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Topic: Advice on Clay  (Read 1604 times)
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WIPs
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« on: April 07, 2007 02:08:13 PM »

For a school project, I have to make a clay model of the Trojan horse. Well, today my mom and I went to Michaels to get clay, but we were overwhelmed with the choices. We were in a rush, so we just grabbed modeling clay. However, I was wondering if this was a good choice because it said it never hardens. So, what clay would you advise me to use for this project? Thanks in advance.  Smiley
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meanderingartist
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2007 06:46:19 PM »

If you want to make this and forget about it, or make it and then cast it in plaster then the modeling clay will be OK.
If it is something you may want to keep it is not the best choice.

Modeling clay is oil base and wont dry. It will get hard and keep a shape, but will remain unpaintable and very easily dinged and scratched.

A water base clay will harden One clay is a 50-50 ceramic mix that comes in a 25lb bag at an art supply store. Another choice is called Model-Light, also available at an art supply store (only it costs 5 times as much). Brand names are not real important, they are all about the same, so if you find a water base cheaper than Model-Light it will probably work just as well.
Hope I helped a little.

When you have to take a break from working on it cover the clay with a wet towel so it does not harden until you are finished.

So it really is just a matter of how long you will want to keep it after 'the grade'
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kd
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2007 07:32:00 PM »

Paper mache might work cool for this.... the inside would be hollow.
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2007 10:03:50 PM »

If you want to make this and forget about it, or make it and then cast it in plaster then the modeling clay will be OK.
If it is something you may want to keep it is not the best choice.

Modeling clay is oil base and wont dry. It will get hard and keep a shape, but will remain unpaintable and very easily dinged and scratched.

A water base clay will harden One clay is a 50-50 ceramic mix that comes in a 25lb bag at an art supply store. Another choice is called Model-Light, also available at an art supply store (only it costs 5 times as much). Brand names are not real important, they are all about the same, so if you find a water base cheaper than Model-Light it will probably work just as well.
Hope I helped a little.

When you have to take a break from working on it cover the clay with a wet towel so it does not harden until you are finished.

So it really is just a matter of how long you will want to keep it after 'the grade'


Thank you SO MUCH! Grin Yikes! Modelling clay isn't a good idea then; it won't dry all the way and it's not unpaintable.  Undecided My mom won't be happy about taking me back to return it. Thank you again for your help.

kd, paper mache would be cool, but the directions specifically said clay.  Undecided
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floatingmoon
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2007 12:13:11 AM »

I think crayola has some air dry light weight clay.

If your city has a Daiso, Daiso has some economics air dry light weight clay.

And painting with acrylic would be a good choice.
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Diane B.
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2007 10:43:31 AM »

Depending on what your teacher meant when saying "clay," you could use all kinds of things... which one(s) you might want to use would depend on cost, the size and complexity of what you're wanting to model, the natural finish of they clay (smooth, bumpy, etc.), and whether you need to paint over it or can get the color from the clay itself.

If you're making a large horse (say over 8" high, as a guess), you'd probably want to make an armature first for at least parts of the body (torso, and maybe legs) so it wouldn't be too heavy from being solid clay.  You could use almost anything from wire mesh to paper cups perhaps with scrunched aluminum foil inside, etc., etc., all taped together. 
Then you could put on a skin of various air-dry or other clays, perhaps adding the head separately, etc.

If you're making something much smaller, armatures may not be necessary.

"Air-dry" clays come in different types and brands, but they all will dry in the air to harden (that can sometimes be speeded up in the oven, but isn't necessary).... they don't need to be "cured." 
Those include paper-based clays (Celluclay --cheap/add water yourself, Creative Paperclay, Makins, and even your own paper mash), and clays with other ground-up stuff in them like Mexican Pottery Clay, homemade "salt dough" clay or "bread clay," acrylic modeling pastes (like Liquitex's), 2-part epoxy putty clays like "Apoxie Sculpt", spackling compound, etc. 
Air dry clays will dry fairly quickly for working purposes, so they must be kept damp or worked with quickly, they usually take a full 24 hrs. to dry, and may shrink.
If you mix color into air-dry clays themselves, use a water-based pigment like acrylic paint, or even tempera for short term.  (For painting them on the outside though, just use anything you have.)

Polymer clays on the other hand, are moldable when raw, but harden after exposure to heat (265-275 degrees in a home oven, for 15-75 minutes depending on thickness). They never "dry" out though (like "modeling clay" they're oil-based, but they also have an added wax which prevents them from ever being baked).

Polymer clays can be modeled directly, or you can use an armature underneath like the air-dry clays (you'd want to use one any place the clay was thicker than 1 1/4" thick, or where you needed a thin area to stay like perhaps the legs of a horse).

If you buy a strong brand of polymer clay, it won't break after baking (Premo, FimoClassic, Kato Polyclay), but if you buy Sculpey, SuperSculpey, Sculpey III, or FimoSoft, those will break or chip if dropped or stressed, especially in any thin areas. 
The "original" Sculpey that comes in a box might be just the ticket for this though because it's fairly cheap, and you could just be careful with it after baking... SuperSculpey is a bit stronger esp. if baked longer, but not quite as cheap. 

Both of those could be painted over, or you could add the color into the clay itself by mixing it with a regular colored polymer clay or even with a bit of oil paint or alcohol ink or a little bit of acrylic paint (all from craft store) . 
Sculpey would give a truer color if you use the white instead of the terracotta; SuperSculpey would be more translucent (since it's largely a flesh-tinted translucent clay) but you could add white clay--or titanium white oil paint-- to it to avoid that because white polymer clay is always opaque.

Baking the Sculpeys longer will make them stronger, but original Sculpey will turn slightly purplish in that case, and SuperSculpey will darken quite a bit and probably have little half-moon shapes showing up under the clay (though if you'd pre-colored them, those things proabably wouldn't show).

If you want much more info about using polymer clays, there are some pages at my polymer clay "encyclopedia" website that would help.  Go to the Table of Contents page, then click on any of the following pages by name from the alphabetical navigation bar on the left side:

Paints (painting, etc.)
Armatures-permanent
Baking
and maybe: Color

And these if you want more info on "clays for sculpting" and sculpting in general:

Sculpting-Gen (esp. all types of clays)
Kids & Beginners
...click on Animals--the lessons there for dogs and sheep, etc., could give you basic ideas about making 4-legged creatures
...and there's more on horses & other animals --both whimsical and realistic, the Websites category of that Sculpting-Gen page just listed)


HTH, and good luck!

Diane B.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007 11:01:11 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
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