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  1. Member Since
    May 2012
    From
    C-bus, OH
    Messages
    10
    Jun 8, 2012, 10:16 AM - Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #1

    So a few days ago on a whim, I decided to begin my first personal sculpting project. I'm going to be sculpting a 10'' figure of Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas with as much accuracy as my talent is capable of.

    I've never used Super Sculpey before, and it's been a long time since I've sculpted anything, so I have a few questions for you all.

    Firstly: The baking instructions say to bake 20 minutes for every quarter inch of clay. It also says not to over bake the clay. Some parts of my sculpt are going to have about half an inch of clay, other parts will have just enough clay to cover the armature wire underneath. Is there a secret baking method or a different rule of thumb you all have found that works for this kind of situation?

    Secondly: I figure acrylic paint will be the best kind to use, but should I sand the surface of my figure before painting, or will it stick to the clay just fine without any kind of priming?

    Thanks for reading everyone! I plan to post pictures of my project soon.
    -KT
  2. chuckyAPP's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2009
    From
    suffolk county ny
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    Jun 8, 2012, 6:13 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #2

    Hi, I find that boiling the sculpey in water works better than banking in oven. No odors and full even heat. Just careful when lowering it in the water. You can also suspend the pieces on a string in the water so they don't bounce on the bottom of the pot.

    As far as painting, you should dust it with primer before you paint it. Then use acrylic or oils. Whichever you like.
  3. Member Since
    May 2012
    From
    C-bus, OH
    Messages
    10
    Jun 9, 2012, 7:19 AM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #3

    OK very cool! When you say boiling, do you mean that the water should be the same temperature as the oven would be, or just crank the burner up to full blast?
  4. chuckyAPP's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2009
    From
    suffolk county ny
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    1,224
    Jun 9, 2012, 7:55 AM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #4

    Rolling boil, don't worry about temperature. Just let it boil, time depends on thicknesses, then remove put from heat and let it cool of in the water. Experiment with a piece of sculpey and seeded how you like it. You don't have to worry about oven fumes our burnt edges on your sculpt.
  5. Coz's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2006
    From
    Leeds, Yorkshire, sunny England.
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    628
    Jun 9, 2012, 3:18 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #5

    It's also possible to use a heat gun or hairdryer to bake the polymer clay - would depend on the thickness, but it works great for smaller / thinner pieces.
    For example, you could sculpt the figure essentially naked (stop that sniggering at the back!), bake it, then add the clothing in thin layers of polymer clay and bake that with a heat gun.

    It can help to think of the sculpt as an action figure, and break it down into removable sections - for example the hands could be brittle once baked, and of course the head and torso would take longer bakes to harden fully.

    Once baked, polymer clay takes Super Glue (Cyanoacrylate, I think) quite well so repairs are simple - just don't heat the super glue while its still wet! It fumes a bit. The heat might weaken the glue once its dry as well, so leave any repairs til last.

    Polymer Clays don't take most aerosol spray paints & primers! It's not the paint, but the propellant. Brush on acrylics are fine.

    I always had little luck in sanding polymer clay - it always seemed to 'chew-up' the surface, but that could just be me rushing the job.

    Google for wire armatures (the skeleton under the sculpey 'flesh') - the thinness of the limbs would require it, I should think. Easy to make with a little garden wire or wire coathangers. You can wrap thinner wire around the skeleton (think ribbed, like a vacuum cleaner hose) to help anchor the polymer clay.
    Tinfoil crushed / wrapped up tightly means you don't need to use loads of clay in thicker areas (head / torso).

    There are a few tricks to smoothing the polymer clay while its still soft - Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol) most often used in pre-injection swabs applied with a small, soft flat paintbrush will remove finger and tool marks, and help when bonding sections of clay together (it is also possible to mix up a little of the alcohol and finely shaved / chopped up clay in a smal glass bottle to make a form of 'slip' for this same purpose).
    The alcohol evaporates fairly quickly, so doesn't leave the clay overly soft once used.

    Last of all tho - always enjoy sculpting! If it starts to feel like a chore, take a time out. Start a silly little side project - that was always my trick. Something purely for the fun of it, takes the edge off of something you want to look right.

    Wow, I just read this back - sorry for the long post!
    Good luck!
    Coz.
  6. RPF Premium Member
    Member Since
    May 2011
    From
    Sydney, Australia
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    74
    Jun 9, 2012, 8:09 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #6

    Some very nice tips there, the boiling water is a great idea as is using IPA to clean the pieces.
  7. Fizbin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2004
    From
    The final frontier
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    Jun 9, 2012, 11:16 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #7

    One cautionary note about boiling Super Sculpey: It won't be as strong as it normally would by using the baking method. In fact, I'd say that boiling lowers the strength by about 1/2. I also believe that the Sculpey absorbs some of the water during the process, which may be the cause of the weaker result, but I can't say for sure.

    With that said, I've had good results with boiling the Sculpey for only a few minutes to form a good outer shell. Then I let it dry over night. The next day I bake it at a very low temperature (the lowest setting my oven will go) for an hour or so and keep an eye on it to avoid any burning of small/thin parts. That method should give you it's normal strength.

    Of course, the above is only my experience with Super Sculpey, YMMV.
  8. Too Much Garlic's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
    From
    The dictatorship of Denmark
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    10,017
    Jun 10, 2012, 12:48 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #8

    If you want to try it out, I would recommend using aves apoxie sculpt - a two-part self-hardening resin product that works similar to super sculpey but is stronger for thinner pieces, such as legs and arms.
  9. nightbatstudios's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2012
    From
    San Diego
    Messages
    29
    Jun 11, 2012, 3:02 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #9

    Too Much Garlic said: View Post
    If you want to try it out, I would recommend using aves apoxie sculpt - a two-part self-hardening resin product that works similar to super sculpey but is stronger for thinner pieces, such as legs and arms.
    Yeah aves is awesome! It's the best on the market in my opinion...Also testers paints work great! Just make sure to keep things as ventilated as possible! GOOD LUCK! I can't wait to see your finished product!
  10. Member Since
    May 2012
    From
    C-bus, OH
    Messages
    10
    Jun 12, 2012, 8:19 AM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #10

    Wow, everybody! Thanks for all the advice! I like the idea of at least forming a protective shell with the water. Her face has so many little details, it'd be nice to not have to worry about them once they're done. I'm not making Sally to be a toy, so I'm not incredibly worried about strength, but I do want her to last for a long time. Maybe a combination of methods would be the best solution here.

    I've used tinfoil to bulk out most of the area on my sculpt. Her head is almost entirely made of tinfoil and wire, as well as her ribcage and "guts". Her skeleton is a combination of steel and aluminum 16 gauge wires.

    I'm glad to hear that acrylic paint will work. I teach acrylic painting classes, so please believe, I have waaay more of it than is reasonable. Have a bit of Testors somewhere too, I think.

    Never heard of Aves, but sounds like I should give it a try one day. Her neck is so long and thin, it's probably going to be the first thing to break down. Do you know if it bonds well to Sculpey?
  11. Too Much Garlic's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
    From
    The dictatorship of Denmark
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    10,017
    Jun 12, 2012, 9:16 AM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #11

    Apoxie sculpt bonds to just about anything. Problem is... if the thing it bonds to isn't as strong as it is... that weaker material is what will inevitably break. And seeing as you are using tinfoil inside, basically making the super sculpey into a thin shell, it will undoubtedly crack and break and be a pain to maintain. Everything you describe you are doing with the sculpt will weaken it if using sculpey, that works better if being thick and solid.

    Think of an egg-shell. That's pretty much the strength of the super sculpey when done like that - the thicker it is, the stronger it becomes.
  12. Member Since
    May 2011
    Messages
    459
    Dec 1, 2015, 11:28 AM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #12

    Bumping this thread because I need help regarding a project of mine. I want to achieve a painting job similar to this. Should I use a paintgun? I'm currently using acrylic and a brush and I only see brushstrokes, it's quite awful.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  13. RPF Premium Member Sinned's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2013
    From
    Seattle-ish, WA
    Messages
    289
    Dec 1, 2015, 12:00 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #13

    I'm no expert, but this looks like it was largely done with a traditional brush. The base colors could have been applied with an airbrush, but I'm almost certain the highlights are done by dry-brushing on the lighter color. If you slowly build up the color, there shouldn't be visible brush marks.

    If your base colors are showing a lot of marks when applying with a brush, the paint may not be quite thin enough. Multiple coats also helps even a lot of that out.
  14. Alaneye's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2010
    From
    UK
    Messages
    635
    Dec 3, 2015, 1:20 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #14

    Is the paint to thick? Try thinning your acrylic and make sure you are using a nice brush to apply.
  15. PHArchivist's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2001
    From
    Southern California
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    19,203
    Jan 11, 2017, 9:35 AM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #15

    I've added a Sculpey addition to an already-cast resin piece. Its a fairly large amount of Sculpey - 8"x2"x1/2" thick.

    Hiar-dryer...?
    Boiling...?
    Oven...?

    I'm afraid that due to the thickness, the hair-dryer may not fully cure the Sculpey.

    And I fear the other methods will damage or warp the resin, presuming that the amount heat necessary to cure the clay is commensurate with the amount of heat required to warp or soften resin. Also, the resin is fairly thin - 1/4" to 1/2" thick.

    Thoughts or suggestions?
  16. PotionMistress's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2011
    From
    Midwest USA
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    1,121
    Jan 11, 2017, 12:58 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #16

    I would not use any polymer clay on resin! As you said, the heating to cure would damage or warp your resin. Instead, as suggested above, use the the two-part apoxie clay (Aproxie Sculpt is my favorite), as it sticks very well and self-cures in less than 24 hours and does not need to be heated at all. Sorry, you may have to redo your sculpt addition, but it will be worth it.
  17. PHArchivist's Avatar
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    Southern California
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    Jan 11, 2017, 4:23 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #17

    PotionMistress said: View Post
    I would not use any polymer clay on resin! As you said, the heating to cure would damage or warp your resin. Instead, as suggested above, use the the two-part apoxie clay (Aproxie Sculpt is my favorite), as it sticks very well and self-cures in less than 24 hours and does not need to be heated at all. Sorry, you may have to redo your sculpt addition, but it will be worth it.
    Suppose a heat gun may at least create a cured shell? If I can get the top 10% - 20% cured, I think I may be OK, granted it will take acrylic paints...
  18. PotionMistress's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2011
    From
    Midwest USA
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    1,121
    Jan 11, 2017, 7:14 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #18

    PHArchivist said: View Post
    Suppose a heat gun may at least create a cured shell? If I can get the top 10% - 20% cured, I think I may be OK, granted it will take acrylic paints...
    It is useful to use a heatgun to spot-cure polymer clay so that you can continue working your sculpt without damaging finished parts and then completely cure it later in the oven. But keep in mind, polymer clay does shrink a small amount (about 2% or so?), so make sure that will not be a problem for your piece. You DO have to completely bake it though for it to be strong enough to hold up to normal wear and tear and handling. Hotter is not better, but you can bake it several times and a long time without hurting it's integrity, as long as you don't overheat it. Make sure your oven is at the temperature it says it is by checking it with an oven thermometer.

    Personally I still would not use polymer clay over resin, but depending on much you want to risk it, give it a go. I'm not saying it couldn't work, but depending on how much you value your piece, just don't be dissappointed if it doesn't work out. A lot may depend on how durable you want it to be. If you're only going to let it sit on a shelf or use it once for a mold and cast, maybe it will be ok. Good luck!
  19. PHArchivist's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2001
    From
    Southern California
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    19,203
    Jan 11, 2017, 10:21 PM - Re: Newbie questions about Super Sculpey #19

    PotionMistress said: View Post
    It is useful to use a heatgun to spot-cure polymer clay so that you can continue working your sculpt without damaging finished parts and then completely cure it later in the oven. But keep in mind, polymer clay does shrink a small amount (about 2% or so?), so make sure that will not be a problem for your piece. You DO have to completely bake it though for it to be strong enough to hold up to normal wear and tear and handling. Hotter is not better, but you can bake it several times and a long time without hurting it's integrity, as long as you don't overheat it. Make sure your oven is at the temperature it says it is by checking it with an oven thermometer.

    Personally I still would not use polymer clay over resin, but depending on much you want to risk it, give it a go. I'm not saying it couldn't work, but depending on how much you value your piece, just don't be dissappointed if it doesn't work out. A lot may depend on how durable you want it to be. If you're only going to let it sit on a shelf or use it once for a mold and cast, maybe it will be ok. Good luck!
    Thanks for all the great advice!

    I spent 30-45 minutes going over it with the heat gun. Actually worked fairly well! It is probably not cured all the way through, but I think I achieved the shell concept. Tapping the entire piece with a light weight paint brush handle, and it sounds rigid and "plasticy"

    This is the torn open chest and belly of a Terminator statue, and I wanted to add depth to the torn belly portion, hence the sculpting over the resin cast. And as such, it won't be supporting any structure or under stress.
    Last edited by PHArchivist; Jan 12, 2017 at 8:29 AM.

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