Making Sculpey Nature Prints with Children

Making Nature Prints in Sculpey

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Making Nature Prints in Sculpey with Kids

Maia and I finally made the nature prints with sculpey dough that Write, Mama. Write! posted about recently.

What a wonderful texture project for a little kid!! Maia loved every step of it (as did I). I’m sure even older kids would get a lot out of it.

Here’s how we did it…

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Sculpey Nature Prints

Nature Prints with Sculpey Clay

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  • Sculpey clay (You could also try this with regular clay or air dry clay)
  • Nature items

INSTRUCTIONS

First we went on a nature walk around our yard and found interesting leaves and flowers and rocks which we collected in one of Maia’s bags.

She had great fun with this part and picked leaves from our rosemary (top right), dusty miller (middle right), yarrow (bottom right), butterfly bush, pine needles, ivy, and lemon thyme, as well as flowers from iris danfordiae, hydrangea (dried), and grape hyacinth.

Making Nature Prints in Sculpey with Kids

Per the instructions on Write, Mama. Write! I rolled the sculpey clay into balls first (harder than I thought). Then we placed a leaf or other nature item on a flat surface, set the ball of sculpey on top, and together we pressed down on the ball.

Maia didn’t seem to have the strength to press them on her own, but an older child would.

Sculpey Nature Prints

I was amazed at the level of detail that the sculpey captured! This is a print from butterfly bush leaves, above.

Next we placed the flattened discs on a cookie sheet and baked them at a low temperature (250 degrees I think) for 45 minutes. They hardened up nicely.

Making Sculpey Nature Prints with Kids

Once they were completely cool, Maia transfered them from baking sheet to bowls and played with them for quite a while, stacking them and moving them between bowls. They have a nice weight to them and are very satisfying to hold.

More Nature Print Ideas for Kids

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Making Sculpey Nature Prints with Children

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    molly
    March 7, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Those are beautiful! I wonder if this would work as well with that Crayola Model Magic stuff — have you used that stuff? It is very lightweight and it doesn’t need to be cooked to harden. Might be easier for little hands to press on. We’ll get some and give it a try.

  • Reply
    Lucia
    March 7, 2008 at 3:48 am

    Those turned out great! This project reminds me of our local nature station which has similar casts of animal footprints and a big sandbox where kids can make different prints in the sand. I’ll look forward to trying this with my kids soon. We have been collecting leaves for collages so this would be a nice extension of that.

  • Reply
    threesneakybugs
    March 7, 2008 at 7:24 am

    They turned out great! I adore the dusty miller – makes me think of seaweed. I can’t wait to try this with Seth. Of course, we woke up to below zero temps so we won’t be taking any nature hikes for bit yet.
    BTW – nice mosaic! ;-)

  • Reply
    Amanda
    March 7, 2008 at 2:57 am

    Those are so pretty!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    March 7, 2008 at 3:01 am

    I haven’t used Crayola Model Magic. If you try it, let us know how it works…

  • Reply
    Rachel
    March 7, 2008 at 9:05 am

    so beautiful indeed! the mosaic, the process, and the product! ;)

  • Reply
    kerry
    March 7, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Model magic is really too soft and marshmallowy – it breaks easily.
    HOWEVER a related activity for kids is to use your impressions as stamps for printmaking. You can make the impressions as stated then use them either as stamps themselves or press them into a second ball of sculpty and get a positive and a negative impression. This works best if you get the sculpty that is soft after being baked – its sold to make “erasers” but I use it to make stamps all the time.

  • Reply
    Beth
    March 7, 2008 at 5:54 am

    How wonderful! I love that dusty miller print… Your mail is going out tomorrow by the way (so sorry for the delay on a promise!).
    I just discovered our local craft store has about 20 additional colors of Sculpey in small packages (for around a dollar). I loved the white for this project, but my mind is turning for a mobile with a similar effect and new colors!

  • Reply
    sarahwg
    March 7, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Oh! I want to do this. I have no idea what sculpey is and if I can even find it here. Off to do some internet research! I love how they turned out. Beautiful!

  • Reply
    KC
    March 7, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    These are absolutely great! Now I know what possibly to do with the nature bits I plan on the girls collecting this spring!
    The only thing is that I’m not sure about is if it’s truly safe. I understand it’s made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) suspended in a plasticizer especially since you heat it up. I’d rather stay as far away from PVC if at all possible.
    If there is a PVC free alternative to sculpey, I’m all for it.

  • Reply
    sarah
    March 7, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Very beautiful

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    March 7, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I like the idea of using them for printmaking! We may have to make another set out of the “eraser” sculpey sometime…
    Or trying sculpey in different colors. I’m in love with sculpey now.

  • Reply
    Montessori Mama
    March 9, 2008 at 3:04 am

    I love this idea also! Of course I right way think of science and matching activities for the Montessori classroom, how beautiful it would be! I can’t wait to make these for my classroom. Thank you for the inspiration as always!
    In PEACE
    Jennifer
    aka Montessori Mama

  • Reply
    Heather
    March 11, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Those came out great! I think I’ll keep the idea for when we have more plants growing this summer or fall.
    I have used both sculpey and model magic for different things and both are great but very different. I think sculpey would make better prints for this but I love model magic for making children’s hand and foot prints. We got perfect ones of the kids and the dog!

  • Reply
    Shawn
    March 13, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I can picture my girls — also 2 — stacking and sorting these! Thanks so much for this idea. And, all the others. It’s so great to see you writing about these great ideas.
    I know a bunch of moms who wouldn’t dare stay home with their toddler all morning … and yet there are so many cool things we can do with them right in our own houses!

  • Reply
    Amy
    March 15, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Wow! These are awesome. This looks like such fun.

  • Reply
    dianne
    March 25, 2008 at 10:04 am

    my mom, my 2 1/2 year old son and i did these. it was great – we all loved it. the sculpey is more difficult to knead than i thought it would be. my son has been carrying around his favorite for days and he too enjoyed stacking and sorting and just playing with them!
    great project! i can’t wait to do more.

  • Reply
    Tara
    March 27, 2008 at 5:22 am

    These would be great to use as cookie presses…just add handles!

  • Reply
    molly
    April 8, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    By the way, we tried this with the model magic and it didn’t work out very well at all — certainly not like the beautiful results you got! Have to get some sculpey next time we are out.

  • Reply
    mimi
    April 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    what about using salt dough? have you tried to do use it?
    thanks for your wonderful blog
    mimi

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    April 9, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I haven’t tried salt dough, but it would be worth a try!

  • Reply
    Looking for Inspiration Under the Sun
    April 28, 2008 at 9:47 am

    […] neat Sculpey prints caught my eye on The Artful Parent. I started checking out some of the links on the blogroll there, too, and it looks like a lot of […]

  • Reply
    amber
    May 4, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    What did you use to get the earth tone color on there?
    amber

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 5, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Ha! You know, the sculpey is white, but I took the pictures at night with poor lighting–I think that’s why they look “earth-toned.” However, if you wanted to try for an earth tone, you could probably mix some white sculpey with a little bit of the terra-cotta colored sculpey. -Jean

  • Reply
    amber
    May 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Oh funny!
    Thanks I’ll try that.
    Amber

  • Reply
    A Few of My Favorite Blogs
    June 29, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    […] could create and use it as decoration for our home. My favorite that we havent done yet is Sculpey impressions. I dream about these impressions. For real. I really do. Im not sure if the kids want to […]

  • Reply
    tinasquirrel
    July 8, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    I just love these! Already sending the link to my son’s Montessori teacher! I can’t wait to explore your blog further. Thank you for the wonderful idea! I’m adding it to my list of summer art projects for my boys.

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    This are great! We’d love to link to this post in a round up of Earth Day projects. I hope that will be okay. Please let us know if you’d prefer we did not. Thanks!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    April 20, 2009 at 3:03 am

    That’s fine Katie! Glad you like these.

  • Reply
    Kat
    April 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Great idea! Love it! I’m getting some of that clay tonight…

  • Reply
    Kates Korner
    May 9, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    […] got the idea from The Artful Parent. Ian and Alex had a nice time making them. I was amazed at their […]

  • Reply
    Inspiration: Whimsical Wednesdays Rhubarbsky
    May 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    […] Mary Ann Kohl) Fairy Rings Monoprinting Make Homemade Pretzels Handmade Paper Shapes Make Lip Balm Nature Prints in Sculpey Make a Sundial Shadow Play Put the bird house and bird feeder out (yeah, I know its the […]

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