Sculpture Tips: Round 1

Howdy ya'll! In the past couple of months I've been getting into sculpting using a variety of products. It's a massively fun process, and I've learned a ton of technique from a number of great online resources.

To avoid redundancy in my own blog post, I'm providing some of the most useful resources I found in my frenzied plunge into the world of sculpting. 

Tutorial videos on all the ins and outs of miniature sculpting by the ever talented Tom Mason

- An exhaustive exploration of tools, materials and sculpting techniques by the hilarious Mr_Pink

A brief rundown of working with Oyumaru AKA Instant Mold by Roebeast

"Suitable for sculpting both dead presidents & demonic bats!"

"Suitable for sculpting both dead presidents & demonic bats!"

I now understand this man's joy.

I now understand this man's joy.


I really enjoyed working small scale, but after seeing some amazing work by Giorgos Tsougkouzidis on Instagram, I knew I needed to get my hands on the clay he was working with. I'll also add, he's a very nice dude who was happy to answer some questions I had about his molding/casting process.

Anyway, turns out he does most of his sculpting in Monster Clay, an oil/wax based clay that has quickly become my current favorite sculpting material. 

Because Monster Clay is oil/wax based, I needed to find a handy way to make my sculptures permanent, so I decided to try out Smooth-On's Moldmaking & Casting Pourable Starter Kit, which came with plastic for casting, as well as materials to create silicone molds. This kit was a really excellent place to start, as they have extensive documentation as well as loads of tutorial videos on their website.

I'll also give their customer service department a big thumbs up, as I received a really thorough answer to a question I had about casting a beastly complicated piece for my first attempt. Good job Smooth-On.


On to the tips!


TIP #1: Oyumaru Texture Pads

One of the coolest features of Monster Clay (and other oil or wax based clays) is how well the material can take on different textures. I had some Oyumaru I had purchased for some of my earliest attempts at molding and casting, and I realized it's properties could be useful in terms of creating textures.

Oyumaru is a reusable plastic that can be softened in steamy-hot water (check out the link up top for more info). It's also branded as "Instant Mold", but costs more under this moniker. I bought mine on eBay direct from China which was pretty cheap, though it did take a while to arrive. Oyumaru is capable of taking on a high-level of detail, so I decided to make some lil' texture pads I could use on my Monster Clay.

By pressing the molten Oyumaru into a variety of surfaces, it took on a negative impression of that texture. The end result were flexible, rubbery pads that can be pressed into a variety of clays/materials for realistic, random looking textures.



Overall, the texture pads I created turned out fantastic. The orange peel is a personal favorite, having a subtle look that resembles the pores of some wild citrus beast. I also made a couple of textured clay shapers from the Oyumaru, which turned out most excellent. All of the clay shapers I've purchased have a smoothing effect on the clay, so I thought it would be cool to create a sculpting tool that also applied a texture as it shaped the clay. I'll share some images of those once they're finished.

TIP #2: Milk Carton Mold Containers

When I started making molds for my silicone, I was using foam core and hot glue, which is fine, but recently, as I stood in front of my open fridge, filling my belly with gulp after gulp of ice cold milk, it occurred to me I might try using a milk carton instead. So I did, and it worked brilliantely. 

When I was demolding, the silicone popped right out, plus I could simply tear the carton to get the mold out. I'm saving water bottles, cartons and other random-ass containers to use for these purposes in the future. 

Tip #3: Hot Air Gun SKILLZ

I do a fair amount of soldering for my lighting projects, so a while back I purchased a soldering gun. I also needed a heat gun to handle the heat-shrink on my wiring, so I opted for a system that combined the two.  

The heat gun on this particular unit has a remarkably fine degree of control in terms of how much hot air it puts out, which is really useful for applying a light smoothing effect to monster clay.  

If you search for similar items on you'll see a ton. I can't wholeheartedly endorse this unit, as the soldering iron crapped out after a minimal amount of use. 

Shea BartelComment