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My favorite sculpting tools and materials!

I thought it would be fitting to share what materials I use as one of my first blog posts! I tested many over the years and these are my current favourites. It will probably change over time. I always like testing out new art supplies! Of course, I encourage you to try different ones for yourself and see what works best for you. Sometimes it’s a question of personal taste in how a product works and looks!


Armature making:


polymer clay armature making materials and tools

▻ Steel and aluminum wires, asking tape, aluminum tape-foil, hot glue, super glue and apoxie sculpt.


aluminum and steel wires for sculpture armature
  • I like to use the steel wires for most projects. They are a lot stronger than the aluminum ones, they hold their shapes better. Although they can be pretty hard to bend when they’re thicker so I go grab the thicker, softer aluminum wires when needed for some projects.

  • The steel wires can be found in most hardware stores and the aluminum ones are available online or in most art stores.


  • Masking tape, foil tape, hot glue, super glue and apoxie sculpt can all be used to secure the wires together. I personally like to use a bit of hot glue, aluminum foil-tape and apoxie sculpt.

  • At first, polymer clay will soften a bit in the oven before it cures and hardens. So it’s important to make a sturdy armature to prevent the wires from moving with the weight of the clay. It could cause the sculpture to tip over or crack while baking.


Sculpting:


Super sculpey, original sculpey, cosclay


sculpey and cosclay polymer clay materials

  • My go to polymer clays. They’re easy to work with and are easiest to find in stores and online shops. (For me in Canada at least).

  • I use super sculpey for most of my work. The regular beige one and sometimes the  grey ‘medium blend’ one.

  • Original sculpey I use for clay sketches and bas relief sculptures because it is very soft and easy to move around.

  • Finally, cosclay is a polymer clay that stays flexible once baked! Which is super handy to have in your clay supplies. Although it is kind of hard to work with (it’s soft and can stick to some tools) I like to use it to make thin and fragile details like teeth, tails, feathers, wings and clothes.


Detailed bases:


Foam, Plaster, liquitex modelling paste, apoxie sculpt and mod podge.


  • I use Isolation foam to make some details like ruins or rocks. It is easy to carve and cut.

  • Plaster and modelling paste are for covering the foam parts to make them stronger.

  • Apoxie sculpt comes handy once again in making sturdy terrain details. It adds some weight to the whole base also.

  • Finally, I seal the foam and plaster parts with mod podge. It acts as a sealer and primer for paint.



Painting:


golden ceramcoat americana acrylic paints

Ceramcoat, americana, folkart, Vallejo, golden acrylic paints, pan pastels, DecoArt varnishes, liquitex high gloss. 


  • These are all the paints I used in the past and they all work well with polymer clay. But my favorite to use are Golden SoFlat, Vallejo and ceramcoat craft paints.

  • Golden SoFlat is the highest quality paint on that list and is lightfast and it has very good coverage.


varnishes for polymer clay
  • DecoArt Soft touch varnish is my absolute favorite finish for my sculptures! It is matte and dries to a soft, velvity finish.

  • I then use satin and glossy varnishes on specific areas like eyes or teeth for realistic wet effects.

  • I always recommend testing out new paints and varnishes on scrap piece of baked clay before adding onto your project ! Some of them could dry tacky.


soft pastels for polymer clay work

  • Soft pastels are handy to have to give your sculpture that 'airbrush' gradiant look. Without the hassle of cleaning an airbrush! Just don't forget to spray a 'pastel fixatif'




Photography:


Canon rebel T4i, iphone 14 pro max


  • When a sculpture is done, I take quality photos with my old canon camera for Etsy listings and social media posts. I can't recommend other brands since I've always used Canon. But you can't go wrong with them or Nikon.

  • iphone 14 pro max is my current smart phone and I use it to take WIP (work in progress) photos and videos of my work to post on instagram.

  • I edit all my photos and videos on my Mac mini and sometimes my ipad pro. Using simple softwares like iphoto and imovie. I recently started using VN video editing on ipad and it works really well too, very easy to use.



polymer clay sculpting tools

There you go! For now, this is everything I use for bringing my sculptures to life. If you're new to sculpting and you're looking for information about the materials, I hope this was helpful.


If you want to purchase anything you see here, follow this link for my amazon affiliate page. I've created lists there with tools, materials and even art book I like.


Please DO waste art materials. Use paper, empty paint jars, deplete pens. If it's teaching you stuff, it's not being wasted. - Danny Gregory

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