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Unread 02-19-2013, 04:05 PM   #1
A14jojo
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Air drying clay that need little to no sanding

Hello again everyone,

I am constrcuting this cane here and here

My original plan had been to apply the detailing using paper clay after I had primed and painted the cane, which I thought was the best way to go before I started. Except now that I am done and at that point I realize that if I try to sand and smooth out the detailing I will very likely mare the lacquer finish on the cane.

So I need to find an air dry clay that needs no sanding and gives a relatively smooth finish. I have heard of/read up on the following:

Milliput
Apoxie clay
Magic Sculpt
Sculpt.It
Plus Air Dry clay
Makins Air dry clay
Cold Porcelain

All these are either, not available in my local craft stores, out of my current budget, or have negative reviews. I want to spend the money I have on something that will give me good results. Also, on hand I have paper clay, model magic and sculpey.

I am so proud of this prop and I really don't want to ruin the finish.

Last edited by A14jojo : 02-19-2013 at 04:23 PM.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
detenten
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You mean that little bit of yellow gold design? I would hot glue the details and paint the glue. It will come out smooth and beveled. However, I am a hotglue fangirl.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
A14jojo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detenten View Post
You mean that little bit of yellow gold design? I would hot glue the details and paint the glue. It will come out smooth and beveled. However, I am a hotglue fangirl.
Yes, the little gold design, though in the picture it looks finer and thinner than it actually is. I have considered hot-glue. Unfortunately my hands shake badly and the detailing would come out looking sloppy because of that. T.T
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Unread 02-19-2013, 05:31 PM   #4
detenten
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Practice a few times on a silicone mat to get it just right. Then you can peel it off and adhere it!
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Unread 02-19-2013, 08:44 PM   #5
CapsuleCorp
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All air-drying clays will need sanding when you finish. No matter how delicate and careful you are when sculpting, how well you smooth it out, there will be imperfections that have to be sanded down or out. Fingerprints. Dents. Now, paperclay is different from some of the others in that it has paper fiber and volcanic ash in it, so when dry, it has a grainy texture that has to be sanded out. But other clays and epoxies have their own drawbacks. Some take days if not weeks to cure and are spongey and damage-able until then. Some, like you say, are too expensive and even they still pick up finger-indentations like nobody's business and those have to be sanded out.

The only clay I've worked with that requires little to no sanding once the sculpting process is over is oven-bake clay - Sculpey or Fimo. It's easier to manipulate in the sculpting phase so that you have fewer imperfections, and is easier to use for small details that have to be added onto something. So if you're trying to sculpt something that you would be able to bake separately and then glue onto this cane, go with oven-bake. But, I gather that the process of making a piece separate and glueing it onto the cane eliminates the worry about sanding off parts of the cane in the first place, so it may not be the solution you need.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 09:21 PM   #6
A14jojo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapsuleCorp View Post
All air-drying clays will need sanding when you finish. No matter how delicate and careful you are when sculpting, how well you smooth it out, there will be imperfections that have to be sanded down or out. Fingerprints. Dents. Now, paperclay is different from some of the others in that it has paper fiber and volcanic ash in it, so when dry, it has a grainy texture that has to be sanded out. But other clays and epoxies have their own drawbacks. Some take days if not weeks to cure and are spongey and damage-able until then. Some, like you say, are too expensive and even they still pick up finger-indentations like nobody's business and those have to be sanded out.

The only clay I've worked with that requires little to no sanding once the sculpting process is over is oven-bake clay - Sculpey or Fimo. It's easier to manipulate in the sculpting phase so that you have fewer imperfections, and is easier to use for small details that have to be added onto something. So if you're trying to sculpt something that you would be able to bake separately and then glue onto this cane, go with oven-bake. But, I gather that the process of making a piece separate and glueing it onto the cane eliminates the worry about sanding off parts of the cane in the first place, so it may not be the solution you need.
Thank you for such a though out reply! Yes, those are more or less my thoughts. To bad I did not realize that I backed myself in such a corner by not sculpting the clasp on before I primed and painted the cane.

I wish I could use Sculpey but obviously that's not an option. I wish I could make the piece separately and then glue it on, but with clay I don't think that is.........will actually it might be possible. I could wrap the cane in plastic wrap and then sculpt the details over it. Once I am done I would carefully remove the piece and then either bake it or let it dry depending on the type of clay I use. I wonder if that would work, or would the piece just snap in my attempt to get it back on.
Another option would be to simply abandon the clay idea all together and find something else to make the clasp out of.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 07:16 AM   #7
verdatum
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On one hand, all air dry clays need to be sanded for a proper finish. On the other hand, none of them do. The only real reason you seriously need to sand the surface is to give it a bit more "tooth" to grip onto the primer better. This step can be done with a scotchbrite pad.

Otherwise, you can use tricks to get your airdry clay super smooth. You can use a combination of various brushes and sponges, dipped in oderless mineral spirits (other solvents probably also work just about as well, acetone, xylene, toluene, naptha, paint thinner. Just take proper precautions and read the labels.) for a more dramatic smoothing, and later dipped in plain water for finer smoothing.

You can also put your sculpt in the freezer, or hit it with canned air turned upside down (CAREFULLY to avoid frostbite). The cold clay will be more rigid, so it won't pick up things like fingerprints as much.

Also, you don't need to worry so much about using sandpaper. All ya gotta do is cover your pretty lacquered surface with Blue Painter's Tape immediately around the sculpt. As long as you aren't being completely careless, or using a power-sander, the paint below will be protected. As you remove the tape, do so carefully. I like to get up close to the surface and constantly breathe on the tape edge. The warm moist air weakens the adhesive.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Have you tried apoxie sculpt? You can get it VERY smooth by wetting your hands and smoothing it that way while it cures. Additionally if you just hit it with a low grit sanding sponge you can get it RIDICULOUSLY smooth.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 01:54 PM   #9
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Shell out the cash for the Apoxie Sculpt and order some online. The chemical formulation of it is epoxy + magic. I don't know which container contains the epoxy and which one contains the magic, but I'll figure it out some day. As Stabbity said, it's absurdly friendly to work with and incredibly useful.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 01:58 PM   #10
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verdatum: Thank you again for your insightful replies, you always give me food for thought.
What you suggested is what I was hoping to do, and I am not looking for a perfectly smooth finish at this point, at least not at the cost of the smooth finish I have achieved on the cane. So what clay would you suggest I try with the odorless mineral spirits? Which I gather will take finish off the cane unless I use the painter's tape.

StabbityBlkMage: I have heard good things about apoxie scuplt! but I have no clue where to find it in town or if it can even be bought locally for that matter. Do you know where it would be sold besides online?
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Unread 02-20-2013, 02:00 PM   #11
A14jojo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altrus View Post
Shell out the cash for the Apoxie Sculpt and order some online. The chemical formulation of it is epoxy + magic. I don't know which container contains the epoxy and which one contains the magic, but I'll figure it out some day. As Stabbity said, it's absurdly friendly to work with and incredibly useful.
That's what I have come to understand and it sounds like a perfect solution. However, I'll have to see if I can manage it budget wise and if a friend can help me purchase it. Otherwise I am going to have to look for another solution.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 03:06 PM   #12
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I think it works with any air-dry clay. I know it works with all oil-based clays, but that doesn't help much. You want to use the stuff sparingly, so you wouldn't get more than a fraction of a drop touching your clearcoat, and as long as you don't go digging into it, that shouldn't be enough to hurt the finish. Just suck up what you can with the capillary action of the brush, and allow the remainder to air-dry. Orienting the wand so that gravity isn't pulling the fluid down to the cane isn't a bad idea either.

To use mineral spirits in combination with painter's tape, you actually need to use a special automotive painter's tape which can be pretty difficult to find.

It sounds like you might just want to see how smooth you can get it with a brush and some water first, and then go get some mineral spirits if unsatisfied.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 09:10 PM   #13
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Unfortunately I always order it in bulk with friends to split the shipping costs and as a result have never purchased it locally. I'd go ahead and use the store locator on their website and see if there is one nearby.

http://www.avesstudio.com/index.php

Happy hunting!
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Unread 02-21-2013, 05:39 PM   #14
A14jojo
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I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to share advice/input. I learned quit a few new things and I really appreciate it.
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