Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tutorial on How To Make A Venus FlyTrap Out of Clay

Hello all! I want to share a small little tutorial that my son and I did together. As you can tell from my other posts, my children LOVE crafts involving venus flytrap. So I am constantly trying to come up with ways to make venus flytrap crafts. I also want to share them with you because finding flytrap crafts and tutorials on the web is extremely difficult!So my goal is to make it EASY to find tutorials on the web by putting some on there. :)Please keep in mind that he and I made this together and we weren't going for complete perfection and accuracy. It isn't the best looking flytrap but my son thinks it is the best looking one in the world and to me...that is all that matters! ;)I have included a supple list with pictures below. To find out more about the supplies I used I have given you directions to either click on the picture that will take you to a link regarding the product and then some of the pictures I took, you are too click on the blue wording to get more information on the product.So without further a due.....

Supply list
1) You will need this type of wire (Activ-wire mesh) This makes the skeleton of the plant.
Click the picture for more info
2) You need a 3 colors of clay: a little of yellow, translucent, and green (click on the words below picture for more clay) Please note--some people do not recommend to mix different brands of clay before of the different cooking times. This is all I had on hand. You can do what you wish. I am not recommending you use all different brands.

3) A picture of a venus flytrap or an actual plant (you are more than welcome to use our plant as a reference picture for the outside)

click on the words below this picture for more on the this machine.
Click here for clay machine
5) Soft pastel chalk (the kind you can scrape with a blade) You need a semi-dark red color
6) Crafter's Pick 'The Ultimate' glue (or any kind of tacky glue)

Click on picture for more more of 'The Ultimate'

7) 18 in Aluminum Wire

Click on this picture for more on this wire

8) Green Floral Tape
Click on this picture for more on the floral tape

9) You will need an old paintbrush of some kind (you will use this for the glue and for the chalk dust)

Ok, on with the instructions. This is going to be a longer tutorial because of all the pictures I have. Shaping the wire into a venus flytrap can be easy or hard depending on how detailed you are wanting this to look. If you would like me to send you a drawn template of how I shaped the wire-I am more than happy to do so. 
1) Take the wire and your reference picture and start shaping it to look somewhat like a flytrap. See picture... Once you get the actual trap the shape you like, then twist the 'stem'.

 Once it looks like this or how you want it, then you can cut the wire.

Next, cut a small piece of the active-wire mesh and lay the trap on the mesh and cut it bigger than your wire so that you can wrap the mesh around the wire on the trap. I hope I make sense. :)

This is what the wire should look like before you wrap the mesh around the wire.

Make sure to leave enough space to allow the mesh to bubble out like the above picture--just slightly.

Here are a couple more pictures of the the traps will look like once you get the mesh on. The picture on the right is what is should look like all together.

The next step is optional. Fly traps have a wider part on the top part of the stem close to the trap and so it you desire, you can cut some mesh and wrap it to look like that wider part-Like the picture above on the left. Then take your green floral tape and wrap the stem and cover completely-Like the picture above on the right.


If you don't want to make the wider part of the stem, then just wrap the green floral tape around the straight stem a couple of times until it is all covered. See the above picture

Next, get the 'crafters pick' glue and your paintbrush out and paint  the wire mesh and wire on the traps-evenly- and let dry. We do this because it will stay semi-tacky and this will allow the clay to stick to the traps. 

Here is another picture of me putting the glue on the traps. It is ok if the glue doesn't fill in the holes in the mesh. The important thing is that the glue covers the wire and mesh part.

Now set them in the pot that you will be planting them in to dry. I let mine dry overnight-but you don't have to do that

It looks like the glue is pooling in the trap but it isn't.

Next, mix your clay as close to the color of the flytrap as you can.  Make sure to use  more translucent clay than you do any of the other colors. Flytraps have a translucent color to them. One you have the clay mixed, roll it through the pasta machine on one of the thin settings. not the thinnest setting
Keep a little of the clay mixture out because you will use that to mix with even more translucent clay for the "teeth" on the ends of the traps. They need to be slightly lighter than the plant and more translucent.

Here are the 'teeth' I will use later for the trap.
Once your glue is dried now you are ready to start putting the green clay mixture that you should have already put through the clay machine so that it is even. 

For some reason, I didn't take pictures of me putting clay on the flytrap and the stem but it is self explanatory. I usually break the clay into small pancakes. Another easy way to put the clay on evenly is to:
  • First, lay you rolled out clay on a flat surface and put your stem on the clay and cut out a big enough piece of clay out around the stem and then roll the clay around the stem (making sure not to overlap the clay too much so it doesn't look uneven and bulky.
  • Next, do the same thing as you did with the stem but this time put the trap part on the clay and cut out (making sure to cut a big enough piece to wrap it around the trap) the clay in the shape of the flytrap. sort of like you did when you cut out a piece of the wire mesh for the trap.
  • As for the inner part of the trap, you will need a little more clay to fill in the space. The inside of the trap mouth can be different with each trap. Usually they are flat and sometimes they have a bit of a bump.  See the pictures below that I got from wikipedia page.

Do you see how the inner part of the trap is flat on the edges and then turns into a small little bump. Notice the little hairs inside of the traps; these are the triggers that make the trap close down onto the prey. Once the hairs are touched, the trap closes gracefully!

Now we are ready to start coloring the inside of the traps with the red chalk that we talked about earlier. If you notice in the flytrap picture above this picture, the traps inside are a red color. This color varies from plant to plant. I have noticed that the traps get that red color when they get a lot of sun.

However, I don't know everything about venus fly traps but I've looked at pictures of them and it seems that there are so many different colors of reds that the plant can have. I'm not sure if it is a different species of the trap. I've even found one that was so dark red, it looked slightly purple. A lot of the traps are green or light green too.

So based on this, if you do not want your trap to have the red coloring inside, you may skip this part! :) We like the red coloring.

*Use a knife or a blade and CAREFULLY scrape some chalk dust off of your choice of red chalk that I mentioned earlier. 
*Then lightly dip a dry paint brush into the chalk dust and start dabbing it into the trap. Make sure you try and keep the edges green. Use the pictures of the real flytrap plant I have shared with you as a reference. If I were you, I would start with small amounts of the red chalk dust because once you apply the dust onto the clay, it will be hard to get off. It is easier to add color than it is to take away. (especially on clay before it has been baked).
*I didn't want too much red on my traps because I'm going for the lighter ones and it looks more realistic. 

Below are more reference pictures to help you choose how much red you want to use.

This picture is property of:

This picture is property of:
*I wanted to share more reference photos to help you pick which color of red you want to make your flytrap. The one on the left is a lighter color. The picture on the right is a dark red. The picture I shared up above earlier is sort of in-between these two colors of red. 

*Now we are almost finished. Get the little teeth you made earlier and start placing them onto the trap like the pictures below. Once you have them on you can start blending them into the clay and cover up the color contrast with a little red chalk dust.

*Make sure to save a little of the lighter green you used for the teeth because you will use this to between the trap where it meets the stem. See my picture below....When you see a trap open, you will notice that lighter color that connects the top and bottom trap to the stem.

Below, are the pictures of the trap almost finished. I know it isn't the best looking one ever made but my son and I are proud of it! :) 

Now you will bake them according to the clay's directions and plant them. I had a miniature wooden barrel and my son and I stained it and used old clay inside the barrel almost to the top of the barrel and then filled the rest of the barrel with my homemade 'fake' dirt. my homemade dirt is old coffee grounds mixed with a glue that is clear once it dries. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If I get around to it and get the trap from my son for one second, I will take a picture of our finished product to show you. 

See the lighter green color where the traps meets the stem?

Please note that the little teeth that you put on the traps are extremely fragile (especially when you take it out of your oven and it is still warm.) Always allow your clay creations to cool completely before handling because they will break and crack.

Another option instead of using the clay teeth below...

If you don't want to mess with the little clay teeth, you could always break off little pieces of toothpicks and file them to a point and paint them light green and insert them into the end of the traps. 

I you have any suggestions on other clay crafts for me to make or any craft, let me know! :)

#venusflytrap #crafts #tutorial #crafttutorial #venusflytrapcrafts #clay #claycrafts

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