Starting a 1:1 bust advice


New Member
Hi all, I have been wanting to try do a 1:1 bust for a while now but after reading through many threads and looking at some amazing sculpts, I was wondering what is the base form most commonly used for male busts. I plan on only using photos for reference and would like to make it as 1:1 as possible. I am new to sculpting and have jotted down many notes along the way. I'll definitely make a progress thread once I'm started. Thanks for the help!


Active Member
Funny you should ask......I had the same query a few years ago. Did my research too,looked at and tried many diff ways to start...a pipe with foil ball mounted some flimsy way with umpteen layers of foil and tape,then a ton of clay inches thick. Or a styrofoam ball close to human size...again mounted with tape or glue or friction or whatever it took to keep it semi stable until I could get multi inches thick layer of clay packed on it...even tried a full size foam barber's head. Never was satisfied with these methods because in fact these are the...
Wrong and Outdated approach
(You don't want to build a monster truck starting with a volkswagen frame....yes it caaan be done but how much more effort,time and expense does it take) So after trying a completely diff approach altogether I now have developed a First and Second Generation (and will be filing a provisional patent in a couple of weeks) platform base that automatically lays out 1/1 scale accurate landmarks of the human male bust plus much much more.
It is highly detailed where needed,it articulates,is infinitely reusable,comes with accessories,is virtually unbreakable and unless you are trying with great effort even metal sculpting tools won't damage it.
You can complete your sculpt,mold it,remove the clay by hand/tools,with water or if needed even a mild solvent and start a new sculpt on the same armature without damage or delay.It is truly a time,clay and money saving product.
It can accept oil based clays both with Sulfur and without and also w.e.d. clay plus I'm sure a few sculpting mediums I haven't used on it.
This is a Simple but Multifaceted approach to sculpting with Several more features than I have listed for you thus far.
Even though it may sound like it costs hundreds of dollars be assured this platform is designed to be the basis for the "every man" beginning sculptor to the most advanced bust designer.

I will be manufacturing this product 3D printing,no third parties just rest assured the varied ordering options will be of the highest Quality.
Well tk527 I'm sure this is more than you asked for...feel free to use any of the passable but out-dated methods I've described above or if you can wait a little longer... You may choose to be Customer Number One of the next Revolutionary Step in sculpting busts human or otherwise.

I'll soon be listing this on the RPF Project Runs Section but any interested parties out there are welcome to contact me at


Sr Member
There are several heads you can start from. I have been using a Styrofoam head I got at a hobby store. Amazon sells a variety of plastic manikin heads that are reasonably priced. Most places that sell things like monster clay have professional head sculpting bust armatures(see below). There are a lot of options out there, most of them are very reasonably priced.

Mr Mold Maker

Master Member
I use plumbing pipe with with a wall mount as asclives mentioned.

I like to wrap some chicken wire around the pipe so the clay has something to grab to. This is exactly what I did for my sculpture entry in this months contest.

The whole head has taken less than 50lbs of clay... About $25. It also took me about 20 minutes to block the head shape out.

As for what's most commonly used? Definitely the pipe method. I've not met a single sculptor who prefers to start with a head form to do a likeness of someone.

Most head forms are already pretty close to the human head which limits what you can do. You can build it out, but you can't take it down. This will lead to your sculpt being bigger than 1:1 very quickly.


Sr Member
Sculpting on a bust or lifecast makes sense if you're making a mask. If, however you're making a head, why make it on top of someone else's head? I used to like sculpting on top of a skull, but even that doesn't really make any sense when you consider that every person's head is a different shape, with different proportions. Better to just stick with the pipe and a wad of aluminum foil, so you won't be restricted by anything unnecessarily.

But I'm looking forward to seeing what Colossus' design is like.


New Member
That was really cool... the uses for foam board insulation never ends. In fact I have some laying around here somewhere... It's scary how easy that looks in time lapse. I can draw and paint but the realm of 3d will be new to me.
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