DIY Furniture Using Modeling Clay

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DIY Furniture Using Modeling Clay

Postby DC1346 » Sunday July 1st, 2018 11:20pm

I was looking on line for 25 mm. furniture that I could use to outfit my dungeon tiles. Since I'm currently working on an inn, I was specifically looking for bedroom furniture. On eBay I found a mixed collection of 4 beds made by Scotia Grendel with Dwarven Forge for $13.50 with $7.50 for shipping for a combined cost of $21.00.

I thought about it and decided to make my own using nothing more than cardboard (for a base), modeling clay, a bit of water, glue, paper napkin, and acrylic paint.

The advantages to working on a do-it-yourself project is that it's fun (at least for me ... but then again I don't get out much), it's much more cost effective in the long run (assuming you continue using these supplies for other projects), and you have full artistic control of the size and look of your project.

It only took me 30 minutes to assemble the bed not counting the time needed for drying and painting. Here's what I did to create a DIY bed.

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1) I weighed out 3 oz. of sculpting clay and put it in a bowl with 1/2 tsp. of water. Modeling clay works best when it's slightly moist otherwise it has a tendency to crack when you try to work with it.

2) I used a bench scraper (culinary tool) to help shape the clay into a rough rectangular prism. The bench scraper is pictured in picture #2. Since I'm the chef instructor of a high school Culinary Arts program, I have all sorts of kitchen tools at home to work with. If you don't have a bench scraper no worries. Use a spackling knife. You could even use a butter knife. by the way: Although I made this model in the kitchen, I worked using a non-stick silicone mat. You don't have to use a mat. I like it because everything peels off. If you don't have a silicone mat, I'd recommend using a cutting board. You could also work directly on the counter but if you did this, make sure you clean up BEFORE the clay scraps harden otherwise they'll stick to the counter. Depending upon what type of counter you have, removing the dried clay could cause minor damage.

After forming the clay into a rectangular prism, cut off 1/3rd to use for head board and foot boards. The remaining third will be used to make the bed.

3) Divide the 1/3rd piece into half. Shape it into a half circle. Use a butter knife to help smooth out the curved sides. Make sure the bottom is flat by pressing it against the bench scraper or by just cutting it off. AGAIN - I'd recommend doing this on a silicone mat or a cutting board. You never want to cut anything on a bare kitchen counter because you could damage the counter.

4) If you want posts, make a cut like the one shown in the picture. The two pointed pieces on either side can easily be shaped into rounded cylinders or posts with squared sides. If you want texture, use the back end of a dinner knife to cut grooves to simulate wood. Don't use the cutting side because you need clean cuts. The cutting side of most dinner knives will leave a slightly jagged cut.

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5) Cut a piece of cardboard to use as a base. The completed bed will be 2 inches long by 1 inch wide, basically 2 dungeon tiles. Before gluing the bed and bed boards to the base, make sure they fit. If you need to, use the bench scraper to trim off part of the bed so that it's not so long. Keep the scraps to use for other projects. Glue the bed to the base. Glue on the headboard. Use the remaining piece of clay to form a board for the other end of the bed.Glue the headboard and foot board to either end of the bed.

6) Use a cut section of paper napkin to make a blanket. Put some glue on the bed and glue the napkin into place.

7) Use trimmed scraps from the clay to make a pillow. Glue the pillow to the bed.

8) Let the bed try overnight. Paint the bed.

Here is a closeup of the completed bed. I had just enough scraps leftover to make a bed stand. The bed stand is basically a little cube. I rolled out a tiny scrap of dough and cut it into squares to make hinged "doors" for the bed stand. I also used dough scraps for the handles.

Compare and contrast my DIY bed with a bed I bought through eBay. I THINK but don't recall for certain that this particular casting was made by Ral Partha.

I really didn't care for this particular bed because it was so small and it wasn't big enough for anyone other than a dwarf, a halfing, or a gnome. It's also basically just a mattress lying on the floor. It just didn't look right.

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There's probably a reason why I'm a chef instructor and not a math teacher. It turns out that I was off on my measurement and the base for the bed was a little over 2 inches long. Insofar as this was my first DIY bed, I was still pleased with the overall result.

It was a lot of fun working on this project. If you don't want to pay hands over fist for D&D furniture, MAKE YOUR OWN. Get in touch with your inner child and have fun working with clay.

I spent $10.79 on Amazon for 2.2 pounds of clay. That's 35.2 ounces ... or enough clay to make the equivalent of nearly 12 beds and bed stands.

NOTE: Clay dries out. After you open your bag of clay, I'd strongly recommend putting the rest in a gallon sized zip lock bag otherwise the next time you want to use it, it'll be dry and brittle.
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Re: DIY Furniture Using Modeling Clay

Postby Daedalus » Tuesday July 3rd, 2018 6:45am

The nice thing about this project is you'll want more beds anyway and they'll get even better looking as the measurements narrow down. I hope you post a furnished room with more examples next.
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Re: DIY Furniture Using Modeling Clay

Postby Fallensaviour » Wednesday July 4th, 2018 10:59pm

Lots of videos on you tube from crafters such as ;
Dm craft (dmscotty),black magic craft,Luke’s aps or wyloch.
That should get you started.Going down the rabbit hole you’ll find others.
No need to buy furniture at all if your handy.
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