Poseable Giraffes

We made these adorable giraffes out of pipe cleaners and air-dry clay, and got to practice with proportion and balance!

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    I wasn't sure if regular (natural) clay was going to work for this, so I played with it before I sat down to create with Maddie. It worked alright, but we had some Model Magic (very light clay), so we ended up using that.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    She started out by shaping a golf-ball-size of clay. She loved how sticky the clay was. I loved that the clay didn't dry out in three seconds. Hooray!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    On the giraffe that I made with the heavier clay, I twisted two pipe cleaners together to form one, to make a sturdier neck. Maddie only used one pipe cleaner for the neck, and it worked fine for her. She poked four legs into the underside, and then made four marble-sized balls for the feet. She poked her legs into the feet, stabilizing the body.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    We stood our giraffes upright and placed the neck. Next came the head! We shaped ears, and I added yarn for the mane. (If you're using a bit of feather, then wait for the clay to dry a bit and then poke in the feather.) We put our heads on right away, but you may want to wait for the clay to dry for a while so that there won't be as much 'give' and sagging (misshaping) of the clay.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Time to paint! We both fancied orange....

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    ...with brown spots. We just dotted on a bit of brown, and let it spread into odd shapes for the pattern. (Watercolors are definitely the way to go for this!)

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Done!

    We added final details and touches--tail and mane, and dots for eyes. They're so adorable. We love them so. And Madeleine loves her new playmates!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

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