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Going Bats!
by Thomas Ojeda
  • Black Polymer Clay
  • String or fishing line
  • Bat Pattern(s)
  • Roller (Acrylic rod, brayer or Pasta Machine)
  • Craft knife such as X-Acto brand blade
  • Cutting blade or steel rib
  • Folded index card
  • Needle tool

 click on thumbnails to see larger images

Step One: Find a bat pattern you like from a book on Halloween or one of Halloween clip-art or draw one of your own. I copied this one from a Halloween book from the library. Cut it out and lay it on a sheet of well conditioned clay rolled to the #3 or #4 setting on the pasta machine.
Step Two: Trace around pattern with needle tool.
Step Three:  Remove pattern and cut out with craft knife.
Step Four:  Cut into surrounding clay and remove pieces to avoid distorting shape. You could even use these pieces to make a negative image of your bat for another project.
Step Five: With needle tool, poke two eyes between the bat's ears. These will be eyes, but will also be used for hanging.
Step Six: Use a steel rib or cutting blade to lift the bat up from underneath to place onto baking surface.
Step Seven: I like to pleat some of the index cards to make the bats look like they're flying. Now cure for 15 minutes at the temperature on the clay package.
Step Eight: Let the bat cool on the index card, then put your string through his eyes or wings, whichever you chose. Here's my bat all ready for hanging.

A gaggle of bats? A flock?
Ah, according to the dictionary, it's a colony of bats.
Warning: these are addictive.
To date, my roommate and I have made 73 of them.
Some of them seem to find homes in friends' pockets.
Tips: If you don't want the bat to look like s/he's flying, bake it flat. Or vary how deeply you pleat the index card. Or bake over something with a gentle curve, such as a dinner plate. If you absolutely don't get along with craft blades, you can use a cookie cutter instead.
Photography by Kim Kennedy