Sculpey, Paperclay, and Apoxie Sculpt (or other comparable epoxy clays). Some artists also like using wood clays, air-dry clays, or ceramic clays.
Porcelain Clay: This is what I use. David’s clay from Luguna. I got it at Dick Blick’s Art Store.
Apoxie Sculpt: Apoxie Sculpt is a chemical-curing compound. It comes in two parts, which are mixed in a 1:1 ratio. Initially, the Apoxie Sculpt is soft and sticky like bread dough. It sets gradually and becomes too hard to shape within a few hours and cures completely in 24 hours. Once set, it is very hard and can be cut, carved, drilled, sanded, tooled, etc. It can be finished to a very fine surface and is suitable for making masters to cast. It can also be purchased in an array of colors, some suitable for using for a final sculpt. (Note: Super White Apoxie Sculpt has a shorter working time than other Apoxie Sculpt colors). Apoxie Sculpt is non-toxic and smooths with water. Apoxie Sculpt may be purchased online through Aves Studio.
Sculpey: Sculpey is a popular brand of polymer clay. There are several types of Sculpey, ranging from Sculpey to Super Sculpey to Sculpey III to Sculpey Firm. All have slight different properties in terms of their durability and color. For example, the white “Sculpey” is usually less expensive and less durable, more prone to breaking or cracking; Sculpey Firm is harder, more opaque and more…. well, obviously, firm. They are normally fairly soft clays, also non-toxic, and cure in a conventional oven. They are suitable for masters, though they do not sand as well as Apoxie Sculpt and it can be difficult to get the surface properly prepared. Normally artists prime their Sculpey masters before casting them because Sculpey can be somewhat porous. Most types of Sculpey can be found in crafts stores, though some must be ordered online.
Fimo: Another popular brand of polymer clay, though used less frequently for some reason. Most of the information about Sculpey also applies to Fimo.
Paperclay: Formofit, LaDoll,Premeire
There are many brands of paperclay; the “high end” dollmaking paperclay is called “LaDoll.” Paperclays are soft, air-drying clays that are very light and hard when set. They can be sanded and carved, though they are more fragile than Apoxie Sculpt. They are very porous and can be damaged by water; they must be primed before painting or molding.
Clay and Plasticine:
– The good old brown clay: The good old product is far from being bad. It’s easy to sculpt. If it dries, you can add water and it’ll come back to normal. Plus, it’s fairly unexpensive for a big bag. The only problem I’ve got with it so far was that it became a little TOO alive… I’ve got moisture, mushrooms and such on it. So not exactly the kind of stuff I enjoy playing with. (By the way, if you want a trick to dry it without moisture, I figured it out almost by accident for a project at school, just pm me).
– Demco’s plasticine: By far the worst choice! It’s only a little better than Play-Do, but not enough to be useful. Demco’s chimists, after taking way too many tylenols, created a plasticine that would never dry (which is not so far from the ice cream that never melts in my opinion). It could have been a good idea. I bought a few packs to make one of those plasticine animations, and it looked like it could work… But it melted under the light. So a friend of mine said I could cover it with modeling paste or anything of the kind to make it hard and I thought “great, let’s make a doll with what I’ve got left, it won’t dry, so I have plenty of time to do it”. I can be so stupid. If you want to see what it looks like, my baby is shown on this forum, just scroll down to my name. It turned out ok because I froze it. Yep, have your sweety sleep in the freezer and it will keep its shape all solid and everything, take it out and you have 30 minutes-1 hour to do something with it… So no, I don’t recommand Demco, but if you really have nothing else and you want to try it, put it in the freezer.
– Giotto’s Plastiroc: It’s been sold to me as Sculpty’s (which we don’t have here) concurrent, but I still have to try it. Whenever I try it, I’ll tell you if this italian clay is worth anything.
TIPS from Den of Angels
PAPERCLAY TIPS: use this to sculpt, then cast with porcelain slip or resin
Yes, I do use paperclay, or to be more precise ‘Formofit’.
creative paperclay stuff. :3 I get my paperclay from paperclay.com
Five things of paperclay is about what it’s taken to make Gamma. I have about a package and a half of material that i’ve taken off of him as well.
It sands to a really fine texture and is fairly durable and cheap! Especially if you buy it in bulk.
I like paperclay because it’s really easy to sand. It’s reasonably hard for what I’m doing, and it doesn’t crumble when it’s extremely thin the way that super sculpey will. But mostly it’s that ability to easily sand and smooth it. I just take a sanding sponge of 30 grit and go at it… fifteen minutes later and my piece is nice and smooth without weird divots and lumps. Since I cast my work, I don’t have to worry about how the piece will stand up to wear and tear as paperclay.-batchix
My pattern is carve, sand, patch- and then repeat until I get something that resembles a body!
On the far right is the body after a more invasive carving with a dremel. I used a dremel because my speedball(http://www.dickblick.com/zz402/03/) is awol. I like the speedball better because it’s… well… quiet! –batchix
Ladoll, as I said, is very verstatile. you can add addtional clay, after it’s already been dried… but be careful… wet and score such an area, or you’ll end up with what I called “biscuiting”…. it’s like… the layers are seperating from each other. Gets irritating, and can sometimes cause problematic bubbles later.
I keep mine in a ziploc bag after I open it…. I haven’t had to add any additional moisture, as it seems to weep from the clay to the side of the bag, and keep itself moist. Wetting a lump of it, if it seems to stiff is easy enough too… I just kinda dunk it in water, roll it around, and repeat until it’s at the desired consistency. … it does NOT turn into a putty or paste well at all, unless I just did it all wrong. But, I don’t think making it into a slip is possible, or even desireable.
Ladoll is considered a “Stone Clay”, though what the difference is EXACTLY I’m not sure. Ladoll DOES have paperclay as a form of organic binder, but the primary substance is, as I mentioned, Pumice, a pourous volcanic rock, and Talc, like baby powder.