Mixing Clays

I recently found out how to, and not to mix clays.

Q. Why mix clays together ?

A. For the same reason an artist mixes paints, to get a one-of-a-kind color. Sculptors who use polymer clay mix different clay colors to get a very unique color for their sculpture’s skin tone.

I notice I’m going it more and more now and I really like if not Love the results. You can come up with some very beautiful, unique shades of clay by mixing the correct colors together thereby adding to the one-of-a-kind aspect of your sculpture. Now onto the reason I’m posting.

I recently was working on a mermaid sculpture and I made her tail out of FIMO clay and her torso was Super Sculpey clay. Once she was ready to go into the oven, I cured her at the manufacturer’s specifications, trouble is, I’m using two different manufacturer’s clays on one piece. So I chose the safest and just to help you all out, this is what I did in case you all still want to mix your clay manufacturers;

Recommended Baking Instructions

FIMO: Bake at 230◦ F (110◦ C) for 30mins.
Super Sculpey: Bake at 275◦ F (130◦ C) for 15mins per 1/4 inch of thickness.

What I did was follow Sculpey’s instructions and when it was done curing and cooling down completely I noticed the Green FIMO clay had darkened substantially. Luckily the tail was going to be covered with adornments but still, lesson learned.

Ideal Clay Mixing Scenario

If you’re going to mix clays the easiest and worry-free way to do it is to mix clays from the same manufacturer so they have the same curing instructions, that way you won’t have to worry about under or over backing one or the other.

If you still want to mix different clay manufacturers I  would recommend  curing in increments. Curing for 20-30 mins at a time and seeing how the clays are holding up in case your sculpture won’t have the clay covered with adornments and it will be exposed.

FDMj Creation: Sunrise Faerie

Hi guys, 

I wanted to share what I’ve been doing lately. This is part of my sculpture line I call SoftSculpts where they are more simplistic but still retain a level of detail in them. The softness being focused on their faceless heads. I like this style very much and although it won’t replace my more detailed art dolls, they’re a great addition to my arsenal, I think anyway  :-D

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This piece is 5” high from the base of her feet to the top of her head if she was standing straight up. Her wings are not removable and neither is she from her base. The base is 2 1/2” in diameter. She’s made of Super Sculpey clay along with her outfit and hair. She has hand-adorned wings and is blushed with heat-set paints.

She’s uniquely signed with the FDMj Creations “F” on her upper-right shoulder.

For more media: http://www.fdmj-creations.org/ss-sunrise-faerie.html

Painting with Genesis Paints

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I figured it out ! I had such a difficult time painting with and trying to figure out how to use Genesis heat-set paints. I knew the way I was using them was not right as I was getting results that looked nothing like the end-result I’d see with other artists.

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I searched and searched then took some time off from looking, about a month, and just recently I was painting a face and I remembered the Genesis sampler pack I bought came with a thinning medium …then I remembered what it’s used for – and it hit me; “THAT’S what they use to get an amazing painted face !” I was as happy as a kid in a toy store !  What you do is take some of the thinning medium and it literally thins or softens the color so it goes on the clay easily, smoothly and blends perfectly.

This process looses a lot in the written word which is why I will make a video How-To so you can SEE what I’m talking about. I’m a visual learner and when I see something it really clicks and registers in my brain. Video soon to come on the FDMj Creations YouTube Channel.

See you there.

Mermaid Cove: Things Learned

  1. Using Baby Oil. I’ve never used Baby Oil on my pieces to the extent of using it as a smoothing agent for uncured clay. On this piece I tried and and found out it’s better to add absolutely all the clay details you want your piece to have before applying the Baby Oil. If you don’t, your clay will become very mushy and your fingers will erase those details you worked hard on as you’re holding your sculpture with one hand and applying the Baby Oil with the other.
  2. I had another first; after researching this method, I decided to try my hand at rooting the mohair onto the uncured clay head instead of gluing wefts of hair onto the cured head. I have to say the results were vastly better than wefting. Looks far more natural to me.
  3. Yet another first here was using faux water. I also did a good amount of research on which product would be the best and I ended up trying Magic Water. One thing I do want to caution you on is when you pour the two mixes together, begin mixing immediately and gently so as to avoid bubbles and a foggy mix.
  4. I used Sculpey Gloss Glaze on their hair to give it that wet look and it worked out great.
  5. When rooting the hair on uncured clay heads, do not let the head sit unfinished for too long or depending on the clay, it will slightly harden and may slightly crack in the places where you rooted hair.
  6. For the sand at the bottom I first added some hair spray on the glass so the sand would have something to stick to. I then poured the desired sand then sprayed a layer of fixative from a safe distance away so the spray wouldn’t blow the sand away. At this point it was ready to have the faux water poured on it without moving the sand around.
  7. The tails were painted with Black acrylic paint so I also sprayed them with fixative to seal in the acrylic paint and let it dry. I did this so when it came time to putting a layer of Gloss Glaze to make the tails look wet and shiny, the Black paint wouldn’t smear.

Here’s the finished piece –

Many more images & a video at: http://www.fdmj-creations.org/010-008-mermaid-cove.html

ElkMorph; Things Learned

On this piece I used 28ga wire for hand armature. It came out okay but there was still a good amount of the wire showing through the clay so I’m going to go even thinner and use a 30ga wire and this time it will be white so it’s not as obvious.

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Another thing I began doing on this piece was to attach hand armature to body armature before adding clay which made it far easier to sculpt the hand and add the details without having to worry about doing it separately then having to attach the hand after it’s sculpted and mess up the hand details by all the handling that would happen from trying to attach the sculpted hand on the arm. It worked out fantastically.

 

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One thing I need to start doing is sanding my sculptures after they completely cool from their final bake so I can have a much smoother surface. That way, when I blush, there won’t be any grooves or fingerprint marks that get exposed by the paint. It will make for a far more professional looking piece, I think.

 

Sanding the wooden bases prior to painting them is something I didn’t even think of doing until I noticed in pictures that my bases looked …. dull. I realized I had done no sanding on my wooden sculpture bases, so, I started doing that and what a difference; it’s smooth, it’s shinier when painted and if you spray a layer of fixative after the paint has dried, it will lock the color in making it look far more visually stunning.

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So I used Paizley Pawz’s method on how to fur a sculpture, for the first time, and it was much easier than I originally thought. As of 06/30/2013, the Artist has retired the TuT, sadly, but you may contact her through her site to see if she will be making it available again and it will tell you everything you need to know.

 

Here’s the finished piece –

Website Profile

Many more images and a video on the Official FDMj Creations website.

Grassy Fae; Things Learned

  1. From the hand armature video I created and after making some hands in that manner, I cam to realize that the wire was poking out of the fingertips so what I started doing was cutting the wire shorter than the finger length on the paper printout so I can add more clay to the end of the fingers to cover up the wire at the tips pf the fingers.
  2. Here I also learned, the hard way, about stress cracks. So from now on I will resist the temptation to remove / handle my sculpt right after curing is done. I will let it cool completely inside the convection oven to prevent this. Safe to say I won’t be making this mistake again.
  3. I feel as though I’m closer to learning how to use Genesis Heat-set Paints. I don’t think I’m blushing correctly because I see how seamless other Artist’s paint-job’s are and mine don’t really come out that way …. yet. On this sculpt I found out to help that problem, dab your brush into the paint, then dab that onto the glass paint tray to lessen the amount of paint on the brush. After that lightly work the paint and then grab some paint on the brush from what you just spread out, lightly paint that on the sculpture to have a more even coat of paint. I found that works for me better than the previous method of going straight from paint jar to sculpture – it’s a softer effect.
  4. When making Faeries, as I’m covering the armature with clay to cure that and create an under-bake I guess you can call it (pictured below) making sure the chest area doesn’t have too much clay otherwise after you cure that and add the rest of the clay onto that previously cured clay and you go to make the wings, the wire won’t be able to go in too deep to the back because of the cure under-sculpt stopping the wire from going any deeper. And that depth is what the wire needs to be firmly in the sculpture.
  5. For me;
    Best glue for making hair weftsBeacon Fabri-Tac glue. It comes off your fingers easily and doesn’t make a mess allowing you to work quicker.
    Best glue for applying wefts to headBeacon 527 glue. It’s more precise glue if you want to avoid globs of glue showing anywhere and holds strong.
    Best glue for applying items directly on skinJudi Kins Diamond Glaze. Best if you would rather the glue be fairly unnoticeable.

 

 
 Lastly, on this piece I accidentally came upon another technique for sculpting tiny toes that was far easier for me and yet maintained the realism and detail quality I’m going for in my pieces. What I do first is I still carve our and separate the big toe from all the other toes
 after that I simply “draw” in the other toes. I don’t actually separate each individual toe. The only toe that’s separated is the big toe and the rest are just “pressed” into the clay to create the illusion of separated toes.

 

 

 

Hope this helped shed some light for y’all.