My first encounter with plasticine art was in third grade when our school librarian read us one of Barbara Reid’s beautiful picture books.
If you have never heard of Barbara Reid or read one of her books you are in for a treat! Barbara illustrates all her books with plasticine. They are incredible and so fun to look at, not to mention inspiring.
After that day in 3rd grade I was set on becoming a plasticine artist myself! We got to make our own plasticine landscapes on a paper plate after story time was over and I was hooked!
I never did end up becoming a plasticine artist, sigh, I did however take up this art form for fun a couple years ago AND introduced it to my kids!
What is Plasticine?
Plasticine is like a modeling putty or clay that doesn’t dry. It has a slightly oily consistency and is the perfect medium for all kinds of crafts!
An excerpt from Wikipedia says plasticine was originally created by an art teacher …
“William Harbutt, an art teacher in Bath, England, formulated Plasticine in 1897. Harbutt wanted a non-drying clay for his sculpture students. He created a non-toxic, sterile, soft and malleable clay that did not dry when exposed to air.” – Wikipedia
Crafts for kids
When you smell it, you will most likely be taken back to childhood! And it’s a lot of fun to play around with.
This is a great craft for kids. I have taught it to my own girls and we also have taught it in a homeschool art class I teach and to our friends and family members. Everyone loves it because its such a textile medium to work with! Aka its fun to squish around.
I think it works especially well for kids because its a forgiving medium as well. You don’t have to be great with fine motor skills or details. Its movable and moldable and kids are not intimated by it!
All though it is perfect for kids crafts such as clay modelling 3D objects and making flat lay art like Barbara Reid’s, its also used for making stop-motion animation.
Some of the most popular plasticine stop-motion films were made by Nick Park called Wallace & Grommit!
The best plasticine and where to buy it!
When it comes to plasticine we have tried our fair share around this house! I finally found a brand I love that comes in the best variety of colors.
My favourite brand of plasticine or modeling clay that doesn’t dry out is by Craftsmart. I pick ours up from our local Michaels store. You can also buy it online here. It’s super affordable and comes with a ton of vibrant colors and shades! 72 colors in all.
Other brands of plasticine can be picked up at your local dollar store. It works just as well although it has a limited amount of color options!
Looking for larger amounts of plasticine, thepaintspot.ca sells bricks in 500g quantities if you are in Canada.
We have also tried Crayolas brand of plasticine and like it too. You can buy it in multiple sizes like this school room kit here, or a smaller option here.
How to store your plasticine
To store our plasticine I picked up an inexpensive container from our local dollar store and filled it with a variety of clear plastic dividing containers.
Then I can divide my plasticine by color or shade. I find the girls and I are most creative when our art supplies are neatly organized by color! I don’t know why this makes us more inclined to actually get our art materials out and get creating but it really does!
This container came with a snap on lid that has a handle which I love!
How to make plasticine art?
When it comes to actually creating your own plasticine art I recommend heading over to barbarareid.ca and checking out her tutorials on how she creates her illustrations.
You can also watch her tutorials on YouTube as well! I am a visual learner so I love these videos. I also find them soothing to watch! Even if you don’t plan on jumping into this craft right away I highly recommend watching them with your kids for inspiration.
Barbara Reid Plasticine Pictures: Part 1
You tube also has some great videos for inspiration and technique. I love this tutorial from Zart Art
Zart Art: How to make plasticine paintings
Materials for creating plasticine art
Here is a list of materials we use for creating plasticine art projects at home. This is by no means the only way to create but its what we use!
- Canson mixed media paper. This is my favourite mixed media paper. Its thick enough for plasticine and also great for any other painting or drawing projects. We use it a ton in our homeschool.
- Canvas boards. These are great for creating plasticine paintings and hanging on your wall. When I hang plasticine art I always leave the glass of the picture frame out so that you can really see the textures of the plasticine.
- Regular Canvas. These would also work great and would not require a frame to hang your plasticine picture or display it in your home.
- Plasticine. As I mentioned earlier this is our favourite brand of plasticine.
- Butter knives for creating texture!
Below are some photos of plasticine art we found online! Hopefully your find these inspiring.
Making plasticine art really is easy and perfect for kids and adults alike. It’s a medium we don’t see a ton of and maybe thats why I like it. I love the whimsy of each picture and the shock you feel when you think ” that was made out of plasticine!”
Maybe its the colors and textures or the fact that it brings me back to childhood, sitting in my school library and learning about someone who made art in a new and creative way. Whatever the reason, I love playing around with plasticine and hope you will too!