How to Build a Statue of Liberty Model

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Build a Statue of Liberty Model
Build a Statue of Liberty Model (Image: Illustrations by Andrew DeWitt)

The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the single most famous symbol of the United States of America. The statue stands at the border to one of the most famous cities in the world, New York City, and represents the hope and virtues of American life. Creating a model of the Statue of Liberty can be done as part of a Social Studies or American History class and will give your students a visual aid for projects relating to the Statue of Liberty.

Things You'll Need

  • Package of Sculpey polymer clay
  • Wire modeling mesh
  • Clay shaping tools: 1 round tip and 1 taper tip
  • Modeling wire
  • Scissors
  • Small rolling pin

Cut a piece of wire modeling mesh into a 4x3-inch square. Roll the wire into a cylinder wider at the bottom than the top. Place a 2-inch diameter ball of Sculpey on the top of the wire. This will act as the torso; the wire frame will create the base of the figure, including the skirt and robes.

Cut 10 2-inch long pieces of modeling wire. Stick three of these into the upper-right section of the torso for the upper right arm. Place these so that the three wires create a small cone for the arm. Twist the wires together at the end; place a small ball of Sculpey on the twisted tip to create the elbow. Stick another 2-inch long wire into the top of the elbow for the forearm. Add a small piece of Sculpey to the top of this for the hand. Add another wire sticking through the hand vertically for the base of the torch.

Create the left arm with three wires coming out of the upper left side and pointing diagonally down. Group and twist the ends of these wires in the same manner as with the other arm. Add a small ball of Sculpey for the elbow and attach a wire pointing diagonally up for the left forearm. Add a ball of Sculpey for the hand. Place a 2-inch-long piece of wire in the top of the torso for the neck.

Create the head by rolling a 1-1/2-inch diameter oval out of Sculpey. Add the bangs with two small lumps of clay to the upper left and right sides of the face. Add the base of the crown with a small curved rectangle made from the clay. Place this on the top of the head.

Press two small eye holes on the face with the round-tipped clay-shaping tool. Create the nose for the Statue of Liberty with a small ball of clay, less than 1/4 inch wide. Place this on the center of the face. Smooth the top of the nose up with a tapered clay-shaping tool. Press up on the top half of the ball of clay and blend this into the face. Add nostrils by pressing the tip of the clay tool inside the bottom of the nose. Add the sides of the nostrils by pressing a small groove at the left and right side of the nose.

Add the upper lip with a small piece of Sculpey; make it smaller than the nose. Place this under the nose and use the taper tool to blend the top of the nose into the face. Add the lower lip with another small piece of clay. Place this just below the upper lip and smooth it downwards. Press a small indentation into the top of the upper lip. Place a 2-inch piece of wire in the base of the head and press the head onto the torso leaving 3/4s of an inch for the neck. Press a small amount of Sculpey under the head and around the wire to create the neck.

Roll out seven thin cones around 1 inch long. Place these along the top of the head for the points in the crown. Press the front and back side of these cones with your fingers to slightly flatten the edges.

Roll out a piece of polymer clay, 8 inches wide and 8 inches long. The piece should be thin, less than 1/8th of an inch thick. Wrap this around the figure to create the main part of the robes. Press you fingers together and pinch the clay at the upper-left section of the statue's shoulder to create the bunching of the robes. Press the bottom of the clay robes up until they are flush with the base of the wire. This will create realistic bunching at the base of the robes.

Roll a smaller piece for the robes on the right arm. This piece should be 4x4 inches. Wrap this around the bottom of the arm and press the bottom and top together tightly to create the folds in the right sleeves.

Add the flesh of the arms with by pressing small clumps of clay over the wire armatures. Smooth this out with your fingers as you add more clay. The arm should end up being about 1/2-inch diameter wide. Roll out a 1x1-inch square for the tablet in the statue's hand. Add clay around the wire frame for the torch. Do this in the same manner as the arms but make the torch only 1/4 diameter thick.

Create a clay ball 1/2 inch in diameter. Press the top and bottom together with your fingers to flatten the top and bottom. Place this on the top of the torch. Create another ball of clay 1/2 inch in diameter. Gently pull the top of the clay to create the flame of the torch and place this on top of the torch. Place the figure on a baking sheet and into the oven at 275 degrees for 20 minutes to harden the figure. You can paint the finished model with green acrylic model paint. Let the figure dry. Add a coat of matte acrylic sealer over the paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • After the model is baked and painted, you can place the figure on a high wooden base to simulate the base of the real Statue of Liberty.
  • Use a separate baking sheet for all polymer clay products as toxins can leak out of the clay during the baking process.

References

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