Diane- I will probably buy some SS-firm. thanks for the suggestion. Am I understanding the info right that it is not only stronger after baking but the clay itself is firm and not as soft as Super Sculpey? I did find it sort of a bother that the clay was so soft that I would lose details and shapes easily just by handling it.
SS-Firm is a fairly new line by Polyform so I haven't tried it myself but think I've heard that it's both
stronger after baking and also less soft than the older, regular SS (flesh) --though that line can vary quite a lot in softness when purchased, and is also largely translucent
clay and translucent is always more temperature-sensitive than other "colors."
Some who sculpt with polymer clay and use SS flesh either "leach" it or they mix it with a firmer line of polymer clay to make it stiffer if it's too soft.http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Conditioning.htm
(...click on Leaching
There are also ways of cooling the clay before and while working with it... see that same page under the category Cooling Clay
When using flesh-colored polymer clays (and not painting over them), some sculptors just prefer to use other brands of flesh-colored polymer clays. (But if you'll just be painting over everything, the clay color won't matter especially if you prep the baked clay with white gesso or plain white acrylic paint.)
The 3 first Sculpey clays put out (S, SS-flesh, S III) are all softer when raw than most of the other brands/lines of polymer clay so they won't do details as well and aren't as "good" to handle/feel so mostly those aren't used by most more advanced clayers (except sometimes SS-flesh, or that combined with other brands/lines) when a translucent skin color is desired. There's a lot more info on those things on the Sculpting-General
page and the Characteristics of Clays
page I linked to before.
(Btw, if you have hot hands or work in a warm environment or like to work-and-work your clay, you'll be happier with stiffer brands/lines anyway like Kato Polyclay or FimoClassic... Premo, Cernit and FimoSoft are softer than those).
I did start out with an armature of wire and tin foil. It was really flimsy, I'm not very good at constructing those things!
There's lots of info, if you're interested, about armatures to use under figures, masks, and other sculpts on these pages at least:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/armatures-perm.htmhttp://www.glassattic.com/polymer/heads_masks.htm
...and more in the Websites
category on the Sculpting-General
just used regular acrylic craft paints because I'm cheap and that's all I have.
If you do want to add color on top of baked polymer clay (with paints, inks, colored or metallic powders, and other colorants), check out these pages, as well as the Heads
But if you'd like to build the color right into the clay (by mixing colored polymer clays together to get just about any color you want, or by mixing oil paints, alcohol inks, and various inclusions into the raw clay), check out these pages:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/color.htm http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/inclusions.htm