is Polymer Clay ?
Polymer clay is a man-made, non-toxic modeling material
that works and feels like ceramic clay, but won't dry out when exposed to air. It's great
for kids as well as adults. Joshua's favorite brand is Sculpey III and Premo made by
Polyform Products. You can find these at most Wal-Mart and craft stores.
Polymer Clay Tips
Building Armatures: (Aluminum foil cores)
As I was working
on the more difficult pieces, I learned many helpful techniques and tips which I want to
share with others who are learning to sculpt. Iggy is a life size iguana that was mounted
on drift wood. Being about 12 inches in length required a lot of polymer clay. In
consideration of the finished weight of the sculpture, I made a body form out of aluminum
foil. I shaped it to the correct size and proportions and covered it with a layer of white
Sculpey clay. Next I added more layers and shapes of clay to make the muscles and other
details. The fingers were long and fragile, so I covered short lengths of craft wire to
give them strength. You should design your pieces so that fragile parts such as the
fingers, do not stick out away from the sculpture, or they may break off. This entire
piece was mounted on the drift wood and baked in a regular oven. The iguana was then
airbrushed to add realism.
Using Card Stock for Armatures:
I was recently commissioned
to do a lion fish, which has long, narrow fins on top
and wide, flat fins that flare out on each side. This sculpture was very delicate! To
strengthen the fins, I took a sheet of 80 lb. Card stock and covered it with a thick layer
of white glue and let it dry. Then I cut the shapes of the fins from the card stock and
covered them with polymer clay. The side fins were layered on top of each other and then
pressed into the side of the body. The fish was baked in a regular oven at 250 degrees. I
used small wooden blocks and pieces of fiber to support the fish while baking. Any pieces
that stick out from a sculpture must be supported while baking, or the weight will cause
them to fall. Remember, the clay gets soft before it gets hard. Let the sculpture cool
completely before taking the props away. I mounted this fish inside a large brandy glass, adding sand and seashells to give
it a safe, yet natural environment. I designed and made a wooden and clay top to further
protect the sculpture from curious hands and dust.
Ive been sculpting with polymer clay for almost three years
now, and want to encourage you to try new techniques and never be discouraged by things
that seem too hard. A little thought and a lot of practice can overcome most obstacles.
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