This is a good project to do with kids, and for the kid in you! You can create your own scarab fetish and inscribe symbols and words that are meaningful to you. The color you select may also have a magical association for you, and any ingredients such as powdered stones or herbs will also lend their energy to your scarab. Imbued with your intent and energy, your scarab makes a great charm, talisman or even a ward above a doorway.
You Will Need:
- Polymer Clay
- Optional: powdered rocks, resins or herbs. Glazes or paints.
All you need to purchase is a small brick of polymer clay such as Sculpty™ or Fimo™ for just a few dollars. These clays come in every color of the rainbow, as well as iridescent and metallic colors. When baked in the oven at a low temperature according to the package instructions, the resulting item can be drilled (for beads), carved (to add more details or fix mistakes), painted, or glazed to add shine (use the glaze made for polymer clay or clear nail polish).
If you are motivated to do so, I've discovered that you can add a very small amount (about 1% by weight) of powdered stones to polymer clays without affecting their stability. Malachite, turquoise and lapis lazuli powder work well, however rock powders can be toxic and if you are not involved in lapidary work, finding them is next to impossible.
Instead, you can also employ the energies of plants into your scarab by using finely powdered herbs and resins. Frankincense, copal, opopanax, benzoin and myrrh can be finely powdered with a blade coffee grinder (set aside for craft use) or a pestle and mortar.
Finely powdered sage, rosemary or any other herb you are drawn to may also be used. Again, make sure your addition is finely powdered, and work it into warm clay thoroughly. Use no more than 1% by weight of herbs, resins or stone powders. Since most small blocks of polymer clay weigh about 56 grams or 1.97 ounces, you will only use half a gram of extra ingredients (0.56g or 0.2 oz). To make this easier, just stick to about a pinch of finely powdered additions to every block of clay. Once you have experimented with adding powders, you may find you can incorporate considerably more of certain types without jeopardizing the finished clay structure and durability, but for now, a pinch is a tried and true amount.
Look at the pictures provided above for more design inspirations, and be sure to check out the article here on PaganPath all about Scarabs: History, Symbolism, Uses.
|Soften the clay by warming it in your hands and kneading it for a few minutes. Then make an smooth egg shape.|
|Slice the bottom (lengthwise) off the egg and smooth out the cut area. You may have to round out any edges too if they were mashed during cutting.|
|Use the larger section to make your scarab. Your design for the scarab can be very intuitive, or based on museum books, but if you aren't sure where to start, you can use these guides.
Begin by carving the basic beetle design by making a T shape across it's back. Toothpicks work well for making the designs. On top of the T, make a capital M
|Around the outside edge, carve out areas where the 'wings' separate from the body, add details as desired.|
|Continue adding details until it looks like a scarab. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, it should be fun, intuitive, free-form. Making the scarab is 90% of the fun.
This picture shows a bamboo skewer through the scarab to pierce it as they traditionally were when used as beads. If you decide to pierce your scarab, you can do so while the clay is soft, or later when you decide after it has been baked. Once it is hard, you will have to carefully drill the hole.
|You can use hieroglyphs for the underside of your scarab, or make it personal with your initials, symbols which are meaningful to you, or magickal inscriptions.
This example might be used to protect a child (The triangles in the box symbol) or it may be used to represent rebirth and spirituality plus more. The symbols and letters on this example were chosen pretty randomly just to show an example of what you might like.
When it is finished and baked, you can glaze it if you wish. This one has blue model painted on, then wiped off quickly to make the markings darker. A final coat was brushed over the entire surface evenly.
Painted polymer clay is durable, but not as durable as solid colors. For beads or pocket fetishes, using a clay in the color you desire for your magical purpose will be more durable than painting that color over the clay.
Beading Note: If you are making scarab beads, bake them with a toothpick inserted through the body. This is much easier than drilling a hole through the scarab after it is baked and hardened.
Have fun making your unique scarab!