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How To Sculpt Miniature Clay Mushrooms

Learn how to make polymer clay Amanita Muscaria.

A mushroom pin Elizabeth made.

Hello! Welcome to Miniezshops how-to-sculpt series with myself Elizabeth. Today's blog walks you through how to make a mini clay mushroom (amanita muscaria). These can be made into many usable art pieces like charms, ornaments, pins, earrings, plant stakes and more. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A work mat to protect your table top. You don’t need anything fancy, this can be a piece of paper.

  • Red clay & white clay. I use a brand called Cosclay. It’s definitely my favorite but you can use any brand or any colors you’d like.

  • An x-acto knife is also useful, or a knife with a blunt edge, but you can get along without one.

  • Potentially some baby wipes, clorox wipes or rubbing alcohol (to clean the clay off your hands).

  • A baking sheet & an oven.

I might earn a commission if you purchase from any of those links but you can definitely use what you have and get creative with the tools.

A photo of the tools and clay, minus the knife.

Once you have your materials gathered it’s time to get sculpting:

Step 1: Make sure your hands are clean and don’t have dust or debris on them.

Step 2: Take your red clay and warm it up, kneading it in your hands until it’s easy to work with. We do this thoroughly so the clay doesn’t crack in the oven.

Step 3: Take as much red clay as you would like your mushroom cap to be. The size is all up to you. Roll it into a ball. You can roll the clay into a ball between your fingers, between your palms or on your work surface. Make sure your motions are circular, going side to side will make the ball into an oval shape.

*Tip: if there are visible creases or lines in your clay, smooth them with your fingers so they disappear. Then continue to roll your ball.

*Sizing guide: For mini plant stakes the ball I make will usually be an inch wide, for charms it’ll be about ¾ inches wide and for stud earrings, about ½ an inch. That being said, you can make yours larger or smaller. If you’re limited on clay or want to make an extra large sculpture; wad up some tinfoil into a loose ball. Then cover it with clay and roll it around until it’s a smooth ball.

*If you’re making a stud earring set, make sure to duplicate each step.

Step 4: To make a 3d sculpture, such as a charm or an ornament, leave the ball as is. To make your sculpture into stud earrings or a pin, slightly press the ball between your fingers so the back is flat. Try to keep the front rounded but set it on your work surface to make sure it lies flat. Having an even back will make it easier to attach the hardware posts later.

Step 5a: Make the ball into a gumdrop shape. Set the ball on your thumb, holding it secure with your pointer finger or another finger on the same hand. Take your other thumb or pointer finger and press/pull the edges of the ball down to your thumb, all the way around the ball. If it looks bumpy you can keep it that way or tap the bumps slightly with your fingers to smooth them down. Then twist the base of the gumdrop on your table top so it’s even. Set aside

Step 5b: Similarly for a stud earring or pin, set the flattened ball on your thumb. With the flattened back facing away from you, pull the edges down to make a gumdrop shape. Use your fingers to tap any harsh edges down so they’re smooth. Again, press the base of the gumdrop on your table top to it’s even. Set aside.

Step 6: You may have noticed your hands now have a red hue. If you have baby wipes, clorox wipes, rubbing alcohol etc., wipe the clay residue off your hands with those. Here’s a more in depth blog post I wrote about cleaning clay off your hands. Make sure your hands are dry before continuing to the next step.

Step 7: Warm up your white clay. Take a little bit of white clay, between a sixth and a quarter of the amount you took for your toadstool top.

Step 8: Now we’ll make the under cap portion of the mushroom. For the 3d mushroom, roll that clay into a ball. For the pins or stud earrings, roll the clay into a ball and then roll it back and forth to make it into an oval.

Step 9: Press the ball or the oval between your fingers so it looks like a puffy pancake. Keep in mind it will need to match up to, or be smaller than, the edges of the bottom of your gumdrop.

Step 10: Set that puffy pancake at the base of your mushroom cap and tap it around to secure it. The more you press it the flatter it will look, so it depends on your preference.

Step 11: Take your sculpting tool. This can be your silicone dowel tool, pen tip, toothpick etc. Make a little indent in the very center of the white under cap of your mushroom. This is what the stem or stalk of the mushroom will go into.

Step 12a: Take your potter's needle or toothpick, even a blunt edge knife and make a line from one edge of the base of the white to the other. Repeat all the way around the white so that it looks similar to the spokes on a bike tire. The spacing between the lines doesn’t have to be even. Uneven lines look a little more natural, but it’s personal preference. Set aside

Step 12b: For the stud earrings do a similar process but just make the lines going from the visible front to the flat back of the white. Set aside.

Step 13: Next we’ll make the stem or stalk of the mushroom. Take some more warmed up white clay. Roll it into a ball to make it smooth. Start rolling that ball back and forth between your palms or on your work surface to make a cylinder or snake. Roll until it’s about a quarter of the thickness of your toadstool top.

Step 14: Tap one of the ends of the roll smooth and then every so slightly pinch it between your fingers. The end should just barely be a cone shape.

Step 15: Insert that cone shape end into the indent you made on your mushroom cap. Press it to secure.

*For more stability, you can press a shortened toothpick into the indent and slide the roll over that toothpick.

*Optional is to draw lines down the stem with your sculpting tool.

Step 16: Break off the roll so it’s about half or a quarter of the height of the mushroom cap. You can make yours any height though. To break it off you can either pinch it with your nails or use a blunt knife edge.

Step 17: Then take your sculpting tool and smooth the seam so the stem is connected.

Step 18: Tap the end to the stem with your finger and twist it on your table top so it’s smooth. If you want your mushroom to be able to stand, twist it back and forth until it’s stable.

Step 19: Now we’ll add the spots to the mushroom. Take your white clay and make it’s still warm. Pinch a tiny amount of white clay off of your lump of clay. The size depends on how big you’d like your spots to be.

Step 20: Roll that clay into a ball, and press it flat onto your mushroom cap. When pressing, apply slight pressure directly above the white ball so that it doesn’t smear on the mushroom cap. Unless that’s the look you like. In that case press or tap it on at an angle.

Step 21: Repeat steps 18 and 19 until your cap is covered with the perfect amount of spots. I like to make the spots of varying sizes. If you want yours uniform, pinch multiple pieces of clay off at the same time in step 18 and size them up next to each other. This is the most tedious part of the process but I find it quite relaxing.

*Don’t be discouraged if your mushrooms aren’t identical. That's the beauty of it. Each of your mushrooms will be their own unique art piece.

Step 22: For your 3d mushroom, wait to bake until you’ve attached the ornament, plant stake etc. hardware. For pins and stud earrings bake the mushroom(s) and attach the hardware afterwards. I’ve got blogs on those coming soon so stay tuned.

Step 23: Heat up your oven and bake the sculpture according to the clay's specifications. Generally this is 275 F or 135 C for thirty minutes but clay varies from brand to brand.

Step 24: When your mushroom is done baking, let it cool for about 20 minutes, before attaching hardware, wearing or sharing. If you'd like a visual tutorial here's my corresponding Youtube video.

I hope you have fun and make lots of fun little mushrooms. If you have any questions let me know in the comments below. I always enjoy hearing what you’d like to know about the sculpting process.

Ps. if you feel like sending a photo of your mushroom, I'd love to see what you make and can feature it at the end of my Youtube videos if you’d like. Here’s some of what you could make your mushrooms into.

Thanks for reading, hugs - Elizabeth (miniezshop)

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