For a TV/Movie themed craft swap on Craftster, I made this Pirates of the Caribbean inspired “Dead Man’s Chest.”
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This was the initial inspiration:
(seen here by bornahorse on DeviantArt)
What I did was buy an unfished wooden chest from my local craft store. (I bought this one at Joann but Micheal’s has an assortment of wooden boxes too.) I used that as my base to build up the decoration. I needed something that didn’t have to be fired/baked because I was starting with a wooden box. So immediately, polymer clay was out.
I browsed the options and first tried using Creative Paper Clay but I had problems with it sticking to the wood and also, it was irritating my hands so I had to find something else.
Next I went back and found La Doll stone air dry clay which is what I ultimately used.
I spent hours shaping, rolling and applying the clay to the surface of the box. It stuck rather well on it’s own but I also helped it along with little bits of white glue when needed. It worked very much like real clay – it didn’t feel any different for being an air dry formula. I was able to use small amounts of water to help smooth and push the clay along when I had to fill in areas or blend edges.
The clay needs time to air dry and can be anywhere from 24 hours to a week depending on the thickness. I placed it up out of the way and left it untouched for about 4 or 5 days to harden.
The other nice part of the LaDoll clay is that once it’s dry, you can paint it with just about anything. I used good old fashioned acrylic paint in several shades of brown for an aged or weathered look along with some gold metallic Sharpie for the accents.
And voila! I had a finished box inspired by the Dead Man’s Chest from Pirates of the Caribbean!
The project was something I hadn’t done before using new materials. But I can say that though it was quite time-consuming to sculpt out all the pieces (several hours of work), the LaDoll clay was really easy to work with and I had no difficulties even being a total novice. I would definitely recommend the product if you need to sculpt or decorate something with real clay but without the difficulty of a needing a kiln.