How to create a sculpey statue, figurine or maquette


Sculpey, a type of polymer clay, is used for making model statues, figurines and maquettes. The clay stays soft and moldable until baked to harden. This allows plenty of time for perfecting the structure and working the clay until you have achieved the desired outcome. Clay can be added or removed as needed and tools can be used to carve and shape the clay, making muscles or joints for your sculpture. Sculpey manufactures several varieties of clay in different textures and consistencies for all your project needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal baking tray
  • Sculpting tools
  • Knead the clay to recondition it for use. Conditioning essentially remixes all the ingredients and makes the clay more pliable. It also strengthens the clay and reduces the chance of breakage or having a weak finished project.

  • Break off small pieces of the clay and begin building your sculpture.

  • Add pieces until you have reached the desired size and basic shape of your statue's body.

  • Roll pieces of clay into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand. To make the arms, do not flatten it all the way. After flattening part of the way, roll the clay under your palm, making it cylindrical.

  • Attach the arms and legs to the statue, figurine or maquette using a small amount of clay.

  • Smooth out any areas of the clay where you attached the arms and smooth out any areas of the body. Use a needle or smoothing tool to sculpt shapes and lines into the clay as needed.

  • Move the oven rack to the lowest position necessary for the statue to bake without touching any of the sides of the oven. Turn the oven on and preheat to 275 degrees F.

  • Place the statue onto the metal baking tray.

  • Bake for 30 minutes per 1/4-inch of thickness if using Sculpey Premo clay. For Sculpey Granitex, bake for 15 minutes per 1/4-inch of thickness. Set a timer and keep a close check on the clay sculpture to avoid over darkening or burning the project.

  • Remove the project from the oven and allow to cool completely before moving or touching.

Tips & Warnings

  • For a statue or figurine with moveable body parts you will need to mold the clay around a wire or metal medium that can withstand the baking temperature of the clay.
  • Be careful with that x-acto! They are very sharp and can slip out of your hand and into your finger. Ouch!
  • Do not touch your sculpey for at least an hour after baking. The sculpey will be very hot, and still too soft to handle safely.
  • Brace the figure carefully when sanding. Applying too much sandpaper pressure can force cracks into the figure. Fill cracks with more sculpey and re-bake.
  • Do not bake again if you have painted or glued your sculpey. This can cause dangerous toxic fumes-nobody wants that!
  • Don't leave your sculpey out for too long. If it gets too much oxygen, the sculpey can become brittle and difficult to shape. Store unused sculpey in an air-tight container.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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