Creating a Polymer Clay Carousel Horse Focal Bead

Presented by Christi Friesen, Award-Winning Artist, Author and Educator,
Instructions by Rachel, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

The exuberant, award-winning polymer clay artist Christi Friesen shows you how to make a jewelry clay carousel horse head focal piece from Premo! Sculpey® clay and Crystal Passions® beads in this step-by-step tutorial.
Condition and mix white and cream colors of polymer clay as desired for the body and fun and festive colors for his mane that coordinate with the crystals and jewels you will use.

Note: Be sure that the crystals and beads you use are glass, stone or crystal; not plastic or any other substance that can melt in the oven because the piece will be baked.
Roll the white clay into a ball approximately the size of an egg yolk. Smooth creases and remove debris from the clay. Use your hands to form one side of the ball into a taper forming a teardrop with a rounded tip. Curve the teardrop forming the neck and the head.

Pinch along the outer ridge of the curved clay forming the arch of the mane. Press just below the rounded tip creating a ridge and forming the forehead.

Tip: If this causes the nose area to get too long, just pinch excess clay to get the desired length.

Press a thumb into the base of the neck to smooth it then pull and twist toward the front of the neck form a ribbon look and lessen the edge.
Press a dowel into the clay to form a depression where the eye will go.

String the ''eye'' bead onto the center of an approximately 2 - 3-inch length of wire. Bring the ends around the sides of the bead then use pliers to twist the ends together until the wire twists close to the bead. Trim excess wire then curve the end of the wire.

Note: Pressing a bead directly into the clay will cause the bead to pop out after baking. It's necessary to anchor the bead to secure it in place.

Firmly press the bead into the eye hole, hook end first, approximately halfway through the clay. Use texturing tools to form a nostril and smiley mouth toward the rounded end of the face.
Separate a small amount of clay and roll it into a ball then then form a teardrop shape. Curve the ear slightly the press onto the top of the head.

Roll a thin snake of gold clay. Separate a small segment of clay then wrap the segment under the neck, along the jaw and around the back of the ear. Press the ends into the back side of the horse. Wrap another piece around the ear and the forehead then press the end behind the back. Pinch off excess clay.
Roll a small ball of gold clay and place it at the base of the ear, then press a crystal over the ball.

Tip: If crystals do not have a glue backing, press them in while designing then remove them, apply glue then replace them before baking. The crystals can be glued in place after baking if needed.

Gather scrap pieces of clay then roll and fold the pieces together to from thin stripes. Twist off several thin segments for the mane. If desired create different snakes with similar but different color schemes of scrap clay for variation.

Flatten a piece of coordinating scrap clay then press it along the curved ridge of the mane forming a backing for the pieces of mane. Press the pieces of mane along the arch over the backing and over the forehead. Curve the pieces to give a wind-swept look.

Tip: Attach the mane pieces in clusters for strength to prevent breakage of single pieces.
Press crystal flat backs along the base of the mane as desired. Use a brush to apply mica powder, for contrast, as desired.

Tip: Hot fix flat backs are great because the glue is already on the back and affixes the crystals during baking.

Use a dowel or needle tool to pierce the finished piece along the top of the head.

Bake according to manufacturer's instructions.

Tip: If desired/needed use a hand tool to drill a hole after baking.

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