The Crafty Mom: Shamrock Pin
By Mary Lyon

It's the month for the wearin' o' the green! What fun that we can celebrate new spring growth with St. Patrick's Day shamrocks! I'm delighted to kick off this crafting column with a project that involves one of my absolute favorite artistic media: polymer clay! I like to call it "people's clay," because you don't need some fancy, expensive kiln or a lot of special equipment. This project is easy and fun, takes about an hour, and is great for leprechauns of all ages!

What You Need

  • One 2-ounce bar of green polymer clay (like Sculpey or Premo).
  • One 2-ounce bar of white polymer clay.
  • A cutting tool: a plastic picnic knife, or an Exacto knife if you are helping the kids.
  • One pin backing - these are inexpensive and easy to find at craft or bead stores.
  • Craft glue.
  • One piece of cardboard or a manila folder for a work surface.
  • Baby wipes for clean-up.
  • A toaster oven or other oven. It'll help if your cardboard fits inside.
What You Do:

  1. Launch the whole thing on your cardboard work surface. Open the package of white clay. Break off a lump and roll it into a ball about the diameter of a quarter. With your fingers, flatten it down into a large, flat, round disc. Then set it aside.
  2. Open the package of green clay. Break off six small lumps, and roll them into smooth balls about the size of large peas. Set three of them aside.
  3. Working with the other three green clay balls, flatten them, slightly, by pressing down on them with your thumb. They should look like little round cushions. With your cutting tool, cut each little cushion in half so you have two half-rounds from each. Set these aside.
  4. Now, get the other three little green clay balls. Form them into little squares. They should be about as thick as the little half-rounds are - from Step 2.
  5. Assemble! Take one of those little squares and attach two half-rounds to it, on adjacent sides. It'll look like a little green heart. Gently smooth the seams away. Repeat this step with the remaining clay squares and half-rounds.

  6. Create the shamrock! Take your three little green hearts and position them so they join at their pointed ends - one at the top and one at each side. Pinch off one last little piece of green clay and mold it into a stem. Insert it into the bottom. Then, set your shamrock onto the large, flat, round white clay disc you made in Step 1. Press it gently into place.
  7. Place it, cardboard and all, into the oven at 275? F. Bake for 25 minutes. When cool, glue the pin backing to the back, let the glue dry, and then pin it on - and enjoy the Luck o' the Irish!
Pssst: It makes a cool little gift for teachers, friends, moms and grandmas, too!

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