Polymer Clay Cat Jester
Margaret Angelo creates unique designs with polymer clay. Follow these step-by-step instructions to make animal jester sticks.
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Project by Margaret Angelo from Saugus, Calif.
When Margaret was invited to attend a Renaissance-themed wedding, she didn’t realize she would end up creating a hand-sculpted jester stick to match her husband’s costume. She smartly made it with polymer clay and has since started to create all types of unique designs including her specialty--animal jester sticks.
1/2" wood dowel
3/8" jingle bells
hot glue gun
nylon filament "whiskers"
1. Start forming polymer clay into shape of a cat head. While sculpting, shape the nose, mouth, ears and eye holes.
2. Place head on dowel while forming neck.
3. Punch the holes for the eyes through the back to connect and make holes go completely through. Glue plastic eyes to toothpicks to bring eyes through the back; adjust to suit.
4. Add a clay block to top of head between the ears to glue the hat to later.
5. When head is completed, add whisker holes. Remove eyes and bake according to polymer clay package instructions.
6. Cut dowel to 18 inches.
7. Cut out fleece liner long ways, 16-1/2" x 3." Fold in half lengthwise and stitch to make a tube to cover dowel and sew bottom closed.
8. Choose two different colored fabrics and make one two-thirds of the length of the dowel and the other one third, approximately 11-1/2 inches for bottom and 5-1/2 inches for top--and 3 inches wide.
9. Sew in middle; fold material for top of stick piece about 1/2 inch and then iron. Fold lengthwise with fabric right side in; iron and stitch, creating a tube that will cover dowel and stitch across the bottom to close. Zigzag edge for strength. Cut off excess material. Leave enough not to unravel.
10. Place glue on stick and cover dowel with liner by placing bottom of stitched liner over the end of dowel and rolling up the dowel.
11. Repeat with fabric material; then set aside.
12. To make the hat: Take two material choices and place right sides together. Fold hat pattern in half down middle so you have one complete left side. Make sure it will fit on material two times with extra for seam allowances and good measure. Sew along edge lengthwise; unfold and iron seams down, and zigzag down middle.
13. Fold the opposite directions with right sides together, making sure the front and back materials are lined up where the materials meet. Unfold hat and place middle of hat directly in middle where the materials meet. Bring top piece up to the line on the pattern for front of hat and leave the back long to cover the head in back. Pin hat and trace. Remove pattern and pin fabric together again, making sure back and front middles are still in line.
14. Cut up sides and snip edge; fold, iron and stitch hem, leaving back for last.
15. Stitch following tracing and cut out the rest of hat, leaving enough material to snip edges to make the turns more smooth. Turn right side out and adjust to head; hem to size. Take in if needed.
16. Add bells to points of hat and then stuff hat; set aside.
17. To make the diamond pattern collar: Take the two material choices and put right sides together and trace four diamonds. Pin points and stitch around tracing, leaving small opening near middle. Then pull right side out and iron.
18. Pull and tie off bells through opening; iron and stitch shut.
19. Fold diamonds over on slight angle to create triangles, and iron and stitch top, leaving enough room to then pull and string the four collar pieces together. Add to dowel, pull and tie off, creating collar.
20. To making the ruffle collar: Take a narrow strip of fabric approximately 4-1/2" x 14-1/2" and fold ends 1/4 inch over. Iron with right side in; fold in half lengthwise and iron again. Raw edges should be visible.
21. Stitch edge. Pull right side out; iron and then stitch along top, leaving room for string to gather. Fold one side in and put other side inside, forming a circle, and stitch closed. Leave the opening for the string to go through. Pull string through and gather together on top of dowel to form ruffle collar. Tie off, leaving enough room for head.
22. Make a clear plastic support ring using plastic lid. Draw/trace circle, cut out, then make slits in center to push up dowel and hold up collar pieces.
23. To paint cat face: Paint facial features of cat, starting with bulk of head and then add details. After paint dries, add a coat of varnish to protect.
24. Glue in eyes, then the hat to head, and then the whiskers. Then glue head to stick, making sure all seams are in the back.
25. Add wire hanger up under collar.
26. Add decorative cord and trinkets, beads.
Gene L. Hamilton shapes his "Peace of Pond" sculpture from polymer clay -- including fish, lily pads and plant life.