Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Creative Paperclay Landscape (part 1 of 3)

(part 1 of 3)

Creative Paperclay is a great material for creating landscapes.  If you are making a diorama, a theater set design or need a setting for your sculpture, you may want to consider creating a landscape.  The landscape surrounding a finished sculpture will add atmosphere to reflect or contrast the mood you are creating.  A well-made landscape can stand on its own as a finished sculpture.

In this series of articles, we will put together a complete landscape utilizing three basic elements by building a base, a tree and rock and then look at ways of incorporating our landscape with other sculpted pieces.





When Creative Paperclay dries it is as hard as a soft wood, but it is much lighter.  Any sculpture under twelve inches tall will probably need to be attached to a base -- especially if it will be displayed near a high traffic area, knocked about by kids, pets and curious adults.

You can buy a variety of wood plaques to use as a base.  These come in a variety of styles and sizes and are inexpensive.  Creative Paperclay (CP) adheres nicely to wood so this is a fine choice for adding some weight and finish to your work.  When using a pre-made plaque, try to think of interesting ways of incorporating it with your sculpture.

Here is a great place to buy plaques online:  ConsumerCrafts

fantasy figurine sculpture on chessboard

Here, I painted the plaque to look like part of a chessboard to compliment the sculpture.

If you are using a plaque, you have all sorts of options for mod podging original or printed material to the surface of the plaque before adding your sculpture!

Using a wood plaque for a base is fine, but that's what everyone does and we want to be different.  Am I right?  It is much more fun and interesting to make your own base.  By making your own, it can become an integral part of the entire sculpture.

Let's explore a couple of ways of making your own unique base.


One easy method is take that old, terry washcloth you've been meaning to throw out, coat it with a fabric hardener like Paverpol (or wood glue, like Titebond II if you don't have Paverpol) and shape it into a grassy knoll and let it dry.  When dry, it will have a grassy texture.  This also works well for making coral in a seascape. 

I find that it works better to get the washcloth wet under a faucet and wring it out before adding the hardener.  It will take much longer to dry (like three days), but it seems to require less hardener.  Also, the hardener is more evenly distributed throughout the material.  When I don't wet the fabric first, I get areas where the hardener doesn't soak in as well, so some parts are hard and some are soft and I have to go over it again.

Once the land piece is dry you can add other features like rocks, sand, water.  Don't be afraid to incorporate natural objects like pebbles, acorns, pine cones, or twigs and leaves.


This second method for making a base involves tearing up a corrugated cardboard box and taping it together with masking tape.  This method is good for making rocky ledges.

Masking tape works well for piecing the cardboard together into a land formation and the CP sticks well to masking tape.  Slick tapes like Scotch tape don't seem to work as well.

For this method, tear cardboard into multiple, irregular shapes.  Arrange the shapes to form the landscape you want, then tape them together.  The cardboard can be folded over multiple times to make denser structures. 

Once you have the pieces stuck together, you can spread a layer of CP over it, working it into the nooks and crannies.  Make sure the CP is at least 1/8th of an inch thick.

That way it will dry with fewer cracks and firm up the structure nicely.  Also, try not to go more than 3/8ths of an inch thick on this first layer so that it dries in a timely manner.

Once it is dry, you can go back and add more features and texture.  Try to follow the natural shapes you created with the cardboard to build rocky areas and ledges.

Click here to go to part two.

link to kevin whitham saatchi art online

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black and white high contrast fantasy sculpture

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