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Archive for the ‘Polymer Clay Tools’ Category


Posted by goregt On September - 18 - 2009


If you ever plan to sculpt anything that is symmetrical in design then a caliper is a must. Calipers are an important sculpting tool because they help you accurately measure of length, width and distance of the different pieces that make up a sculpture. There may be some sculptors out there that can accurately sculpt a symmetrical design by sight alone but for us mere mortals the caliper is a must have tool.

If you have been sculpting for some time and do not own a caliper, there is a very strong chance that at one time or another you still have used a very crude and basic caliper tool. What I’m talking about is your thumb and index finger. Have you ever sculpted an arm on one side of the body and use your thumb and index finger to measure the length so that you could accurately match it to the arm on the other side of the body? How about when you sculpt a face or a torse, are you like me and draw a center line seperating the object into two? Did you ever use a string, a ruler or your fingers to check that both halves of the face or torso were even in both the width, length and thickness?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you have turned your thumb and index finger into a very crude caliper. The problem with the “homemade” version of caliper is that it doesn’t always provide the most accurate results. A professional caliper eliminates the guessing game and gives the artist the ability to take measurements with ease.  Unlike some of the other tools that are required for sculpting, this is really only a onetime investment.  You wont use it all the time but it is a real gem in those situations when an accurate measurement is needed. Read the rest of this entry »

Armature Wire

Posted by goregt On August - 27 - 2009

Armature WireIn a few of the older sculpting tutorials on this site I briefly talked about using an armature for supporting the sculpture. From time to time I receive emails from some of the newer members of the sculpting community asking exactly what an armature or armature wire is. So for the newer members to the sculpting family I thought I would go ahead and put together a brief explanation on what an armature is and why it is needed.

Basically the armature makes up the support system of the sculpture. A good analogy is to think of an armature as the skeleton for your artwork. In the human body the skeletal system is designed to support and hold up the body. The armature basically has the same type of role for your sculpture.

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Lazy Susan

Posted by goregt On August - 8 - 2008

The Lazy Susan is one of those tools that once you start using it you will wonder how you ever got along without it.  Maybe not ideal for small pieces but when sculpting larger pieces it really is a must have.  If you are not familiar what a  Lazy Susan is and have no idea what I am talking about you can read about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazy_Susan.

When I first started sculpting I used a Lazy Susan for all my pieces.  Back then I was using a water based clay and the last thing that I wanted to do is pick a piece up and move it around.  When I shifted from water based to polymer clay based clays I for some reason for forgot all about this tool.  I recently rediscovered this little gem when I started working on one of my newer pieces (centaur image included at the bottom of the article – the Lazy Susan is the yellow plastic circle at the base of the sculpture).
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Using Alcohol on Polymer Clay

Posted by goregt On May - 31 - 2007

Using Alcohol With Polymer Clay

Rubbing Alcohol is a great tool that is used to help smooth and blend polymer clay when sculpting.  Like the Vaseline tutorial, I have several other tutorials where I give examples on how I use alcohol while sculpting (I’ve included a few examples at the bottom of this page).  When I first started sculpting I used water based clay (I had never even heard of polymer clay at that time).  With the water based clay I was able to achieve a smoothing and blending effect by using a wet sponge or Q-tip.  However, when I started using polymer clays, water did not have the same effect.  At first I tried to use water and Q-tip on my polymer clay but the results were pretty poor.  After doing a lot of research on the internet I discovered that rubbing alcohol dissolves polymer clays.  Thanks to other polymer clay artist I was able to learn that alcohol on a Q-tip, sponge or paint brush has the same effect as water on water based clay. I have experimented with different potencies of rubbing alcohol and found that not all are created equal.

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Posted by goregt On May - 31 - 2007

Using Vaseline With Polymer Clay

I’ve already covered the use of Vaseline in a few of my tutorials but though I should also do a little write up on it under the tools section of this site. Vaseline, or Petroleum Jelly, is used to help non-baked clay, which I will refer to as new clay in this article, stick to baked clay. One of the benefits of working with polymer clay is that you can bake the sculpture multiple times during the sculpting process. This key advantage allows you to bake the sculpture in stages verses having to sculpt the entire piece before baking. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

Why use a mirror when sculpting?

One of the key sculpting tips that I have found beneficial for improving the way my sculptures look is using a mirror to check the symmetry of the sculpture. Symmetry by definition, source www.dictionary.com, is the “the proper or due proportion of the parts of a body or whole to one another with regard to size and form; excellence of proportion”. So in essence the right hand should mirror the left, the left side of the face should mirror the right and so on and so on.

Usually when you create a sculpture, especially of the human form, it can be difficult to realize flaws in the symmetry. Sometimes things may appear to be a little off but it isn’t always obvious to the naked eye. There may be times when you overlook that the left eye is at a different angle then the right or tad lower then the right. There are several different tools and tips to help an artist improve symmetry but the one that I use the most, and will discuss in this article, is using a mirror to check to symmetrical flaws.

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Pasta Machine

Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

Using a Pasta Machine with Polymer Clay

Whenever you create an original piece of artwork, the preparation stage whether it be for jewelry, beads or a sculpture can be a mundane and daunting task. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many people out there that enjoy the process of mixing clays, conditioning the clay and building armatures however I am not one of them. Some people find conditioning clay a therapeutic exercise but I personally look for anything that can make the preparation stage easier and quicker to finish. The quicker I get through this stage the quicker I can start sculpting.

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Dental Tools

Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

Using Dental Tools for Sculpting

When I first started sculpting with Super Sculpey I went out and purchased a little $5 set of plastic sculpting tools at my local Hobby Lobby. These tools were great for the time and I used them consistently for about a year and half to two years. However, as my skills improved I started to realize the limitations of my starter set of sculpting tools.

Now I had heard through the grapevine that dental tools were great for sculpting. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and best of all are made of metal. I first started by asking my local dentist if they had any old tools that they were disposing of. After a few crazy looks it was clear that I should just break down and go out and buy a set of my own. To my surprise I found a set of 18 dental tools on Amazon.com for a price around $25. I was skeptical at first but thought for that low amount of money it was worth taking the risk.

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Heat Gun

Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

Using a heat gun to bake a sculpture

One of the more recent additions to my workbench is a heat gun. I initially purchased a heat gun because one of the sculptures that I was working on was too large to fit into my oven. Although it takes a little longer then baking a sculpture in the oven, my heat gun allowed me to cure my sculpture so that it can later one be prepared for a mold. Since my purchase I have learned that the heat gun is also a great tool if you want to only bake certain parts of your sculpture.

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Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

Using a Q-tip to smooth and detail a sculpture

As strange as it may sound, one of my favorite and most effective sculpting tools is a Q-tip. Q-tips, when soaked in 90% alcohol, are a great tool for smoothing, blending and detailing your sculptures. Before I go into the details on how to use this wonderful little tool, I’ll explain how I cam across the idea in the first place.

My first experience with sculpting was with water-based clay. Now there are a lot of properties that I personally do not care for with water based clays but one of the properties that I absolutely loved is that it is a very fast medium to work with. Another great property is that with a sponge and some water you can really smooth out and blend in different areas of the artwork. In a short amount of time I was at a stage where I could create a lot of detail in my sculpture using a combination of different shapes and sizes of sponges soaked in water. For smaller hard to reach areas I even used Q-tips soaked in water to create the detail in my sculpture. Which leads me into how I started using Q-Tips with polymer clay.

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About Me

Nothing special, just a self-taught sculptor having fun with my art and showing all of you the tips and tricks I use to create my own artwork



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