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Topic: Hardening specific sections of a sculpture?  (Read 706 times)
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Scissorless Frenzy

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« on: September 06, 2007 08:40:27 AM »

I'm kinda new to making sculpey things, and I recently had to make a model for stop-motion. I want to be able to move parts of my sculpture, and other parts I want to be hard so they dont lose shape.  Does anyone know of a way that I can harden specific parts of it without ruining the soft parts? I probably should have baked the parts before adding the joints, but it's a little late for that Smiley I'd specifically like to harden the head so that when I move it it doesn't completely squish in my grip. I've heard that boiling clay can work, but will something like a hairdryer harden the clay? I am using craft wire as the skeleton, and I have it attached to cardboard at the moment, there's also aluminum foil inside the head as a base.  I have Sculpey III green as my material. Smiley Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"

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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007 01:14:39 PM »

So you've already made the whole figure? 
I'm also not sure how much of the rest of the figure is clay, or clay over wire or foil.

Anyway, you can just cure part of a sculpt, etc., with an embossing gun or a heat gun (from the hardware store) while blocking other areas from the heat (...a hair dryer might firm it up, but won't completely polymerize it because it's not hot enough). 
Do remember though that curing will darken the color of the clay (especially the Sculpey brand) though, so the two colors could look different.

Essentially what you'd need to do is to use a thermometer to measure the heat created by the heat gun when it's waved around at a certain distance from the clay, then vary that distance till you get the proper temperature... then keep doing that for a while  Undecided.  If you don't need the sculpt to last a long time though, and you'll be careful where you put it so it won't leach onto other surfacees, you might want only to firm the clay up fairly well, but not to completely polymerize it because the color won't change too much that way.

Check these pages for more info:

(... click on Heat Guns...)

maybe more in
(... click on Other Ways to Cure, then scroll down to "heat guns"... and maybe check out Multiple Baking, Partial Baking...)


Another way might be to boil (on the stovetop) only certain portions of the sculpt that stick out, but it might be hard to hold the rest of the figure out of the water long enough and exactly enough.

P.S.  Btw, polymer clays aren't the best clays to use for stop motion because they are softened too much by the lights necessary (the Sculpeys would be even worse about that. . . the brands Kato or FimoClassic would stand up better to the heat).  But animators usually use the "high quality" modeling clays like Plastalina by Van Aken rather than polymer clays to avoid those problems --though the armatures you used should also help a lot).


Diane B.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2007 01:18:26 PM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

few of my photos
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2007 06:02:11 PM »

Thanks for your help!!!!  The whole figure is an outer layer of clay, but it has a wire frame and aluminum foil frame inside the head. I dont want to completely harden it anyway in those areas, just make it so that when I touch it or move it it doesn't leave fingerprints or completely warp. I'm not planning on moving it too much or using too many lights so it should be ok, but what you've suggested will be perfect. I will just have to be careful that the parts dont turn different colors Wink You're great, thanks again!
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