//Hand-Formed Clay Mushrooms

Being a maniac, I decided to take on the task of doing 200 or so wedding favors. By myself. By hand. I don't want to say just yet what the favors are because I'm excited about them being a nice surprise for our guests, but I will say that they involve these little mushrooms.

I'm using Crayola air-dry clay (I got mine from Amazon) because I like that I don't have to bake it for it to harden. While the drying time on the packaging suggests that it takes a couple of days, I found that these little mushrooms were good after about 24 hours. A quick tip though is that the clay is very soft and malleable when you first start to work with it, so the flatter it gets the more it might stick to your skin at first.

I work with a little at a time because, as I said, it begins to harden faster than the packaging says, and once it hardens even a little bit, the clay begins to crumble when you work with it. So I take approximately enough to make a 1" ball. I then roll out that ball into a fairly thin rope and break off small sections--roughly a half inch long.

I take each little section and hold it between my thumb and forefinger, gently rolling it until there is a little "cap" at the top end. I then work the top, flattening it gently, until the mushroom cap is the size I like.

Finally, I gently roll the "stem" again until it's a more rounded shape instead of flattened. Then, I gently tapped down the edges to make the cap sort of roll under itself a little.

The trick to making these is practice and finding out how much clay you need and how you need to work it to get the mushrooms the size you want. The lovely thing about these little clay mushrooms is that imperfection plays to the natural and organic look and feel you are going for.

You can go ahead and paint them if you'd like--for example, a wash of a brown color might be very nice. I'm going to leave mine the natural color of the clay, mostly out of laziness.

If you decide to make these, let me know how they work out for you!!

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