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Sculpey® III Little Deer Bust

Sculpey® III Little Deer Bust

Designed by Amy Koranek
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Have you always wanted to tackle an animal sculpture, but didn’t know quite where to start? This tutorial will take you through the process step by step.


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  • A couple of toothpicks
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Project Instructions
    Getting Started:
Please make sure your work area is covered and you are not working on an unprotected surface. We recommend working on the Sculpey® Oven-Safe Work Mat, wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. Uncured clay may damage unprotected furniture or finished surfaces. Be sure to cover your crafting area appropriately.

Start with clean hands, unwrap and knead clay until soft and smooth, or condition by running clay though a Pasta Machine. We recommend using a designated machine for clay purposes only. When working with multiple colors, clean hands with soap and water or baby wipes (we have found that baby wipes work best) before switching colors. Shape clay, pressing pieces firmly together. Wash hands after use.

Begin by preheating oven to 275 °F (130 °C). After you are done creating; for best results bake clay on an oven-proof surface such metal, aluminum foil, an index card or the Sculpey® Clay Mat at 275°F (130 °C) for 15 minutes per 1/4" (6 mm) thickness according to package directions. Oven safe glass or ceramic surfaces are also acceptable for baking; however please note that the baking times may take longer as the glass or ceramic surfaces take longer to heat up. For best baking results, use an oven thermometer. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME.
Soften and condition some scrap clays in your hands. This clay can be any Sculpey III or Premo or Soufflé or Ultralight or a mixture of these. It doesn’t have to be one solid color. You need enough scrap clay to make a cone shape about 3” tall and a proportionate head shape.
Poke a toothpick down through the cone at what will be the neck area. Leave 1/2” of the toothpick sticking out of the top.
Make some rough details in the head: a fatter area for the head, an elongated nose, a flat area on each side of the nose for later placing the eyes. The entire rough deer shape will be covered with more clay, so just try to get the basic shapes for now.
On the bottom side of the head, poke a hole with the pointed wooden tool. Rock the tool around in the hole to make it large enough for the neck area to go into it.
Push the neck and toothpick up into the hole in the bottom of the head. Stand the body up to make sure the bottom of it is flat so that the little bust can stand up by itself. Bake the head/body armature at 275 for 30 minutes to set it.
When the armature is completely cool, make a flat ribbon of Hazelnut Sculpey®III and wrap it tight around the top of the neck
Smooth the Hazelnut up over the bottom of the head and down into the body area.
Make a long flat piece of Hazelnut into a narrow sheet. Use the Acrylic Clay Roller to make it flat and even and 1/8” thick. Wrap the sheet around the body of the deer.
Trim the sheet to fit. Form the sheet to the shape of the body with your hands. Smooth the seam between the body and the neck with your fingertips. Trim around the bottom with the flat metal tool.
Make another 1/8” sheet of Hazelnut. Drape this piece over the head. Make it long enough that it touches the neck area on either side of the jaw line.
Trim the sheet and press it to the form. Where there is excess clay, it can be trimmed away with the loop.
If you get air bubbles trapped between the layers, they can be popped with the needle tool.
Smooth the Hazelnut clay to the shape of the head and trim excess clay. Make sure all the seams are smooth.
Here’s a front view of the little deer so far.
Next, I thought the nose was too long so I pushed it shorter and wider with my fingertips. Then I trimmed excess clay from the end.
Make thick ears from Hazelnut. Make sure they appear to be proportionate but consider that they will be flattened before they are added.
Flatten the ears using one of the wooden sculpting tools.
Add flat teardrops of Beige to the ears. Flatten the Beige areas even more with the wooden tool.
Add little Black teardrops to the ears and flatten these as well. Set the ears aside for now.
Make a flat piece of Beige and press it to the front of the body.
Smear the Beige flat into the Hazelnut with your fingertips.
Add a little bump of Hazelnut on each side of the head just to make the area a little thicker where the ears will be positioned.
Press the ear into place on top of the little bump allowing the bottom of the ear to fold slightly so that it sits nicely on the head. Reshape the ear again with the wooden tool.
Smooth all the seams around the ear.
Smooth the seams at the back of the ear as well.
Press the second ear on. Look at the deer from the front to make sure the ears are as symmetrical as possible.
Add a little black nose to the tip of the snout.
Press eye sockets into the eye areas with the end of the needle tool. Smooth the nose to the snout with your fingertips.
Fill the eye sockets with Beige clay. Press the eye sockets in again with the end of the needle tool.
Shape the eyes more like a deer’s so that they have a point at the front and a point at the back with the wooden sculpting tool.
Make Black eyeballs and carefully place them in the eye sockets.
Texture all of the fur areas. Start with one area at a time. Begin an area by dividing it in half with a few straight rows of furry lines with the needle tool.
Work away from the straight lines gradually making the fur lines go at natural angles.
When texturing fur across multiple colors, just pretend that there is no color change and let the fur lines go from one color to the next.
Texture the front of the neck by starting with a few straight lines down the middle and then angling the lines away from the center. Texture the back as well. When the little guy is all furry, bake again following the baking instructions for Sculpey III.