The Inspired Hive

A busy mom building a creative home

Search


DIY Clay nesting houses

Beginner clay project idea- How to make air dry clay houses for DIY home decor

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

Have you seen those cute little nesting houses that everyone is decorating with lately? I love them!! I have a set of wooden ones from the Hearth and Hand line at Target. One day as I was moving those houses to a new location in the house and thinking how I would love to have more, I thought it would be really cute to have some made of clay. Natural clay has a really earthy look to it once it's dry, so I thought it would go really well with our farmhouse decor. Instead of purchasing clay houses, I decided to try making my own DIY houses using air dry clay.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
Thank you to ACTIVA for providing clay for this project.
For more information, see my disclosure policy.

Materials

How to make your own clay decorative houses

It had been a while since I last worked with air dry clay, so I consulted my list of tips for working with air dry clay to refresh my memory. I have only worked with air dry clay twice before-- once I made clay antlers for a costume, and once I made a nautical fish decoration for my kids' bathroom-- but it is a material I would love to practice with more. People do some really cool, intricate stuff with air dry clay! I'm not quite on that level with clay yet, so these simple houses are a great project for beginners!

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

I knew from the get go that this time around I wanted to try a professional quality air dry clay. I had only ever worked with Crayola clay before, and while there is nothing wrong with their clay, I wanted to up my game and try working with a clay made for artists vs one marketed to children. I did just turn 30, so I should probably start using art products made for adults now, right?! 😬 I had heard great things about ACTIVA's clay, and they were kind enough to send me some to try out. Their clay was easy to work with and dried nice and strong!

I knew I wanted to make black houses to tie into the rest of our decor. I planned on making the houses and then painting them black, but it turns out ACTIVA makes black clay! Day made! 🙌

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

First, I rolled the clay out. I put it between two sheets of wax paper and used a rolling pin to flatten it. I rolled it out about a quarter of an inch thick.

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

Next, I used cookie cutters to create the shapes I needed to build a house. (This gingerbread kit makes it so easy!) I underestimated how much clay I should roll out at first, so I repeated these first two steps until I had all of the shapes I needed.

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

I used water to smooth out the creases, lines, and finger prints in the clay. Just dip your fingers into a bowl of water and smooth out. Don't use too much water or it will increase drying time.

In hindsight, I should have smoothed out the clay before using the cookie cutters. If you are going for a smoother look, I recommend smoothing first!

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

I carefully put the base of the house together, gently pinching the corners towards each other. I used toothpicks to support the walls until it dried. I used a little bit more water to smooth out the adjoining corners.

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

The biggest problem I encountered during this project was the roof! It was too heavy to dry on top of the house and kept causing everything to cave in. So I improvised and stood it up on it's side to dry. I used the cookie cutter and tooth picks to support it. (Note- if I were to do this project over again, I think I would use the cookie cutters to make a cardboard template to help support the walls and roof during dry time)

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

What I forgot to take into consideration was that the clay would shrink a little bit as it dried, so the roof didn't fit correctly once everything dried. At first I was really frustrated with how it turned out... but then I remembered that the beauty of farmhouse decor is that it is perfectly imperfect, so my little dilapidated clay house would fit right in 😉 It kind of looks like the old farmhouse down the street from us that is falling over 😂

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

I used the side panel cookie cutter to cut out three pieces to create a smaller house (folded two in half for walls and one for the roof, and pinched the walls upward in a triangular shape) but I didn't even take pictures of it because I was dying laughing at what a craft fail it was!!! 😂 (Again, I think a cardboard template to keep the walls straight and support the roof would have been helpful)

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

But again, once it dried, it wasn't as bad as I thought! I decided to give it a coat of mint acrylic paint. Our home is full of blacks, creams, wood tones, and pops of mint.

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

So here they are, my perfectly imperfect clay nesting houses 😊

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

I really love the way the black clay dried. It's a faded black, almost charcoal in color. You can see the marks from smoothing it with water which adds to that aged, sort of rustic vibe.

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

There are several things I would do differently if I did this project again, but I think they are really cute and the colors are perfect for our home!!

Great project idea for beginners! How to make these cute DIY air dry clay nesting houses!

Things I learned from this project-
1. Smooth imperfections out of the clay before cutting it
2. Create a cardboard template to support heavy pieces and keep corners square
3. Embrace imperfection 😊

What colors would you use on your clay houses?

More clay practice to come soon! 😊 If you have any tips for working with clay, please share them in the comments below!


Pin it for later!

air dry clay nesting houses

post signature

Related Posts:




No comments

Post a Comment