Author Topic: Cheap but good materials to start a simple dinosaur sculpting with  (Read 379 times)

Brocc21

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The title says it all really ^.
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Newt

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Re: Cheap but good materials to start a simple dinosaur sculpting with
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2018, 12:03:50 AM »
Polymer clay is probably the best bet to get started with. Inexpensive polymer clays like Original Sculpey or Michael's store brand are ok, but don't hold as much detail as more expensive clays and can be prone to cracking. Super Sculpey, Fimo, and Kato Polyclay are higher quality options that are only a little more expensive. You can extend your clay a long ways if you use foil or other material to "bulk out" your armature. All polymer clays can be baked in the oven (just be aware they may make your oven smell a little bit, so consult other household members before proceeding).


Speaking of armatures, the soft aluminum wire made for armatures is great but expensive. Any non-springy wire will do. I often use copper or brass wire from the hardware store.


Air-dry clay is cheaper than polymer clay, but it can be frustrating to use when you are beginning, because you have a limited window to work the clay before it gets too hard. Epoxy clay has the same issue except it's not cheap (it is a great option when you are a little more experienced, though). If you don't care about having a permanent finished product but just want to practice sculpting, oil- or wax-based modeling clays are great. I'm partial to Monster Clay brand.

Papi-Anon

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Re: Cheap but good materials to start a simple dinosaur sculpting with
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2018, 12:42:42 AM »
Depending on your sculptures' sizes, boiling polymer clay in a arts-only sauce pan or pot of water will help you avoid the plastic fumes in the oven. Downside is that once you use a pot for boiling the clay it can never be used for food ever again, so you should opt for a cheap sauce pan or pot from Walmart or a low-price retail store. Never baked clay, personally, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Another thing to get some practice is to use non-drying, non-hardening modeling clay from craft stores. Michael's sells modeling clay at $3 for a 2lb block labeled as 'Plastalina' (not to be confused with polymer clay). Modeling clay can hold amazing details if it's cool enough (colder ambient temperature makes it stiffer and hotter temps soften it until it eventually melts like wax). Something I do sometimes is sculpt in modeling clay, leave it in my kitchen freezer overnight, and then while it's still stiff and cold use silicone molds to copy the sculpt to cast in epoxy later.


“They said I could be whatever I wanted to be when I evolved. So I decided to be a crocodile.”
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Brocc21

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Re: Cheap but good materials to start a simple dinosaur sculpting with
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2018, 03:51:46 AM »
Noted,thanks  for the response!
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tyrantqueen

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Re: Cheap but good materials to start a simple dinosaur sculpting with
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 08:40:38 AM »
Boiling polymer clay isn't recommended. It doesn't actually cure the polymer inside. Your sculpture may feel solid, but it will be brittle. Internally the clay will not have reached the temperature it needs to cure fully- over time plasticisers may leach out and make the sculpture crumbly.

It's OK for small bits and pieces but it's not a good idea for the entire sculpture.

If you don't want to use your kitchen oven, I think it's a good idea to purchase a small convection or toaster oven. You can use an oven thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature, and use a ceramic dish to prevent temperature spikes.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 08:44:17 AM by tyrantqueen »