Sonntag, 9. März 2014

Pets for my Sylvanians - a tutorial

Hello everybody,

first I'll want to show you that beautiful giveaway, which you can win, from the amazing Sugarbush Valley:

It's a wonderful blog about the residents of Sugarbush Valley, a dreamy place in far away Sylvania. Please take the time to look at it :).

While it's raining the whole day and because I really couldn't learn all the time for University, I've looked around in my handicraft cupboard and found some cardboard. 
Suddently I got the idea about an aquarium- eventually the Sylvanians also want to have pets.

If you also want to create a little, shabby chic looking aquarium, I'll show you here how I went on:

You need:

- cardboard
- acrylic paint
- polymer clay (choose the colours you want)
- some markers
- glue (superglue or "normal" glue for handicrafts) 
- transparency film 

Step 1:

Draw the single wall-parts onto your cardboard and cut them out. You'll need the following parts:

Measurements: 0,5x3cm

Measurements: 5x3cm

Important: I first had forgotten one wall, so it's missing in the foto. Please draw another 5x3cm wall.

Step 2:

Colour the peaces with the acrylic (from both sides).

Step 3:

Create your background-design for the Aquarium. I've drawn some infantile looking waterplants:

Stick the picture to one of your walls and to your bottom plate, like this:

Don't worry about the frazzle edges - they always appear by two-layer carboard. But we will make them disappear later ;-).

Step 4:

Stick the two small wallparts onto the bottom plate:

Now it should look like that.

Step 5: The inner life of the aquarium

Because the children want to have little fishes, let's take the polymer clay and start:

For one fish, you need two small balls of polymer clay, like these:

Press one of them with your finger.

The flat part will be the fishtail. Take another peace of clay and form a small pole. Stick it from both sites onto the tail:

Put two more on the tail and cut a small triangle out of the clay:

Now we'll form the body:

To get the body a bit more coloured, add a small part of another colour and role the clay, so the two colours can combine.

Combine the body with the tail:

Becaue the fish wants to swim, he needs some flappers. Make a small circle and cut them in the half:

Fold them together, like this:

And stick it to your fish:

Now just the eyes are missing. Make little holes with a needle in the fish's face and put little black balls into the originated holes.

Isn't it sweet? :D

Create as much fishes, as you want. I've done two.

Beside of inhabitans, your aquarium needs plants and/or decoration.
I've made this little rock with a hole in it and this easy waterplant. Just form everything you want.

Now your creations must bake in the oven.

Step 6:

After the interior has cold down, you can stick it to the bottom plate - I had also added some sand on the ground:

Step 7:

Take some transparency film, cut it into the right size and glue them on the walls. Sadly I've forgotten to take a picture, but it's not difficult.

Because I wanted that one of the fish can swim, I've sticked the fish with a transparent yarn onto the top of the aquarium:

Talking about the top... As you see I'd stick another plate and a little halfround knob onto it - so  it looks a bit more realistic.

Add the top to your aquarium - now it should look like this:

Not very beautiful, but it's easy to make it look nice.

Step 8:

Take a piece of thin card in the convenient colour of your aquarium.
Draw straight lines onto the card:

Cut them into the fitting size and attach them to your aquarium, like this:

Repeat this act for all sites, including the top....

We're finishend now! :)

This is my result- I've added a small floor cupboard. But the aquarium can also be placed on a table or another cupboard.

As you see, I've also drawn little nails onto the card. I like the idea of woodplates - especially because we're in Sylvania :).

I hope you had fun with this tutorial - I'm really curious about your comments.


  1. That's a very clever way to create a mini aquarium! Thank you so much for your tutorial! I never worked with clay before so I am a little scared to try. I am not sure I am very talented for making figures but little fish may be easier :) Your aquarium looks very nice in the room!

    1. Thank you very much :). It was a pleasure to create this tutorial.
      Well, just try it:). The really good thing about (most of) the polymerclay is that it's not drying in the air- so you can rebuild your figures as often as you want. I'm using FIMO soft- it's perfect for miniatures and friendly to my purse :D.

  2. Very clever indeed! Thank you for the tutorial.

  3. That is adorable...I want to try it right now. I was just wondering, where did you get the material for the clear walls?
    Again, you are soooooo talented!

    1. I've got the material from a stationery shop (I hope it's called like that^^). It's simple overhead transparency. But this transparency could be also find in some packaging (like the Sylvanian families boxes).
      Thank you so much for your compliment! :)

  4. This is a very clever way to make an aquarium. I would love to try this, it's so adorable! I hope I'm not bothering you by commenting on all your old posts. O_o