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Topic: Koi Fish Tutorial  (Read 9769 times)
Tags for this thread: tutorial , polymer_clay , diy , featured_project , koi  Add new tag
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« on: March 23, 2016 07:29:57 PM »

It's been literally years since I've posted here. However, I made a picture tutorial of a thing and decided in order for people to easily find it, I should actually put it somewhere it's...savable. Heh.

Here's my first one, that I like way more and thus will be the preview picture for the thread:

Here's the second one compared the first:

And here's the tutorial:

Tools... Sharp things, blunt things, clay.

First step, make head.

If you want to be able to make this into a pendant, or just be able to hang this from things, shove eye pin through head, so the the eye part will be on the inside of the fish. This way, it won't rip out of the clay. Use pliers to make the other end into another eye AFTER you are done and bake the whole thing.

Using scrap clay, roll a tapered body. You won't see this clay, so use a color you don't like. Smush this onto head.

For the tail fins, roll out a ball of clay and cut out the shape of one tail fin. Repeat for other tail fin. Make sure to make them facing opposite directions. They do not need to be identical at all whatsoever.

Two tail fins that don't look alike at all.

Roll out thin strips of your accent color. Place them onto fins.

Attach fins to tail. Sorry not a great picture. Roll out another flat piece, and cut out the dorsal fin. (Do Kois even have dorsal fins?)

Top with accent color. Create a hole in the back of the fish that you can slip the fin into.

I only fit the front part of the fin into the hole, and just let the rest of the fin rest on top of the fish. Firmly push into place.

How to make the scale cane. Roll out a tube of accent color. Roll a flat piece of another color. Place tube on flat piece and cut the flat piece so that 2 edges actually line up to the tube.

Roll flat piece around tube. Roll this on your working surface to make it a LITTLE skinnier, and smooth.

To make things easier, you could put the scale cane in the fridge for a bit to firm up and make it easier to cut and work with. I didn't, and all the scales got smushed into one piece instead of having a clear defined edge, like my first koi. Start cutting slices off the cane. These are your scales.

Begin placing the scales on the body at the tail.

All scaled up.

Roll a tube of your accent color and wrap it around the base of the head where the scales meet it. I like to make a little widow's peak.

Make fins the same way you made the tail. Put a little accent color on them. I put one under the body, adjusted the body to where I liked the fin, then pressed down. Then I lifted it up, pressed it more firmly into the body. Repeated with other fin.

Roll a couple balls out of the main clay. Press these into the head. These form the protuding eyes.

Roll balls of the accent color. Press these into the protuding parts, these are the eyeballs. Roll a skinny tube and form a mouth with it.

That's it! Any questions, feel free to comment.


Baking times. I bake these koi for an hour and a half at 275 degrees. I've learned that baking for way, way longer than you think is needed is the best way to make sure your pieces are strong and durable. They won't burn at the proper temperature.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016 05:08:21 PM by TkRain » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016 04:56:54 AM »

This is phenomenal. I've never really done much work with polymer clay, mostly because it's always seemed so intimidating. And making canes? Forget about it! But, thanks to your tutorial here, I feel like I could actually attempt making these sweet little koi fish and have them come out pretty close to the way I'd want them to! I don't know if I would have thought about hiding the pin in the body of the fish to keep it more securely in the clay, so that was a brilliant pointer. If I tried this on my own, I might have just tried half-embedding a lone jump ring into the head. Mistake!

Seriously, thank you for this. This definitely definitely rocks! The only problem is that now I'm sorely tempted to go out and buy a bunch of polymer clay and make twelve million little koi friends. I don't need that many little koi! How would I ever wear all of them?!


Looking for poly-clay earrings: one bacon, one fried egg. Also, a mishmash of red/orange/gold bracelets--beaded, braided, bangles, whatever! If you have the supplies, let's talk! (Please?) I'll swap all kinds of things in return!

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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016 05:27:07 AM »

Love the bright colours, and thanks for your tutorial!

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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016 05:43:13 AM »

Your koi are fantastic! Thank you for sharing a detailed tute, and I hope to see more of your work!

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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016 07:35:04 AM »

Cool fish and nice tutorial; using a cane for the scales is a good idea to save one's sanity (as opposed to making each scale individually)!  I much prefer your red/black/white koi to the purple/yellow fish, as I think the former has a more natural look to it.
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016 08:36:31 AM »

These are great!  Thanks for sharing!

« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016 12:39:04 PM »

Thanks everyone! And Patraw, I hate my second one  Tongue I think I'll stick to reds, oranges, and yellows from now on!

Hi! I'd love if you'd visit my Facebook page and give it a like. It's a new page, so I'm really trying to get the word out there! Follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/APieceOfClay/
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016 07:18:20 AM »

 I love this! Thanks for the tutorial. I am going to have to find some time to try this!

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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2016 08:13:26 AM »

Congrats! Your project was picked as a Featured Project  Smiley

« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2016 08:42:01 AM »

They seem real.  Smiley

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