Introduction to Sculpting in Polymer Clay

Introduction to Sculpting in Polymer Clay

i've many lenses here on Squidoo about sculpting in polymer clay but none that truely supply a very good assessment of what you want to get started out. This lens is set the crucial facts you need to get began sculpting in polymer clay, then you could move on to my different lenses for more in info on precise sculpting subjects.

Polymer clay is a non-poisonous man-made sculpting fabric which stays pliable until cured at fantastically low temperatures, normally between 265 and 275F (129-135C).

most polymer clays are accurate for sculpting so it's mainly a private desire as to which one you operate.

Clays that paintings nicely for sculpting encompass top notch Sculpey, tremendous Sculpey company, Premo! Sculpey, Fimo conventional, Puppen Fimo, Prosculpt, and Kato Clay. commonly you can mix specific hues and types of polymer clay together to get custom mixes.

Clays that don't work particularly nicely and ought to be avoided include: original Sculpey, Sculpey III, and Fimo tender are not long lasting enough for sculpture. specialty clays like Granitex (which has a gritty rock-like texture) and the liquid clays aren't for general sculpting but paintings well for positive consequences.

everybody can sculpt. How well you sculpt is related to how a good deal time and effort you positioned into learning and your personal creativity.

The modeling homes of polymer clay are much like running in oil primarily based plasticine clay. Polymer clays are a bit more rubbery and much less sticky than plasticine but otherwise you can usually sculpt in polymer clay like you will with oil primarily based clays.

Smoothing - unlike with herbal clays polymer clay can't be smoothed with water. as a substitute isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol at ninety% or 70% solution, sculpey clay softener (additionally called diluent), acetone, or turpenoid can be used for smoothing. Acetone and turpenoid are both pretty toxic chemical compounds so I don't endorse the use of them but they do paintings. always go away a sculpture to dry at least in a single day after smoothing earlier than curing the clay.

If clay is just too tender you could leach it, this is executed by laying rolled sheets of polymer clay among simple white paper (colored or published paper will transfer ink to the clay), stacking books or other heavy objects on pinnacle, and leaving it for several hours or in a single day. The paper absorbs the excess plasticizers in the clay firming it up.

If clay is too dry you can blend a few drops of sculpey clay softener (diluent) or a small piece of fimo mix quick into the clay. this will soften the clay by including greater plasticizers.

Sculpting gear have to be dedicated to clay work and need to by no means be used for food afterwards. That includes rolling pins, baking sheets, and knives. I additionally endorse using a committed toaster oven and in case you need to use your kitchen oven (say for sculpts that don't suit within the toaster oven) you should either clean it afterwards or enclose your sculpt in a roasting bag/aluminum foil.

easy your oven very well after baking polymer clay until it's far devoted to polymer clay use or if clay became baked in a sealed container like a roasting bag.

observe not unusual sense whilst managing sharp or warm gadgets. usually wear safety glasses if the use of a powertool together with a dremel.

Polymer clays are certified non-poisonous but there's a few controversy over the presence of pthalates in polymer clay. The jury is still about on how harmful the pthalates utilized in polymer clay simply are but they're in a few polymer clays to cause them to greater pliable. these chemical substances can input your skin even as you're managing the raw clay (but no proof exists that those chemical compounds can leach from cured clay into pores and skin). if you are worried approximately it you need to put on latex or nitrile gloves, barrier lotions may additionally work.

due to issues about pthalates and new eu Union regulations most polymer clays will be changing their formulas inside the next couple years. Kato Clay can be the primary rolling out the brand new components in the US. examine extra approximately it from Katherine Dewey.

My suggestions for a very simple tool set first of all. you may then construct in this set either buying or making more equipment as you pass.

Polymer clay isn't as messy as a few clays however it may make a mess and it is able to damage wood furniture so you want a dedicated paintings floor for sculpting. accurate alternatives are:

Glass - this will be a undeniable sheet of glass (positioned masking tape on the rims if they're sharp) or a pitcher cutting board. I even determined an antique spherical glass table pinnacle that turned into going to be thrown out that works remarkable. one of the blessings of glass is that you could slip reference diagrams and images beneath it.

Craft Mat - Self healing craft mats are usually sold for scrapbooking or quilting but they also make exact surfaces for clay. They typically also have a measured grid that can be beneficial.

I recommend a great sharp craft knife which includes the ones by x-acto. A stupid knife will work but you gained't get desirable crisp edges.

this can be a rolling pin, acrylic curler, heavy consuming glass, or a pasta system. anything that works to roll out sheets of clay.

you may get a simple set of 6 timber sculpting tools at pretty much any art keep. Get the wood ones, they aren't a great deal extra than the plastic units and that they work a lot better.

Loop gear are for removing exceptional bits of clay out of your sculpts. you may buy those at an art store or make them with dowels, song cord (like from guitar strings), and glue. See my Polymer Clay Sculpting gear lens for greater about making gear.

Needle gear are exactly what they sound like, a needle-like metallic spike on a wooden manage. they may be beneficial for scribing traces and poking holes in clay. you can buy one from an artwork keep or make one the use of a dowel and a heavy tapestry needle.

i take advantage of a small toolbox for my sculpting tools however a table drawer, pencil box, shoe field, and so forth. all paintings properly for retaining gear prepared and in one place.

The armature is the skeleton of your sculpture. It's an internal shape that gives introduced energy and aid your sculpture to preserve it from breaking and additionally reduces the quantity of clay you need to apply. Armatures may be made from an expansion of substances consisting of twine, crumpled up aluminum foil, sculpting epoxy which include Aves ApoxieSculpt, Sculpey Ultralight clay, or a combination of materials.

in case you are doing any complicated discern with thin extremities which includes palms, legs, tails, etc. or a massive parent you need an armature. The cause large figures need armatures is that any layer of polymer clay thicker than half inch is hard to cure thoroughly and evenly so a big sculpture should be bulked out with a few other fabric together with aluminum foil or epoxy.

There are three standard strategies for sculpting in clay which all other strategies fall underneath. these are my very own terms.

this is adding clay in your sculpture. Taking little bits, they can be balls, snakes, sheets, chunks, etc. You layer pieces onto your sculpture till you get the tough shape you want.

that is taking your fingers and/or sculpting tools and pushing, pulling, mixing, raking, and in any other case transferring the clay round to refine the shapes of your sculpture.

Of path there may be. There are loads of things to study sculpting unique subjects from people to animals to material. however irrespective of what you sculpt you are going to be using those fundamental ideas of including, subtracting, and pushing around clay and there's no manner for me to teach you to do that in an article, it requires getting your arms within the clay, playing with it, training developing shapes and textures to determine out what works for you.

you have to exercise constantly to enhance your capability to form clay, the identical way a musician practices gambling scales. Its now not due to the fact a scale is a piece of song all and sundry wants to concentrate to but as it's a simple ability that improves their ability to play.

Don't believe I suppose getting to know such things as right anatomy, reading your topics, and many others. aren't crucial. they are important skills themselves but no amount of expertise of anatomy is going to assist in case you don't have the skill to translate that anatomy into the clay.

Polymer clay by no means dries out, so as to harden your sculpture it wishes to be cured. Polymer clay treatment plans at a fairly low temperature of round 275F (135C) usually in a conventional or toaster oven. I advocate the ramp technique of curing sculpture which may be discovered on my strategies for Curing Polymer Clay lens.

After your sculpture has cured you may choose to either go away it the colour of the clay or paint it. there are numerous techniques you can use for painting polymer clay sculpture from light washes of coloration, to brushing thicker paint on, sponge portray, airbrushing, liquid polymer clays, applying tender pastels, or mica powders. My lens on portray Polymer Clay Sculptures goes over the maximum common techniques.

avoid lacquer primarily based tooth paints, they may not dry properly on polymer clay and continue to be sticky. Acrylics work high-quality, oil paints especially warmness set oils also are powerful.

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Your thoughtful and enormous tutorials are the nice i have observed at the internet. terrific data, properly provided, orderly and concise. thank you so much, it manner plenty to me which will

I enjoy running with polymer clay, and have wanted to branch out with sculpting, you've given a few in reality super records right here.

i like polymer clay. Didn't recognise about putting clay in roasting bag earlier than putting in oven. top tip. thank you

hi your lenses are extremely informative, incredible content material, would love your opinion on my lens and my most recent polymer clay assignment, the spider.

we've both normal clay and polymer clay, and the youngsters use both for exclusive functions. after I want much less mess because we have confined time.....ie after they should make themselves a Ben 10 discern before school....polymer clay guidelines the roost.

loved the thing, but, I'd gave up polymer clay for earth-based clay, time and time again. I see the advantages of operating with polymer clay, however terracotta is much simpler to paintings with and it provide me greater peace of thoughts (less to worry about).

Very informative lens :) I made numerous units of flower faces with ribbons and beads on them..floral stemmed and wrapped within the greenfloral tape..put them into painted watering cans..become extremely good a laugh and ended up promoting one of the sets;zero

@Sheryl Westleigh: I simply dug my daughters vintage fimo clay out of the attic, and it is dried out. I tried to melt it with water, which did soften it, however, it nevertheless crumbles. What if anything can i use to make this clay plyable once more. I want to apply it to practice making pieces for earrings. Any help might be substantially favored.

while working on a clay undertaking how lengthy can you depart it before it receives to tough to paintings with once more? Is it something that after you start you ought to end to bake?

@anonymous: I disagree, polymer clay isn't water primarily based so it doesn't really dry out. I suppose you can go away it out lengthy enough for the clay to lose numerous the plasticizers in it but it'd take a long term. I've left portions out unbaked for weeks at the same time as I paintings on it. You have to cowl it with plastic although so that you don't get dirt or pet hair on it.

@anonymous: nicely clay takes many days before drying and many months before completely crumbling. What you could also do is cook a part and then upload clay onto it and cook dinner it once more. so you don't must fear approximately it drying in on you. It also enables in case you put your mission(if small)in a plastic bag to hold it soft and pliable. i'm hoping I helped you out and excellent luck with whatever you are making.

i will't discover what I need to enhance cigar containers in shabby chic. I ran throughout polymer clay after which remembered that I had additionally visible it on Squidoo. that is very useful and now i'm prepared to move on on your other lenses. I want to make cameo frames and buttons. Angel blessed for the very clear and concise facts.

hello, I simply got here throughout this article or, lens, whilst looking the net for instructions on sculpting with polymer clay. thank you so much for the info! I started out "reborning " dolls about 5 months ago, and despite the fact that I haven't perfected the artwork, I fell in love with it, but truely ,without a doubt, need to discover ways to sculpt a infant! the primary reason being, i really like portray some of these details, however i might actually love to create all of the functions also. Sorry, I'm rambling :) anyhow, thank you again :)

thanks a lot for sharing your wealth of expertise and revel in! This lens is incredible assist to me as I'm just starting to get into operating with clays :) god bless you!

Informative lens - it might be a pleasant revel in to allow lose sooner or later and be creative with polymer clay :)

I would love to try sculpting, this lens may additionally simply be the issue to get me to stat virtually doing something approximately it.

@anonymous: Polymer clay have to paintings fine for that, you will want to build an awesome armature (I'd go with metallic or brass rods instead of cord if you want the joint to move) and bulk up the form of the bones with aluminum foil or sculpey ultralight. if you want a static knew joint you can sculpt the tendons and ligaments in polymer clay as nicely with wire support interior.

if you want it to be a working joint I'd recall using massive stretchy rubber bands or tubing, say like the sort used for resistance exercising. you may discover the ones cheap at walmart and reduce them up using screws to attach them to the sculpted bones. Use the stretchiest ones you may, too stiff and the anxiety could crack the clay in which you've secured it

hello, i am doing a venture where i ought to create a model of the knee joint. which kind of clay might work best? additionally, any thoughts for what i'm able to use for ligaments, tendons and so forth.?

Santa added me some clay and a pasta system, been looking to sculpt for quite a while! i will simply discuss with this fantastic lens for lots wished help and advice, thanks for a extraordinary lens!

@anonymous: Polymer clay is good for small figures, it's pretty light-weight. You do want to apply a twine armature for a few introduced aid inner.

i have longed to make a nativity scene. i'm an newbie, but love to sculpt. i have handiest accomplished the lost wax approach, then bronze. I need a lighter medium because the scene would have approx. 3' excessive figures. Have no longer discovered what medium for the our bodies. they could't be too heavy. i found this sight very informative and would love to pay attention any comments.

Very informative. I'm a actual inexperienced horn in terms of this medium, but so like it. i like wire work and need to include the 2. Your words are so on it's mark. Mahalo.

Your lenses have brought on me to need to strive my hand at this. I'll be referencing your lenses for solutions to my many questions...awesome process!

lots of terrific info. I make many figures out of clay but wished sure pointers and got them right here. thanx.

getting began. i have Premo in hand as I type (nicely, I put it down to kind). I'm excited to

exceptional lens! years in the past i made earrings from polymer clay, I loved it but become time eating for me...too many pursuits i will't hold up with....5*

thanks so much for this lens. i'm a amateur and feature discovered this records helpful in helping me get commenced. thank you!

hi Sheryl, you're a imaginitive creature certainly! I like the manner you positioned matters together here and in your web site...i discovered you through the ooak guild, XRuth

I sculpted a few things in excessive college, I'm a far better painter even though. It's certainly tough for me, however you've made a few excelllent suggestions. high-quality work right here in this lens!

I'm no longer very gifted in the sculptin department, but i've made some 1/12 scale butterflies for my dollhouse - they came out thoroughly. Polymer clay has been an absolute godsend to the miniatures community.

hi Noadi, observed this lens on Stumble and that i simply love it. So here is my two cents and my big name dust to help it along its route~~! :)

that is a definitely nice certain lens. 5***** nicely deserved. I always wanted to work with clay, just by no means had the hazard, and that i'm now not that artistic either.

interesting, surely smooth to apprehend. Now all I need is eye hand coordination and prefer forty billion hours of practice. you've got impressive work!

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