so i took the liberty to take some pictures and list out the materials i'm using as a polymer clay sculpting beginner. i spent about $30 give or take on materials so this is a very inexpensive medium compared to my other media-- mainly because i already own a lot of the stuff.
i'll be as detailed and thorough as possible. i did so much research and read so many tutorials and tips this last month from other sculptors. i took and applied what i found to be useful and also gathered what i thought would be the cheapest way for tools.
i found that many of those sculptors sold the tools they used and would give it a random "fancy" name so they can up the price which is total bullshit to me. like one of them kept using a "sculpting stick," which is nonexistent, it's a wooden stick with a round larger ball on the tip when in fact it is just a knitting needle (i only knew this because i've gone shopping with friends that knit and crocheted). another sculptor kept saying "eye detailing tool," WTF, i think that just overloaded google when i searched for such a tool. they were selling them in their online store for like $10 - 15! i recognized the tool and went through my drawer of useless-or-too-lazy-to-care-for stuff and found my gum stimulator. that's right, it's a $2 gum stimulator you can buy at a drug store. so do not get duped!!! do your research and see what fits your needs.
i'm going to be as helpful as i can. these tools are great for beginners. i have yet to gather materials for when my sculptures are done so i can paint and accessorize them.
- clean work station. your clay is like a magnet to dust and dirt so to keep your clay clean you must have a clean area and make sure there's not a lot of breeze blowing around-- so avoid opened windows and fans. i lay down packaging paper first.
- ornament stand: very useful to hang your sculptures on so you don't have to hold them so much. especially when you're in your final stage and need to get rid of finger prints. i had this laying around because i have a huge collection of faery ornaments as well as hanging lanterns.
- armature: basically the skeleton of your sculpture. here i have a 20 gauge brass wire used for jewelry. it is recommended to use brass, steel or aluminum wire and they all heat differently so do some experimenting.
- paint brushes: paint brushes are nice to keep your clay smooth and little liner brushes are useful for when you paint in makeup and details.
- size 10 wooden knitting needle: an alternative to sculpt the head separately from the body. one sculptor likes to keep the cranium of her doll open with a hole so she can glue hair inside of the head so it's more natural like the hair is sprouting out of the head as oppose to just gluing strands to a scalp. i found this to be a very useful tip.
- x-acto knife: for the obvious reasons, i hope. just to cut your clay around and make sure it is very clean.
- small, metal knitting needle: i've grown to enjoy this needle for pushing clay around-- especially for pulling out the nose. i wouldn't use it for final detailing though.
- cuticle cleaner: this is good for scooping and pushing clay around too especially in small areas like the eye scockets.
- makeup applicator: it's a nice way of smoothing your clay about or good for feathering clay around if you don't want to push massive amounts of clay. i like to use it around the cheek and cheekbones.
- toothpick: make dents and holes of course.
- dental tools: i bought this little pack of dental tools off of ebay for like $2. the one i have out of the pack is what i use the most. i don't think i've touched the other 3 yet.
- ruler: obvious reasons. mainly to measure my wires for cutting.
- acrylic clay roller: of course to roll out your clay flat.
- window glass panes: clay does not stick to glass so i would recommend setting your clay on a piece of glass instead of just on the table. plus it's transparent so you can lift up the glass and see on the underside of your sculpture without having to move it. i have a lot of hanging lanterns so i took these off of one of them.
- polymer clay: there are so many out there so buy the small 2 oz blocks and experiment. they're very inexpensive-- about 2 bucks and a half for a 2 oz chunk. i chose fimo because it was on sale at joann's at half off. i heard nothing but good feedback on proscupt, sculpey II-III, kato, and premo. try playing with them and also baking them-- they tend to change colors and they all heat differently.
- tutorials: take the time and effort to do the research. find sculptors that you like and stalk the shit out of them! i have found 2 people i'm a huge fan of: natasha kashirskaia and patricia rose. they are both very good about their tips and techniques and have plenty of tutorials on their sites. like i said though, they can be kind of sketchy about their tools because they both sell stuff.
natasha kashirskaia's site: [link]
patricia rose's site: [link]
other awesome tutorial sites: [link]
i hope this is helpful for those of you who are interested in exploring this wonderful medium. i am enjoying it so much that i can't even remember my last drive to pick up a pencil. hit that download button so you can see it in large view.
i will post another tool guide once i start gathering tools for accessorizing and finalizing my sculptures.
i'm ready to make my first sculpture so let's do this!!
For the second clay sculpting materials for beginners click here: [link]