While walking with friends this weekend, we came upon a sycamore tree covered in seed balls. It looked as if the tree had been decorated with ornaments (by elves, perhaps?), and I took a couple of the balls home. It occurred to me that they look just like balled-up hedgehogs, which inspired the following nature project.
You’ll need a sycamore seed ball, tweezers, polymer or air dry clay, a needle tool, glue (I like E-6000), and optionally, spray sealant.
First, use a pair of tweezers to pluck out some of the seeds, clearing away a space for the face. Some of the balls will be harder and more tightly packed than others, so you can make this step easier by choosing a seed ball with slightly looser seeds.
Next, make a tiny face out of polymer or air dry clay. I used a light tan mixture of Sculpey clay, and you basically make a little dome with a blunt tip at the center for the nose. Use black clay to form a triangular nose and two balls for the eyes. I also used a needle tool to press a line for the mouth and three holes on each side of the nose for whiskers. The ears were little balls of clay shaped with a ball-end clay tool, but you could also use the rounded end of a paint brush handle.
If you wish, you can brush a hint of color to the face and ears with grated chalk pastels and a dry paint brush. I used a hint of light brown on the face and outer edge of the ears and a touch of pink on the cheeks and inner ears. Bake the clay or let air dry, then glue in place with a strong craft glue of your choice or E-6000.
The seeds tend to want to fall off the the ball with relatively little prodding, so I sprayed the entire thing with spray sealant. I’m not sure how effective this will be in the long term, and I would definitely recommend handling the hedgehogs as little as possible so they don’t get stressed and start shedding. 😉 If your hedgehog needs a hat, try a little acorn cap on for size. (Felted mushroom by Wild Lullaby.)