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Sculpting veins

Posted by goregt On April - 3 - 2007

How to sculpt veins in Polymer Clay

Sculpting veins is one of those things that is technically pretty easy to do but in reality takes some practice to get it down right. I think that the key to achieving well sculpted veins is to make them look like they are sitting right under the skin. I’ve seen a lot of sculptures where the veins appear as if they sit on top of the skin and it really takes away from the realism of the sculpture. Also, veins range in different sizes and shapes so you want to incorporate this into your design.

The tutorial below will walk you through the steps that I use to create veins for my sculptures. Remember that practice makes perfect so don’t give up if you do not get it right on the first try.

**This sculpture is created with Super Sculpey


  1. The first step is to roll out little snakes of clay and lay them out in a pattern that you want to use for your veins. Remember that veins are all over the place so don’t sculpt them in straight lines or they will not look right. You don’t have to get the bends in the veins perfectly at this stage because you will do a little more shaping in the next step. The goal is to get the basic design before moving onto the next stage.
  2. Now that you have your veins mapped out take a sculpting tool (dental tool in this example) and pull the edges of the veins into the base of the clay. You will do this on both sides of the veins until the vein is blended into the leg. Keep in mind that veins change in thickness and directions throughout the body. Lookup pictures of vascular arms and legs to get an idea on what your veins should look like.
  3. Using a brush with 91% Alcohol, smooth out the veins and the area where the clay where the veins were pulled into the leg. If I find that a vein doesn’t look right after smoothing out the clay, I will repeat the previous step until I get the shape and design that I am looking for.
  4. Ok, as previously noted veins are very simple to execute but does take some practice to master. Adding veins is a simple technique (when mastered) that really adds a whole new level of detail to an existing sculpture.

Sculpting veins in polymer clay Sculpting veins in polymer clay Sculpting veins in polymer clay

And how it looks all tied together….

Sculpting veins in polymer clay

Happy sculpting,


2 Responses to “Sculpting veins”

  1. juan says:

    thanks, verry useful tips, I am beginig to sculpt more realistic, stongly belive this site will help.
    beutiful work, thankyou.

  2. Mike says:

    Great post, and your model is inspiring! Do you have pics of the finished work somewhere?

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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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