This is such a great project for old paintbrushes, the characters work best with 1/2 inch width or larger bristles.
The rowdy grandkids and I tried this project with two different types of clay. Crayola Air-Dry clay is easy to mold and comes in a big 2.5 lb. tub for about six dollars. The other product we used is Creative Paperclay, it is packaged in a 1 lb. block for about the same price as the Crayola clay. Creative Paperclay is a little more expensive, but we found it does not appear to crack when dry. The Crayola clay did crack on us. Both clays need to be worked with water, the Crayola Air-Dry clay may have cracked because we did not add enough water. If the cracks bother you try filling them with glue or possibly more clay when the characters have dried.
Supplies you need are:
Crayola Air-Dry clay or Creative Paperclay
spray or brush on clear coat
1. Grab a chunk of clay and moisten slightly
with water til pliable.
2. Decide whether you want a profile character or full face character.
3. Mold the clay around the paintbrush, leaving the bristles for hair.
4. Shape small amounts of clay for eyes, ears, nose, mouth or even cheekbones or warts.
5. Apply the face parts to the main face surface and blend using a small, wet paintbrush. (You may also use the blunt end of the small paintbrush to adhere the face parts).
6. When the rowdies are happy with the character they have created it is a good idea to have them use a moistened finger to go over the face to further smooth the surfaces together.
7. Let dry (preferably overnight) and paint. Styrofoam makes a good base for drying.
8. Have fun coming up with cool names for your paintbrush guys and gals!!
Tips: For very young kids, 3 to 6 years, an easy alternative to shaping face parts from clay is to use buttons, yarn, toothpicks or anything else you can come up with for the eyes, ears, mouth and nose. They may also use their little fingers to poke holes in the face for the eyes and mouth.
These paintbrush characters are Taylor and Lauryn's, they love using my spray paint, so they painted their bristles with gold spray paint before applying the face. Lauryn used jumprings to give Charley
earrings!! Taylor gave Bob a very red tongue.
Remember Rowdy Grandmas to encourage them to use their imagination, they may decide to make something other than a person...Dylan made one of his paintbrushes into a fish. He used toothpicks to support the fins and tail while it dries, and plans on painting it next time he comes to visit.