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How To Make a Claymation Character

Updated on May 2, 2013

How To Make A Clay Man

Charlie Butters in, "Runaway Lawnmower."
Charlie Butters in, "Runaway Lawnmower." | Source

Assembling Your Clay Man

Making a claymation character can be challenging. It does help if you are knowledgeable in sculpting however anyone can do it with a little time and patience.

1) The first thing you need to do is select your clay, there are many types of quality clay but what is best for your project depends on what you want to do. You can get clay that is more expensive and easy to work with or more cost effective clay that may take a little more effort.

2) Once you have the clay in the colors you are going to use it is good to get an idea of how you want your clay character to look. If it is your first character my recommendation is to start simply and just make a human(or at least human looking) figure.

Captain America in "Captain America Gets A Pimple."
Captain America in "Captain America Gets A Pimple." | Source

How To Make Captain America

3) You will need is a wire frame, also known as an armature. I use garden wire as it is a cost effective wire you can buy for a couple dollars a spool. There is craft wire that is used to make armatures but it can be costly and really isn't needed.

4) Thinking ahead if you want your character to stand and stay standing, it is good to glue magnets to his feet with the understanding that at the end of this your set should be sitting on a metal sheet or surface (or even a freezer, washer, dryer). You can purchase small but high powered magnets online for a very cheep price. Use a glue gun the glue the magnets to the bottom of the feet of the wire frame you've made.

Frenkenstein in, "Frankenstein Needs A New Brain."
Frenkenstein in, "Frankenstein Needs A New Brain." | Source

How To Make Frankenstein

5)Working with clay can be delicate work I recommend at the very least using a matchstick for hollowing eye sockets, pressing together pieces, etc. The rounded part of the match can do delicate work that fingers can't. If you have other items such as an exacto knife, larger sewing needle or something similar it would be helpful.

6)The best way to start is to take each color clay for the head, shirt, pants, hands and feet sections and mold the amount you need the the areas on the wire frame. Once the clumps are occupying the correct areas you may begin the details for the face, hands and form, hollow the eye sockets and place eyes.

With your figure complete you are now ready to create your claymation cartoon.

Check out some of the claymation cartoon shorts below for a good laugh.

Check our hub: List of 10 Incredible Claymation Videos for some some cool examples of claymation cartoons made by normal people like you or I. Also check out our hub: How To Make A Claymation Cartoon for a detailed process on the steps to create a full claymation cartoon. Like anything if a little time and effort is applied you can make something great. I really doesn't have to be done all at once either simply put a bit of effort into it each day and you'll be surprised at what you come up with.


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    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 6 years ago from North America

      Ironman1992 - it can yes, I have used Lego but enjoyed clay more so I stuck with that :) but Lego can be fun too.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 6 years ago from North America

      kittyjj - Depending on the type of figure you make, wire is a good idea for more complex figures as the amount of work that goes into making the figures is a lot and you want to make sure they last.

    • Ironman1992 profile image

      Ironman1992 6 years ago

      I've always had a lot of problem making moveable clay figures, which is why i've always used lego. The problem is, it takes a lot of lego.

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 6 years ago from San Jose, California

      We tried our first claymation with our kids last summer. We didn't know we should had used wire. So it didn't come out the way we wanted. But we had a lot of fun. I will have my kids watch your videos and try again this summer. Hopefully we can produce a better claymation this time. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 6 years ago from North America

      Jameshank - no problem I make a lot of clay characters and claymation cartoons, and a lot of the time I will write hubs on it so there will probably be more to come :)

    • Jameshank profile image

      Jameshank 6 years ago from Japan, NY, California

      Hey this is amazing! Thanks for showing that claymation can be done by nonprofessionals.

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 6 years ago from North America

      Thanks for the follow alphagirl

    • alphagirl profile image

      alphagirl 6 years ago from USA

      Really like the simplicity. Claymation requires patience for each move. I always wondered how they did it. Gumbi was simple...I think because it requires such fine motor skills and patience, it may be a lost art. Like black and white photography. Great hub!. Gonna follow you!

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 6 years ago from North America

      We use software when putting the video together but as far as the figures and movements those are all done by hand. Each picture taken one after another. In the videos for this hub though it is just us making the character sped up, video taken by a ZI8 video camera.

    • Vapid Maven profile image

      Vapid Maven 6 years ago from California

      Do you use software to make your animations? I just purchased honestech Claymation Studio 3.0 and also a Logitech HD webcam

    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 6 years ago from North America

      I am glad, sometimes I feel like this form of animation is a lost art as there is so few cartoons being made of this type

    • Naomi's Banner profile image

      Naomi's Banner 6 years ago from United States

      this is absolutely awesome! I enjoyed your videos. I am inspired to create.