How to Create a Sphinx

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Create a sphinx as a crafts project.
Create a sphinx as a crafts project. (Image: Sphinx image by Pete Blackman from Fotolia.com)

The great Sphinx of Egypt is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a fitting distinction for this majestic edifice of carved stone. The monument is described as the sitting body of a lion with the head of a pharaoh in his ceremonial headdress, believed by some to be the Pharaoh Khafre. However, if you are like many, you will never get to see this monument up close. The simple solution: make your own. This is also a fun project for children while studying this fascinating period.

Things You'll Need

  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay
  • Toothpicks
  • Butter knife
  • Water-based paint
  • paintbrush

Form the Lion’s body out of modeling clay by making a thick flat rectangle. You can choose to paint as you go, though it is recommended that you finish the body before painting to insure the piece holds together. His front legs should be smaller rectangles, not the same thickness as his body. Make sure you leave enough to be able to shape claws. His hind legs are slightly more difficult in that you need to create not only the flat section, but also the round haunches. First make a ball of clay, then press the ball so that one side is flat. Attach to another short rectangle of clay for the foot. Then press the entire piece to the side of the body. Finally take a little bit of clay and roll it out thin to make the tail and attach to his back end. You have now made the body. You may need a little bit of water to make the pieces stick together well.

Form the Sphinx’s head. The head and neck of the Sphinx are made of two balls of clay, one large, one smaller. You want to make the head large enough that you can carve out features such as the nose, mouth and chin. You want to attach the head and make it stable before trying to form features; otherwise, you might squash them during the adding process. It is also suggested, just for stability, to stick a toothpick through his neck and into his body, leaving some at the top to stick on his head. This helps to hold your overall piece together.

Creating the headdress and ears. Because of the headdress, the ears are made as separate pieces so that they can be stuck on after the headdress is in place. Roll out some of your clay flat and then cut out the headdress shape using your butter knife. This creates wings sticking out from the side of the Sphinx’s head. Using a little water, once you have made your shape, stick it to your model’s head. Then you can add the small conch shell ears in front of it.

Paint your model. The Sphinx is a nearly uniform tan-brown color due to the stone it is made from and the effect of the elements over time. So you can use a water-based paint to paint your sphinx a gold-brown color. Allow at least two hours to dry before attempting to move.

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