Getting Started with Sculpey

Hi everyone! I’m Anthony from Ace of Clay on YouTube and I am so excited to be able to share with you how to get started sculpting with Sculpey!

Just to give you a little background, I have been using Sculpey since I was introduced to it in middle school. It my go-to clay that I use to create all of my sculptures and I’ve never had a reason to switch.

If you are new to polymer clay, you’ve come to the right place!

So first things first as you begin your Sculpey projects, you need to decide what Sculpey clay to use. This is determined mainly by what kind of project you’re making. I will be discussing the clays in terms of how to create a figurine or freestanding larger sculpture. For these projects I would recommend the Super Sculpey line.

Super Sculpey comes in three different hardnesses, original which is the softest, firm which is the hardest, and then medium which is right in the middle. All three variations have excellent controllability and hold detail perfectly. There is no gummy texture to them and they do exactly what you want them to. For any of your polymer clay projects, you can choose to use one clay for the entire thing, or even combine all three wherever you see fit.

For example, I like to use Super Sculpey Original for the main, larger areas of my sculpture and then sometimes I like to go in with Super Sculpey Firm for smaller more detailed pieces like props. Which clay you use is completely up to you, there is no right answer.

I like to make my armatures out of aluminum wire, 12 gauge to be exact. This wire is nice, thick and strong while at the same time it offers excellent control! It is so easy to shape and it can be cut with scissors, you don’t need wire cutters. I like to pair this with thinner gauge wire and bamboo skewers to create my armatures.

In addition to the armature structure, your sculpture cannot be solid clay, it has to be “bulked out”. Bulking is a process that adds extra bulk to your sculpture with other materials like aluminum foil or Super Sculpey Ultralight. After you create the shape of the sculpture from the armature wire, then you go in and bulk out thick areas over the wire with your foil or Ultralight.

I like to use a combination of foil and Super Sculpey Ultralight for extra thick areas, and then Ultralight alone for areas that aren’t super thick. For those super thick areas, I shape them with foil and then add a layer of ultralight on top. Ultralight creates an excellent surface for me to apply my final layer of Super Sculpey later on. If I don’t need foil, then I will just use the Ultralight. Ultralight’s special formula allows it to be used in thicker pieces.

Once you have your armature shaped out and the sculpture is bulked, if you used Ultralight, it’s time to bake for the first time. Make sure all of your pieces are in the correct position and bake your sculpture for 20-30 minutes at 275º F. If you didn’t use Ultralight, you can continue to the next step which is adding your final layer of Super Sculpey—either original, medium, or firm. You are going to add this over the entire surface of your sculpture in even pieces. If you used Ultralight, once it’s baked and completely cooled, go ahead and start adding your Super Sculpey and sculpt your idea!

Next, let’s talk about sculpting tools! Sculpey offers a fantastic line of tools at which I use regularly alongside a 12 piece set of stainless steel wax carving tools. Some of my favorite Sculpey tools are the dual ended ball stylus and rubber shaper set, cutting blade, and Etch ’n Pearl set. From my wax carving tools, I like my spoon tool and explorer tool most!

If you are brand new to sculpting, you may want to start small. Avoid taking on projects that
 are too ambitious at first to avoid getting discouraged. Starting with small, simple sculptures will allow you to get comfortable with the clay and explore your creativity. Start with something you love that you will enjoy sculpting!

My biggest piece of advice is to never compare your work to others. Everyone progresses at a different rate and the only thing that matters is the clay and project that’s sitting in front of you. Some people are able to pick up sculpting like nothing, while others take more time and practice. As long as you love what you’re doing and you’re truly enjoying the sculpting process, you’re doing it right!

If you are jumping into the world of sculpting with Sculpey share your artwork with us using the hashtag #HowDoYouSculpey we would love to see what you create and even feature it on the website!

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