Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Applying clay

I was asked to do a little on applying clay to the armature. we all have our methods but here is what I have found works for me:

 Clay needs to be softened and conditioned before applying. I have found this easy approach. Place the clay on a heating pad. The clay needs to be unopened or in a clean plastic bag to keep it clean.
Fold it over to sandwich the clay in the heating pad and let it warm up on "high" for about 15 minutes. The heating pad will not get the clay hot enough to start curing but will heat all the way through with out making the outside sticky.
 After 15 minutes, the clay will cut like soft butter. Slice off the largest piece you can work with.
This is the first squeeze of this warmed clay. You will see how soft it gets this way. 
 The clay needs to be rolled and squeezed until it is conditioned for use.
 The clay is ready when you can fold it over and it does not crack. You should be able to flatten the clay into a pancake and the edge will not crack either. If the edge cracks, keep rolling the clay between your hands.
Apply the clay as a large sheet or mass of clay. Compress the clay from all sides at once to work out air bubbles and fuse the soft clay together.
Do a general rough shaping with your hands.
 Take a sharp knife and shape the clay in a series of planes to the rough shape of your design.

Use your tools are fingers to smooth the final surface of the clay.
Hope this helps someone!
Have a great day!


  1. What the heck? I apply clay just like this..but my legs NEVER look so shapely and real! Thanks so much Mark, it is encouraging for me to know I am on the right track..just have to get those rails straightened out! Christel

  2. I love your idea of the heat pad!!! You know Mark, you are a genius.!!!!
    Thank you as always,
    carla Goncalves /Incanto Studios

  3. thanks for the tip :)

    Merry Christmas Mark

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your techniques with us. That has helped a lot!! cant wait to give it a go. Thats true Christel i play around for hours but can never get it to that stage:)
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Mark

  5. What a great idea. Conditioning clay is always intimidating and the worst job to do when sculpting. This will make it so much easier and less time. Genious.

  6. Yes yes yes... I keep my clay in the ice box because I think it keeps it freash longer. With my hands not in the best of shape this is just a wonderful tip ! I have learned so very much on your blog. You have been so very generoues shareing information. Thank you so much Mark. O I also have yoir book signed by you that I got as a gift!

  7. Thanks Mark for your great idee! Genious! A hug!

  8. your work area is sooo tidy..wishes mine were..

    From Tyla @


  9. This is greatly appreciated! Thank you! :)

  10. Thank you so so much for posting this. I have arthritis in my hands and conditioning the clay has always been a struggle for me. I cant wait to try this out!!