Mantipi Specimen with Tutorial

I have always thought that specimen jars are cool, creepy, but still cool and after seeing Drew Olbrich’s Thing in a jar I knew I had to make my own.thing in a jar 7

You will need:

Sculpty clay

aluminum foil

acrylic paint

rubber cement

food coloring or cola

a jar

I used aluminum foil to make a basic shape, this helps to cut down on the amount of clay you’ll need and the cooking time to cure your “thing”.

thing in a jar 1I used original Sculpty clay, I was planning on painting the final piece, so why pay more for colored clay?  It is also easier to work with because it is softer.  I covered the foil form with a 1/4” thick layer.

thing in a jar 2  I decided to add another tentacle and bulk up the middle section with a fin.  You can make your “thing” as simple or as complicated as you want.  An organ shaped blob would be just as interesting as an alien fetus.  I worked on my sculpture for a couple of hours.  The suction cups on the tentacles took a fair amount of time.

thing in a jar 3Once I had everything like I wanted it I went back and smoothed out all of the finger prints and then baked it according to the package directions (for me that was at 275 for 45 minutes)  The back fin got a little well done, but it was easily covered with paint.

I painted a base coat of pear green on everything.  Once it was all dry I went over the entire sculpture with a dingy green, wiping it off with a paper towel to give the skin a molted look.

thing in a jar 4 Now it’s time to add the extra creepy part.  Coat the entire sculpture with 3 to 5 layers of rubber cement, rubbing it away on different sections to make it look like peeling skin.  This is a messy, sticky task, I just slathered the rubber cement on and it naturally starting peeling where I touched.thing in a jar 5

Now it’s time to put it in the jar, I made mine too large for any jar I had on hand and I had to take the mantipi with me to Hobby Lobby to find its new home.  thing in a jar 6

Use cola or food coloring to tint the water to accentuate the creep factor.  I think I need some sort of aged specimen tag for the jar, I’ll have to get to work on that!  I would love to see pictures of any “things” you guys make, send me some links :) and Happy Halloween!!!


refibered said...

Wayyyyy creepy. Which I guess is the effect you're going for, eh?

Crafterella said...

Yes, that is totally what I was going for, it's the diet pepsi in the water that did it :)

oobbles said...

You are so talented! I love the photo right after you painted it- such a great job!

Tiffany (aka: mieljolie) said...

That IS really creepy in a cool way!! I love the addition of the tentacles and fin. Nice job! We will have to try this project. Thanks for sharing it!


Alexa said...

Awesome. I'm so looking forward to everyone's projects this year. I think everyone is bringing their A game. Totally unique!

Crafterella said...

Oobbles and Tiffany, thank you, it really is a fun project that anyone can do you, should make your own "things", it's a great family project!

Kat, The Fearless Crafter said...

WOW. Super creepy! I love the detail on the tentacles, and the coloring is perfect!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Whoa...that is WAY creepy! Amazing job. I'll be linking.

Amy @ Living Locurto said...

That's so cool!! Creepy... but cool.

Jan said...


Margot Potter said...

Wow. That is a creeptacular project!

Nice work!


Beth- the mama bee said...

that's awesome!

Candace said...

Way cool and creepy!

My Big Mouth said...

I fell in love with this as soon as I saw it!
This is totally something I would make.
It turned out realistic,great job!
Thanks for the tutorial.

Crafterella said...

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments, this was a super fun project, in fact, I have more "things" planned. I've been saving jars and I should have a great collection by Halloween!

Sweetie Pie Suite said...

this is so great! I have to show my 10 year old son who thinks Halloween is the greatest 'holiday' ever!!