As much fun as a three-legged pig

I found a new adorable thing to obsess over today.

Some of you may be familiar with the Chilean good luck pig called a “Chanchito.” They are handmade pottery, and they are supposed to bring good fortune to their owners. This is especially true when the little guys are given to family and friends as a sign of affection.  They generally have some pretty endearing lopsided smiles, and did I mention that they only have 3 legs? But who’s counting really…

I just had to try to make one of these cute little dudes from polymer clay, and above is the result. Hector. :-)

If you guys would like to make a new friend for yourself or a loved one, please click the link below. And if you’d like to purchase a real good luck Chanchito straight from Chile, thehungersite.com offers them. They’re fairly traded, they’re only $5, and your purchase funds 25 bowls of food for the hungry. What’s better than that?

Good luck to you and yours everyone, and have a wonderful weekend!

To make Hector, I used Sculpey III brand polymer clay in the shade of “Pottery,” which resembles terra cotta.

I kneaded the clay a bit with my hands for a few minutes, just to get it warm and pliable, and then I made the above shapes. One slightly flattened round for the body, 1 coil for the tail, 1 cone to be flattened into a snout, 2 oblong slightly flattened ears, and three cone-shaped legs.

Now you will want to squish the ends of the ears, legs, and tail in the manner shown above. You are trying to thin out the clay so that it will overlap the body neatly.

Using your finger nail or some other rounded tool (I used a steel crochet hook), try to flatten and smooth the join between each of the pig’s appendages and his body. You will probably have to work at this little by little to get a fairly seamless join. Please note, the back leg of the pig can be placed underneath the center/back of his body. Please see here for an example of the side view of the pig.

The order in which you attach the pieces of the body doesn’t really matter. Whatever makes sense to you is fine. Chances are you will probably leave a few finger prints as you do this, no matter how careful you are, but don’t worry too much. The real chanchitos are handmade, and often come with the fingerprints of the artists who made them.

Using a needle tool (or just a needle) poke holes in your little piggy to make eyes, and a snout. Press the tool sideways to make a mouth. Remember, these little guys often have somewhat slanty grins, so don’t be afraid to give your little creation some personality.

Make sure to curl the ears carefully forward towards the piggy’s face. This step also will help to create the characteristic look of the chanchito.

And now, once you have added your last little finishing touches, and tested the piglet on a flat surface to make sure he sits level, you may create a soft little bed of polyester fiberfill and rest him in it. You can bake the pig – and the fiberfill (like you would use to make a stuffed animal) – on a cookie sheet right in the oven. The fiberfill won’t burn. It is made to sustain higher temperatures than the clay needs to cure.

Polymer clay packages always list the directions for how to cure the clay, usually 25-30 mins in the oven at about 265 degrees F, but please note the package directions. After the pig is cooked, turn off the oven and leave him in there for another 20-30 minutes more, then let him cool the rest of the way out of the oven. If you want the surface of the pig to be shiny, you can buff him gently with more fiberfill after he has cooled from the oven.

The End.

Now you can name your little buddy, and hopefully even encounter some good fortune together. :-)

If you have any questions about this or any other project, please leave a comment here and I will do my best to answer it.

Happy crafting everybody!

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