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Spring Craft: Air Dry Clay Mushrooms

Springtime is just around the corner, finally! Daffodils, tulips, and fairy gardens are popping out of the ground and gracing our gardens with the colors of spring we've been missing after a long winter. These clay mushrooms would look great in a planter, a fairy garden, or as whimsical springy decor and more. Not only are they easy to make, but customizable too! Scale them down and add a jump ring to the top to make a charm, or scale them up for your favorite fairy garden creatures to hang out under.

Supplies You'll Need:

  • Air Dry Clay - Preferably DAS Clay in white. Paperclay would work great too.

  • Acrylic Paint - Holbein Acryla Gouache is what I used here. See our last blog post to learn more about this staff favorite! Other good alternatives are DecoArt or Posca Paint Pens

  • Hot Glue

  • Embossing or stylus tool

  • Uhu Tac

  • Sealing spray - this is optional but highly recommended if your mushrooms are going to be outside

All the tools you'll need!

Getting Started

Working with air dry clay is actually quite similar to working with clay used in ceramics. You can add water if it starts to dry out to prevent cracking. The best way to do this is by dipping your finger in a cup of water and gently buffing out any cracks or bumps that may appear. With that in mind, lets get started!

Step 1: Roll clay into a ball.

For a mushroom garden with a variety of sizes, I made several balls of clay ranging from 1/2 and inch to 1 inch in diameter. Working with one ball of clay at a time will keep them from drying out too much when you flatten them. If you want to make several balls of clay at once, just cover them up with plastic while you're forming the rest.

Step 2: Make a clay pancake!

You can do this by simply squishing a ball of clay between your palms to flatten it.

Step 3: Shape your mushroom cap

Starting at the edge of your disc, pinch the clay to taper it so it becomes the thin edge of the cap of a mushroom. This is where you can get creative and make whichever variety of mushroom you like! Mushrooms come in thousands of shapes and sizes, so even if your mushroom cap looks a little wonky it will still look great in the end. I went for the common parasol mushroom cap look here.

Step 4: Form your mushroom stem

To form the bottom part of our mushrooms, roll out another small ball of clay into a coil. The easiest way to do this is by rolling your ball of clay into a tube between your palms, or between your hand and your work surface. The less perfect your stems look, the better!

After you've shaped all your pieces, leave everything to dry for 8-12 hours.

Step 5: Add Details

After the tops have dried enough to be flipped over, its time to add the gills that most mushroom have. This step isn't required but adds a nice detail and makes the mushrooms look more realistic. The undersides of the mushroom caps should still be a little wet, so all you need to do is drag the end of your clay tool from the inside to the outer edge to get the gill effect.

After this step, leave all of your pieces to dry for at least 48 hours before you start painting!

Step 6: Paint!

Using whichever paint you choose for your project, cover your mushrooms with dots, stripes, squiggles or leave them a solid color! I used a beige shade for the stems and gills of the mushroom. Posca paint pens are an awesome tool for adding details to the caps.

Step 7: Assemble your shrooms!

There are a number of adhesives you can use to put your finished pieces together, I'm using a hot glue gun that has a high heat setting. Other great adhesives you can use are super glue and The Ultimate Glue, which is a staff favorite. These glues might give you a stronger bond than hot glue, but you'll have to hold on to your pieces longer (like shown in the photo below) while the glue dries.

Final Step: Seal and place your finished mushrooms

If you are going to place these outside you will definitely want to use a sealing spray first. Just follow the directions on your sealer of choice and let cure for another day before putting them outside. The mushrooms we made are going to be part of our spring window decor, so I secured them at the base with Uhu Tac.

Woohoo, your adorable mushroom garden is almost finished! All that is left to do is add more fun miniatures. At collage there are tons of woodland creatures to choose from. I added my favorite little faux moss balls and mini rubber hedgehogs to the garden here.

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