Monday, February 17, 2014

Sculpting Tips

As I'm getting back into the swing of things I figured I would mention a few tips and tricks for when you start making your own creations. I will continue updating this post as I find out new things and have pictures to illustrate what I mean.

1. Never bake polymer clay at a higher temperature than what is recommended on the package. If you  do you will burn the clay and it will emit a toxic gas. You might even get brown or blackened spots or even cracks on your piece. I suggest getting an oven thermometer and check your oven temperature before you bake each item. Sometimes even the weather can alter temperatures. Or you could just have an unreliable oven like I do. :)

2. If you want to have a larger sculpture, but are worried about cracks, or uneven baking, use tin foil!
Roll the tin foil tightly into a slightly smaller shape than you want it to be when you are finished. Cover the tin foil with 1/8-1/4" thickness all around it. This is a great way to cut back on the amount of product you use, make the piece lighter in weight, and prevent cracks in your clay after baking.

3. If your clay is hard for you to handle, you will want to condition it by running it through a conditioning roller, working it in your hands until it's supple, or microwaving it for 5 to 10 seconds. Personally, I don't like using the microwave. I like using the conditioning roller because it saves my hands, and it does the job nicely. Try them out yourself, and let me know what you think.

4. When joining two pieces of clay together always swivel the joint back and forth enough to make a really good seal. If you don't it will just pop either in the baking process or afterwards, and then you'll have to use a glue to replace the part. Just sayin', it's a pain. Try to avoid it if you can.

5. When trying to make a facial feature that is indented, instead of starting on the head itself, practice on a scrap piece of clay first until you are comfortable with what you are doing. It's much easier to do it once on the final piece than trying to smooth it out 3-4 times before you get it right, smudging what you'd done prior to that in the process. Trust me. :)

I hope these are as helpful to you as they are to me. I'd love to hear from you about your experiences, tips and tricks too. I'll keep you updated if I learn anything new. Have fun, and check back soon for my next creation.

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