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  #1  
Old 07-07-2005, 07:47 PM
Ameenah Ameenah is offline
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Question Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

[SIZE=1] I'm realitivly new to sculpting, I've only taken a one week course and I've basically been self taught since. I'm having some trouble achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay. Should I use some type of oil to keep the clay from sticking to my fingers? I find that it lifts, and then smudges. I thought maybe I should get a harder clay, what do you think?
Ameenah
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2005, 08:21 PM
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sculptor sculptor is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

recomendation

try a different brand pf plastiline
or make your own

I have used roma plastiline usu in # 3 or 4 hardness but the 4 is a bear in the winter so I softened a bunch with oil and grease
the #3 is ok spring and autumn but a tad soft for summer work---currently 85 in the studio

I had some cheaper oil clay that dragged and lifted and I blended it off with scraps so it works a bit better, but I use it mainly under the surface

when finishing the pieces, I keep a water bowl handy, and dip my hands fequently---also a mist spritzer bottle----for broad surfaces, I used to use broad sheet metal cut and polished in various radii but with carzy credit card companies sending me from 5-30 free cards per month, I've been using them as surface scrapers----I shape them with chisels, gouges, and sharp knives to form the desired curves.
then wear an apron and wipe them off frequently

if you add oil to the surface, you'll likely exacerbate the dragging, lifting and smudging problem
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2005, 01:33 PM
Ameenah Ameenah is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

Sculptor,
Thanks so much for the recomendation.
I'll look into some different brands.
I agree with you, credit cards are great surface scrapers. I also use them but to paint with. I've have five sculptures under my belt and I've had such a great responce from friends and family.

My cousin showed my work to a friend of his who runs a well known art school in New York. He is trying to find me some backing and told me to write out a two year budget, showing how much it would take for me to just sculpt for two years.

I'm feel like I'm dreaming. Being self taught and my work having such an impact someone, just blows me away. I must admit most of the time I look at my work and think "how did I do that", but when I'm working it's almost automatic. so when I would hit a road block like this surface thing I would wish I had someone to ask. Thats why this site is great.
Thanks again,
Ameenah
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  #4  
Old 08-04-2010, 03:26 PM
julia burton julia burton is offline
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Smile Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I use a piece of shamy leather or real soft leather of a smoother grain wraped around my finger or fingers. This helps with smoothing surfaces. In my case faces and bodies but the credit card trick sounds like it would work for larger areas really well.
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2010, 05:46 PM
SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

If you don't mind using a soft clay you should try Van Aken gray green or Van Aken sculpture gray clays. I use metel tools with this clay and there is no sticking to the tools and yet the clay sticks to itself very well.
Another thing if you want to use a firmer clay I use Chavant NSP soft gray or
Chavant NSP medium gray. These clays are sticky but if you use metal tools
and heat the tools using a small oil lamp the clay smooths real well.
Usually I rough out the Chavant clays with my tools and than heat the tools for finnishing.
Another thing to consider if you want to reproduce your finnished sculptures is to use a clay that
does not have sulpher in it. Most molds are made out of silicone and silicone rubber is badly affected by sulpher.
Van Aken and Chavant NSP [non sulpher plastilina] have no sulpher in them.
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2010, 07:21 PM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I use those flexible metal scrapers and they work well.
Jeff
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2010, 11:44 PM
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David Aponte David Aponte is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I live in the Caribbean Puerto Rico were its all way hot. What I use is plastiline clay No 2 and at finishing time I use ice cold water to harden the clay, then a 3m pad to sand it down. as Julia Burton sub justed with a shamy leather pad to bring it to a finishes.
what grate is that we all come to the aid of others here. The fact that you have taken a one week course you are well on your way that grate. I hope this help.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2010, 05:47 AM
sharry sharry is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

Here's a few ways I use, not always all in one go but usually a mix. Depends on size of sculpt, level of detail etc.

1) Chill it in the fridge/freezer and buff it with tools and superfine sanding pads.

2) Use freeze spray to chill down and harden specific areas (canned air turned upside down when sprayed, watch your fingers as its VERY cold), then polish with cloths, fingers etc. When the frost melts after a few seconds you're left with a light covering a water which acts as a lubricant.

3) Vaseline or lighter fluid, use this only right at the end and use fingers, soft brushes and soft material to buff up. Lighter fluid cuts more so test on a spare bit of clay to see which gets you the best results.

4) Alcohol torch where you can puff flame to heat small areas and fire polish. You can get these from dental suppliers. Here's the kind of thing
http://store.tristatedental.com/P-17...-Alcohol-Torch

5) Use decreasing sizes of serrated tooth loop tools, start with coarse ones and work through to the ones that have a smaller but more numerous tooth, then to ribbon tools and on to smoothing as above. This method smooths the bumps in the surface initially and then refines it ready for final finish. You can make these tools yourself by cutting into loop tools to give serration and using guitar wire fitted into handles for the finer detailing.

Last edited by sharry : 09-03-2010 at 05:59 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-11-2011, 03:56 PM
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AndrewA AndrewA is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

Quote:
Originally Posted by ironman View Post
I use those flexible metal scrapers and they work well.
Jeff
As do the flexible rubber or vinyl shapers.

In the summer, when it is hot and humid, I have this problem. I find it is worlds easier to do the manipulations with tools rather than fingers. When forced to use fingers, I find frequently wiping my hands on a rag cuts this tendency to a minimum.

Andrew
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2011, 12:44 PM
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Lynda Lynda is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I use Classic clay in both the soft and hard hardness (it can be ordered through the JMac company or Arizonasculpture.com). The hard isn't quite as hard as Chavant, but it does what I want it to and is easier for me to work with than Chavant. There's no smell to Classic at all, it isn't sticky unless it's too warm, and when you draw a metal tool through it, you get clean cuts with few crumbs. One of my problems with Chavant is that there's a faint whiff of sulphur in even their non-sulphur clay that triggers my asthma. I talked to the president of Chavant about this in Loveland a few years ago, and he said all their clays go through the same presses, so it's possible the clay is picking up just a bit of sulphur from that.

Sorry, got a bit off-topic . . .

To smooth the clay, if it's small enough to fit in my freezer, I'll freeze the part in question then use metal tools on it to get a smooth finish. I also use a scrap of nylon mesh (screen wire, but not metal) to rub over the piece (at room temperature, not frozen) to find where there may be dips or bumps that aren't easily visible. After I fix these, I run the screen mesh over it again to be sure it's all even.

The final step in my process was told to me by my foundry - it's what they do to finish clay. I use a good quality (so it won't shed bristles) oil painting filbert brush and a plastic cup into which I've sprayed some citrus cleaner (Fast Orange is their brand of choice). I paint the citrus cleaner all over the piece, which melts the very top surface of the clay and smooths out crumbs. The rounded shape of the filbert brush means it won't score or gouge the clay and I can really get into the detail to scrub the crumbs out. Then I go over the sculpture again with my finger, rubbing in a circular way to make sure everything's smooth and blended (I usually work it so it doesn't leave a pattern, although there are times I'll use my fingerprints to give texture to a piece). Once the piece has dried, it's ready to go.

I hadn't heard about using chamois on plastilene. I'll have to give that a try!

Lynda
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  #11  
Old 06-27-2011, 01:39 PM
caroline.h caroline.h is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

Hi,

I use talc, it works great!
What are you going to do with your plastiline sculptures then? It won't last forever. I recommend you have them mold and cast in plaster or resin.
If you need advice about that, contact me, I run an Art Studio that does just that.

Caroline
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  #12  
Old 12-18-2012, 10:31 AM
Klat-2 Klat-2 is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

Hello,

I have several clays on the shelf and they are all made with a Plasticine clay. It has a high wax content. Do I need to get these resin cast? I am not familiar with this. Some of the pieces are over 3 years old.
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  #13  
Old 12-18-2012, 03:36 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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You don't need to cast them if you don't want

As long as you don't let them get too hot, or drop them off the shelf, they should last okay. My Mom has some plasticine pieces she made in the 1950s that are still hanging in there, probably dried out but looking okay.

But it's not considered a permanent material, and always will need more careful handling than a plaster, resin, or (especially) bronze casting made from it. If you wanted to sell them, the customer wouldn't want something that was liable to melt. And besides, if you made a mold, you could do an edition, and make a bunch of them.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2012, 11:43 AM
Robson Valley Robson Valley is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

A British-trained violin luthier makes her own small metal scrapers. I needed to do the same to smooth away the last of the the gouge marks. Sanding is not an option at all for these particular wood carvings.

The scrapers are made from pieces of the metal banding/strapping material used for bundles of lumber between mill and retailer. Hard, stiff, springy metal. The retailers usually break it off, fold it up and put it in the garbage = free. I have a lot of it, 1.25" wide.

Cut 3" pieces with metal shears. Square off an edge on an oil stone. The actual cutting is made with the tiny little burr along the squared-off edge. I wrapped some masking tape on the other edges. . . . my old eyes aren't too quick to figure it out any more.

Anyway, they work very well for wood so I'd expect that their value in clay would be the same if not better.
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  #15  
Old 12-19-2012, 02:44 PM
Klat-2 Klat-2 is offline
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Re: You don't need to cast them if you don't want

Thanks. I have a web site and sell bronze there. I am not familiar with the resin. Do I still need a mold? And can I make a resin from a preexisting mold? They Are made with Poly 72-40 I believe.
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  #16  
Old 12-19-2012, 04:28 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: You don't need to cast them if you don't want

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klat-2 View Post
Thanks. I have a web site and sell bronze there. I am not familiar with the resin.

[There are lots of different kinds of resins: polyester, polyurethane, epoxy, etc.]

Do I still need a mold?

[Yes, unless you want to scan your part and use a rapid prototyping technique to produce a duplicate.]

And can I make a resin from a preexisting mold? They Are made with Poly 72-40 I believe.
[Sure, but the mold release you'd use varies depending on the type of mold and resin. Get advice from the manufacturers of the particular ones you're contemplating, and try a test first, before committing to a major project.]

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #17  
Old 01-01-2013, 04:36 PM
Klat-2 Klat-2 is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I have the piece done I have been working on but cannot upload a pix. Help!
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  #18  
Old 01-01-2013, 07:08 PM
raspero raspero is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

You don't want to upload pictures to this forum. Unless you are an ISC member you are limited to something tiny, like 2 kb. What you do is to post them on a free photo storage site such as:

http://photobucket.com/

After you upload your photographs to photobucket you put your mouse cursor on the photo you want to post and a drop down thing appears. Click on the box beside "direct link" which will say "http:// something or another." That saves the link location. Then you click on the "Insert Image" yellow thing at the top of your post and paste the image location into the box that appears.

That's it. You may need to adjust the size of the photos before you upload them to photobucket so they are not huge files.

Richard
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  #19  
Old 01-02-2013, 10:05 AM
Klat-2 Klat-2 is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

[IMG][/IMG]

Thanks. I hope this works.

Last edited by Klat-2 : 01-02-2013 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Added Pix
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  #20  
Old 02-05-2013, 12:17 AM
negative negative is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I like that. why aren't you working in ceramics - then it could be fired for permanence.
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  #21  
Old 02-05-2013, 08:49 AM
Klat-2 Klat-2 is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I just made this vase for the fun of it. It to will be cast in bronze later. I have made several pieces with water based clay but prefer oil.
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  #22  
Old 04-14-2013, 02:48 AM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

I'm not a fan of plastiline, not the smell or the sticky residue it leaves on your hands, but it has it's use and I've used it in the past.
I seem to remember trying a variety of solvents and a soft brush, but even dish soap and a soft brush worked- kept the brush from sticking to it and you rinse the soap off afterwards.
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  #23  
Old 08-29-2013, 11:52 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: Achieving a smooth surface with plastiline clay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klat-2 View Post
I just made this vase for the fun of it. It to will be cast in bronze later. I have made several pieces with water based clay but prefer oil.
Very cool
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