This project is something I have done many times. I used to sell these guys on Esty years ago but stopped because of shipping problems. I sold off the stock I had built up but never kept one for myself. Since it is now the spooky season once again I figure I should finally have one for myself. These are the details on how to make a spooky bat hair stick barrette out of polymer clay.

Polymer clay is a versatile and fun oven bake clay that’s great for a lot of different projects. It can be found at most art supply stores but I always picked it up in large blocks from Michael’s they always have at least a 20% off coupon that make it the cheapest place to get it.

When the clay first comes out of the box it will be stiff to soften it up you need to play with it, warm it in your hands, squish it, pull it apart and squish it back together until its smooth and pliable. Then its ready to roll out, usually with a heavy glass because its easy to wash and not as porous as a wood rolling pin. I rolled it to about 5mm thick.

To create a template I drew out of side of the shape I wanted on a folded piece of paper, then cut it out. I placed the template on the rolled out clay and traces around it lightly with a pointed object. Any mistakes can be easily smoothed out with a finger. When the shape is where you want it cut it out. Then start shaping it.


Keeping tiny hands busy.

Keeping tiny hands busy.

First I round off the edges smoothing them with a finger then start to build up the body. To add on additional clay I first score where it will be connected, for smaller more delicate pieces I use a polymer clay glue, but larger ones like the main body they are just pressed on and the seams smoothed together. Keeping the clay pliable will help with connecting the pieces.

Next mark out where you want the lower points so you can carve them out. The high points in this piece are where the body and the bones would be. Make sure you don’t carve away too much you want to maintain a good thickness to keep the piece solid and not create thin spots.


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I tapered the edge of the bottoms of the wings to have a smoother transition so it wouldn’t look quite as much like a cookie cutter.

With the basic structure done, I added on the ears and the nose. For the ears I used the polymer glue and then smoothed the seams out. I used hematite beads for the eyes, any non plastic bead or a ball of the clay will do, it makes a big difference in the look if you carve out an eye socket and add in an eye. A lot of the details are just texture differences, the hair on the body and the membrane of the wings and ears. Other details include pointing the tips of the wings and adding in the claws.


Working my head lamp.

Working my head lamp.

This phase takes the longest, its a lot of finessing and smoothing. I have built up a good collection of clay carving tools at this point but in the beginning I did most of it with a knife and a pencil, a slightly dull pencil crayon makes a great detailing tool.

Once the detailing is done holes for the stick need to be put in and bend the wings into the final shape. To do this I drape it over a rock, I use a rock because it can go in the oven with it to make sure it keeps that shape through the drying process. The stick needs to be in a good position for the barrette to be wearable it needs to go through the hair and hold its own weight.


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The polymer clay needs to be baked at 275° F for 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness, because the body is fairly thick on this piece I baked it for 20 minutes.

Make sure to back it with a place holder for the stick to make sure nothing shifts, I’ve made this mistake too many times.

When it first comes out of the oven it will be slightly rubbery, its important to let it cool without much manipulation. Once it is completely cooled it can be painted. In the past I’ve taken a rotary sanding tool to it to fix up any misshapen parts, get rid of any finger prints and give it an over all really finished look, for this project I didn’t feel the need to do this step.

Any acrylic paint will do, it just needs to dry permanent. I painted the entire thing black to start then added in a watered down brown coat. Before the paint was dry I took a napkin and wiped off some of the paint partially revealing the original colour of the clay. Then I went back in and added more black paint to some areas. Once this was completely dry I took a dry brush with a very small amount of paint on it and brushed gently over the whole thing with a bronze coloured paint focusing it on the high parts. This brings out all the small details and textures.


Finished paint, waiting to be sealed.

Finished paint, waiting to be sealed.

The stick

For the stick part of this barrette I use a thin wooden dowel or a thick skewer. I sand it down shaping one end to a point that isn’t overly sharp. Then I wrap a small amount of polymer clay to the other end using the polymer glue to adhere it. Then it can be sculpted anyway, the one I will be using for this bat has a simple ball shape on the end that is tapered down to the stick. In the past I’ve done more elaborate ones including roses and mini bats. I do this to give it an obvious top and bottom. Once the stick is baked I paint it to match the barrette.


The finished product

The finished product

Click through the pictures below of some of the ones I’ve made in the past.

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