Folksy Winter Animal Plaque

A step-by-step guide, with pictures, to create this folksy winter clay project!


You will need:

  • Amaco self hardening clay (view here)
  • Clay tools (needle, stylus, water, rolling pin)
  • Paper cut outs of forest animals
  • Mod-Podge
  • Paintbrushes
  • Glitter
  • Acrylic paint
  • Twine, or leather strips to hang plaque


Before you get started, keep in mind that the clay will stick to your table, making it hard to pick up and move around. Try working on a piece of flat canvas, or wax paper.

  1. Gather a chunk of clay and roll into a ball. The more clay you have, the larger your plaque will be.
  2. Roll out a clay slab with your rolling pin. It should be about half an inch in thickness. (If it’s too thick, it won’t dry very quickly).
  3. Use your stylus or needle to cut out a square or rectangular shape. Don’t worry about making it perfect, the variation in your shape gives this project character!
  4. Make two holes at the top with your stylus to hang the plaque. Remember not to make them too close to the edge.
  5. Find photos of forest animals online, and print them in varying sizes. Then, cut them out to use as stencils.
  6. Choose your animals, then roll out clay slabs for each of them, making them slightly thinner than your rectangle slab.
  7. Trace / cut out your animal with the needle tool.
  8. Remember, to attach your animal, you must score and slip the back of the figure. To score, you create small hatch marks with your needle all over, and to slip, use your finger to wet the surface. This will bind the two pieces together.
  9. Now, use a joining tool to press the edges of the animal into the slab tile. This will give it a smooth appearance.
  10. Add minimal, winter trees using this same method. Or, draw snowflakes into the background with your stylus.

  11. To decorate the plaque, we have used white acrylic paint in the background (but feel free to use whatever color you choose… midnight blue, or purple would be charming too), mixed with Mod-Podge. This keeps the paint from flaking off of the clay. 20160128_135005-1
  12. Then it’s time to add glitter to the animals! You can add as little or as much as you prefer. What’s neat is that the red of the clay still shows through, and gives this piece a folksy look!
  13. Mix the glitter with Mod-Podge, and use a small paintbrush to cover the animals.
  14. Don’t worry if it looks cloudy, the Mod-Podge dries clear!

    15.  Once the paint in the background is dry, apply a layer of Mod-Podge, and add the glitter! Choose whatever color you like, we’ve used both turquoise and white in our examples. 20160128_145901-116.  Once painted, cover your tile with plastic (a grocery sack works well), and let dry thoroughly. This may take a few days.
    17.  The final step is to tie a piece of twine, or a leather strip through the holes so your plaque will be ready to hang!

    Project created by Julie Talley, AMoA’s Curator of Education