Artwork sculptures for display.

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Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Greetings.

I've been planning to start an artwork project where I will basically sculpt decorative things and cast them for sale at an artwork market. While the casting silicone will be nothing but thinned out caulking silicone, the oil based clay I have used many times before is nothing but homogenized kid's play clay. I needed more of it for these sculptures and conveniently they had some at the local store. After homogenizing all the colors, it was pretty much the same stuff as the old clay I had, only it is much softer and quite sticky.

Not really good for intricate details then or sculpting of small figures and such, so I mixed it with my old clay that was actually too hard with hopes that it would even itself out, but it's still too soft and sticky.

Now I just need a way to harden the clay somehow, hopefully without having to evaporate the stinky oils in one of my cooking pots. I thought of maybe mixing it with a natural powder like flour, but then it hit me that one type of powder is actually used to dry out things; salt. My salt shaker makes a pretty fine dust, so I'll go ahead and try that now on a small piece, but in the meanwhile, does anyone know of any other ways to harden sculpting clay? Sure enough this is the place to ask about sculpting clay with all the damn good sculpters around this place. If my method works, then hey, maybe I've solved the same problem for you too if you have it.

EDIT - I changed this topic to also ask about the whole process in general since I also need to find a good casting silicone that is compatible with oil based clay. If you know of any, please let me know.
 
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Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

Well yeah, I did put a half finished naked chick sculpt in the freezer now, but that's just a temporary sollution. My salt test didn't really do much though.
 

0406lance

New Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

hi noob question here.. can you use kids play clay for sculpting then moulding stuff?? what are some tips to make it hard??
 

gopherslayer

New Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

Greetings.

I've been planning to start an artwork project where I will basically sculpt decorative things and cast them for sale at an artwork market. While the casting silicone will be nothing but thinned out caulking silicone, the oil based clay I have used many times before is nothing but homogenized kid's play clay. I needed more of it for these sculptures and conveniently they had some at the local store. After homogenizing all the colors, it was pretty much the same stuff as the old clay I had, only it is much softer and quite sticky.

Not really good for intricate details then or sculpting of small figures and such, so I mixed it with my old clay that was actually too hard with hopes that it would even itself out, but it's still too soft and sticky.

Now I just need a way to harden the clay somehow, hopefully without having to evaporate the stinky oils in one of my cooking pots. I thought of maybe mixing it with a natural powder like flour, but then it hit me that one type of powder is actually used to dry out things; salt. My salt shaker makes a pretty fine dust, so I'll go ahead and try that now on a small piece, but in the meanwhile, does anyone know of any other ways to harden sculpting clay? Sure enough this is the place to ask about sculpting clay with all the damn good sculpters around this place. If my method works, then hey, maybe I've solved the same problem for you too if you have it.
Hi!

My two cents' worth: Salt helps aborb water, not much good with oil.

Experience: a little fine wood dust, like that produced from sanding, will firm up oil-based modeling clays. Even a little rubbed on your hands or tools or blown lightly (very lightly) on to the already sculpted areas will reduce the stickiness.

Think of the clay as a solution with a solvent (oil) and a solute (whatever your filler is: often some form of wood or paper dust).

Hope that's helpful!
 

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gopherslayer

New Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

hi noob question here.. can you use kids play clay for sculpting then moulding stuff?? what are some tips to make it hard??
Absolutely. You can use it with plaster, resin, and silicone molds. Avoid the platinum-cure silicone rubbers as they are "chemically sensitive to latex, sulfur, and some other materials..." Many kids play clays have some sulfur content and the surface in contact with your sculpt will never cure. Sadly, I made that mistake.

www.smooth-on.com has a good selection of materials.

Fine wood dust and cornstarch (baby powder) both work to thicken/firm up modeling clay. I've had more experience using wood dust. Add dust a very little at a time until you have a consistancy that you like.
 

Art Hunter

New Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

Hi, here is: - Melt (again, ho yeah) your oil based clay, but this time add -NATURAL BEES WAX- i like a ratio like 3 parts clay, 1 part bees wax, here in Mexico is pretty easy to get, i don´t know in your place, a friend o mine mix also a little bit of baby powder, it makes it even more hard and resistant to enviromental heat and much less sticky, a then when you pour it do it tru a fine metal mesh as a filter for particles into a aluminium mold like the ones for cakes, and when is soft (still kind of hot but doesn´t burn) start making balls in the size of base ball as much, a wrap them with plastic, and store them, this way when it get room temperature it will be very very hard, great for sculpture, -but-, here is the trick when you are about to use it place some of this portions in direct sunligth for about 30 minutes, more or less, and your clay will become as soft as play do!, if you are in aplace witout good sunligth, make a "hotbox" an archive cardboard box all wraped with aluminium foil and whit a lamp in the roof cover that will do it, but for common sense don not leave this unatended
note: do not use microwave and do not let it boil, doit with mild flame, oherwise this afect the properties of the clay, sorry for my English, thanks
 

Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

hi noob question here.. can you use kids play clay for sculpting then moulding stuff?? what are some tips to make it hard??
This is the stuff I'm using, just regular kid's play clay mixed together into one dark gray color that is pretty good for sculpting. I've made several large and small things with it already.







Fine wood dust and cornstarch (baby powder) both work to thicken/firm up modeling clay. I've had more experience using wood dust. Add dust a very little at a time until you have a consistancy that you like.
Cornstarch you say? That should be pretty easy to find at the store right now. Unfortunately I've already almost finished my first sculpt of an incense holder now, so of course don't want to crush what I've done to mix it with cornstarch, but there are some other sculptures I really do need harder clay for, so thanks for this tip. :thumbsup
 
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NormanF

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

I read that with Sculpy if it is too soft you can put it between two (or more?) pieces of paper to absorb whatever it is that keeps it soft before you bake it. You could try something like that. But I think you have to do it before you start your work.
 

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Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

That's not a bad idea, I'll try that with one blob and the cornstarch on another then and let you all know. Thanks.
 

Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Re: Hardening oil based clay?

That'll probably just do the same as the cornstarch, but alright.

Anyway, I've changed the name of this topic from wanting help for hardening oil based clay to sculpting and casting stuff in general since trying to thin out some caulking silicone to use as casting silicone pretty much failed, so I need to know what kind of casting silicone can be used with this type of clay since some seem incompatible.

Any tips about a good casting silicone for oil clay sculpts?
 

Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Re: Help for making clay sculpts and casts

Moved the thread, did you already? I thought making small niknaks and trinkets out of clay and casting them was more for the general modelling forum and this forum is more for making big stuff and masks from movies and such, but what do I know, I'm from Norway.
 

Hatewall

New Member
Re: Help for making clay sculpts and casts

cornstarch is an organic food product. talc wont mold and attract insects and the like.
 

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FudgeMando

Active Member
Re: Help for making clay sculpts and casts

does anybody know if you could use air dry clay for sculpting then casting
 

Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Re: Help for making clay sculpts and casts

I found this stuff at the Smooth-On site provided by gopherslayer that seems compatible with sulfur containing clay. It'll probably be the best option too if my clay doesn't contain sulfur, which I'm not sure about. It was kid's play clay to begin with, and sulfur sounds bad to put into non-toxic clay for kids. Asked the Smooth-Oners about this, so hopefully this stuff will work - Polysulfide Rubber FMC® for Mold Making on Sulfur Clay Sculptures
 

Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Re: Display pieces sculpted in clay

Might as well show what I've been working on while waiting for an answer from the Smooth-Oners. It's basically just an incense holder being made now since that's one of the things I thought I needed the most right now and would be easiest to make as my first artwork sculture. Eventually I'll start making larger sculptures of various other things.

I bought a rotating board for pizza cutting for something else that I didn't need it for anyway and thought it would be a darn perfect tool for sculpting stuff on. I also bought some wire based sculpting tools that are really more for cutting away clay from larger sculpts, so I made five other tools that were similar to my old plastic tools that only broke apart. Also showing the soot bowl of the incense holder in production.


I brushed the surface to make it look like an old piece of carved wood and put some symbols on there too that I will probably color silver. It took a while to figure out what symbols to put on it, but then I realize what I really like is SPAAAACE, so I put the symbols for this star system's planets on it. The number of symbols wouldn't layout properly, so I chose to put the Earth and Moon symbols next to each other instead.


Then there's the random pretty naked chick that will sit in the soot bowl. Here's a progress photo of that as well that Photobucket might even remove eventually... The hands and other features are more defined now than in this photo. I wanted to hide the nakedness behind her arms as she would hold an incense stick, but later changed it to this pose that would merge the arms to the rest of the body, resulting in a sturdier structure when cast later on, so I thought I could probably just hide her big jumblies behind some hair instead.


You may have noticed that the head is missing! Well, trying to sculpt a tiny head like this while making it pretty while I'm at it is not that easy, but I hope to get it right in the end. At least now it looks more like an actual human head, somewhat pretty already.


More progress to come... The finished product will be sprayed with flat black and brushed with dark brown paint that will mostly get wiped off again to make it look like one of those old things you find in stores that sell these kind of objects, plus I also like how that looks, so there you go.

Hoping you like it so far.....Even if it's not much to post in a forum with totally complete awesome sculpts......
 
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Jehudah Design

Well-Known Member
Been in and out of the freezer to make the clay hard enough to work with, but it doesn't last very long, still I've done enough work on this sculpt to make it look more human, at least. I'll be smoothing out and adding things, probably changing proportions of things too, but this is what I have so far.


And I've been waiting and waiting for the Smooth-On people to answer my support ticket, then those A-holes just deleted it! That's some non-serious crap right there. When people write to me about something completely simple that they should have understood just from looking at that damn photo next to the text, I ANSWER THEM! I've never cast something like this with casting silicone before, only used some simple caulking silicone, so I really need to know what I can use on this since most casting silicones won't cure against clay and other such problems. Not sure I'll be buying any Smooth-On products any time soon...

Thanks for any tips about casting silicone.
 

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