For our first summer outdoor art project, we made these clay nature imprint chimes.
Be it known that I have a lot of air dry clay. I thought this project would be a super fun way to use it while incorporating lots of natural elements into our artwork.
Turns out the kids really enjoyed the process and they loved their finished chimes!
The first step was to work the clay into a ball and roll it out. We used paint stirrers to help us keep the rolled slab of clay about 1/4" thick.
Next, we took a hike around the yards to collect natural objects to press into the clay.
Our goal was to find a variety of textures that would make nice impressions, such as evergreen needles, vines, leaf veins, and plants with different shapes and lumps and bumps in them. Pine cones were an option too.
We pressed the items into the clay, one by one, using the palm of the hand to press it in firmly (not the fingers).
Then we removed the item and pressed in another, leaving maybe an inch around each one.
Using a table knife, we cut out each object, poked a hole into it for hanging, and placed it on a piece of cardboard to dry.
The next day, we painted each piece with a nature color. We used many mixtures of greens and blues and even purples.
We pressed the paint into the nooks and crannies of our imprints, and then we quickly wiped most of the paint off with a moist cloth.
The paint remained in the imprinted image, and the kids were so "impressed!"
We wore gloves for this step because acrylic craft paint is difficult to wash off, and this can be a messy process.
Since this is an outdoor class, our painted imprints dried quickly.
Next, we strung each imprint onto a piece of jute and tied it. Then we added a few pony beads.
Now all we had to do choose a small branch hanger for our chimes. Then we laid out the pieces, making sure the imprints hung at different levels. Placing the largest one at the center and lower than the rest was a good way to achieve balance.
We tied the chimes to the branch, then we tied on a thicker piece of jute as a hanger.