Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial

Posted on March 8, 2013 in 2013 Friesen Project by Katie Oskin

Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Sea Turtle Tutorial on KatersAcres Blog

Giveaway Winner Announced:

The winner for Book 3: Under the Sea giveaway has been chosen!  There were over 850 entries for this giveaway.  For all of you who entered, thank you!  I will be hosting another giveaway next week, so be sure to come back to enter that awesome giveaway as well.  And without further ado, the winner of this month’s Christi Friesen book giveaway is:


Congrats Becky!  Please remember that winners are chosen randomly through Rafflecopter in sponsorship by

YAY! It’s Friesen Friday!

Another Friday is here and do you know what that means? It means it’s time to party, Christi Friesen style!  As I mentioned last week, this is one of my top 3 favorite of Christi’s books.  So let’s not wait any longer shall we? Let’s dive Under the Sea and let’s do a polymer clay turtle tutorial … shall we?!

As with all the tutorials in the Friesen Project, please remember that these tutorials are done in an abbreviated format, with Christi Friesen’s expressed permission.  These tutorials are written and designed to be used in conjunction with the Beyond Sculptures Book 3, Under the Sea.

Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial by KatersAcres

Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial

from Christi Friesen’s “Under the Sea” Book

Make a Turtle Tummy

Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial by KatersAcresBefore you begin there are two important things to consider.  The first is to choose your color palette.  The second is to condition your clay properly and prepare it to be used and sculpted.

The first thing that you will need to do is to make a “tummy” for your turtle.  Please make sure that before you assemble your turtle, sign or stamp the bottom of your piece.  Then put your signature face down on your work surface to begin building your turtle.

Add Mr. Turtle’s Parts

Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial by KatersAcresOne you have your base down, separate 6 different “hunks” of clay from your blend.  Separate your blend into six parts.  The largest piece should be the piece use for the head.  The next two largest will be used for front flippers and two smaller pieces for the back flippers.  But let’s not forget the most important part: that smaller part for the cute little turtle tail.

For each part of the turtle, first make teardrop shapes.  For the head, make the teardrop less pronounced.  For the front flippers, form them into a slight “J” shape, as if the turtle was swimming.  For the back flippers, I chose to leave mine less bent … but remember, this is your turtle, so YOU decide what you want the flippers to look like.  Lastly, add your tail.  This time place the “thick” end of the teardrop on your base and the narrow end out.

Before you go on, make sure that you “smoosh” the legs flatter to resemble flippers instead of teardrops.  Before you make your shell, add texture and grooves into the parts of your flippers where you want toes or notches to resemble the real-thing.

**My tutorial differs from Christi’s as I like to add the “face” of my turtle after his shell was placed.  By assembling my turtle this way,  I could decide what he looks like as a fully developed turtle.**

Make Your “Shell” for Your Turtle

Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial by KatersAcresMake your shell for your creature out of the color blend your previously chose.  See Christi’s book on page 13 to see different styles & types of turtle shells.  Make your shell in a size that will fit & cover your turtle base and the joins on the turtle parts.  Then make and embed your eyes in the head portion of your turtle, add some pizazz around the eyes and get ready to jazz up your turtle!

Add Some Pizazz

Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial by KatersAcresMake Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial by KatersAcresNow it’s time to add some fun to your turtle and make it come alive!  Add twirls, curls, jewels, beads, dots, twists, or whatever else your heart desires.  For my turtle I added some Swarovski pearls in a silvery color and a fire opal Swarovski crystal.  I threaded the beads onto a wire and embedded it into the shell of the turtle.  I then took bronze colored snakes and wrapped them around the area where the Swarovski pearls sit on the turtle shell.  Then I added dots to add “personality” in orange and in green.  I then took a little screwdriver to add details into my turtle.

These awesome turtles are from deep under the sea and there has to be sea glass, right?  Since I had some sea glass in my stash, these little cuties are going to call their home on this glass.  Because I couldn’t get enough turtles, I added a tiny little turtle baby coming out of his shell (see page 12 in Christi’s Book on how to make one of those little cuties).

Add a Patina & Sealant

Make Your Own Christi Friesen Style Polymer Clay Turtle Tutorial by KatersAcresBut you’re not done yet, now it’s time to pick your antiquing medium and get started on your patina finish.  Following the tutorial highlighted at the beginning of this paragraph, fully antique your item in the places or area you choose.  Remember you do not have to add your patina to the whole piece.  You can add patina to just a portion of your sculpture.

Then add a sealant to your piece.  I use Varathane on my pieces as I like a glossy finish.  I then place my pieces back in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees.
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And that’s it folks, you now have a cute adorable little polymer clay turtle that you made yourself from this polymer clay turtle tutorial.  If you liked this tutorial, get more fun by clicking below & getting projects, tips, & tutorials direct to your email.

The Friesen Project

The Friesen Project is done in conjunction with Christi Friesen. All tutorials are retaught here with her expressed permission. Please make sure to read about the project here, and get answers to the most common FAQS here. 

See you next Friesen Friday,
Until then, Happy Claying,

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