How to Make a Snake From Clay

Make realistic reptile replicas from clay.
Make realistic reptile replicas from clay. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

You can make a snake out of any kind of clay, but try air-drying clay or polymer clay to make reptilian creations that last. Air-drying clay can be painted, and polymer clay comes in a large range of vibrant colors. Learning to make a clay snake teaches young crafters how to work with clay; additionally, it is an easy task to succeed at that can bolster their confidence for more complex tasks. The clay snake can also be crafted into bowls or plates if coiled.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay
  • Oven (for polymer clay)
  • Skewer or toothpick
  • Bobby pin (optional)

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Break off as much clay as you will need to make the body of the snake. Work the clay with your hands so that it becomes soft and malleable.

Roll the clay up and down on your working surface with the palm of your hand. Apply gentle pressure and keep rolling until the body of the snake is as long and as thin as you would like it to be. If you are using polymer clay, you can twist two colored snakes around each other and then roll them into one big, colorful snake.

Rub your index finger along the body of the snake to remove any creases or lines. This is especially important when using air-drying clay. Roll the body with the palm of your hand gently on your wok surface to remove any indentations.

Squeeze one end of the snake between your thumb and index finger so that it is a little flatter than the rest of the snake. Use your two fingers to shape the flattened end into a diamond-shaped snake head.

Use the skewer to poke two holes in the head for eyes. Bend, coil or twist the body of the snake into the position you want it to be in.

Press the bend in the bobby pin into the clay to look like scales. Only press the rounded bend into the clay, and press gently so as not to distort the snake's shape.

Leave air-drying clay snakes to dry. Polymer clay snakes need to be baked in the oven at between 215 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the brand you are using. Baking instructions can be found on the packaging. Bake the clay for 30 minutes for every 1/4 inch in thickness. Turn the oven off and leave the snake in the oven to cool.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are using air-dry clay and it starts to dry out before you have completed your snake, use a drop of water to moisten it. Be careful of putting too much water on.
  • Paint air-dry clay with acrylic or oil paints. The clay must be completely dry before painting.
  • Do not handle polymer clay that has been baking until you are sure it has cooled completely.

References

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