Tag Archives: oil based clay

How to smooth oil based clay or the reason why i should do more and think less

Some time ago I asked myself how I could get a smooth surface of my object, done with oil based clay. Depending on the results you want in the end, it is important for you as an artist to have a smooth finish. If it’s a naturalistic doll you are doing,you will want her to have a flawless skin at the end.

Well, after searching for some information, i found out that people use petroleum jelly for that nice finish. I now read in my book from Hildegard Günzel (Creating Original Porcelain Dolls-Modeling, molding and painting) that she uses talcum powder at the end, to get rid of unevenness in her dolls. Another trick she uses: she dips her hands into warm water and then gently touches the surface to get it soft. This is something I wouldn’t have found out by myself, because i wouldn’t have thought that water could have an effect on oil based clay. But I’m sure i will soon try this out.

To complete the picture I will mention that some artists use alcohol for their oil based sculpture in the end, others use chemicals, but i will personally stick to the methods I mentioned above =)

Then you might ask yourself why it is so important to do this at the beginning, because some people concentrate on a smooth finish at the end of their work. Well, the idea is to get the prototype doll smooth now, so that later on when I cast the doll (meaning I will duplicate her, or CLONE her) i will not have much trouble getting a soft surface. The more I concentrate on a smooth finish at the beginning, the less trouble I will have in the end.

Funny enough, while updating my article on how to use oil based clay or plasticine clay, i am actually working with water based clay at the moment. This is the first clay i ever sculpted with and it has some qualities i don’t want to miss. In my area the plasticine always comes in small quantities, while the water based clay can be bought in  10 kilo bags. That would be the main reason why I suddenly decided to go for this material, as my 60-70 cm doll will need a lot of material.Sometimes I hate myself for this decision because water based clay will dry out fast, which will lead to cracks. But as every material comes with its own pros and cons, i will try only to focus on the reason why I love this material so much. Also it might help me to speed up my work a little bit,because i am way too slowly at the moment and way too perfectionist. That’s why i am writing in my blog instead of working on my doll, because I don’t have the positive drive at the moment. Maybe I should focus on “action sculpting” once more, meaning, I should try to DO MORE and THINK LESS.

I’m planning to use the oil clay that I have for sculpting faces and/or  for my molds (as backup), but as it doesn’t dry out i can reuse it for anything i like. And as you might have noticed, I keep on changing my mind during the process anyways, so just keep on visiting my blog to see what i will be doing next.

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Sharing the beginning of the bjd’s head with you

Although the head of my bjd is far from being perfect and finished, I will post it here. While writing in my blog I can get some distance from my work-so that later on when continuing with my doll I might discover something I didn’t see during the process.

I am not planning to leave the eyes this way. Probably some beads or plastic glass eyes should help me to get the eye shape right. I will not mold them with the clay, because  this is only a prototype. At the end of the modelling process, i will cut out the eyes to have holes in the head-this is necessary because i will use a different material later on.My idea so far is to

  1. Mold the prototype in oil based clay (a clay that stays soft and can be reused later on)
  2. Then make a mold out of the prototype doll in order to
  3. cast the doll in papermaché slip liquache or Papiermasche-gießmasse P3 wanke (I’m not sure yet which one is the perfect product)

On the other hand i can imagine that polymer clay might also be a great modelling material for me, so I am keeping in mind to also experiment with Cernit in the future.

But there’s still a lot of time to finally chose the right material, right now I first have to focus on sculpting a beautiful prototype doll. Wish me luck!

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Will paperclay and i ever be friends? The beginning of sculpting a bjd

Doll making. That’s my new project i will be focussing on from now on! And yes, i am quite excited. After doing a lot of research and deciding which clay to work with, i ordered some materials and  finally got started. The thing is, i am a quite impatient person and therefore had a lot of material changes before i found the right material to work with. I have decided to go for an oil based clay for my prototype doll. Why? Because it’s a soft clay that doesn’t harden, which means it can always be reused for my master dolls (incase this becomes a hobby I’ll do for a looong time).

Unfortunately, i went for an extremely cheap oil based clay and had to learn that sometimes  its better to invest more if you want a real quality product. The clay is supposed to be for children but it is extremely hard and doesn’t soften when you use your hands to form small soft balls. So what did i do? Because i really really wanted to get started and couldn’t wait any longer, i went to buy new material and hoped to find a better oil clay. But the only thing i could find was PAPERCLAY. I thought well, paperclay is one of  THE favorite material of bjd makers, and it’s really cheap-so i bought 4 small packages=2 kilos. But as you might have guessed already, paperclay and i did not get friends and i think we never will.

My personal opinion about paperclay: i have made experience with DAS paperclay and  HEMA-boetserklei(dutch product) so far. Both of them had a strong chemical smell (people with migraine should beware) and needed a lot of water to become soft and less resistant.

Apart from these strong contra aspects, i guess i can work more relaxed with a material that doesn’t air dry within hours.

But luckily, i now, after putting the paperclay aside- bought a good oil based clay and it seems like we could become good friends =)

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