Moai Statues

Pique a child's interest in history by recreating the ancient stone-carved statues of Easter Island using self-hardening dough or clay.
Moai Statues craft

Materials

  • Sand dough, salt dough or self-hardening clay
  • Acrylic paint or poster paint (optional)
  • Clear acrylic sealer or decoupage
    medium (optional)

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.

Steps

Step 1 Moai Statues craft 1. To better appreciate this craft, check out some cool facts about the ancient Moai Statues of Easter island, Chile:
Step 2 Moai Statues craft Ask for an adult's help2. You can make a miniature of these statues using commercial self-hardening clay or make your own sand dough or salt dough. I prefer using sand dough because it dries into a somewhat gritty stone-like material.

The Moai statues are mostly grayish or brown in color. All the above mentioned materials can be colored by adding a bit of acrylic paint or poster paint. Take note that for sand dough, the paint only colors the dough and not the sand particles, giving the dough a unique granite-like look.
Step 3 Moai Statues craft 3. Before starting your sculpture, check the consistency of your sand dough or salt dough. It should be firm enough to support an upright sculpture. You can make a random block from it and see if it holds up or sags. If the dough is too soft, you may add more sand for sand dough and more flour and salt for salt dough.

Once content with the dough's consistency, take a chunk and use your hands to mold it into the statue's main shape. Maoi statues have really large heads that are about three-fifths the size of their bodies.
Step 4 Moai Statues craft 4. Make the jaws more squarish - a wide angular jaw is a defining feature of these statues. Pinch the middle section of the face to make a nose. If the dough has become too dry to shape properly, moisten your fingers slightly and continue working on your sculpture.
Step 5 Moai Statues craft 5. Use your little finger to carve out the eyes and the opposite end of a spoon to make the mouth.
Step 6 Moai Statues craft 6. Make the finishing touches. I've squared my statue's jaws further and made two dimples on either side of the body to define a pair of arms.

When you're happy with your sculpture, allow it to air dry. Turn it from time to time to allow all areas to dry. Drying will depend on several factors such as temperature, the size and thickness of your sculpture and the moistness of your dough. My sand dough sculptures took about a day to dry completely.
Step 7a Moai Statues craft 7. A special note on making thick block-like sculptures with sand dough - they are prone to cracking as shown in the photo. Cracking happens because the surface of the sculpture dries a lot faster than the inside. On a hot day, the moist dough expands and forces its way out, causing cracks.
Step 7b Moai Statues craft Cracking can be prevented by turning your sand dough sculpture from time to time so that drying is more even on all sections of the sculpture. Making small deep grooves at the back or base of your sculpture (where they won't be as conspicuous) while the sand dough is still moist will help relieve the pressure and aid drying.
Step 8 Moai Statues craft 8. Once your sculptures are completely dry, you may apply 2 to 3 coats of clear acrylic sealer or decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge) to keep out moisture. Let each coat dry before applying the next one.
Step 9 Moai Statues craft 9. The grainy quality of sand dough made these simple sculptures quite unique, don't you think? They look good on their own but you can also use them as part of a Polynesian diorama.

Check out more diorama ideas.

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