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Author Topic: First time making a statue/using clay. (Please Help)  (Read 9518 times)
MannyAnalogue
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« Topic Start: December 16, 2009, 05:10:09 pm »

I'm trying to make my first little statue out of 'Sculpey' polymer clay, and I have a few questions . . . cause I really don't know what I'm doing.

I got this clay years ago. Does it get old to the point of not working right?

I finished the statue and came back 15 min later to find the head fell off of the body. Could/should I use toothpicks or something to reinforce the neck and torso?

The directions on the box give baking times per 1/4 inch , but the widest part(base) is around an inch and a half. How should I go about baking?

I took a good amount of time to get the figure I like, and I'd really like to be able to bake it like it is without having to start from scratch. Any tips or advice is appreciated.

I hope to have a picture up sometime soon(maybe it'll be easier for people to help if they can see what I have to work with).

Thanks.

- Manny
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Jenett
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« Reply #1: December 16, 2009, 09:22:33 pm »

I'm trying to make my first little statue out of 'Sculpey' polymer clay, and I have a few questions . . . cause I really don't know what I'm doing.

I got this clay years ago. Does it get old to the point of not working right?

It's possible, yes - but if you rolled it out and warmed it up, and it was possible to keep it together (rather than say, crumbling), you're probably still fine.

Quote
I finished the statue and came back 15 min later to find the head fell off of the body. Could/should I use toothpicks or something to reinforce the neck and torso?

I wouldn't use toothpicks because you're going to be baking it - and because the final hardened clay is heavy enough I'm not sure even a couple of toothpicks would be stable. You can either try reattaching it with some scoring, or you could fire them separately, and then attach with glue. If you want to use something to attach, various craft stores have wire mesh that you can fold and bend that's meant to take oven baking. (I've used it for the framework for a couple of my sculptures, and it works pretty well.) It should be right by the polymer clays.

For attaching via scoring - scratch thin lines against the surface you want to attach to on the body, and the place it attaches to on the head. Fit them together, and press as firmly as possible, then use your fingers to mesh the clay around the join together. You might find it easier to use a plastic tool with it, to get a smooth line. Another option, though it depends on where the weak spot is, to roll out another piece of clay really well (nice, warm, malleable) and layer it between the scored pieces - that way, it will hold more tightly.

Quote
The directions on the box give baking times per 1/4 inch , but the widest part(base) is around an inch and a half. How should I go about baking?


I've generally gone for about 20-30 minutes for clay figures, of about that width (where 10-15 minutes was the figure given for a quarter inch) and then watched carefully - lighter colored clay can brown and other clays may shift colors a bit as well.
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« Reply #2: December 17, 2009, 12:50:02 am »

It's possible, yes - but if you rolled it out and warmed it up, and it was possible to keep it together (rather than say, crumbling), you're probably still fine.

I wouldn't use toothpicks because you're going to be baking it - and because the final hardened clay is heavy enough I'm not sure even a couple of toothpicks would be stable. You can either try reattaching it with some scoring, or you could fire them separately, and then attach with glue. If you want to use something to attach, various craft stores have wire mesh that you can fold and bend that's meant to take oven baking. (I've used it for the framework for a couple of my sculptures, and it works pretty well.) It should be right by the polymer clays.

For attaching via scoring - scratch thin lines against the surface you want to attach to on the body, and the place it attaches to on the head. Fit them together, and press as firmly as possible, then use your fingers to mesh the clay around the join together. You might find it easier to use a plastic tool with it, to get a smooth line. Another option, though it depends on where the weak spot is, to roll out another piece of clay really well (nice, warm, malleable) and layer it between the scored pieces - that way, it will hold more tightly.
 

I've generally gone for about 20-30 minutes for clay figures, of about that width (where 10-15 minutes was the figure given for a quarter inch) and then watched carefully - lighter colored clay can brown and other clays may shift colors a bit as well.

Jenett

Thanks for replying.

I think the clay is fine then. It wasn't crumbly or hard or anything like that.

I reinforced the neck with more clay and worked it all in better (I think the last time I just blended the edges from neck to torso). It's been standing for about 6 hours since I fixed it so maybe it's strong enough now??

I got a few pictures up on deviantart now so you can take a look and tell me what you think.

http://mannyanalogue.deviantart.com/gallery/


 I was paranoid(and still am) about making a Goddess statue in the first place, I've been putting it off for months, but I kept getting the nagging feeling when I saw the box of clay. This is pretty important to me so I don't wanna screw it up. I can't set up any kind of shrine now but this little statue would work out perfect to start something small.

I'm interested to her what anyone thinks.

Thanks again for taking the time to help out. I really appreciate it.

- Manny

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« Reply #3: December 17, 2009, 06:52:31 am »



http://mannyanalogue.deviantart.com/gallery/


 I was paranoid(and still am) about making a Goddess statue in the first place, I've been putting it off for months, but I kept getting the nagging feeling when I saw the box of clay. This is pretty important to me so I don't wanna screw it up. I can't set up any kind of shrine now but this little statue would work out perfect to start something small.


WoW!! You did a really beautiful job! Cheesy How long did it take?
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« Reply #4: December 17, 2009, 06:57:05 am »

I reinforced the neck with more clay and worked it all in better (I think the last time I just blended the edges from neck to torso). It's been standing for about 6 hours since I fixed it so maybe it's strong enough now??

Oh, that's a great statue.

On this - yeah, if it's holding, don't worry about it. Once it bakes, it'll be more stable, too, because the clay will bond and then harden. Generally, as long as I can get something to hold for baking, it's fine after it's baked. (One of the ones I've done has Hecate holding a torch in one hand: the hand with the torch kept falling off or dropping to her side due to the weight, but once it was baked, no problem.)
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RandallS
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« Reply #5: December 17, 2009, 08:05:40 am »

I'm interested to her what anyone thinks.

Your statue looks great. Far better than anything I could do.
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« Reply #6: December 17, 2009, 09:21:41 am »

WoW!! You did a really beautiful job! Cheesy How long did it take?

Thanks.

I didn't really know what I wanted it to look like but after I started playing with the clay it seemed to make itself. I sat there for about 4 hours straight, but didn't realize how much time went by til after. I did have to reattach the head three times though  Lips sealed . Hopefully three times was enough.

Your statue looks great. Far better than anything I could do.

Thanks Randall.
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« Reply #7: December 17, 2009, 09:30:33 am »

Oh, that's a great statue.

On this - yeah, if it's holding, don't worry about it. Once it bakes, it'll be more stable, too, because the clay will bond and then harden. Generally, as long as I can get something to hold for baking, it's fine after it's baked. (One of the ones I've done has Hecate holding a torch in one hand: the hand with the torch kept falling off or dropping to her side due to the weight, but once it was baked, no problem.)

Thank you.

I was worried that once it started to heat it might give alittle in the thinner sections so that takes away that worry. Someone commented on Deviantart about having done hair similar to how I did and that it broke because the pieces were too thin or spaced out. Do you think it'd be better if I attached more locks of hair in layers so the whole is basically one big piece?

Thanks again to everybody! I'm a lot less worried about it now.

- Manny
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« Reply #8: December 17, 2009, 10:20:17 am »

I was worried that once it started to heat it might give alittle in the thinner sections so that takes away that worry. Someone commented on Deviantart about having done hair similar to how I did and that it broke because the pieces were too thin or spaced out. Do you think it'd be better if I attached more locks of hair in layers so the whole is basically one big piece?

I've done something similar - see here: http://gleewood.org/threshold/2008/04/15/two-recent-crafty-projects/ - the hair's held up really well, even when she's taken a nose dive off the shelf for some reason. (I wouldn't try picking her up by the single loose strands or anything, of course, but they've held well.) I did them by layering them onto the top of the head in 3-4 lines, and making sure they were well attached, but otherwise not worrying about it.
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« Reply #9: December 17, 2009, 10:34:48 am »


While I'm a little late to the party, I'd tell you that for future reference, it's best to start out with an armature. Sculpey is strong enough not to need one for smaller things, but if your'e worried about support, it's best to have a "skeleton" for your clay to go onto. Usually, you'll use some form of wire. You mold it into what you need, and then use a hot glue gun to glue on tin foil, which helps to form the bulk of your statue. That way, it's stronger, and you end up using less clay.

As for baking, I put it in at the temp it suggested, and then just kept an eye on it, to make sure that it didn't burn. I let it cool in the over before removing it. If you have any damage, you usually can hide it with paint afterwards.

I looked at your statue, it looks pretty good Smiley My only complaint is the breasts aren't quite right, they're rather... perky, and need more weight to them. Otherwise, looks really good. Far better than most of the statues I've ever made.

-Devo
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« Reply #10: December 17, 2009, 11:16:57 am »

I've done something similar - see here: http://gleewood.org/threshold/2008/04/15/two-recent-crafty-projects/ - the hair's held up really well, even when she's taken a nose dive off the shelf for some reason. (I wouldn't try picking her up by the single loose strands or anything, of course, but they've held well.) I did them by layering them onto the top of the head in 3-4 lines, and making sure they were well attached, but otherwise not worrying about it.

Nice statues mana. I like how the second one is made to sit on the edge like that. Amazing it survived after falling.

I'll try and make sure the locks are connected well most of the way down and see what happens.
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« Reply #11: December 17, 2009, 11:21:38 am »

While I'm a little late to the party, I'd tell you that for future reference, it's best to start out with an armature. Sculpey is strong enough not to need one for smaller things, but if your'e worried about support, it's best to have a "skeleton" for your clay to go onto. Usually, you'll use some form of wire. You mold it into what you need, and then use a hot glue gun to glue on tin foil, which helps to form the bulk of your statue. That way, it's stronger, and you end up using less clay.

As for baking, I put it in at the temp it suggested, and then just kept an eye on it, to make sure that it didn't burn. I let it cool in the over before removing it. If you have any damage, you usually can hide it with paint afterwards.

I looked at your statue, it looks pretty good Smiley My only complaint is the breasts aren't quite right, they're rather... perky, and need more weight to them. Otherwise, looks really good. Far better than most of the statues I've ever made.

-Devo

Thanks for the advice. If I make anything else, or if this one fails, I'll definitely give that a try. This time was basically spur of the moment and like I said, I've never tried anything like this before so I'm pretty clueless.

The breasts looked less "perky" until I had to grip the torso to reattach the had and the back bent inward arching the chest up.




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« Reply #12: December 17, 2009, 04:13:25 pm »

Thanks for the advice. If I make anything else, or if this one fails, I'll definitely give that a try. This time was basically spur of the moment and like I said, I've never tried anything like this before so I'm pretty clueless.

The breasts looked less "perky" until I had to grip the torso to reattach the had and the back bent inward arching the chest up.

Yeah, that would do it.
Considering it broke, and everything else, I think it looks great, though. Are you going to paint it or anything after baking it?
-Devo
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« Reply #13: December 17, 2009, 04:23:57 pm »

. . . Are you going to paint it or anything after baking it?
-Devo

I haven't even thought about it to be honest. I think I'll probably leave it as is though, I don't trust myself enough to paint it and if I don't like it 100% I'll wanna jump out a window   Lips sealed .

I was adding more layers of hair underneath and noticed that the body kept bending, so I took the hair off and decided to reinforce the torso with more clay. Now I'm trying to rework the figure so it looks more natural and ends up being more stable. I'm having a hard time with those breasts though! It's like the ribcage area is high and the upper chest is in too far so they look pushed up. Hopefully I can get it all worked out. I'm surprised how fun working with clay is though, I'm really enjoying it.

- Manny
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« Reply #14: December 17, 2009, 08:57:58 pm »


Here are some pictures of the figure since I worked on it some more (the ones titled 'reworked' obviously):

http://mannyanalogue.deviantart.com/gallery/

Let me know whether you think it looks better or worse than before. It's definitely more stable now.

- Manny
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