Over the years, I’ve sculpted clay creations of many shapes and sizes from dainty earrings all the way to large figurines. It is very fun to experiment with size when using clay, but it is sometimes a tricky problem to decide what sculpt should be large versus small! Here are some tips and advice I’ve come up with to help you decide what size is best for your clay ideas!

Pair of mismatched earrings with a duck and a frog

When do you create a small sculpt?

Weight: The most important reason you should go for a smaller sized sculpt is when you want something to be extremely light. This comes into play most when making jewelry or any other wearable item such as pins, hair accessories, and keychains.

Small keychain made of polymer clay

Weight: The most important reason you should go for a smaller sized sculpt is when you want something to be extremely light. This comes into play most when making jewelry or any other wearable item such as pins, hair accessories, and keychains.  <insert Blog2Photo2.jpg>

If you know your sculpt will have to be lightweight, then you should consider working on a smaller scale when creating it. However, you can create larger sculpts that remain light with the use of bulk up materials like foil inside your clay, which I will go over in a future section.

Detail: If you are looking to create something simplistic with your clay, going small will capture this look beautifully. When you sculpt smaller, the details you include are amplified through relative size– so if you are thinking about a small sculpt, be mindful with the details you include!

When do you create a large sculpt?

Beginner Friendly: Bigger sculpts are kinder to those just starting out with clay, because you have a lot more room to work with! With a larger piece, you can practice skills in shaping and smoothing without also having to worry about size specific issues like squashing tiny details! I suggest starting out a little bigger when you begin sculpting, because it will still give you a great product while also preserving your patience, preventing burnout! Statement Piece: Looking to make a standout clay masterpiece? A bigger piece will absolutely give you the visual pop you may be looking for! Big sculpts are great for decorative statuettes, dishes, hanging ornaments, and even bookends! Think home decor when debating on a larger clay work!

Sculpt of woman in glasses with book in a plaid dress

Clay: You will need a lot of clay. Or, you will need to build up your base before adding clay! I suggest using a wire armature with tin foil over it to bulk up the shape of your sculpture, then apply clay onto that to give it form and detail. Otherwise, your clay creation will be extremely heavy and use up a lot of good clay that could be used toward even more artworks!

So, are large or small sculptures better? Both are great! They are both attuned to different wants in a product: small is great for jewelry and offers a unique challenge in detail work, large is perfect for both the beginner and the ambitious depending on how you go about it! Both sizes build up very different sculpting skill sets that will help you become a better overall clayer!

I suggest practicing along the scale of sizes to see for yourself which size you prefer to work at! Share your favorite creations using #HowDoYouSculpey when you post your art to social media. How do you work, small or large?