How to Make a Miniature Civil War Cannon

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Make a miniature model with air drying clay.
Make a miniature model with air drying clay. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Making a miniature civil war canon is easy with air drying clay; a child could make one. With a little care and an eye for detail, a miniature replica can be made to display on the mantelpiece at home or as part of a model set depicting a civil war scene taking place on the battlefield.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Image of canon
  • Air drying clay
  • Rolling pin
  • Clay etching tool
  • Craft knife
  • Craft glue
  • Acrylic paint
  • Art brush

Cover the work surface with sheets of newspaper.

Observe a photograph of a civil war canon. Notice the size dimensions of the wheels to the body of the canon to help you assess size when constructing your model canon. Take note also of the intricate detail set in the design of the canon.

Take a handful of clay and start to mold it until soft and pliable. Shape the clay into the cylindrical barrel gun of the canon by rolling it into a thick sausage. Focus on one end of the cylinder to shape the open canon end. Hollow the gun canon by scoping out excess clay using a craft knife. Ensure to keep the sides of the canon thick to avoid the clay from collapsing. Remove only 1 inch deep worth of clay out of the inside of the clay cylinder as it is just for effect only.

Make the wheel axle bar. Shape a piece of clay to look like a long square rod.

Roll out a piece of clay with a rolling pin until it is about ¼ inch thick. Cut out two circles using a round pastry cutter (not fluted.) Etch in the wheel detail using a clay etching tool. Draw the lines to define the wheel outer rim. Take a coin (slightly bigger than the axle bar) and place it in the center of the wheel. Press the coin through the clay to remove the center. Draw a rim line around the center hole. Etch in the wheel spokes, referring to your reference image to guide you. Using a clay craft knife carefully remove the access wedges between the wheel spokes. Repeat the etching steps to complete the second wheel.

Make the undercarriage of the canon. Shape a flat rectangular bar.

Leave all the elements to dry for the time specified on the back of the clay pack.

Apply craft glue to each end of the axle bar and insert each end of your axle bar through the axle hole of each wheel. Glue and position the undercarriage bar so that it sits on the center of the axle bar and inclines down to rest on the ground at wheel level. Glue the canon cylinder directly on top of the undercarriage bar which rests on the axle. Leave the glue to dry.

Paint the canon using acrylic paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make a pile of canon balls to add to your miniature civil war canon, if applicable. Use a little water to help moisten the clay but don't use too much, it will cause the dry clay to crack.

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