Armatures are the support for your new creation. Basically it is the skeleton underneath the clay which will allow you to move your character in small increments for animation. The items you will need are, 1/16th inch aluminum armature wire, 1/8 inch wooden dowel rods, steel craft wire, a scrap piece of wood, two small wood screws and a hot glue gun if you can get one.
The tools you will need are a power drill, a screwdriver, and a pair of wire cutters.
The first step in creating your armature is to take your spool of aluminum armature wire, and stretch a four foot piece out, and fold it in half so you have two straight parallel pieces of wire. Place the two ends of wire into the chuck of your drill bit, while you hold the other end of the wire under a chair leg.
Then start the drill and twist the wire until it looks like the wire in the picture. The reason for this is because it makes the wire twice as strong, and also less likely to cause problems if one half the wire breaks during animation.
The next step is to draw out your armature on paper, in the size of the character you would like to animate. Take the wire and bend it to the shapes you would like for arms and legs. Usually it is made of two large "U" shaped pieces.
One long piece which acts as the two legs, and hip section, and one which runs from one hand, through the shoulders, to the other hand, and is joined together by a mid section. After you have your armature laid out, you need to make sections that do not bend. If you do not add these sections, your character will look like his arms and legs are made from spaghetti.
The way to add hard sections is to think about where you would like specific body parts to have joints. Your wrists, elbows, knees, and waist are all flexible areas, and they would be likewise on your character. So as an example, on an armature I am creating, I take a section of dowel rod, and place it next to my characters arm. I figure that I need two hard sections, the upper and lower arm. I take a pen and mark the length of dowel rod I need for each section, and cut the pieces with my wire cutters.
To attach these two dowels, you cut two small pieces of steel craft wire, and tie the dowels onto the aluminum wire, near both tips of the dowel rod. If you can, hot glue over these as well to give it more strength.