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Topic: Cameo making?  (Read 5493 times)
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« on: July 02, 2010 06:00:33 AM »

Hi. I've wanted to try and make some sculpting with clay for awhile now, espcially the figures on cameos. My problem is I don't have any sculpting experience with clay, and I don't want to buy any new tools except for the basic ones I already have (pasta machine, exacto knife, some brushes with round edges). I don't like using molds, and I can't make ones - the mold clay isn't avilable where I live.
So my question is this - how can I get many details on a very small area? (Something like 5 cm, maybe less)
Some examples I found on DeviantArt -

And anothe thing - I'm trying to make this (for a friend, she's a twilight fanatic) - http://www.oncelink.com/photo/Alice%20%282%29.jpg -  a scale of something like 5 cm, but I can't get the animal thing right. Someone suggested to paind all the details after baking, but I wan't it to be above the surface. Same question as above, actually...
Thanks! Smiley
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010 06:59:10 AM »

You might be best off making the top part on its own, then adding it to the base.  Same effect, probably easier than trying to carve.  The Twilight thing almost definately isn't carved, looking at it.  It looks like cast metalic material attached to a stone.
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010 07:24:39 AM »

ooooh you certainly challange yourself!!!
Diane B.
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010 08:29:31 AM »

First just so you know, most molds for polymer clay are made from polymer clay (though the clay will have to be removed before hardening). 
Molds made from clay won't be able to do real undercuts or 3-D (though 2-sided molds can be made for 3-D items that don't have additional undercuts--the extra flange is removed later).
Polymer clay can actually capture a great deal of detail when used to make molds, but 2-part silicone putties can capture even more and they can also be used for some undercuts and 3-D molds, and can have the clay cured right in them.
Other materials can be used to make molds for use with clay too, from caulking to rubber, plaster, wood, thermoplastic plastics, and many more.
And of course, there are many molds that can be purchased.
(Most all of those are discussed on the Molds page linked to below.)

As for cameos in particular, the Molds page at my site has a bunch of ways for creating cameos with polymer clay:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/molds.htm ...click on Cameos near bottom of list

Generally, clay cameos are created with a mixture of translucent + white clay which is pressed into a mold.  The mold could be one you've made yourself from other little items, or from the impression of a rubberstamp pressed into a slab of clay, or from clay you've sculpted yourself then baked, or it could be a purchased mold or a purchased molds which you later "distort" or change the raw clay pull from that mold before hardening. 
Then the molded clay is placed on smooth background clay of another color, and the whole thing is baked (helps to cool the clay in mold before removing, and not use a brand of polymer clay that's really soft).

If not using a mold, and also if putting more than one continuous image onto the clay background (like added leaves, vines, etc), the technique is bascially just doing an "onlay" onto raw clay, though in this case with very small and thin pieces.
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/onlay.htm ...click on Dimensional Onlay category, then scroll to "Ropey, Textured, etc" onlays

Some other variations would be to create the cameo image with tinted liquid clay in a silicone mold...harden, then attach to the background clay.  Or perhaps the mold could be filled completely and be thin at its edges, and have a smooth piece of clay put on top of the mold in contact with the liquid clay, then baked, to connect them at that point.  Might well require some experimentation to make that work though.

You could also "sculpt" the whole cameo the same way as for a "bas relief" sculpt, then color either the cameo image or the background. 
Or you could try to do that with two layers of raw clay of different colors and remove all the background color at the same level as the cameo as well as shaping the cameo image, etc.
There's more on making bas relief clay images on my Sculpting-Gen. page:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm ... click on Bas Relief about 3/4 down list at top of page

There are various ways to actually physically "carve" polymer clay too.
One is similar to the 2-layer system I just described, but for that the bottom layer of clay can be baked if you want.
Or baked polymer clay can be carved into after curing with very tiny gouges like Donna Kato's 5 mini gouges (especially when it's warm...and don't use a brittle clay like "Sculpey" for best results): http://prairiecraft.com/polyclay/KT1.html
It's probably easier to carve the image as an impression first though, then make a mold from the impression to use in reverse as the final cameo image if the image needs to be rounded and smooth and variously-dimensional.
There's more info on those kinds of techniques on my Carving page:

For a polymer clay beginner though, I'd definitely recommend using a mold, or some simple onlays till you get the hang of the material.

Simulations of cameos could also include rubberstamping an image onto baked clay with embossing ink (when heat set, will become dimensional). 
Or just rubberstamping with pigment ink onto baked clay, or onto raw clay creating slight depression, but those last ones won't create real cameo dimensionality.

The last item you linked to was probably made with a different technique.  It would be a little fiddly though possible to get the silver powder (mica powder or real-metal powder probably, in that case) only where it's wanted, but basically it would be a mold process then a "highlighting" process. 
In other words, a mold with a flat background area around the dimensional image would be pressed into a thick slab of raw clay, then removed.  The silver-colored powder would then be applied only onto to the upper areas of the dimensional molded image...that's often done just with a finger and rubbing around gently, but in this case a small brush would be more precise especially around the edges of each upraised area. (The mold could have mostly easily been made from the impression of a deep-cut rubberstamp into raw clay, then baked.)
For more info on metallic powders and "highlighting," check out my Powders page...highlighting will be discussed in various places there:
But there's probably more re highlighting on the Molds page (link above) under Antiquing, Highlighting, Staining.
There are also ways to remove extraneous powder that might get on the background.
(The powder could also be applied --usually after baking-- after mixing it into a clear medium to make a metallic "paint," or a metallic acrylic paint or ink could be used, but those would look a little different.

Diane B.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2010 09:07:14 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

few of my photos
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014 12:24:36 AM »

Some other variations would be to create the cameo image with tinted liquid clay in a silicone mold...harden, then attach to the background clay.  Or perhaps the mold could be filled completely and be thin at its edges, and have a smooth piece of clay put on top of the mold in contact with the liquid clay, then baked, to connect them at that point.  Might well require some experimentation to make that work though.

Hooray! I just came across this forum looking for info on using Liquid Sculpey in molds for cameos, and although this answers my question for the most part, I need to ask advice about one more possible variation on this technique:

I've got a flexible silicone mold of a complete cameo (raised design and flat oval background included), and am wondering if the LS could handle a "double bake". I'm hoping I could pour the colour for the design area, bake while still in the mold, and after the whole works has cooled, pour in the background colour and bake again - in other words, not removing the casting from the mold until after the second bake. I've never used liquid polyclay before so I'm unsure if this would be a smart thing to do or not (would there be major shrinkage, burning, discolouration?). Has anyone tried this?

Second question, although I think I already know the answer: can LS be successfully tinted with Windsor & Newton water mixable oil paints, instead of just regular oils? I happen to have some handy that I'd like to use up...

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer any advice on either question, and a big thank you to Belliole and Diane B. for this very helpful thread!

~ Elaine
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