Polymer Clay Sculpting Tips and Tutorials
Do you need a little help with sculpting or want to get started with polymer clay?
Polymer clay is a wonderful medium for sculpture. You can create one of a kind sculptures without the need for an expensive kiln or messy mold materials. You can create everything from very simple animals made from basic shapes to detailed, complex, realistic human figures. The limits are only your skill and imagination.
What is Polymer Clay?
Polymer clay is a non-toxic man-made sculpting material which stays pliable until cured at relatively low temperatures, typically between 265 and 275Â°F (129-135Â°C).
Popular brands include Super Sculpey, Fimo, Premo, Prosculpt, and Kato Clay. Any of those clays is great for sculpting, try them out to find the one that feels best to you.
I really do not recommend Original Sculpey (comes in white and terracotta) because it's very chalky and brittle when cured. Some of the specialty polymer clay such as Sculpey Ultralight or Granitex have specific properties which may or may not suit your projects.
For more in depth information see the Wikipedia Polymer Clay article.
Do your newer clays feel different?
Safety and Polymer Clay
Sculpting tools should be dedicated to clay work and should never be used for food afterwards. That includes rolling pins, baking sheets, and knives.
Clean your oven thoroughly after baking polymer clay unless it is dedicated to polymer clay use or if clay was baked in a sealed container like a roasting bag.
Follow common sense when handling sharp or hot objects. Always wear safety glasses if using a powertool such as a dremel.
- Polymer Clay Cyclopedia- Polymer Clay Safety
An excellent treatise on the safety concerns of using polymer clay.
- Artrepreneur; The Collision of Art and Business: Fear and Hysteria in the Studio
Nearly every time I do a show, I have someone come up to me and ask me if I know about how dangerous polymer clay is. What is interesting about these encounters is that there is very little fact presented, just fear, and a sense that if I do not take
- Polymer Clay FAQ | Safety & Cleanup
How to work safely with polymer clay.
- ACMI (Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc.)
The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) is an international association, composed of a diverse and involved membership, and is recognized as the leading authority on art and creative materials. Founded in 1936, ACMI was organized to a
5 Quick Polymer Clay Sculpting Tips
1: Keep a wet washcloth or wet wipes (baby wipes) on hand to keep you hands clean while sculpting. Any little piece of dirt of pet hair your hands pick up will stick to your sculpt.
2: Get a lazy susan, it's a simple thing but being able to turn your sculpts easily is really helpful. I found a great 14" diameter bamboo one for $10, so not a big investment.
3: Mirrors are your friend. A great way to tell if you have something lopsided is to look at it reversed in a mirror, it really brings out any problems.
4: Smooth out your polymer clay using isopropyl alcohol. 90% will smooth more aggressively than 70%. I keep both on hand to use depending on what I need.
5: Get a pasta machine. They are the perfect tool for mixing clay and of course rolling out sheets of clay. Mixing clay by hand takes forever and leaves your hands too sore and tired to actually be able to sculpt.
Noadi's Gray Super Sculpey Blend
* 1 lb block Original Super Sculpey (translucent pink)
* 1 lb block Super Sculpey Firm (gray)
Mix with a pasta machine until a uniform color.
This mix is firmer than Super Sculpey without being too hard and the gray color makes seeing detail better. Best for sculptures that will be painted.
Polymer clay is perfect for making Christmas ornaments.
Tutorials and Tips - Links to General Polymer Clay Sculpting Tips and Tutorials
All the armature tutorials have been moved to my Building Armatures for Polymer Clay Sculpture lens.
- Noadi's Sculpture and Misc. Tutorials
Articles and tutorials on sculpting. Including a recipe for cold porcelain, making eyeballs, and breaking through artist's block.
- Glass Attic
Huge compendium of tips related to polymer clay. From sculpting tips, to baking, to inclusions, and color mixes.
- Elvenwork Tips and Techniques
Tips and Techniques Compiled by Katherine Dewey Over the years, Katherine has accumulated a wide array of techniques, some from constant experimentation with the medium, and some from interaction with the community of polymer clay artists.
- Smellybugs Maquette Tutorial completed! - ConceptArt.org Forums
Smellybugs Maquette Tutorial completed! 3D & SCULPTURE
- Polymer Clay Fan
Fairly new sculpting resource by Gerald Gore. Already has a number of great tutorials.
- Online Art Magazine - Polymer Clay Basics
I've always felt that learning happens fastest when you're actually doing the task as opposed to just reading tips so I'll do a demonstration. I'm going to make a miniature baby and show in-progress pictures. I enjoy making my baby gargoyles the best
- Make and Mold A Polymer Clay Face
Have you ever wondered how to create and use a mold made from a hand modeled polymer clay face? There are many ways to do it. Polymer clays, particularly the softer ones like SculpeyIII and Sculpey Bake and Bend, can be used to form hard molds using
- How to create liquid polymer clay paints using it to create realistic miniature cake.
In this two-part tutorial in making realistic looking miniature cake, you will first learn to create polymer clay paint and then use this to bake the cake. There is also a little bonus, creating a 1/12 scale stainless steel knife from steel floppy di
- Quickie Face Tutorial by *No-Sign-of-Sanity on deviantART
Art - community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.
Figure Sculpting Tutorials - All about sculpting the human figure.
- Internet Archive: Details: Modelling and sculpture;
Modelling and Sculpture is an old book from the late 1800s now in the public domain on traditional clay sculpting techniques (which generally translates well for more modern clays). It's not as well written or comprehensive as Edouard Lanteri's Model
- KitBuilders - Sculpting an Angel
Sculpting an Angel by Mike James of Azimuth Design For this article, I am going to sculpt a sexy angel. First of all, I should mention that I prefer working 1/5th scale rather than l/6th.
- Eye Size Chart for Sculpting to Scale
Chart of animal eye sizes at various common scales for sculpture. Also including some information of shape of pupils.
- Facial Exression Tutorial
THE DANE's Freebie Sculpting Tutorial on Facial Expressions There are 4 sheets of photos here.
- How to Make Noah's Doll [English]
Here we will show you a making process of Noah's ball-jointed dolls step by step. Why don't you start making your own dolls with us? *Translated from Japanese so some of the wording can be tough to decipher.*
- Packing Your Mental Tool Kit
Applying the rules of proportion will help you learn them. I call it "packing your mental tool kit". Reinforce this knowledge every time you sculpt by stating the rules out loud as make your armature and build up your sculpture. In no time at all, th
- blog is blogger: How to make a figure
Different approach to sculpting a figure
Lifelike portrait sculpture (people, dogs, or figures) available by commission from this Arizona artist in clay, bronze, bonded bronze or marble.
- Mike Leavitt - The Construction Process
An artist tearing the world up by its roots with groundbreaking work.
- Tips and Tricks from Andy's desk
Sculpting a head
- Sculpting Tips — weebabies nursery
Sculpting tips for babies.
Animal and Creature Sculpting Tutorials
- Introduction to the Making of the Shire Horse Model.
Sculpting a horse. Armature, modeling, molding, and casting.
Give the Gift of a New Hobby
Polymer clay is a great introduction to art. Why not inspire someone with a book, basic tools, and some clay?
Recommended Sculpting Books
Sculpting Tools Tutorials - How to Make your own Tools
There's lots more about sculpting tools on the Polymer Clay Sculpting Tools lens.
- Making Texture Stamps
Texture stamps are not only easy to make, they're kind'a fun too! I made the below for certain things I needed done, and some were just learning what I was doing.
- Alan's Texture Tool
This tool is designed to decorate clay, or any impressionable surface, with a pattern which builds into a finish which resembles fish, snake or dragon scales, feathers or even, with small adjustment, roof tiles.
Sculptor's Blogs - Take a glimpse into the thoughts of sculptors.
- Noadi's Art Blog
My adventures in sculpting and becoming a full-time artist.
- A Story of Sculpture
A Story of Sculpture
- Claudio's Sculpting Blog
Claudio's Sculpting Blog
- Insanity 101
Megan Stringfellow's Blog
Morgan Keith Studio's Blog
- Odd Fae and Autumnthings
Here I am in the blogosphere, with news and updates of my adventures into the art of cloth and/or clay dolls...watch for fugitives from fairy tales, figments of the imagination, and the slightly-off-center.
Recommended Sculpting DVDs
I know sometimes it can be easier to watch what someone does than to read descriptions of it so here are some videos by sculptors I admire and respect.
One of the best ways to learn is by sharing with others. Participate in forums to get critique and feedback on your sculptures and what can be improved.
Sculpting Forums - Learn from other sculptors.
- OOAKGuild.com ~ One of A Kind Guild ~ Art Dolls & Sculptures › Artist Auctions on eBay
One of a Kind Sculpting Guild - Art Dolls & Sculptures
- WetCanvas!: Cyber Living for Artists
WetCanvas!: Cyber Living for Artists
- Elvenwork Tips Forum
This forum is a way to provide a public exchange of questions and answers for polymer clay sculptors. Everyone is invited! We learn from each other -- Katherine
- 3D & SCULPTURE - ConceptArt.org Forums
Where digital 3d models/textures, and traditional sculpting are shared.