Last year, the dog of a sweet lady I know from church got really sick. Her dog, Gracie, was like one of her kids. The vet basically told her that Gracie was going to die and he would make the dog as comfortable as possible. My friend was so upset. To help ease her sadness, I decided to make her a Gracie memento. Since I am obsessed with polymer clay, I wanted to make her a mini Gracie, so I made this Polymer Clay Shih Tzu.
I watched several YouTube videos for making “fur” on clay and came across a tutorial for a way to do fur that I hadn’t seen before. This lady used wool roving and glued it on the baked clay. I followed the video as I made my piece. You can see it at the bottom of this post.
Here is my “model,” Gracie.
- Aluminum foil
- Polymer clay
- Acrylic paint
- Craft Glue
- Wool roving (available at Michael’s)
Step 1: Make an aluminum “skeleton” and cover each piece with clay rolled out of the press on setting 2.
Step 2: Blend all the clay pieces together.
Step 3: Prebake the eyes and nose before placing them on the dog’s face. This allows you to push them into the head without losing the eye shape and keeps the nose the right shape. Don’t attach the ears until the end.
Step 4: Bake the dog body and ears according to package instructions. My oven runs hot, so his head burned a bit. An oven thermometer can help gage your exact oven temperature to prevent this from happening to yours.
Step 5: Do a rough paint job of the basic color scheme of the dog’s fur.
Step 6: Once the paint has dried, cover the body with wool roving. Cut 1/2-inch length pieces of wool, about a finger pinch worth, and glue it on with Modge Podge applied to the body with a paintbrush.
Step 7: The video says to apply all of the fur and then trim, but I found that after doing just the front of the body, it had to be trimmed. I couldn’t see where I was gluing or sticking. (Only cut after the glue has dried some though or it will pull off.) Marie says this is her favorite photo in the series.
Step 8: Continue the same process until the entire dog is covered and cut. Apply the fur to the outside of the ear pieces and let them dry. Once the glue is dry on the ears, use stronger glue on the inside edges and placed them on the body.
Step 9: Now use glue to add a thin ribbon with a bell for the collar and make a bow for the ear.
Mini Gracie is ready!
My friend loved her Polymer Clay Shih Tzu gift! And the best part is, the week I gave it to her (about a month after getting the news) the Vet said Gracie was going make it! Now she has two Gracies!!
This technique could be used to create all sorts of different dog breeds. You just need lots of photos to see every angle. That shouldn’t be a problem for loving parents of fur babies!
Here’s the video tutorial I used: