Sculpey Clay Craft Projects for Kids – Backpack Penguin Charm Stolen

Sculpey Penguin Charm

Polymer clay miniature figurines… a hot commodity in elementary schools:

And when I say ‘hot’, I’m not just talking about how excited kids are these days to play and craft with Sculpy polymer clay. I’m also talking about the possibility that some children may be taking this level of excitement one step too far.

You see just the other day, several of my daughter’s back pack charms mysteriously disappeared during the first week of school. One in particular was the clay penguin charm she made over the summer break… the one wearing sunglasses and a green duckie float ring around his belly. You may recall seeing him in a couple of recent posts: Art Teachers Resources + Charm Jewelry Findings

Anyway, being the feisty girl that Willow is (she takes after her mom :), my daughter took it upon herself to draw and color a “MISSING” poster in hopes of the safe return of her little friend. The artwork was so adorable… I just had to scan it for today’s pic, as you can see above.

Here’s a little background info to bring you up to speed with the whole sitch…

Willow’s backpack is from Costco which means that it is similar to about a hundred other ones at the school yard. So to make hers stand out from the crowd, she decided to add a few personal touches.

She pinned on a handful of buttons with sassy sayings and a couple of key chains. To add even more ‘bling’ she hung a big golden ‘W’ encrusted with rhinestones. And last but definitely not least… Mr Penguin was attached using the screw eye I helped her install.

When the penguin first went missing, she thought it must have just fallen off. But on closer inspection we saw that the key ring was still attached to the backpack with no sign of the little screw eye anywhere. This could only mean one thing. That the penguin charm was deliberately removed from the key ring with care.

The big rhinestone ‘W’ had also been carefully removed! I know this was not an easy task because I helped Willow take it on and off several times until she liked where it was placed on her pack.

So… were these items stolen by some other kid with a name starting in ‘W’? Someone that also took a liking to Mr. Penguin?

Was this a prank by a well meaning but perhaps misguided friend?

Did a crush take them as a personal memento?

Or maybe… the penguin came to life and took off on his own, simply because he couldn’t handle yet another first-week-of-school assembly? Perhaps he snagged the “Big-W-Bling’ to pawn off for some traveling cash. Hmmm…

What do you guys think happened to Willow’s sculpey clay craft project? Will she get her penguin charm back and solve the mystery? Or do you think this is destined to become a ‘Cold Case’? Leave a comment below, and let us know what you think!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Diana B, 10 September, 2008

    I hope with all my heart that Mr. Penguin will be found and returned, safe and sound, very soon. I know I would be crushed if something I made got stolen. And doubly crushed if it was something my child made.

  2. Andrea, 10 September, 2008

    I think he’s gone to find a girlfriend & you will soon be bombarded with lots of baby penguins ahhh.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 13 September, 2008

    @Diana: She was definitely crushed! Also disappointed that someone she knows can’t be trusted! Thank you for your kind words.

    @Andrea: Hehehe… hopefully they will be knocking on the door any day now, needing a place to stay!

  4. Kimberlee, 14 September, 2008

    I vote for baby penguins! Penguin chickees?

  5. Anna Sabina, 14 September, 2008

    Maybe she should start taking orders and selling these. Everyone has to start somewhere.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 14 September, 2008

    @Kimberlee: It does seem the happiest outcome, doesn’t it!

    @Anna: That is a very good idea Anna! There may just be a great demand for them. I will tell Willow about your idea!

  7. Kimberlee, 20 September, 2008

    Totally! I love that idea. I think the little girl in my life would love one! She LOVES Club Penguin. And she loves polyform clay! Please let us know if these become available!

  8. Cindy Lietz, 21 September, 2008

    Thanks Kimberlee… I will let you know !

  9. Christine, 23 September, 2009

    Hi! I’ve had little to no experience with the Premo Sculpy or the Fimo clay. So, I was wondering which type would be easier for making small clay charms (like earrings and necklaces). I used to have this strange type of clay called “Gummi Clay”, and it was an incredibly squishy, easy to mold clay. The only problem was that it broke so easily! My friends all love my charms, so what I’d want to know is: which clay is the most durable, which is the easiest to mold, and which displays paint the best (brightest..some clays that I used to have would just flake my paint off, or the paint just wouldn’t dry, so my fingers would get blue each time I handled a blue charm I made). Thank you so much, in advance :)

  10. Cindy Lietz, 02 October, 2009

    Great questions Christine! Never hear of the Gummi clay but it sounds interesting.

    The clay I like to work with the most for all purposes is Premo Sculpey. If you want to learn more about how the clays compare click the link by my name to read another article. You can also type ‘clay comparison’ into the search box at the top of the page for even more info.

  11. Carla, 22 April, 2010


    I just found you on the web. I don’t know what kinds of questions you answer but I thought I would try. My daughter is making a sculpey clay project for a 4-H show on Saturday. We have done many projects with the sculpey clay with a lot of success. This year we bought the bake and bond glue for the first time. We baked the project for only 10 minutes because on average the thickness of the parts is less than 1/4″. It says not to over bake it. The glue did not cure. Also the whole scene is built on a piece of wood that is covered with the sculpey. The clay that is on the wood is not baked. Can I bake it longer? I thought of using a hairdryer to heat certain areas. Would that work? The scene my daughter made is a fantasy type of setting. A man cutting a very large mushroom with several pieces of grass coming up out of the wood as well as other smaller mushrooms,rocks, hills etc. She put wire and foil in the inside of everything so it would not be so think. The dimensions are about 8x7x8. If you can help that would be wonderful.


  12. Phaedrakat, 22 April, 2010

    @Carla: Hi Carla, you can actually bake longer than the alotted time. The important thing to remember is not to go over the recommended temperature. It’s best to use a separate oven thermometer (they have them at the dollar store) to make sure that you’re curing at the right temperature. As long as the oven isn’t too hot, you can bake for hours! The project can go in and out of the oven multiple times, just make sure the temp is right. I’m going to post this, so you know you can bake longer.

    The way it works with Sculpey III is you need a minimum of 15-20 minutes per 1/4″ at the perfect curing temperature. Since ovens cycle, and the temp goes up and down, you have to bake longer to get a complete cure. Try to get your hands on thermometer if you can (I know you’ve got a deadline.) I’ll post again after this, with some links that have important information to read. Good luck with the project (I was in 4-H when I was a girl…)

  13. Phaedrakat, 22 April, 2010

    @Carla: You can ask any kind of polymer clay question you’d like. There’s quite a bit of information here already, though; so chances are, the question has already been answered. If you use the search box at the top left side of the page, you can find articles on any topic: “how long to bake” “baking sculpey” “can I bake multiple times?” “bake and bond”, etc. Type in whatever you’re looking for and you’ll get a list of articles. Choose one and read the article, as well as the comments below, since there’s often even more information there! (The comments & answered questions have interesting topics that have come up, and a lot of other useful information!)

    Here’s an article called It’s OK to Sometimes Break the Rules, where they discuss the lengthened baking times, and the fact you can bake more than once.

    This article, How To Bake Polymer Clay Properly, not only has great info, it has links to lots of baking articles. There’s a lot of reading here, important tips and tricks to help you with baking, such as using ceramic tiles, baking with cornstarch, tenting your beads/project, etc. It really helps to have as much information as possible when you’re baking your clay projects .

    Here’s a response I left for someone who had burned her beads (from a too-hot oven.) In it, I describe why lengthy baking at a low temp is important. There are some informative comments from Cindy above this comment, as well as a link to yet another great article.

    You mentioned that you’ve done several projects with Sculpey III clay (I think you meant that clay?) It’s actually considered one of the weaker clays, in case you didn’t know. Cindy wrote a post about it called Sculpey III Polymer Clay Really Makes Me Mad, which explains some of the reasoning. Plenty of polymer clay artists agree with this. Premo Sculpey, Fimo (or Fimo Soft), Studio by Sculpey, Kato, and Cernit clays are all really good-quality clays that are much stronger. You don’t want to put all that work into a project and then have it fall apart. You might want to consider buying a stronger clay for your next project. There are a few other things this site has to offer that you may want to consider. I’ve outlined them in the paragraph below; the links can be found at the top of each page.

    Cindy has a weekly newsletter, with 2 free color recipes in it, if you’re interested. If you sign up, you get 3 free videos. The link is at the top of the page—Polymer Clay Newsletter. If you like the videos, you’ll probably want to become a part of the Member Video Library. It’s only $3.32 a month! You get 4 monthly videos, and an additional color palette of recipes (for a total of 12 recipes per month.) For less than $10, you get 12 video tutorials & 36 recipes! It’s an amazing deal. I always kick myself for not joining sooner. It’s something that you and your daughter could watch together. The projects are geared towards jewelry, but they can be used for any type of polymer clay project. Perhaps even the kind that will help you take home ribbons! To get an idea of the latest topics/tutorials, go to the Home page. It lists the daily blog posts in order by date. This Member Video Library link will show you a list of past video tutorials. If you like, there’s also a Polymer Clay Basics Course (fundamentals/beginner’s 39-video course.) It’s designed to teach you all about working with polymer clay, from choosing a clay, to conditioning, forming beads, baking, finishing, storing clay, etc. I highly recommend these videos! If you have trouble with any of these links, leave another comment or email Cindy directly to ask for help purchasing a membership or course. If you have any other questions, leave a comment, and someone will be happy to help. Have fun, and good luck with your “fantasy project”!

  14. Carla, 23 April, 2010

    Thanks so much for the response. I baked the project longer and it seems to have cured. This web site is fantastic. So much information. I was so worried about cooking the clay to long. I have learned a lot. Tomorrow is show. Hopefully the judge will be impressed.

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