Here are some tips and pointers to sculpting at home. First we’ll look at the different types of sculpting clay available and which is best to use. Afterward we’ll cover how you can get your technique down.
You can make oil-based modeling clay at home or buy it from an art supply shop. This is best for those who are starting out because it stays soft and workable. If you want to learn how to make your own visit the link here to wiki How. Although this is great practicing clay, it’s harder to do more detailed work with because of its softness.
This type of clay contains no clay minerals and is actually close to being plastic due to its chemical composition. This type of clay needs to be kneaded before use to make it more pliable. The type of polymer clay you use should not contain anymore than 0.1% of any of the six phthalates restricted or banned by the safety regulatory boards. This list includes: DEHP (Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) DBP (Dibutyl phthalate) BBP (Benzyl butyl phthalate) DINP (Di-isononyl phthalate) DIDP (Di-isodecyl phthalate) DnOP (Di-n-octyl phthalate).
Polymer clay remains workable until it has been fired. Once you have fired your piece it will remain in the shape it was fired in. You can even bake this clay in your household oven. However this clay is prone to cracking.
This is the same type of clay that potters use to make pottery. It is a water based and best suited for hand-molding techniques. This is another type of clay that you can make at home as the clay minerals can be bought and added to water to make the clay.
Once you’ve decided on the type of clay you want to use, you can begin your sculpting. Keep in mind that 3D sculpting can take time to learn. You may want to start out by producing a piece that is supposed to be viewed from one angle, that way you can hide errors and focus on what you want to make.
Test the clay for wetness. Hard clay or drying clay is harder to work with because it is less malleable. Take a small piece of the clay you want to work with and roll it between your fingers creating a small cylinder shape about 10cm long. Afterward take the cylinder and bend it double. If the clay is smooth then it is good to use, if the clay cracks you should add more water to the clay.
Begin with a vision of what you want to create and how the final product will look. You can make sketches and follow the design from there. This will help eliminate frustration and keep you on track. This will also make you conscious of shapes and dimensions in your work.
There are a number of clay sculpting kits you can buy from the art supply store. In your kit you should have a double ended knife, a wipe out tool, ribbon sets, tools for scraping and shaping and a small sponge to help keep the small detailed areas wet if your piece has become time consuming. These tools will take practice to master so go ahead and use them getting a feel for how to hold them and the ways in which they can be used. You can always use your hands too for pinching and scraping.
Avoid protruding shapes in your work. Unless you are using a wire mesh to mold around, these shapes will likely fall off when being fired because the clay will shrink when fired. It is easier to practice using contained shapes to start.
If you find that you’re not having the success you want you can always sign up for art classes at a local school or studio. Call around and see what’s available. Also get a reference, you don’t want to waste your time or money.