Exactly like the name sounds, translucent polymer clay is a form of polymer clay that you can partially see through. This clay is used for creating milky glaze effects within polymer clay sculptures and is ideal for the structures of a fishy tail. Use translucent polymer clay, along with your regular opaque green clays, to create a mermaid tail with realistic texture.
- Dark green polymer clay
- Yellow-green polymer clay
- Finished polymer clay mermaid torso
- Sewing needle
- Clay rolling pin
Mix one part dark green clay with one part translucent clay; use enough clay in total to equal the size of your mermaid's torso (minus head and arms). Knead the two clays together until there are no streaks or marbling, just a semi-translucent, consistent color.
Make a second, much smaller mixture of six parts transclucent clay and one part yellow-green clay; this color is for the mermaid's tail fins and should be roughly one-fifth the quantity of the clay for the tail.
Form the dark green mixed clay into a ball on your work surface.
Roll out the ball between your work surface and a flattened palm with a back-and-forth motion, as if you were forming it into a coil. Apply more pressure on the right side than the left to shape one side into a blunt point. Tip the other side on its end and press it flat to shape the piece into a cone; this will be the tail.
Attach the cone shape to the bottom of the mermaid torso. Blend the clay of the tail up onto the torso.
Bend the tail into a pose you like for the finished mermaid.
Use the pin to carve out staggered, horizontal rows of “U” shapes on the mermaid's tail for scales. Cover the entire tail in this pattern.
Bake the tail and mermaid torso according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Roll out a one-eighth-inch-thick sheet of the translucent and light green clay using the clay rolling pin. Cut out a “D” shape about two to three times the size of your mermaid's face.
Cut the “D” shape into two equal portions for the fins. Attach these to the end of the tail so that the flat edge of the “D” is on the bottom of the tail. Smear the fin clay against the baked tail to attach it.
Pinch the outer corners of the fin and pull them into a slight curve in the direction of the bottom, middle of the tail.
Bake the tail a second time.
- "The Polymer Clay Techniques Book"; Sue Heaser; 1999; entire volume.