D, center right). Position the second fringe’s seam in line with the first. The seamed side of each leg will be positioned to the animal’s inside.

5. Continue adding fringe until the top layer is even with the top of the leg (PHOTO D, far right). Fluff a couple of the fringes from the surface to create a sense of movement. Fringe the other legs. Bake them for 15-20 minutes on a layer of fiberfill to avoid flattening the fringe.
MAKING THE BODY
1. Select two fairly straight cornstarch peanuts for the body and the neck. Trim the body peanut to 1 in. (2.5cm) and the neck to 1⁄2 in. with an X-acto knife. 
Polymer pinata pendant Photo E
PHOTO E
2a. Condition 1-2 oz. of white clay and roll a sheet on the #3 setting (about 2.5mm thick). Cut a strip about 1 in. wider than the body peanut. Center the body peanut on the strip’s width and roll it up (PHOTO E). 
Polymer pinata pendant Photo F
PHOTO F
2b. Trim the strip to make a butt join and smooth the seam (PHOTO F). Turn in the ends, trim any excess, and smooth them. Repeat for the neck.
Polymer pinata pendant Photo G
PHOTO G
3. Position the neck on the body section and reinforce the join with a thin snake of white clay (PHOTO G). Smooth the snake with your fingers or a mini roller.
Polymer pinata pendant Photo H
PHOTO H
4. Roll a ball of clay for the head and shape it to resemble the animal. Add the cured ears and horns. Press two seed beads into place for the eyes. Use the needle tool to carve a mouth and nostrils. Position the head on the neck and smooth the join (PHOTO H).
Polymer pinata pendant Photo I
PHOTO I
5. To eliminate air pockets in the body, poke a small hole with a needle tool in both the neck and body. These holes will be covered with fringe later. Bake the body for 15-20 minutes.

6. Once the piece is cool, slice the underbelly with a tissue blade (PHOTO I). Place it in a small bowl of water so the peanut will dissolve.You may need to coax reluctant bits of cornstarch out with the needle tool. Remove the figure from the water and let it dry completely.
FRINGING THE BODY

Cure the body according to the manufacturer’s directions after fringing each section to avoid mashing the fringe.

1. Prepare fringe strips as in steps 1-2 of MAKING THE LEGS. 

2. Use a needle tool to pierce or a pin vise to drill holes into the body for the leg wires. Test fit the legs to check placement and the wire lengths. Adjust and trim the wires if necessary.

3. Gently ease open the slit on the body’s underside and press a small ball of raw clay in the tail end. This will help balance the figure. Insert a few seed beads in the body cavity so it rattles.

Polymer pinata pendant Photo J
PHOTO J
Polymer pinata pendant Photo K
PHOTO K
4. Start at the tail end and cover the belly with short fringed strips running parallel to the waist. If the raw clay will not stick to the cured clay, brush a light coat of Sobo glue on the body and let it dry before continuing.

5. Wrap the body’s chest, sides, and tail end with fringed strips running lengthwise (PHOTO J). Cover the back as you did the belly, moving from the tail to the neck. Wrap the neck with layered fringed strips last.

6. Put a small drop of cyanoacrylate glue on each leg wire and place it in a leg hole with the fringe seams toward the inside of the body (PHOTO K). If the fringe has covered the leg holes, repierce them as needed.

7. Check the ears and horns. If they are loose, remove them, add a small drop of cyanoacrylate glue to the wires, and replace them.
Polymer pinata pendant Photo L
PHOTO L
FINISHING
1. To make a ribbon tail, drill a small hole with the pin vise or cut a small slit in the body with an X-acto knife. Fold the 4-in. (10cm) lengths of ribbon in half. Put a small drop of cyanoacrylate glue on the fold and push the fold into the hole with a needle tool (PHOTO L).

2. To make a loop for hanging, drill a hole in the back or lower neck of the figure, whichever location provides the best balance. Make a small loop at the end of a plastic-coated paper clip. Apply a drop of cyanoacrylate glue to the wire’s straight end and insert it in the hole. String a cord through the loop.
Polymer pinata pendant on baskets
Make several of these darling dudes to serve as party favors at your Cinco de Mayo celebration!
FIND MORE: holiday , polymer clay , pendants

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