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Unread 10-11-2007, 08:44 PM   #1
Guavi
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Question Help: Lightweight Sculpting/Molding Material?

[EDIT] Problem solved, on my part, with quite an odd mix of Rigid Wrap, cardboard, hot glue, Paperclay, Celluclay, florist's wire, and...paper towels.
I improvise way too much for my own good. But the result was fantastic. :]

I am trying to make a mask for my Nell Tu cosplay, but I'm not sure what materials are good for it. (fyi, the mask is quite thick and sits on top of the head, thus eliminating the "it has to be thin-and-strong" issue.) I want a good sculpting/molding material, capable of holding details and textures (I am a complete sucker for minutiae :] ), but is lightweight enough to sit on my head with no dangers of bruising my skull or crushing someone's toes if it falls off. My friends have told me that a lightweight air-dry modeling-clay-like material does exist, but none of them can recall the name of it. I am thinking of building a cardboard framework first, so the strength of the material itself won't be a huge problem. Can anyone help me out?

My other option seems to be carving it out of Styrofoam, since it's a pretty thick skull-mask, but I'm not a huge fan of Styrofoam. That would be my last resort.

Last edited by Guavi : 10-14-2007 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Problem solved!
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Unread 10-11-2007, 08:56 PM   #2
CapsuleCorp
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If you're molding the clay on top of a frame (cardboard, plaster wrap, or what have you) then go with either Hearty Clay or Paperclay. Both are air-dry, both are very lightweight, both can be sanded, carved, smoothed, and painted and sealed at will. About the only difference is the consistency of the clay while in its moist state and the length of time it takes to dry. Paperclay will dry to sandable in less time. But some people can be allergic to the dust from paperclay because it has volcanic ash in it.

I've had great success molding both clays over anything from plaster wrap (Rigidwrap, great for masks, helmets, etc) to buckram to matt board. Either one should do the trick for you.
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Unread 10-11-2007, 10:01 PM   #3
benihime
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model magic. its cheap and you can get it at walmart.

you'll need to gesso it before you paint it though. you can buy that @ wal-mart as well
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Unread 10-11-2007, 10:55 PM   #4
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any primer is fine for sculpey, doesn't have to be gesso.

As benihime says, Crayola Model magic is a lightweight air-dry modeling clay. I've never used it, but I don't think it's terribly high detail.

I tried doing a mask in sculpey once and it crumbled immediately. Maybe I just have lousy luck at baking the stuff. Just take care if you use it.

If you want high detail, like to the milimeter level, your choices are pretty much polymer clay like scupley, or stepping up to molding and casting techniques. Air dry clays just can't hold the detail that good oil clays (plastilina) can do, but oil clays never set up, so you gotta mold it and make a copy in resin or some such material.
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Unread 10-11-2007, 10:57 PM   #5
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Paperclay sounds ideal, I'll look that one up next time I raid a Michaels.

My experience with Crayola consists mainly with improvising and things ending up being used as something they weren't meant to be, because frankly they don't tend do their own designated job too well. But they're cheap, yes. :]

I use Sculpey on a regularbasis for small figurines and such, but they aren't much good for anything big; plus they don't come cheap for a teeny little block and that just makes me sad. Baking that is definitely a pain.

Last edited by Guavi : 10-11-2007 at 11:02 PM.
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Unread 10-11-2007, 11:34 PM   #6
verdatum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guavi View Post
they don't come cheap for a teeny little block and that just makes me sad.
Those little blocks are a pretty lousy deal. I buy super-sculpey which has a sort of a fleshtone, it can get better detail, and it comes in 1 pound blocks for about 15$ which works out a fair bit cheaper.
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Unread 10-11-2007, 11:47 PM   #7
Guavi
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Quote:
Those little blocks are a pretty lousy deal. I buy super-sculpey which has a sort of a fleshtone, it can get better detail, and it comes in 1 pound blocks for about 15$ which works out a fair bit cheaper.
I see...that sounds much, much better. Since they only come in one color (as far as I've seen), how well do paint stick to those? Last time I tried painting Sculpey, things started peeling off pretty quickly, but that could just be a over-baking problem.

If I try using Sculpey, then a cardboard frame probably won't survive the oven too well.
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Unread 10-12-2007, 07:08 AM   #8
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Model magic is awesome. It's lightweight, easy to work with, and relatively cheap. It also air-dries. It can be sanded and painted (though primer is recommended.)

Sculpey requires baking. It also dries with the weight of clay and is breakable. I wouldn't recommend it for anything you'd put on your head. Paperclay, though also air-drying, has the same problem, and it seems to take a long time to dry.
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Unread 10-12-2007, 07:15 AM   #9
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Paperclay is the best! it air dries and can adhere without anything to paper, wood, or cardboard. You can even sand it (unlike model magic). It takes acrillic paint extremely well (no primer required) and hardens like a rock. And its super light weight. Its really weird the first time you work with it because it has a very squishy consistency but its a great medium to work with. It does take a long time to dry but you can use it to your advantage, you can always go back and change details, and if it's dry you can remoisten it with a little water and fix anything. Once you paint and seal it you can't but up until then problems are easily addressed. There's an entire thread dedicated to Paperclay questions.

I'm just going to show off my work with paperclay:
http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=1213269
I'm so proud and I couldn't have done it without paperclay! I used about 3 pounds of paperclay for the emblem.
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Unread 10-12-2007, 09:24 PM   #10
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*head to desk* If you're going to use a spongey air-dry clay, don't use Model Magic, use HEARTY. You do not need to buy an extra primer for it. Hearty takes longer than paperclay to cure hard enough to sand, but it WILL cure. And I've been able to sculpt some pretty good detail with both air-dry clays, it just takes a steady hand and some tools - which you'd need with sculpey also, no?

Model Magic may be cheaper than Hearty for one package, but when you have to buy a primer in order to be able to sand and finish it, you're not really saving that much money in the end. Hearty requires NO primer, and if you wet it after you sand it, you can smooth the little particles back into the clay for a ceramic-like super-smooth finish. That's one of the reasons why Hearty clay is my new favorite toy to play with.
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Unread 10-13-2007, 12:38 AM   #11
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yeah but if you have gesso for priming your swords it's not really an extra cost is it?

hearty? never heard of it. where do you get it? i may want to check it out. im always up for new ideas
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Unread 10-13-2007, 08:34 PM   #12
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Hobby Lobby and other fine craft stores. It's in the same section as paperclay and sculpey/fimo. I tend to buy my local store out of its big packages, so they're slow to restock, but they do have it.

Natch, if you already have the other supplies you'd need, MM would be slightly more cost-effective, but someone who hasn't sculpted anything like this before and doesn't have primer and sealer just laying around from other projects has to take that into consideration.

I do tend to prefer paperclay if it's going to be stuck onto paper or wood, because it's made of the same base substance, but either/or. They pretty much behave the same once dry and sanded.
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Unread 10-13-2007, 10:30 PM   #13
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I really do want to get my hands on some Paperclay next time I need to use it to craft something, it's just too hard to get smooth, and it doesn't sand down worth anything. At least, next time I need to sculpt something large- For small things, it really isn't that bad.

;_; Alas, Pat Catan's doesn't sell paperclay, just MM.
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Unread 10-13-2007, 11:13 PM   #14
LadyAnissina
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Question about model magic: You prime it before you sand it? that seems odd to me. Am I reading this wrong? I've never worked with it before, but I will as on Mon.
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Unread 10-14-2007, 08:10 AM   #15
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what about some clay i always see called DAS is it any good?
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