I normally get so excited when starting a new project that before I know its finished and I forgot to take any pics of how something was made. Nearly happened on this one too but hopefully, I can explain the steps before the picture.
So I wanted a fairy castle which was all Christmassy and had sparkle and fairy lights and looks magical. And not cost the same price as a real castle. Last week I made two small ones using polymer clay and they do look lovely but polymer clay is a little expensive for large pieces. Off to the trusty craft shop for some air dry clay which is a lot cheaper.
Air dry does exactly that. It starts to dry as soon as it is in the air. So prep, prep, and more prep. I drew out what I was trying to achieve first using trusty old Google for inspiration. I already had a large drinks bottle and a few smaller drinks bottles, all plastics to keep the weight down. Plastics are also easier to cut holes in. This bit is important for this castle as I want fairy lights inside and to be able to change the batteries and as I am using more than one bottle I had to think out the logistics of threading the lights into the sections.
The larger bottle is the main bit of the castle with one turret to the side. I cut a hole near the base at the back of the large bottle for the lights. Then a smaller hole to the right and another up and then another hole in the smaller bottle. I joined them with tin foil scrunched into a tube and lots of hot glue. This means I can out the battery pack in the base and thread the lights up through and into the turret.
For the roof of the small turret, I made a cone with cardboard and covered in tin foil making it slightly shaped at the bottom. A splodge of glue on the bottle lid to keep it still. The bog bottle roof was a bit more work. I made a cardboard skirt ( strip of cardboard that’s folded across its long edge and cut in half-inch to the fold so that it fans out) that was glued to the bottle and then covered in tin foil. The cardboard skirt gives enough foundation for the bottom of the roof. I always add more scrunched up sausage shape tin foil to the underneath, glued down.
I do the base last so that I can compensate for any wobbles or defying gravity that may be needed. I know I want steps at one side so I save on clay but adding the bulk of the steps in foil.
Tip: try and scrunch the foil down as much as possible to give a firmer base for your clay as the clay can be a bit heavy.
Tip: Prethink as much as you can so you can prep for it. I want it to be a magical castle so where I create the windows I want different colours to shine. The easiest way I thought is to cover the bottles with coloured plastic before I add clay. It was a hard job but the Christmas tin of roses got opened early so that I could use the plastic wrappers. (Fingers crossed this works as I hope it will)
Next, I start adding the clay from the bottom up.
The back shows the hole I left for the battery pack of the lights. Makes it easier to switch on and off and replace batteries. I added extra bits to represent snow and secured with slip so that it stayed in place. I cut stars with a cake cutter where I remembered where the coloured sweet wrappers were. The door was added too in the same way. The snoe effect was created with a fine point and ‘squiggles’ over the clay.
The main castle and turret were still rough looking so I used the back of a spoon and water to smooth out the roughest bits. I did want a rustic look so I left some roughness. The snow on the roof where an extra layer onto the roofs and then squiggled with the pointy tool.
I left it to dry which took about 6 days. When dry I sanded down the main castle, turret and some sections of the snow as there were fingerprints and a few marks. It’s a big piece to move around without getting finger marks. Because sanding clay disturbs the fibers in the clay I ‘painted’ water over the whole thing to smooth the fibers and give a final smoothing.
Lastly, and finally came painting. I used wall paint for the whole castle. Then gold poster paint for the stars. Before the paint dried I sprinkled glitter onto the snow. Adding chunkier glitter with glue when it all had dried. The photos dont show how sparkly it is though.