I really loved the clay steer skull escort cards Katie made for her wedding (a nod to her time living in Texas) and she shared with me that they were actually pretty easy to make! So, she is sharing how she made them – along with an alternate idea for the cards as a heart shape! Thanks Katie!!
You can make any shape, creature, or icon for this DIY. But for this tutorial, we will be following along for the steer skull (and heart later). I made about 50 of these for the wedding. I knew this was one of my bigger tasks so I had a few “crafting” parties with friends and my bridesmaids. They loved it and it helped speed up the process. It also helped that I grouped together families and didn’t give one out to every person. That cut what I needed to make in half.
Materials: (all of these can be purchased from Michaels, except the tags)
• Sculpey Clay
• Clay Sculpting tool pack
• Paint colors of your choice
• Paint Brush
• Kneaded Eraser
• Tags – purchased here
• Hemp or Twine
• Printed image of the sculpture you want to make. You can find the steer skull here
Step one: Cut a small square (3 in x 2 in x 1in) from your clay and begin to knead this in your hands until soft.
Step two: Look at your image you want to re-create and make the basic shape. I started by making a large oval-shaped base for the skull. Cut off a part of the top and save for the horns later.
Step three: Begin to shape the skull by elongating the skull, and by flattening the top of the head. Grab some of your sculpting tools now; like the circular ring and a wooden stick knife.
Step four: Here is where it takes some getting use to, and practice! My bridesmaids were timid at first to start hacking away at the clay – but the good thing is the clay is VERY forgiving. Mess up? No big deal. Roll the clay into a ball and start over. This clay doesn’t set until it’s baked in the oven.
So. Start by taking the circular ring tool and scooping out some eye sockets for your steer. I think making deep impressions helps it become more realistic.
Step Five: Look at some of the skull attributes in your image – and try to replicate that. I raised the edges around the eye to make it more realistic, and then added some holes around the bridge of the nose.
Also start carving out two parallel lines on the nose down to the mouth. This will serve as the steer’s mouth area. Make sure to puncture all the way through to the other side (this is where you will string your hemp through for the tag).
You can also make deeper cavities in the mouth area so it looks more realistic.
Once you’ve played around with the characteristic of your steer skull and are happy with it, start by measuring out your horn from your clay we set aside earlier. I rolled mine out into a long tube, and then thinned out the edges so were sharper-looking like real horns. Then place them above the skull to see if it needs to be shorter or longer.
Step Six: Place the horns against the skull, and cut the middle part away so that the horns are just on either side. Then, begin smoothing them onto the sides of the steer skull head so that when they are joined together – there aren’t any seams. Swing your horns up and finish smoothing out tips.
Now you’ll need to cut out some twine and tag your skull! Then follow the box instructions and bake to set.
To make the heart – the process is the same. Roll out some clay, form into a circle disk, and begin shaping the heart. I punctured a hole in the top left, and then painted the clay so that it wasn’t a “bone” color like the skull. Grab your kneaded eraser and form that into a circle bottom to dip into your accent color – and dot your heart. I went over the gold two to three times to make sure it had enough coats.
Thanks again Katie! Be sure to check out part one of her wedding and part two of her wedding. And if you are looking for a great photographer, check out Katie’s work at Katie Prichard Photography. All photos in this post by Katie Prichard with exception of the first photo by Studio Castillero.