Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Figure Sculpting with Creative Paperclay (part 2 of 3)

You can read part 1 here.

In this part, we will add a second layer of paper clay, which will bring together all of the elements of our figure.

The first part was making the armature and preparing it for sculpting.  In this step, we want to start adding detail, showing musculature, bone structure, etc.

Once the first layer of clay is dry, we can start adding a second layer of clay.  I know that adding thin layers takes a lot of time, because you have to wait for each layer to dry.

If you are impatient, like me, you can invest in a basic food dehydrator, which will dry your pieces in minutes instead of hours.   A cheaper alternative is to use a fan, but it does not work as fast.

This is the time to consult anatomical reference material.  Try to find photos from different angles to get a clear picture of the details you want to add to your figure.  Any internet search along these lines will yield more images than you could possibly want.

If you want free e-books of art reference materials, you can find a bunch here.

It is easy at this point to get caught up in trying to show every muscle and bone, but if you look in the mirror, you will see that many of them don't show (unless you are a weightlifter or something).

Also, feel free to show humans with all of their imperfections.  The ancient Greeks liked to show perfect human bodies, but most of us didn't turn out like that.  It's good to show figures that are overweight, aged, damaged or even part mythical beast. 

While the glue and first layer of clay added strength to the paper craft armature, I find that is is still a bit wimpy for piling on lots of clay for the second layer.  Often, what I do is work on the second layer of the back, let it dry at least partially, then work on the second layer of the front.  In this way, the added weight of the wet clay doesn't deform the armature.

Adding the second layer of clay will not only give strength to your figure, but should reveal to you what direction you want to take.  Often, artists like to sketch how they want their finished piece to look, but I like to wing it.  It's more fun and often reveals new directions that I otherwise might not have considered.

You can make all the "mistakes" you want, but you can't ruin your finished piece, because you can always make changes.  With that in mind, remember these basic concepts.

If you are working on part of a piece, and you get that part of it perfect, but another part looks weird, let it dry first.   You can always go back and rework the weird part, but if you keep working on it to get the entire piece just right, you'll end up messing up the perfect part.

With paper clay, it is much easier to add to a sculpture than it is to take away.  A good approach is to build up the clay to the shape you want and let it dry.  Then, go back to finalize the texture and finish.  It is okay to repeat this process multiple times until you get your desired effect.

Work on several figures at a time.  While one is drying, you can work on part of another.

In part 3, we will add a final layer of clay and put in details and also look more closely at sculpting hair.

Works available directly from the artist

You can visit me on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Spinners

The year has gone by so quickly!  I am getting ready to celebrate the holidays and so happy to be back in Arizona where I belong.  Don't have my tree up yet but decided to try making some ornaments to hang in the windows or wherever they seem to fit.

If you'd like to try creating some of your own, you will need -
Delight™ air dry modeling compound
scrap piece of board or cardboard, about 4" x 8"
acrylic paints
a fishing swivel
plain paper
white glue
rolling pin
plastic wrap
masking tape
monofilament or thread
round toothpick
craft knife
decorative bead or beads, as desired

Here is the pattern I designed for this project:
if you click on the image it should take you to a page where you can print it.

Print the pattern, but out the semicircular shape with the tabs.  Use the guide at the edge to mark 2 pairs of parallel lines onto cardboard, then mark line perpendicular to those at approximately 2" intervals, as shown.

Roll clay out to 1/16" thickness.  place circular pattern cutout lightly on clay and trace around it with a craft knife.  Gently lift out the cut out piece and place it onto the cardboard, aligning the top tab with the top line as shown.  Press the tab portion onto the cardboard just enough to make it stick, then add a piece of tape to hold it in place.

Now carefully lift up the bottom edge and turn it to the other side, creating a twist in the piece.  Align it with the marks on the cardboard, press and tape into place.

Repeat the process for the next piece -

you will need two for each ornament (or, you can try adding one or more extras onto a single ornament if you like).
Set the clay curves aside to dry.

Remove the clip on the fishing swivel, if there is one, and use pliers to pinch one of the end loops on the swivel to make it smaller than the ball in the center, as shown.

Cut a strip of paper the width of the top tabbed section on the pattern and about 1" to 1 1/2" long.  Roll the strip around a toothpick, then place the swivel inside and tighten or loosen the strip so that it fits snugly onto the swivel.  Glue the paper roll into a tube, but do NOT glue it to the swivel.  Make another paper tube for the bottom tab.

Prepare the string for your ornament by putting a stop bead on the end.
cut a strip of paper the same size or just slightly smaller than the hole in your bead.

Fold the paper in half, tie the end of a length of monofilament around the paper (12" to 14" of monofilament should be more than enough - it's better to have it longer than you need it at this point, so you have room for tying off the ends later).  Fold the paper in half again, keeping the monofilament in the fold.  Pull both ends of the monofilament up through the bead, put glue on both sides of the paper and pull it up into the bead to hold the monofilament snugly.  (clip off the ends of the paper if it is sticking out below the bottom of the bead.  Trim the extra "tail" off the monofilament so you have a single strand coming from the top of the bead.

When the clay pieces are dry, trim the tabs off in line with the marks on the cardboard.  Glue a paper tube to each end of the curved clay as shown, making sure that the tubes are in line with each other.

When the glue is dry, attach another clay twist to the other side.

It should appear to be a figure eight when looking through the lined-up tubes from the top or bottom of the ornament.

Allow the glue to dry, then paint as desired.

To string the ornament, put the monofilament with the bead on the end that you prepared earlier up through the bottom tube.  If desired, add a center bead in the center of the ornament by either knotting the monofilament where you want the bead to sit and gluing the bead in place, or by wrapping a piece of tape around the line and securing the bead to it with glue.

Thread the monofilament through the top tube of the ornament, through the bottom (squished) end of the swivel, then back through the top tube of the ornament.  Pull the swivel snugly into the tube, then make a knot in the monofilament to hold it in place.

Hang it up and blow on it gently to watch it spin, or place in a breezy doorway or window.

I hope each of you have Marvelously Happy Holidays, whichever ones you celebrate!

Thanks for joining me here again!  As always, play, experiment, and have fun!

Find me on Facebook, or peruse & ponder pics with me on Pinterest


Monday, December 5, 2016

Shari's Tip of the Month for December- Finding Paperclay Tools

Good morning!

The Holidays have arrived!
 I have my tree up and decorated, the family visits have begun, and holiday goodies are baking in the oven.

So much time last week was spent in the baking isle at my local craft and hobby store. They have the best baking tools. There are so many fun candy and fondant molds too.  The cutting tools alone will help you make some decorating magic.

Come to think of it, working with fondant is similar to working with clay.

Because they had buy one get one half off on all baking items at the craft store, I bought one set of tools for baking and one for clay. Brilliant!

 Hope this tip helped inspire you to look outside the box when creating with clay.

Happy Creating,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tips For Working With Creative Paperclay

I love working with Creative Paperclay product for many reasons, but mostly because I love making one of a kind projects for my friends and family, and for myself too!  Yet there are times when something doesn't turn out quite as I wanted it to look!!!  

  • When you need something to be completely flat - try to put it in the oven instead of letting air dry!
  • Make pieces ahead of time, so you can simply grab things and create!  
  • Take your time in planning things out - and as your are making, use plenty of water to smooth things out as you go!  
  • Recycle products as you can to give a firm base for what you are creating!  I love to use recycled things you normally would throw away for other things!  
Not everything is going to turn out perfect - spend time and enjoy simply creating!  The project above didn't turn out "perfect" - but it did turn out the exact way I wanted it to turn out!  
Thanks for stopping by,
Lynda Jeffs
Memories in Tyme and 
Creative Paperclay Design Team 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

December First Friday Fan Day

Need some inspiration for your next Creative Paperclay® project? Check out what folks are making with Creative Paperclay™.

Paperclay and Cork Christmas Trees (great kids' project)
Embossed and Colored Angels
Paperclay Snowman
Inspiration: use Creative Paperclay® in place of rocks

Build a Papercaly Snowman

  1. Use the hashtag #CreativePaperclay on all your social networks.
  2. When using Facebook, be sure the your posts and images using the #Creative Paperclay hashtag are set to public, otherwise we won't be able to find you.
  3. Share your projects on the Creative PaperClay® Facebook page.
I'm always trolling the web, looking for great Creative Paperclay® projects. If you find something, post it on our Facebook page.


Find the answers to your paperclay questions. See what other folks are creating. Stop by our Facebook group and say, "Hi!" Creative Paperclay Q&A

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Figure Sculpting with Creative Paperclay (part 1 of 3)

1:9 scale female armature
1:9 scale male armature

In our last article we looked at sculpting animals using a paper craft armature.  In this series, we are going to take it one step further by sculpting human figures based on a simplified paper craft armature.

I have drawn out a male and a female model that you can download, print on card stock, cut out and assemble to make a very basic 3D armature.

The figures are about eight inches tall, making them approximately 1:9 scale.  Feel free to print them larger or smaller to fit the scale in which you want to work.

female armature cut out and taped

You can use glue to assemble them, but to save time, I just use bits of masking tape.

As you can see, the figures are not complete and have gaps between different parts, but they will suit our purpose, which is to show proper scale and location of details.

We will fill in the gaps later with paper clay once we decide on a pose.

male armature cut and asembled

In traditional sculpting, it is more common to use a wire armature, but I find that by using a card stock armature, I can draw on any details I want to include.

If you would prefer to use a wire sculpture, David Neat, a British artist, has an excellent article with downloadable drawings here. 

love is everwhere...
the figure on right has
been coated with glue

The next step is to reinforce the armature so it is solid enough to add clay.  The easiest way I have found is to coat all sides with Paverpol or wood glue, which when it dries, becomes quite firm.

Once the glue is dry, you can add a thin layer of clay.  This first layer is just to give the armature more strength and depth.

Don't worry about how you will position your figure yet.  After the first layer of clay is dry, it will be much firmer.

When dry, you can decide how you want to position your figure.  This is a fun part, because you can try all sorts of ideas.

Even after you settle on one, remember it is easy to change your mind, even after the clay is dry.

female figure after first
layer of paper clay
In the next part, we will add the second layer of paper clay, which will bring together all of the elements of our figure and make it look more human and less cartoonish.

This first part was making the armature and preparing it for sculpting.  The next step gives you total freedom on how you want to express your view of the human condition through your art.

Click here to go to part 2.

Works available directly from the artist

You can visit me on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Change Your Mind Tips

Sometimes we change our mind. Maybe it is the concept behind the piece of art, we couldn't execute the vision we saw in our mind or ???? With Creative Paperclay®, it is easy to remove the clay if our project doesn't work out. In this case, I had added a fennec (Saharan) fox on my art piece but changed my concept for the piece. I needed to remove it so I could continue on with my painting.


Dried Creative Paperclay®
Paper Towels
Metal Palette Knife/Scraper

I covered the clay with very wet paper towels and leave on until the clay softened.

Then I scrapped it off. If some of the clay is still hard just reapply the wet paper towels again.

When all the clay is removed, I can continue to work on the piece. The playing never stops.

Dream in Color.