Is Sculpting With Polymer Clay Easy?

By Andrea Balch | Submitted On July 30, 2009

Polymer Clay seems to have burst onto the sculpting scene with vengeance, sculpting with polymer clay seems to be on the rise for everyone how is sculpting, or wants to sculpt. From adults to children who already sculpt, or want to sculpt. Let's have a look at this new sculpting material and see if it is right for you.

What is Polymer Clay

When I first heard of polymer clay, I wondered what all the fuss was about. It seemed to be big, and in such a short time frame in the art scene. First of all when I first saw pictures of this clay in all sorts of colours; I thought it was a sculpting clay for kids. And that it was not like clay, which will dry out by itself, and also need to be fired in a kiln.

To my surprise, I found out that this clay was for everyone at all levels of sculpture; from adults to kids. So I needed to find out more.... being a professional sculptor, if something new comes onto the market, and I stumble across it! I regard it as something new I could possibly use for my own work.

Polymer clay is a non-toxic man made material of a pliable plastic with clay like properties. Being like clay, it stays pliable, and the big plus with this clay is that you don't need a kiln to cure it.

The fact that is cures at relatively low temperatures is also a plus. Ranging from between 265 and 275°F (129-135°C). Your kitchen oven is going to be your best friend here. So that you end up with a hardened sculpture without the added expense of having to go and get it fired is a big plus. So you don't have that extra hassle in finding someone who can fire it for you, and you can drill your finished sculpture, even sand it if you want.

Different Polymer Clays

You are not restricted to just one polymer clay type out there, When sculpting with polymer clay you have various degrees of texture, and also colors that you can mix together. This is especially good for children who want to create bright simple sculptures.

You have the most commonly used polymer clay called Sculpey, which is very soft and a pliable clay.
Sculpey III - soft and pliable clay that comes in a variety of colors, this one is great for your children. And when you cure their sculpture in the oven, you can rest-assured that their sculpture is not going to be easy for them to break.

Liquid Sculpey is, as it says, in a liquid form. Where you can pour the liquid sculpty into a mould creating many different little sculptures.

Polymer Sculptures

You only have to look around on the internet these days and you can see the different sorts of sculptures made with polymer clay. It is so popular that there are sites just devoted to sculpty clay. It's safe and non-toxic, so we can all feel happy about this. Sometimes we might wonder if it is OK when we bake it and sculpt with it in our hands. But it is safe and we can work and cure this clay, knowing that it is harmless.

So what can you do with sculpty clay, I can tell you right now that polymer clay will fit everyone's sculpting abilities. From the sculpting of a child, right up to the sculpting work of a professional. With all the range of polymer clays, you have a "firm polymer clay" through to "soft polymer clay". You also have polymer clay with different textures as well as colors. So whatever sort of sculpture you intend on doing, you can't go wrong with this sculpting medium

Clay for Artists

Professional artists shave been sculpting with clay since time began, and it has served us well. I am not saying that you have to stop sculpting with clay. In fact I encourage you to keep using clay, it is a natural material and has served us well, as it has done for so long.

Though clay does need to be fired under fairly high temperatures for the curing process to work. I would say that you should also have polymer clay in your studio as well. And use which ever sculpting material that best suits what you are sculpting at the time.

Polymer clay will serve you very well for so many different areas in your sculpting. Think of it this way, if you live in a fairly hot, dry place. You know that your clay will tent to dry out quickly, and if you don't intend in finishing this sculpture in a fairly short time. You are going to have to keep tending your clay sculpture, making sure that it has not dried out too much. If this happens, it will partially ruin your sculpture.

OK, clay is cheaper when buying a large amount, but it does have its downfalls, as I have just mentioned. Where polmer clay will not need to be kept moist in a hot climate, and will also not dry out. You can return to your sculpture whenever you want, even from one month to the other, without worrying if it has dried out so much that your sculpture is cracking. Sculpty clay will stay as it is from the time you start your sculpture till the time you are ready to find it - whatever the climate.

As you can see there are many advantages to using polymer clay. It is an exciting edition for sculptors, and the sculpture world. It has its many advantages, and fits into so many areas of lifestyles, from cities to the country, it's clean to work with, and does not get too complicated when using it. From basic sculptures, to sculpting detailed sculptures on armatures, you will be very pleased with it.

Sculpting with polymer clay is going to make the world of sculpting simpler, and you will end up with a hardened sculpture as your end result, all within your own house. Now who can beat that.

Andrea Balch is and has been a professional artist for over 27 years now, working in many different mediums, living in Australia, sometimes England.

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