Spooky Spool Photo Holders

By  Lianne & Paul Stoddard  for  Swirly Designs for Polyform Products

size: pumpkin, 1-1/2"x2-1/2"; cat, 1-5/8"x 2-1/2"; owl, 2"x2-1/2"


  • Polyform Premo! Sculpey Oven-Bake Clay: White, Wasabi, Black, Cadmium Red Hue, Orange, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna; Premo Accents, Gold, Copper; Glow in the Dark
  • Vintage wooden thread spools, 7/8”x1-1/4”, three
  • Printed cardstock sentiments
  • Embroidery floss: orange, brown, black
  • Wire, 20-gauge: green, orange, black, brown
  • Eyelash yarn: orange, black, brown


  • Polyform Sculpey Clay Tools: Clay Conditioning Machine, Clay Tool Starter Kit, Super Slicer, Style & Detail Tools, Gloss Glaze, Acrylic Roller
  • Circle cutters: 1/4”, 1/2”, 5/8”
  • Acrylic paints: dimensional glow in the dark, red, black
  • Clear glitter
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet and oven
  • Adhesives: fabric glue, craft glue, Polyform Sculpey Bake & Bond

Basic Supplies

  • scissors, ruler, wire cutters, paintbrushes, newspaper and wax paper (to cover work surface)
  • 1. Apply fabric glue to spool; wrap with single color of floss. Let dry. Repeat with remaining spools. See Photo 1.

  • 2. Cut 6" length of wire; wrap around paintbrush handle several times. See Photo 2. Slide off. Twist bottom wires around each other and cut to 3/4" length. See Photo 3. Make one holder wire in each color wire.

    Photo 2

    Photo 3
  • Pumpkin
  • 1. Condition all clay until soft and pliable. Roll 1" pumpkin-shape from White clay. Test size by placing on spool.
  • 2. Run Wasabi, Cadmium Yellow Hue, and Orange clays through conditioning machine on #2 setting. Cut stripes of varying widths from clay using slicer, making sure to have two of same width for each stripe. Stack matching stripes on top of each other to create stripe pattern approximately 3" wide. See Photo 4. Stack and roll clay strips together into one striped piece.

    Photo 4
  • 3. Run stripes vertically in conditioning machine on #2 setting. Fold clay bottom to top and run through machine again. See Photo 5. Repeat until blended, then run through final time on #3 setting.

    Photo 5
  • 4. Position pumpkin form on striped sheet; use slicer to cut strip large enough to cover top and bottom sides of pumpkin. See Photo 6. Wrap strip around sides of pumpkin. Smooth edges together with fingers. See Photo 7. Fold over top and bottom edges; smooth using fingers.

    Photo 6

    Photo 7
  • 5. Insert tool 1/4" deep into top center of pumpkin. Roll stem shape from Wasabi clay. Apply Bake & Bond into hole; insert stem. Cut 3" green wire length; wrap around paintbrush handle. Apply Bake & Bond to end and insert into pumpkin near stem. See Photo 8.

    Photo 8
  • 6. Carve facial features, texture, and lines in pumpkin using tools. Roll two Glow in the Dark eyeballs and tiny ball nose and flat oval mouth from Cadium Red Hue clay. See Photo 9. Apply Bake & Bond to facial features and orange holder wire; adhere to pumpkin.

    Photo 9
  • 7. Run small piece of Orange clay through conditioning machine on #2 setting. Cut 5/8" circle from clay; attach to bottom of pumpkin. See Photo 10. Position pumpkin on parchment-lined baking sheet.

    Photo 10
  • Cat
  • 1. Roll 1" Black clay ball. Flatten slightly, press in one side to form top of head and ears. Test size by placing on spool.
  • 2. Carve facial features with tools. Indent ear holes. Roll two eyeballs and rope mouth from Glow in the Dark clay and tiny ball nose from Orange clay. See Photo 11.

    Photo 11
  • 3. Apply Bake & Bond to facial features and black holder wire; adhere to cat.
  • 4. Repeat Pumpkin Step 7 with Black clay; attach to bottom of cat. Position cat on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Owl
  • 1. Combine Copper and Raw Sienna clays to create marbled effect. Roll 1" clay ball; form owl head using fingers. See Photo 12. Test size by placing on spool.

    Photo 12
  • 2. Run Burnt Umber clay through conditioning machine on #4 setting. Cut out two 1/2" circles for eyes. See Photo 13.

    Photo 13
  • 3. Run Gold clay through conditioning machine on #5 setting. Cut into thin strips using rick rack blade. Repeat with marbled clay from Step 1. Alternate layers of these strips and add Burnt Umber circle on top. See Photo 14. Attach to owl face; repeat for second eye.

    Photo 14
  • 4. Run marbled clay through conditioning machine on #5 setting. Cut house shape; attach to owl's face with pointed end between eyes. See Photo 15.

    Photo 15
  • 5. Run Cadmium Yellow Hue through conditioning machine on #4 setting. Cut two 1/4" circles for eyes; sculpt beak from remaining clay. Cut small pieces of toothpick, apply Bake & Bond to end, and insert into face. Attach beak to face over exposed toothpick end.
  • 6. Roll two small balls from Glow in the Dark clay; add to yellow eyes. Apply eyes to face. Add texture to face using tools. See Photo 16.

    Photo 16
  • 7. Repeat Pumpkin Step 7 with marbled clay; attach to bottom of owl. Position owl on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • 8. Follow manufacturer's instructions to bake clay characters on parchment-lined baking sheet in oven. Let cool completely.
  • Finishing
  • 1. Dot eyes as shown using red or black paint. See Photo 17. Paint pumpkin teeth with glow in the dark paint. Apply coat of glaze; sprinkle with glitter to highlight.

    Photo 17
  • 2. Adhere heads to spools using craft glue. Wrap yarn around base of heads; adhere using fabric glue.
  • 3. Adhere fussy cut sentiments to spools as shown.