Heads & faces
Proportions, Misc. & gen. techniques
Simpler heads
Age groups & gender & ethnicity, etc.
...heavily sculpted character faces
...recipes for skin-colored clay
...adding color on flesh-colored skin
...skin texture
Molds (smaller)
...Distorting molded faces for more variety
...Mold releases
...Molds misc.
Faces used alone
...(surrounded, embellished, dimensional or flat, etc.)
Cracking (in larger pieces.. prevention,repair)
Misc. heads & faces
Websites + YouTube, etc

Masks & larger molds,forms
Forms to use
Make your own forms
More mask websites
....mini masks
....medium-size masks
....larger masks
...other masks, for inspiration

HEADS-Faces ...& MASKS

Heads + Faces

for specific facial features & other body parts
see Sculpting Bodies-Tools

...see also Armatures .. esp. for creating aluminum foil cores for heads
...see also Faces for more info specifically on caned faces & heads.
...see also Molds for making faces (& heads)

"J-Clay Station" support stand for holding head being sculpted
(...click on Enter, then click on "Head Stands" )

Heads (and faces) can be made several ways, and in many sizes.
They can be realistic or they can be simple, whimsical, fantastical, abstract or masklike.
They can be sculpted directly, or created from a form or mold; those resulting from molds can be changed in many ways to create new faces/heads.
Heads can be made solid or over armatures --for example over tightly wadded aluminum foil to save clay and decrease weight.
Hair and features can be created with clay or with other things such as glass beads, wire, mohair, shells, etc.
The base clay can be flesh-colored or not; other coloring can be added with powders, acrylic washes, or clay on top of or in the flesh clay base.
Heads can be made from very tiny sizes up to much larger sizes (though beware of cracking in larger pieces --see below).

Garie's wire-and-features face (didn't know where else to file this!) http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/frank.htm

see also Masks below for more things that could also pertain to heads in general

Much of the information below can apply to face/head sculptures as well as to canes

Misc. & General techniques

There are some basic measurements (proportions) that help to keep in mind if you are going for a realistic look rather than cartoon . . . Ears start at the brow and stop generally at the end of the nose (?). Mouth corners end at the eye center. . . .Instead of adding muscle groups before of details, I would recommend beginning first with basic large groups such as the forehead, nose bridge, chin, and mouth box. Then add muscles, details. 10more

lessons on drawing features in the correct proportions (positions and sizes)

Sarajane's proportions for face...... measure your eye from side to side (the whole thing, lid and all) with your finger and thumb. Hold that measure with your finger and thumb and check this out--it mostly holds true. There is a eyesized space between your two eyes. Your nose is roughly as long as the eyes are wide. The relaxed mouth and eye width are almost the same. The space between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lip is the same measure as the top of the eyesocket to the bottom. Sarajane H

(virtually) experiment with putting features in the correct positions, and seeing how people's faces can be different depending on spacing, etc.

drawing various face shapes (also drawing eyes, noses, mouths, ears)

When you get a face that you like, look at it from the profile as well as full-on. Look at it in the mirror--this is a sneaky little trick my costume design teacher taught me--your brain glosses over mistakes and things after you've been looking at something too long, but when the image is reversed, your brain sees it afresh, and notices things. . . .Sarajane?

I do lots of small faces and it would be wonderful to have a small tool like that electric filing and buffing kit (intended for fingernails) of yours to do the sanding around eyes and noses. jazzybead2 (...for more info on using this or other small or unconventional sanders/buffers as mild sandpaper, see Buffing > Other Electrics)
...When I have an irregular surface that makes it hard to file in the crevices, I use a buffer bit which has a felt tip (Dremel, or other small electric tool) but it works as a sander in this fashion. You just lightly run the tip over the surface and it takes the top layer off.....

Nora Jean also may add clay and reshape it if the nose is too small, etc (with brushing of TLS first?).... then rebakes
... she files the last time in small circles ....be sure to remove the dust before baking

When adding parts, during the building process you only need to bake long enuf after each step to firm up the clay - so about 10 min per bake is sufficient.. (rebaking multiple times is no hardship on your creation)..sunni

When you add a layer, put a TINY dab of any of the liquid clays on the surface, and then add the raw clay (the dab must be barely there so it's sticky ...if you apply too much, your added part will simply slide around).
.... for (flesh), i recommend TLS (Transparent Liquid Sculpey) only because it has a matte finish when baked, so if any shows it will not be noticeable (Kato Sauce is stickier than TLS, but it cures glossy - so if any sticks out anywhere, you'll have a shiney spot).
.... if you do not have liquid clay, persistence and pressure are the alternative, and it takes practice and a lot of deep breathing. sunni
....or use Diluent (now called Sculpey Clay Softener) in the same way (the thinner for solid or liquid polymer clays).
... Another way to increase the quality of the join is by simply waiting. Whether it's raw to raw, or raw to baked clay, if you just let the two parts sit together for awhile before baking, the plasticizer will actually migrate from one to the other, which gives a stronger join when they fuse.

various people have suggested making a second clay skin to cover the baked face in order to cover discolorations and fingerprints

NoraJean advocates filing faces (and other sculpts) after an initial baking of the rough shape (she may begin with a mold). . .she feels that one has greater control using a jeweler's file (rather than sandpaper which removes too much) and one can go slower, etc., .. and that there's no chance of messing up the head by mishandling or dinging it (takes about an hour). She then fills in all the file marks, and coats the whole skin, with skin colored clay mixed with a drop of TLS ...or TLS and acrylic paint for details

sequential molds... NoraJean advocates making a number of molds as you get closer and closer to the face you want to sculpt ...so sculpt-mold-make new head from that mold. . . sculpt-mold-make new head....etc . . . . then file

"slice painting" ...flat: placing very thin individual cane slices one at a time onto a base slice, sheet, bead, etc. . . .(see Canes-Instr. > Overall Techniques for more info)
...one way to use that technique for faces or bodies would be to add single elements, or items like the eyes, lips, clothing, etc., by placing single slices of them onto your sculpt (that way you coud keep rearranging them for each slice , if you wanted)
...overlapping could work well for hair too
lices from canes for eye, nose, mouth, hair or accessories could also be used as dimensional onlay in the same way

Simpler Heads
(for more difficult or realistic heads, see Websites at bottom)

Adria's lesson on two simple (leprechaun) heads with seed bead eyes... simple beard, simple hat
my (mostly simple) animal and people heads
very simple heads (similar to mine--and bodies) wearing simple hats and other head wear....holding hearts, flowers or lollipops, on Jan's page
Ruth's many simple heads, including older people and babies

Ruth's simple faces made with onlaid eyes, noses, mouths and hair (..each on a paperclip as bookmark?)

Cindy's simple funny sculpted colored heads
Johnny's PolyPals (simple faces and face/bodies in one)
Monica's somewhat simple head (with simple tools) --lesson
(see also molds below)

Another thing I do is to just use a blank face....sort of cabochon shape, very smooth with no features...that sometimes makes a very interesting piece. DottyinCA
...or slight line impressions could be used to add eyes.... or a slight nose as well

A very simple smiling (or frowning) mouth can be made by bending open a paper clip, then cutting the leg off one side to leave only a short curved area; bend the curved area back 90 degrees with pliers; this can be done at both ends (for two different size smiles); the middle area can be wrapped with clay for a handle if desired.
...A great tip I discovered while in the silverware drawer is this -- if you want to make smiles on animals or santas or whatever -- use the tip of a teaspoon. You get a perfect smile every time. I've tried the round circle cutter to make them but usually get an impression on the nose along with the smile. Michele

nowwhatzine's lesson on making a simple somewhat-abstract, ethnic polymer head ...which attached to a wood popscicle stick for making a figure (head is popped off after baking, and reglued with Duco cement or similar cement glue)

make interchangeable Mr. Potato Head type pieces from polymer (eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hat, collar, or any other accessory)...
......stick each into a baked head you've made with a hole for each of the units
......or stick them into mini-pumpkins, or any other hard squashes
...make each unit over a small-nail head, tack, or brad (whatever was used for the features)

Garie's tiny little animals have distinguishing features made from polymer clay, even though the rest is made with bump pipe cleaners (also, hands, feet, tummies of clay)

see below in Age Groups for lesson on making a still simple but more complex brutish male face (Frankenstein)

(see Sculpting > Animals and Websites for many more animal heads and figures)

Age groups, Gender, Ethnicity & Expression

(see Sculpting > Websites for many examples)

Sculpting humans is the (hardest thing) for for the artist to achieve (even the casual consumer viewer will not know what looks wrong, but can see that something is not right..... We see people and are preoccupied with viewing people every day). Wayne the Dane
........Thanks, Wayne. Sculptors can struggle trying to make fairies --which usually end up more like gnomes!! Your summary (see below) will make it easier for me! Kathy

lots of ethnic (to us, anyway) heads from the fabulous sculptors Jodi and Richard Creager
Judith's ethnic heads, mostly profiles... bas relief types

It is easier to do "character"-type faces than "pretty" faces.... but here are some tips to help you towards "pretty", should you wish to go there!
-- Roll out a ball of clay (it's harder to work small, so practice a little larger at first...when you get comfortable, work smaller.)
--Flatten the convex (rounded outward).
-- Add bits of clay for the "sticking out"parts-- forehead, nose, cheeks, mouth mound (NOT the lips, the part between the nose and chin--lips go there later) and chin.
-- Press them into place, and indent where the eyes go.
-- Then roll out a sheet of clay (set on #3 or so) and use as "skin" to cover the face.
-- Starting at the nose and working out, press gently into place, working any air pockets out to the edges.
..........this gives a gentler smoother surface to the facial planes, and any sharp edges become obscured... hard lines read as "old" to our eyes, whereas smooth is "pretty" . Sarajane

women's chests... I use this same "covering" technique on doll bosoms for nicer "cleavage" and for smoother joins to the chest. Sarajane

female faces vs. male faces:
...try "rounder" features, larger (opened) eyes, fuller lips, and lots of hair for women!!!
....color also will help....redder lips, rouge on cheeks.....also maybe even lashes or a darker outline over eyes.
...also the ears and nose tend to be larger on men (these are cartilage areas... and they grow as people get older)
...and the jawline, and neck tend to be heavier for men (especially the older they get). ...I think I tend to givemy females too much chin, too long faces, and too big brow bones.
...If your female face is looking like a man, try removing some clay from the chin and jawline...also if the jaw is too square it will look masculine. ... you might try making nose a tad narrower for the female as well. MelissaJ
....lesson on making a brutish male face (Frankenstein)

Creating a "generic" female likeness (whole "busts") can be made easier by applying the following general anatomy to her forms (unless you are sculpting a specific female likeness which may or may not require a slight flattering of the the face in some subtle manner) .
1. Wide-set eyes and eye brows (slightly wider than eye space apart).
2. Creating a high, smooth, well rounded forehead suggests an innocent youthful expression. See Michealangelo's "Pieta" likeness.
3. Jaw should not be too pronouced or too large and have soft transistions to the neck and face.
4. Mouth mounds should be "puffier" or fuller. Not the lips themselves, but the entire circular area surrounding the mouth.
Of course lips should be fuller and rounded in treatment., using the same human anatomy references as males.
5. The cheek bones can be made higher into the temple area, and the tapered form below them to the mouth area be a more accute angled (sharper angled) "V" shape.... this gives a general "feline" shape to the likeness that is considered very delicate and attractive.
6. The area below the brows and above the eye lids should have youthfull fat pads on the lateral (out) side under brows.
7. The nose bridge-brow area can be wide and smooth, with an indentation below and an upwards slant to the lower nose bridge for a youthful flair.
8. Be careful not to make the nose forms too strong or wide, but maintain a delicate structure.
9. The female neck should sit farther back and be thinner and swan-like in contruction. A slight lengtening of the neck can be an enhancement as well.
10. Shoulders should be narrower by almost 1/2 a head measurement than males.... they should not be more pronouced at the deltoid tops outcroppings like male shoulders.
....... A very attarctive feature to sculpt in female shoulder areas is a slightly round-shouldered look from the side with careful attention to life references concerning the shoulder blades and their positions and softness of form.
...The female shoulder may be slightly lowered in angle from the square look of male ones if desired, with an enhanced display of the trapeius slope from the front view.
These "tricks" or "tips" have been hard fought ones for me garner over the years and should save the sculptor some frustrating hours of trial and error. Sincerely, Wayne THE DANE

Sculpting the male form is made dificult enough by this situation....but sculpting female forms is even more critical given the social norms of female beauty.
Male lips and other male forms may be flatter, and rely on expression and hard-edged body forms for recognition.
lips and other forms must be subtle, soft edged general forms that have the human look, and added proportional tricks for attarctiveness besides.
Female Lips: The mouth area requires subtly added amounts of clay in comparison to the male mouth form. The upper female lip should protrude slightly more than the lower one, but generally both lips sit out slightly more than the male. Hence, women going to plastic surgens for collogen lip injections, to effect "proper" standards of beauty. Wayne the DANE

males develop an Adam's Apple in the front of their throats during puberty... this protusion falls about halfway between the neck and the collarbone... women have them too, but they're much flatter. Wayne?

Nora Jean's lesson on a male face

(for male and female hands, see Wayne the Dane's suggestions below in Hands).

Kathy Dewey's book on modeling lifelike figures basically has you using flattened wedges of clay for the mouth that are then blended in. It means the whole area of the face gets "raised" and then the lips just form naturally. Gillian
...for more on the book Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay, see Sculpting > Books

for info on using molds to make faces (changing a masculine one to a feminine one, etc., see below in Molds > "Distorting")

babies and children:
... large heads... large forehead and eyes .... short chin... full/wide cheeks..... features close together....
...Jenna's lesson on making a fairly realistic but simple baby's head/face, attaching to an oval ball of clay as body, then wrapping in "bunting"
...Claudine's lesson on sculpting a realistic baby head (on a compressed form armature)
(see more below re mouths, and other places on this page)
...Making Babies, (a workbook by Katherine Dewey) http://www.elvenwork.com/workbook.html
Carol McBride's many babies and children (with wings... fairies)
http://onceuponadreamfairies.com/gallery2.htm (click on all categories)
(...see many more babies and children --both heads and bodies-- in Sculpting > Websites, as well below with "pretty" examples)

The mouth mound is very important---mouths (especially in the young) are slightly raised above the face plane
... if not, they can look sunken & toothless, as it were, (which is a VERY aging effect...so take good care of your teeth!) Sarajane

polymerclayexpress' lesson on creating (open, friendly) eyes (then painting them)
...expression. . . Keep working at it. It gets easier. I found you get really a "cute" or sweet look having the animals looking upward. Sort of a "please take me home" look. And definitely don't forget the little white dot, the light reflection in the eye. I find it looks best in the 2 o'clock spot right where the iris and the pupil meet. That tiny addition really makes the face come to life. Dawndove
...Mary... I love your little fairies. They are so cute. I especially like the way you pose them and the way you do the eyes (looking to the side or looking up, etc.) ...it makes them really "expressive". They are very charming! michele 'luny' (website gone)
...a larger iris tendsto give a more innocent expression. . . . Judi M.

Hannie's "pretty" women and children (though mostly small jaw and chin)
Kara's many pretty women, children (fairies, mermaids, etc.)
many pretty women and children (fairies, etc.)

Hannie 's lesson on sculpting a childlike fairy face (...pretty, with tiny chin and large lips)
(This tutorial is using paper clay but will work just as well for polymer, except use aluminum foil instead of styrofoam. Jeanne R)

older people
...If you want an older look for your crones, make the eyes & chin a little smaller, the nose (and ears) a little bigger (medical fact - your nose never stops growing!) and drop the cheeks a bit to make jowls. Fill in the neck a little also. This is what I do for my "oldies" and it seems to work. Blame it all on gravity, but if you study pictures of older - or should I say "wiser" people you will find that if you want to make a "generic" oldie, these traits are often, but not always, present. Add a few character lines and grey the hair a bit also. I love making older faces. They are so interesting to do and you can alter the whole character just by placement of the character lines. ie add smile or frown lines. Make smiling happy faces or mean grouchy ones. Cally
....(also see Marcy's people: she uses a curved paisley, 3-D piece beside the nose which curves down to dewlap area, to create fleshy cheeks, and dewlaps?) http://marcysclaypen.com/otable/pages/ogal.htm

.....adding lines and wrinkles, add an extra ball of clay on the end of the nose for a real santa look....laugh lines. Jody Creager
lots of wrinkles!
... Jill's "Haman" http://www.studiowillich.com/images/Haman1.jpg
& many others http://www.studiowillich.com/SDpage.htm
for more on wrinkles, veins, etc., see also Sculpting-Bodies,Tools > Skin
Dominic Zinanni's sweet older faces with lots of sags and jowls
http://www.familiarfacesco.com/gallery_frame.htm (4 galleries)
Dotty's older woman, with "attitude" (website gone)
Little Old Lad(ies) from Pasadena swap (at sunni's)

Kathy's large sun face (website gone)
*Karen's lesson on face-and-body wood egg figure (Santa, etc.)...wood coverd with floral tape for better adhesion of clay
Santa face lesson ....based on Karen's lesson

many wonderful more realistic, older faces (Santas)
Jannie's figures and heads (olders too)
Nora Jean and swap participants give lots of tips on creating older or gendered faces
Fayette's many older faces... older women, older men, witches, elves, Santas, etc
Jodi & Richard Creager's older person's eye area forms for studying & purchasing (may have others later?)

many faces... including older and pretty, etc. ones
http://pcpolyzine.com/0301january/0301fantasyart2.html (click on all pages)

*the Buonaiuto's casual, uplifting, multi-ethnic older women & also children and men, etc., heads and bodies, using realistic bodies for a change! (also look in Bronzes and One-of-a-Kind Clayworks)

heavily sculpted "character" faces
(often older, craggy ... large features....gnomes, elves, witches, etc.)

Dawn Sch's heavily sculpted caricature heads-faces, over egg armatures on whimsical long legs, Humpty
Kevin's heavily sculpted faces of elves, gnomes, and other creatures
http://www.kevinbuntin.com/index.html (look all around!)
more "coneheads" ... caricatured, dark-skinned, clay heads with pinecone "hair/hats"... from Klew retreat, at Kim K's
Julianne's many heavily sculpted faces of fairies and ogres, older men, etc.
http://www.mysticalis.com/gallery.htm (look all around)
caricature drawing page, with lots of facial and head/hair possibilities (....select expressions from drop down menus on left)

for an elf.... I would suggest exaggerating the features , trying different poses, & in general going for "sass''. Mavis

(....for many more TIPS on sculpting facial features and other body parts, see Sculpting-Bodies,Tools )


skin variations shown on websites:
Dianne C's skin tones, recipes, and samples (using Premo)
Nora Jean’s skin tones(website gone)....now somewhere at norajean.com
(.....see many more in Recipes for Skin Color below)

Recipes for skin-colored clay

(see Sculpting > Clays for disucssion of "best clays for sculpting")

I make several shades of darker skin tones by adding caramel and/or terra cotta
--straight caramel (no champagne) makes a terrific sort of mulatto coloring.
--1/2 terra cotta and 1/2 caramel makes a great African tone.
-- for an ethnic look, I add a REALLY teeny bit of navy blue to the terra cotta/caramel mix.
-- Asian, 2/3 champagne, 1/3 caramel and a sliver of golden yellow.
-- Latino, 1/2 caramel and 1/2 champagne is about perfect.
-- Native American ... teeny pinch of red added to the Latino mix.
-- Caucasian redheads, I use a lot of champagne mixed with a tiny bit of rosewood and a smallish blob of white. Canebake

(~I use SuperSculpey as a base although I think Cernit flesh is better colorwise if not for handling.)

-- African... 1:1 Fimo Caramel and Super Sculpey. For darker, use the darker brown fimo.
-- African dead ….mix african tones above in equal parts with grey.
-- Asian... one box of SS mixed with half a small blockof fimo caramel and 1/4 bl. of fimo ochre --Hispanic… one box of SS to one small black of fimo caramel
--Caucasian pale….3 parts SS to 1 part white with a ball of blue about the size of a straight pin head or a little bigger if mixing a lot.. but not much bigger.. blue is way strong!
-- Caucasian tan… same as the hispanic
--Caucasian dead … caucasian pale mix with about a pea sized bit of light green. Spooky?

Here are some skin color formulas to experiment with (from Marie?) for Premo's flesh (beige) "base"-type clay:
For Black skin add Burnt Umber one to one with the Flesh base.
For Latino skin add Carmel one to one with the Flesh base
For Indian skin first add carmel and cad red one to one with each other. Then add that mix one to one with the flesh base.
For Caucasian skin you add ecru one to one with the flesh base. Dotty

Caucasian = 13oz Fimo champagne + 2oz Sculpey III beige… now converted to all Premo Ecru.
Asian = 13oz Fimo champagne + 1 3/4 oz tan Sculpey III + 1/4 oz lemon Sculpey III.
African = 13oz Fimo champagne + 2oz chocolate Sculpey III. Haven’t converted to Premo yet.
Hispanic = 13oz champagne + 2oz Tan Sculpey III + pea sized ball of chocolate Sculpey III. author?

In a Jewelry Crafts article called "Face to Face," Christine Brashers shows how to make a complex face cane and various kinds of hair (with Classic Fimo colors). . . (pts = parts):
lt.skin = 6 pts flesh + 3/8 pt rosewood
med.skin = 5 pts flesh + 1/2 pt rosewood
lt.brown skin = 3 pts champagne + 3 pts terra cotta
dk brown skin = 4 pts champagne + 1 pt terra cotta
cheeks (lt and med skin) = 1 pt pink + 1 pt rosewood
cheeks (brown skin) = 3/4 terra cotta + 3/4 orange + 3/4 champage (or 1+1+1)
lt. lip color (lt and med skin) = 1 pt pink
dk. lip color (lt and med skin) = 1 pt red
lt lip color (brown skin) = 1/2 champagne + 1/2 orange + 1/16 terra cotta
dk lip color (brown skin) =1 pt orange + 1/16 pt terra cotta
EYES blue, green, brown, or violet
HAIR golden yellow + terra cotta terra cotta + ocher black + dove gray black + /white terra cotta + champage ...Julie aka jwisecraft

These are the ones I use most, from light to dark:
3 3/4 beige 1/4 white (too pasty for my taste), 3 3/4 beige 1/4 ecru (more realistic than white), 3 beige 1/16 Sculpey Dusty Rose (for a rosey glow!), 3 3/4 beige 1/4 pearl (bit sparkly but good for Christmas), 3 3/4 ecru 1/4 raw sienna, 3 1/2 ecru 1/2 raw sienna, 3 3/4 beige 1/4 raw sienna, 3 3/4 beige 1/2 raw sienna, 1 raw sienna 5 transparent... nokomis1

Many people use SuperSculpey alone for skin color . . . many also use Cernit or one of the specialty sculpting clays like ProSculpt, Puppenfimo, or other kinds of clay which can be sculpted (for those, see Sculpting > Clays).

Be careful of too much pink in Caucasian skin. . .yellow will help un-pink it. Dawn:)

I like to liven up all my flesh colors by adding some Premo copper metallic…. Maybe a pea-sized lump to a ping-pong ball sized lump for lighter colors, and two or three times that with the darker flesh colors? …No matter how dark a person's skin, there's still a "glow from within" kind of look. Elizabeth

For fair complexions, I like a 50-50 mix of fimo flesh pink and nightglow (whatever their glow in the dark is called) sounds weird, but I think it brightens and adds a bit of translucence to it. . . . You can get some interesting tones playing with Premo beige/flesh and adding pinches of their gold and/or copper.. Dawndove

Sculpey III gold mixed with white makes decent skin tones. You might start with small amounts of half and half and then add either white or gold, depending on the shade you want. . . .Sometimes I even add small amounts of pink to the mixture. I no longer buy Sculpey III's beige or tan because I can make it on my own. Buege

I rarely use ready made skin tone.. . . An important component in any skin tone for me is translucent and pearl. . .
. . .of course you also can't overlook the importance of blue or green, you don't need much but you do need it. Dawn

A friend of mine who sculpts adorable figures suggested I use Super Sculpey and Cernit and it works beautifully. When I don't have the Cernit, I use the Super Sculpey with Premo Beige which also is great to work with. Dotty

I use premo, 14 parts beige to 1 part white. Makes a fairly light flesh tone that takes a nice blush well. Kathy

I got spoiled by the Premo mix I came up with: translucent beige base**, Premo white (30%), and then a touch of Fimo Soft Indian Red , Fimo Soft Sunflower and Fimo Soft Cognac.
Makes a nice Caucasian skin tone that doesn't darken appreciably in the curing, even in multiple bakings .

(Premo developers.. the Clay Factory used to make a color that they called "Base," but I don't think they make it any more - at least, that was the last I read. Elizabeth)

Premo: The beige/flesh is #5092. So if it has that number, no matter what the name on the package says, it's the base/flesh clay. However, this is a Flesh base clay and that is not the same as "Base" clay which is almost colorless (no longer made?)
. . . .Also, Ecru and Beige/flesh are not at all the same. That's why, I think, that they are calling it flesh, instead of beige even though the packages don't reflect the name change. At least not yet (I once asked Howard at the Clay Factory for Beige clay. He gave me the flesh instead. So now I'm careful to ask for the Ecru.) Dotty

(**It's Premo 5092 Beige.... I use it as a base color. It's in the regular Premo section of PCE, for sure... don't know about the other sites. It's very translucent, clearer, darker and pinker than Super Sculpey, and of course, a lot stronger. It's intended to be used as a base, mixing in whatever colors you like to achieve the color that you're going for.) Elizabeth

(~I use SuperSculpey as a base (for my mixes) although I think Cernit flesh is better colorwise if not for handling. Canebake)

If SuperSculpey has a bad name with you for whatever reason you can reach a close approximation by mixing a little bit of some kind of brown premo with premo flesh color, and then mix that about 2:1 with translucent. Spooky T

Sculpey III has a regular color that looks alot like flesh. I've been making dolls for years and the best formula I've found has been, 1/2 pkg. flesh, 1/2 pkg. translucent, and 1/32 to 1/16 pkg. brown (all Fimo). The translucent gives the fleshtone a glow or warmth. You add as much brown as needed to make the color skin you want. I mix in small amounts because I make small dolls.

Fimo comes in a fleshtone called "hautfarben" or "fleshpink/chair".
~Fimo Flesh #43 is kind of translucent and is better suited for sculpture than canework, so most of my fleshy tones start with (Fimo's) Champagne.
(for more Fimo mixes, see Christine Brasher's recipes above)

I love using translucents for flesh tones. My favorite recipe is using original FIMO... For a whole face cane, I use 3 pkgs translucent, 1/4 pkg white and 1/4 pkg terra cotta. Kim2

I use about equal beige and white then a little tan --just work in a little at a time until the shade looks like I want it. CC

. . And I do frequently mix 50-50 premo beige (I think that's their pinkish beige name, could be flesh) and fimo flesh pink. That's a great consistency. The premo one tends to be real mushy for me, in just a few of the colors mainly the white and beige and translucent, so adding it to the fimo lets it not pick up too many fingerprints or accidental smooshing. Dawndove

For bodies and faces, I use a mix of beige Premo with Kato translucent and Kato white. ( I don't like the Kato flesh tone alone). Dawn

Kato Clay has a ready-made flesh color. At first I thought it was a little pinky. But then I realized it just needs a little color added for the particular skin tone you are going for. Makes a nice "base". It does have more color than the Super Sculpey, but I assume you could even tone it down with translucent if that's what you are after. And it has the Kato clay features of strength, too. Ginger

I don't make peoples, but I do make face canes. There isn't one color off the shelf that I use for skin tones. The flesh tones I see don't look like anybody that I've ever met, so I mix to get the tone of the race I'm trying to show. Most of the flesh tones seem too pink to me, so I use a bit more yellow. . .. Kinda check it against the inside of my wrist to see if I'm getting close. . . . There are several nice browns that can be added to a mixture of flesh and translucent that are nice. My favorite face canes have a good bit of translucent in them. It seems to add some life to them, at least in my own eyes. Kim K.

like the Cernit for the way it holds it's "raw" color fairly well, but I think the Premo has it beat in that respect, even. Elizabeth
...two new doll colours by the manufacturers of Cernit. They are Almond, which is obviously intended for oriental dolls and Nougat which is for black and dolls (of color).

Bon Bon Bertie, (my) doll in the "Creating with Polymer Clay" book by Dierks and Ford, was a translucent and flesh with a little bit of white mix. She overbaked....I forgot her overnight in the oven. Well, Bertie's got sort of a coppertone tan, and it works for her! A little more red in the cheeks, and we pretend that (say it with me, now) I Meant To Do That. Sarajane H

We all know how the translucent "browns" when overbaked. Well, I was blending clay, trying to make *my* idea of what my angel's face color should be, when I remembered that translucent from way back. Viola! Overbake my angels, so their faces turn tan! Perfect! Miracle

Adding Color on skin-colored clay

Color can be given to lips, cheeks, eyes, etc, before baking or after baking in various ways.

One of the easiest ways is to use a powder (make-up like blusher or eyeshadow, or chalk powders of various types, etc.)
...these should stay on well as long as they are rubbed in well with a brush (repeated strokes or pounces) on raw clay
...or (less commonly) could be applied to baked clay in a clear carrier of some kind perhaps) ... some people choose to use a clear sealer-finish over them and the whole face though

Ordinary kids' chalks can also be used for raw clay faces and heads
....I made some "palettes" of didfferent chalk and blusher colors for my kids' classes by gluing a cut piece of sandpaper to the inside of a box, then drawing a grid with a permanent marker. I rubbed each of the colors into one square of the grid, creating a bit of powder in the crevices
.....the kids used a soft brush to pick up some powdered chalk, then dabbed it onto (their sculpture's head and/or hair) until it was dark enough --"stroking" with the brush won't work nearly as well.
...the effect will be softer than an acrylic wash, but looks great on faces or things like angels and flowers where you might want a soft effect..)
....chalks do seem to sink in? a bit over the years and become less saturated, and maybe a bit darker... DB

i wanted some blush for cheeks ect and have been using makeup blusher but.... I went into a cake shop and noticed they had some colour dust for food in about 80 colours ... i took some home and i was amazed how good they came out, they stick to unbaked clay (and also a little to baked clay)
....and if that wasn't enough, add water and you have paint...... its also safe to have around pets and kids as it edible . kasaj101

I've done a little bit of work with (oil or chalk?) pastels and liquid clay. ....I use the chalk form because I can scrape a smidge from the bar for the color I want. You don't need much to made a deep rich color. I've mixed different colors of pastels and blend them in TLS to get the desired color.
....You can also use pastels on raw clay for blushing and it works well and stays in the clay after baking. Since I make mostly sculptures, I haven't had an issue with them scraping off. Sooz

Washes (or layers) of acrylic paints, or of water-mixable "oil" paints, etc., can also be used.

For a "blush" that won't rub off or need coating, try using a light shade of red or pinkish acrylic paint, watered way down. Brush it on the cheek areas, and them wipe off quickly.
.... do this a number of times until you achieve the look you want. (Be sure to wipe quickly as acrylic paint dries fast).

I also use mixes for my blushes too (I get red browns by mixing the primary colors together)... I find that if I mix my own shades I get more realistic colors.
... I use my finger and dab the color on the back of my hand until it is faintly tacky (like the dry brush stage)and apply tiny bits of colors in layers. …it took me a while to get that figured out and it has helped to add a certain warmth to my faces. Lori K.

I use thin washes of acrylic paint to add shadows in the creases and blushes for more natural skin tone and more natural blushes, after my SuperSculpy is baked.
... for shadows, I don't use a color straight from the tube, I mix my own colors
...... I get a dark by mixing blue, red, and yellow. That way you get a dark color that will add shadow in the creases that will seem more natural. (using a black or a grey will just deaden the color).
. then I dab the dark onto the (face creases) shadow areas, and then quickly wipe the surface with a damp paper towel so that the color remains only in the creases. Lori K.

I do cheeks on cooked dolls by mixing my paint (teeny bit) with a little water or Varathane
... then dab my finger in it, dabbing then onto a papertowel for a "drybrush" (dryfinger?) effect, then apply to the cheek.
... it takes several dabs to smooth....if too much gets on at once, scrub it off with a washcloth, then dab and try again. (Its the same technique as using a liquid blush on realpeoplecheeks.) Sarajane
....I tried it with a little paint with the matte (Varathane?) varnish and it worked beautifully. It worked much better this way than with water. Dawn S.

polymerclayexpress' lesson on antiquing a sculpted or molded face (she used a combo of burnt umber and red oxide, then created eyewhites and eyebrow color by adding white to this mix)

I've never liked the plain face tone clays, so I always add something. This time I added a bit o' paprika and got freckles! Perfect for a little redhead. Irish Red (would paprika discolor the clay? use other red inclusion?)

If you are making babies, use less brown and add just a touch of red. Remember the red should be used in tiny doses. Also, I bake at 250, but for my little people, I bake for 10 minutes then turn off the oven and let them cool inside. eileen-Gar'goils'

(see above for older skin, wrinkles, etc.)

Winsor Newton Water Mixable Oils are the brand I've used, always mixed with water. I've applied them to both unbaked and baked clay. . . . baking or rebaking helps to dry and set the paints, though I like to let them dry as much as possible before baking. ....If I use them on flesh toned clays to add that spark of life, I let them dry and then gently brush the surface with Diluent (which helps to remove brush marks). Katherine Dewey

Donna Anne's lesson on painting facial features on a plastic doll/figure, from which the factory applied coloring has been removed with acetone
.....another site suggested using "vinyl" or soft vinyl paints? (just acrylics?)

(for more on all kinds of paints and powders and chalks that can be used to add color to skin, see Paints > Acrylics, Water-Miscible Oils, Chalks, and maybe more ....and also in Powders)

Skin Texture

I cannot stress the difference in finish of the clay when buffed. It glows. . . Cary

Diluent applied with a soft bristle brush removes tool marks. . .
. . . and reheating removes brush marks.
For folk who want a good matte finish, this is the best method I know. It's one way of achieving flawless...skin. Katherine Dewey

To smooth and even, use Q-tip dipped in water (on Sculpey or Premo) clay--it's great for faces. When the Q-tip begins to unravel, just switch to a fresh one. . .
...or you can also use a soft brush with water. Dan Perez

To smooth larger areas, use a small square of Scotchbrite pad dipped in 90% alcohol or lighter fluid (stronger) and gently scrub
....or to remove fingerprints use 90% isopropyl alcohol or lighter fluid with soft brush... work over surface
....(Diluent is okay too, but more expensive)

To smooth baked clay ...steel wool (medium then fine)
... for tight spots, use tweezers to hold onto a wad of steel wool. Dan P.

slight texture (pores) for larger expanses of skin for most realism
...press stiff nylon bristle brush into surface...soften a bit with alcohol.
...stretched skin ...draw wet Q-tip on surface Veins: thin snakes of clay...taper ends...apply and blend partway into surface...follow with alcohol to smooth Teeth: baked clay shapes, pressed into mouth, or into rope of clay for gum pointed teeth (dinosaur, etc.) back in cone shapes yucky teeth or horns, etc.... score with a pin, X-acto knife or dental tool (can mount on toothpick to hold), follow with alcohol real-looking human teeth... form with dental tools (spatula, etc.)... shapes of teeth are different front to back though Wrinkles: thin clay ropes where desired...blend together ...or use a loop tool to cut grooves in the clay ...follow up with alcohol ...see Wayne's method using of carving over layer of plastic wrap

~I just pulled angel out of the oven and she has the most beautiful skin because of TLS (recommended by someone to cover fingerprints). Not only did the TLS produce a smooth and matte and almost a flat finish, it was applied over a painted sculpture (eyebrows, thinted skin, etc). I thinned the TLS with Diluent and cleaned my brush with alcohol, and painted the thinnest of layers over the fleshy parts of my sculpture. I baked it at 275 degrees for twenty minutes and she did just fine. The layer was so thin that higher, recommended temps weren't necessary. Katherine Dewey

try mixing Sculpey Diluent and ispropyl alcohol together then using as a smoothing agent. this is what we always recommended at Polyform.. . .Donna Kato
(Some people seem to think denatured works better than isopropol)
Dont use too much because it does melt the unbaked clay! It can be sanded (start at 320 or 400 and work your way up to the higher numers) .
Yes, rubbing alcohol with a few drops of diluent has been advised by various artists. Katherine Dewey, Patrick (Disney artist), an old Sculpey book I had. It seems to vary between 1 oz. of alcohol per 2 drops of diluent all the way up to half & half. The sculpey book says half & half but others say this is way too much. Frankly, it seems to work for me with no adverse effects. But then I am sometime cautious to recommend something that others may find unworkable, so I would say experiment first before you try it on a glorious work of art. Annette

Misc. re skin tones

Only effect I've seen using Armor-all as a mold release is that it tends to darken Super Sculpey and make it more translucent after baking. In fact it makes it a very desirable skin color, which leads me to wonder about incorporating a small amount some day while conditioning some for a figure. Halla

I did several bakings with this one! I put all the faces on a base bead first, leaving them raised. Bake and then add all the muli-colored cane slices. Bake again. Sand and buff!!! Julie aka jwisecraft


(...see also Molds for more molding info, and sources for buying face molds)

(...any links below may have molded faces or sculpted faces, but will most often be molds)

(lesson) to make a face mold ....from a (clay or non-clay) figure's face
.....first powder the doll head with talc getting all the nooks and crannies
.....then press the softened clay onto the doll head making sure you get it into all the folds etc....carefully pull away....then bake!!!
.... Let cool...and then press more clay into the baked and hardened mold (oops, talc or cornstarch the mold first)...then pull out and here is where your handy work comes in....Jodi Creager

(...or use water as a release for Polyform clays --Premo and Sculpey)

There's information about using push molds at my Web site's FAQ:
http://www.angelslanding.com/pushmolds/faq.html ....It has a section on softer clays and explains several ways to avoid distortion. (While it was written for resin push molds, the techniques are the same for molds you make yourself.) Judi M.

You can easily make molds of faces, or other body parts like hands from things around the house:
....figurines, toys, dolls, even action figures, Pez dispensers, charms, some rubberstamps, etc.
.......I even made molds of all my son’s tiny animals before handing them down to the next generation .. .DB
...Christmas angel decorations work well for molding ...some of them have beautiful faces, even the cheapies from the drug store. Mavis
...Many of the Barbie style dolls that you can buy super cheap from the dollar stores are not copyrighted. You'll find this with many products coming out of Asia. I'm not sure of the reason...probably because they are knock offs themselves. So go and check out the dollar stores and mould to your hearts content!!! Janine
...The mold used for that particular project ("exquisite little lady") was one that I made from a very old porcelain figurine. I wanted something that wasn't under copyright. You can oft times find this type of figure in an antique or second hand shop. DottyinCA

You can also add details to a baked cast for a second generation object to mold
... e.g., make a flower cast from a flower mold... bake the cast... then add to the flower some raw clay leaves you've sculpted, or raw leaves taken from another mold... bake ... now you'll have a flower-and-leaves mold to use as you wish
.....Sarajane did this with a face, to which she added headwear to create her final mold from http://www.polyclay.com/molds.htm
....this could also be done for head profiles

Maureen Carlson face molds & some uses on simple figures with fabric or clay bodies

making a whole head from a molded clay face
Susan's lesson uses a aluminum foil armature mounted on long wire (looped at end) (half-egg shape)
...she puts a pad of clay over the rounded side of the alum. foil, then places the clay face on the flat side, smoothing the joins, and narrowing the lower part of the back of the head? ... adds more clay to create a full neck (widened at bottom)
Dotty's lesson which adds a half ball to the upper half of the head's back (face placed on tapered clay log neck..then half ball added)

I can slice down the center of the face with the knife at an angle, creating a 3/4 face

Sarajane's page showing (a two-part silicone molding material) called Miracle Mold used for various face molds (more info in Molds)

Once I made the mold (for my doll face), I found that I really liked pressing gold leaf layered with a dark and translucent clay into it, to get crackling. I alter the expression after molding. Jody B.

A cane slice can also be pressed into a mold to give the features dimensionality
...or a cane slice sheet can be used to create a patterned face (for a mask too).
......NoraJean's mini-lesson on pressing a cane slice into a mold... then filling in the back with blobs of clay... adding a clay blob "handle" for removing from mold (then removing from mold and slicing off handle (photos # 6-17)

Karen P's lesson on using a mold to make a head (& hands/feet)... also painting the molded face
(she cuts the back to make it flat for use as a bas relief)
http://www.sculpey.com/Projects/projects_HolidaySantaPlate.htm (look down near the face photo)

Alan's chess figures made by making molds from his own baked sculpted faces, making them full heads, then "dressing" them with jester hat, cowl, etc., and adding a bust
It may take two or three pressings to pull an accurate reproduction from the mold, since you trim the flash or excess clay. Go carefully. Remove only the counterpart that shapes the back of the head, leaving the impressed face still in its mold. Trim the flash and repress until the flashing is minimal.

Sarajane's sculpted, molded, then cast polymer faces (some antiqued, stained, painted, etc.)... + face "cabachons" for sale
(see more on these in Faces Used Alone below)

NoraJean's lesson on making a molded face with gold clay (or other mica clays), and ways to avoid getting "dark" areas from manipulating the mica in the clay
http://www.norajean.com/Biz-Archive/Egypt/004.htm (or see Mica > Other Techniques)

sequential molds... NoraJean advocates making a number of molds as you get closer and closer to the face you want to sculpt ...so sculpt-mold-make new head . . . sculpt-mold-make new head....etc .

multiple casts (helps to get the features just right) . . . To sculpt one little face from the beginning takes me at least one hour and if I make ears, it takes me at least 1 1/2 hours. I developed a way to make it faster for me. I used a thin plastic which has a grid on it and mark the eyes, nose, mouth in a permanent ink. I then use a large needle and punch holes at the corners of the eyes, sides of the nose, lips, etc. After making the first ball of clay about the size of the head, I lay the grid on the top and put marks in the clay where these features are. Placement of the eyes, nose, mouth were the most time-consuming part for me and this cut down about 15 minutes. Now I'm getting better and don't always use this system unless I'm making a large face.

....for info on making larger or life-size human faces, etc., see below in Masks

...for molded faces surrounded or embellished with other clay (leaves, cane slices,etc.... or clothing like hats, neckwear, etc.), see below in Faces Used Alone

Distorting a molded face for variety

You can use distortion to your advantage. I used one of my daughters' little bitty dolls for the sprites, dusted it with powder, and smooshed it into some waste clay (and baked it). The original mold, then, was actually a copy of a face that was quite likely copyrighted.

Maureen Carlson's online video lesson on distorting molded faces (YouTube)
... shows especially how to change shape of face, open mouth, change expressions, etc.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpnPn7fbTyI&NR=1 (beginning at about 2:45 min.)

polymerclayexpress' lesson on distorting a molded face, especially to make it younger, and create more space for beard, etc. http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/nov2001.html
Maureen's lesson on making a head with a mold, then distorting it
Patricia Rose's lessons on distorting faces from molded heads, etc.
NoraJean's mini-lessons on distorting molded faces
(photos # 32-40)

(or use a bought face mold --see Molds > Existing Molds for what's available, and where to get them)

I think the moulds in the craft store seem to be masculine -- so if you cut away the sides and chin areas (and heavy brow areas) when just pulled out of the mould, they become feminine. . . . Women's faces are smaller in the cheek and chin area so it's easier to carve away than to add clay to a feminine face and make it masculine. . . . Ditto the age thing -- I've been using the small (Friendly) face moulds from Michael's for ages and once cut away, they can even look like children! Barbara in Toronto
(... for babies, see above)

EXAMPLE of much distorting:
I used the bit of distortion as it came out of the mold to inspire me --and changed the face drastically.
. . . I changed the angles in the face, making it thinner and more mature looking ... jaw was thinned...... eyes became more slanted (I took a needle tool and pulled them up even more, giving them an elven air)..... cheekbones got flattened and raised so they weren't chubby little cheeks anymore. ...I sculpted wild looking eyebrows, where before there was nothing textural--only painted.... I added pointy ears.... Where the hair had met the mold it was kind of messed up, so I used the needle tool again and stretched out every "strand" of hair to look like hair under water, or flames, maybe.
. . .By the time I was done with it, it looked nothing like the commercial original except that the facial proportions had been started for me, and I also had no lines to smooth with micro-tools where I'd tried to join on features!
...THEN I baked that face, made a new mold from it, and now have my own "sprite" mold.
. . . .It's enough different that I feel guilt-free over possibly violating a copyright to get there. And for such a small face, it made the sculpting part a cinch. KLEE
(....see just above for making second generation molds by adding details like headwear to baked faces, etc.)

("Tweek" the pressed (molded) clay... and add ears)... then, you can glue the front part of the head onto a styrofoam ball after baking ...paint the head and add lots of hair to cover the back of head and add a wonderful beard.....Jodi Creager

I thoroughly enjoy sculpting but I also enjoy altering work I've made before by changing the expression or altering certain features to create an entirely new piece.
... I'm in the habit of sculpting heads just for their own sake, baking them, and making molds of them for future use. I have some forty two-piece head molds, and some twenty face molds, all made of polymer clay. . . .most are the result of altering existing heads.
... Notice, I stated "head", not simply "face". I've found that making a two or three part mold of the entire head results in better reproduction.
... Still, a fair (mold) can be made of only the face if you consider the relative resistance of varying masses of clay. . . . so, simply pushing an existing baked head into a block of raw polymer clay doesn't always work; more often than not you'll find you've reproduced a nicely detail face with a Neanderthalic forehead (the nose and jaw jut forward, a distortion only noticeable in profile). Avoid this distortion by pushing the forehead into the clay first, then rocking the face down into the clay. Finish by pressing the face directly downward into the clay. kadewey

An Asian face can easily be made this way, for example.. . I use a commercial mold of the right size, and then use molding tools to change it to the character I want ...this way I get the proportions fairly right. DottyinCA

After achieving symmetry in my sculpted faces, I purposely introduce imperfections in this balance to get a more interesting look. . . . Likenesses of people can be greatly enhanced, if one observes the subject's personality reflected in facial assymmetries that all of us habitually express. Examples are tilted smiles or heads or eyebrows. Wayne the Dane

Another thing I do when I just can't seem to make or find a face that I want, is to just use a blank face....sort of cabochon shape, very smooth with no features. That sometimes makes a very interesting piece. DottyinCA
...or just slight line impressions could be used to add eyes.... or a slight nose as well

Mold Releases (see more in Molds)

Naturally, you need a release agent during mold construction and when pulling a reproduction. . . water works well with Premo, & the Sculpeys. . . Cornstarch (or talc or other powdered starches?) works well with Fimo and Cernit (cornstarch will rinse off unbaked clay, whereas talc will be harder to remove completely)

I only use molds for a few things, but lately I've been using water as a release and it works great. I keep it in a small spray bottle (about $1 at the drugstore) and can apply a fine mist, which seems to be enough.

While Armorall works as a release agent, it does eventually build up a residue. A soft bristle brush and "Simple Green" will clean this film. (If not enough release agent was used and clay sticks to the mold, "Simple Green" will solve that problem, too.)

.....Only effect I've seen using Armor-all as a mold release is that it tends to darken Super Sculpey and make it more translucent after baking. In fact it makes it a very desirable skin color.. Halla
...Armorall will interfere with any powders (cheeks, eyes, e.g.) or finishes/sealers you plan to use on the face after removing from the mold though... will alcohol clean it all off?

Misc. Molding

(Building your molds directly on a baking surface will prevent distortion)

To construct a two piece mold of a head (lesson)
--Impress the face first.
--While the master is still in the mold, use a dowel rod or similar tool to indent reference marks. --Trim the sides of the mold so they are straight and uniform, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch border all the way around.
--Carefully remove the master from the mold and bake.
--After the first mold is baked, reposition the head and make the second mold half.
--Press firmly to insure a clean imprint of the unmolded portion of the head and the reference marks.
--While the counterparts (the mold halves) are still together, trim the newly made unbaked counterpart so that its sides match the first baked counterpart (this step makes matching mold halves easy).
--Carefully remove the baked counterpart and the master, and bake the second counterpart. (Dewey? Creager? other?)

(....often surrounded or embellished with other clay....)

...a face can be added to with hair, hats, scarves, neckwear, etc.,
...or a face could be surrounded with cane slices or other onlays (leaves, flowers, anything), or beads, etc

...faces can be placed on a "body" (clay or non-clay) to create an art doll or amulet figure
......faces on items like wood/twigs/gourds, or shapes of wood or metal, or any material (face glued on if material can't be baked)

....faces can be dimensional (molded, sculpted), or flat (face cane slices, drawings or transfers)

...a finished plain face (like a moon, or unembellished face) or finished embellished face can be used freestanding for pins, pendants, etc.
.....or as embellishments on vessels/boxes, jewelry, tiles, or on anything

Marie's many faces completely surrounded by clay leaves and various embellishments
http://www.clayfactory.net/marie/gallery2.htm (also Galleries 3 & 1)
Melnick's faces used as onlays on Altoid tins

Marcie F's many various faces...with headgear, hair, collars, etc.
... many faces are colored (colored clay or metallic powder coverage)
...some are resting on a piece of clay as a background or framing element

Lorie's small faces surrounded by glow leaves & larger face... also her whole website


nenuphar's face surrounded by hair and other embellishments
http://isisesc.supelec.fr/gallery-nenuphar/PolymerClay/aag (gone?)
lesson on making a red hat (slouch hat?) with flowers
http://www.sculpey.com/Projects/projects_RedHatPin.htm (need new link?)
Christel's faces with other onlay (scarves, etc.)
Sarajane H's heads with bonnets (for buttons)
Sarajane's (more) "dressed" faces
Mile High's faces on pendants
Tawan's many faces and heads, etc. used as pendants...... many types, ethnic, etc
http://pages.infinit.net/tawan/Gallery11.html ....and http://pages.infinit.net/tawan/gallery12.html
Judith's ethnic faces (mostly profiles), with hair, hats, headgear
Dayle's various ethnic and other faces used alone with embellishments, or for amulets, art dolls, etc.
Lorieo's onlaid faces/hair and vines for women's faces (on pens and notebook cover)

Cheryl's use of small molded faces with other onlay (as centers) (website gone)
Dotty's molded faces with other onlay (as centers) (website gone)
faces on large snowflakes (from cutters), for ornaments:
http://pcpolyzine.com . . . Dec. 2003 (can't find photo)

sunni's Little Old Lady from Pasadena (maybe not a mold), on various plaques with symbols
http://members.spree.com/sip/sunnidaze/me/clay/swaps3/olady.html (now somewhere at sunnisan.com?)

Myra's nametag ...with sun face over other canes (website gone)

syndee's lesson on Mardi Gras mask pins ...faces colored with Pearl-Ex.. also feathers, sequins added (& pinback after baking)

Gail's faces surrounded by seed bead work

Cathy's faces incorporated in bracelet (website gone)
Ed's embellished heads (not molds?), Egyptian, etc. http://www.polymerclayhaven.com/treasures/ed/ht7.jpg
Kathy's and Trina's large sun (for plaque?) with leaf-covered rays not attached to central face (website gone)

Sherrry showed a photo of regular silk flowers, each having a molded face added the center of it (stamens removed)
....could be used. for plant pokes, etc.... or the petals could be made of polymer too

Marie's sun face created with onlays of cane slices as its eyes, eyebrows, nose, cheeks, etc\

Sarajane's "girl beads" ... cane slice faces on slightly flattened round or oval "bodies" (Japanese, Indian, Island, and Southwest themes)
Kim K's goddess beads with cane slice face and "gorkley" strands for oval body
....see also Faces for faces canes
"nesting dolls” come in all kinds of shapes, animals, etc --could be made with rock vessel technique? (see Vessels-Rock)
nesting dolls from Eastern Europe, Japan, China, and India .... http://home.hetnet.nl/~ingrid41s/
....http://tinyurl.com/479gn ....http://tinyurl.com/44z7q ......http://www.bitsandpieces.com/depts/id-49.html
http://www.nestingdolls4u.com/products.htm (gone... change)
Japanese Daruma ...face, as half of abstract oval body
Japanese Kokeshi figures (don't nest). Some people have suggested that in "matryoshka," the nesting Russian dolls that originated in the nineteenth century, some influence of "Kokeshi" can be seen. ...babushka
I am going to go to the thrift store and buy a bunch of chess sets and cover the pawns  with cane slices. (that is if they pass the oven test first!).   Or, I have seen little wooden  "playschool" shaped pieces that I will cover with canework. I'm even going to put little caned faces on them like Russian Nesting Dolls
(see more on these, and on other abstract figures in Sculpting-Body > Abstract figures)

Maureen's face (actually a face slice made 3-D) atached to a cloth doll (&) blackboards (on Grapevine Wreath)...
... use a face cane slice the appropriate size and color of the doll.... make the cane slice dimensional if desired (see "Dimensional Millefiori" http://www.weefolk.com/10_1996.htm)... put holes into edge of slice. ... bake... sew onto cloth head
http://www.weefolk.com/ideas.htm#home (see more in Faces > Other Methods for Making Faces)

You can make your own molds (and faces from them) for these techniques (see Molds > Making Molds Yourself)

Or you can buy face molds already made:
....see Molds > Purchased Molds for what's available, and where to get them
I think the moulds in the craft store seem to be masculine -- to change than to more feminine, cut away the sides and chin areas (and heavy brow areas) when just pulled out of the mould. . . . since women's faces are smaller in the cheek and chin area, it's easier to carve away than to add clay to a feminine face and make it masculine. . . . Ditto the age thing. I've been using the small face moulds from Michael's for ages, and once cut away they can even look like children! Barbara in Toronto

Or you can buy faces already made
....Sarajane's face "cabachons" for sale (some antiqued, stained, painted, etc.)

(....for many faces on gourds, see Covering > Wood > Gourds)
as amulets, etc., see Pendants & Cording > Amulets & Fetishes

Arizona guild's "doll swap"... all kinds of whimsical figures & amulets .....(plus Donna H's " paperdoll " with polymer head)

(...and many "dolls" or art figures use heads and faces (and maybe legs/feet) of polymer, with fabric or other materials for their bodies
(Sculpting > Websites > Wild Women,Goddesses + > Figures)


CRACKING in Larger Pieces & other
(Heads, Beads, etc.)

Cracking is more likely to happen in solid & thick clay items than it will in thinner clay items or larger items which aren't solid clay (e.g., have an aluminum foil or other armature underneath).
....3/4" thickness seems to be the point at which this may start to happen, and 1 1/4" is usually the thickest that polymer clay should be baked when solid to avoid cracking
........many heads are solid clay and thicker than that, so can be show up with them

The other issue is the rate of heating or cooling.. in general, gradual heating and cooling are better

Here are some reasons why cracking may occur (in any clay project):
..clay too thick ....clay too thin
..dry-ish clay layer overlying a juicier one, or vice-versa .... thin, raw layer overlying an already-cured thick layer
..underconditioning .....inadequate mixing of clay brands, or clay densities within the same brand
..failure to support raw clay while it cures
..rapid temperature changes
..moisture-humidity: ....."inclusion" of atmospheric humidity, or dampness from your hands into the clay
.....swelling of underlying structure (wood, mache, or other porous materials which aren't thoroughly dry, or sealed)
...introduction of air pockets into clay when conditioning by pasta machine
...forcing holes into beads and curing them on skewers too large for the hole ....there are probably more.... Elizabeth

Even Maureen Carlson refers to cracks in her new book "How to make clay characters". (She has been working with polymer clay for many years and you know that her clay gets well conditioned. But she still gets cracks on her little heads now and then.)
he thinks that it occurs mostly in areas which have been compressed a lot, like around the eyes of her figures (...or could compressing a lot be working in more moisture from fingers?)
....she just patches it and moves on (she doesn't say whether it happens more with one brand or another). tlc

Because I leach the clay ( removing much of the plasticiser), even my very large pieces have never cracked.

Cracks can often occur if thick pieces of clay are cooled too rapidly, due to the differences in temperature between the hot inside and cooling outside. I suggest that once your heads have finished cooking, turn off the oven and leave them inside until the oven is cool. The gradual cooling of the oven should decrease the possibility of cracks.
~ I also cool out of the oven and wrap the sculpture in heavy toweling, away from drafts...this seems to help quick changes in temp...and possible cracking..also, fewer moons appear in doing so (I never cool down in oven as I feel it overbakes the piece and therefore making it more brittle causing breakage after the cooling process.) Jodi
The larger the sculpt, the slower the piece should be brought to full temperature. Thus the slower the piece should be brought back down from full temp to full cool temp. Start bake at 180 (degrees)% for 10 min. Next 225% for 5 min. Next 250% for 5 min. Next 275% for 5 min. Next Shut temp down (avoid opening oven door) and leave piece in oven for full cool down. It's sudden temperature changes that you want to avoid. VERY IMPORTANT! Avoids cracking…The Dane

thick-walled pieces will crack if cooled suddenly. Alan

(on the subject of shocking things in cold water), my experience has been that they become more apt to crack if you are re-baking. I was doing it out of impatience and now let things cool either in the oven, or at room temperature if I'm in a hurry. . .

I had some head cracking problems until I settled on what seem the perfect steps:
...super conditioning, using a food processor.... aluminium foil armature (I use Super S. and my heads average fist sized with about 3/4 of it foil)... I bake at 250 for one hour and then because my oven has a blower that cools itself off, I go down to the basement and shut off the breaker to the oven after the hour is up and leave the head in all night...the shutting off the breaker bit was the clincher to solve cracking problems that I had.

(The armatures in my figure are wire wrapped with fusible fleece).
...(after baking and before dessing) The head and hands were covered with Apoxie Sculpt air dry clay (before adding final polymer clay?) ...while Apoxie isn't as light as foil, there's no chance of getting a trapped air bubble that will later crack clay, and Apoxie is ROCK HARD when it cures . DivaLea

I used to get cracks (and plaquing) all the time until I did this and it really seems to work:
...I'll start with the figure in the oven without preheating.... then set the temp at about 150 & leave it there for 20 minutes or longer .....then up the temp to 175 for another 20-30 min..... then 200 for another 20-30 min. etc.... untill I reach 265 ....and then leave it for the required curing time
.....this allows the temp of the clay to heat all the way through both uniformly and slowly so any trapped air or trapped moisture doesn't expand suddenly and make a crack to escape
.....using a foil core to decrease the thickness of the clay helps too. Dawn S.

see also other tips on avoiding cracking in sculpted heads especially in Sculpting-Gen > More Tips

I want to suggest you try a tip that the Creagers' share, and I now use when sculpting heads in pc.
... for the armature, use alum. foil and hot glue.
.......cut several pieces of foil into smal squares.... Make a small foil ball... add a bit of hot glue on its outside... wrap that in one of the foil squares tightly around it while the glue is still hot (your fingers will get warm but will be ok) .... repeat this procedure until your armature is the size that you want it.... be sure to tightly wrap on top of the hot glue, eliminating any air pockets
....when you bake, the hot glue between the foil will soften and 'move' with the baking of the pc, thus, eliminating any cracks.... I haven't had any cracks since using this technique. Dianne

I don't do a lot of beads, but when I make larger ones, which is most of the time, I always start with a compressed aluminum foil core.
...the layer of clay on top of this alum.foil core is not that thick, about a #1 setting on the pasta machine. I've never had one crack, even with rebaking.
......the foil core might be too much of a hassle if you are doing a production run. Maybe a prebaked scrap clay core would work?
n the other hand, I recently made some solid clay beads with leftover ripple-cut clay, and one did crack.Jody

if you make a deep hole right through the clay layer and well into the alum. foil core with a skewer or similar, this prevents any large air bubbles expanding under the clay (I got the boils too, Helen!).... It means that any air in the foil has an escape route (obviously you need to make the hole in some hidden spot like the neck area)
… Jody?

What size are your heads? How long do they sit between conditioning and baking?...Alan

. . . try making your cores from more "advanced" (older) or leached clay.

In my experience, cracking often occurs when you have clay that is at "different" levels of conditioning of softness/gushiness.If I make a fan pull w/ older scrap clay, and cover it w/ gushier, fresh scraps, I often see cracking.... I've learned to put soft scraps in the freezer before using them w/ harder scraps. Laurel
...I notice that when I use a base bead of waste clay, and then cover it with my good clay, I get more cracks than usual. I have more trouble with thicker beads than I do with beads that are smaller in diameter. Dotty
... I also have gotten cracking when I mix clays, i.e. Premo mokume gane on Kato background clay. Laurel

I don't know what your tape recommended, but did you condition your clay (until it was at least pliable)? That can make a BIG difference in outcome.

When I cut my beads open I see some minute air pockets.. So, I think air is the problem. But I don't know what I am doing differently that is causing this problem. Libby

Most of the beads I have had crack were solid color beads. I have been wondering if other people are having problems with cracks but just haven't noticed fine cracks because their beads are patterned or textured. Libby

If using Fimo, you may not have conditioned the clay long enough to keep it from having incompletely mixed areas which could act like stress fractures...

(see Translucents > Brands for more on Premo Bleached cracking --in stress areas? if cool when applied? if not fresh? , etc.)

If you are getting cracks in your larger pieces it might be that they need more support while they bake. I have been doing some larger bowls and found that by imbedding phone wire around the top edge they are much stronger. Because the clay can slump when you bake it,you may need to support areas with wadded up foil or an armature inside the piece.

I have experienced this myself from time to time. When the clay is heated up to temperature, it gets soft. It doesn't melt or run but unsupported extentions (arms for example) will sometimes crack. Make an armature that has no give to it at all and construct supports to prevent gravity from having it's way.
... Remember also that already-baked clay will soften again when reheated.

It's important to note that all of the Polyform clays (Premo & Sculpey) have a quality I call "fused memory"
...the shape you achieve on baking is the shape the clay will hold, no matter how flexible.
If you need to bake again, don't try to bend that flexible part into another shape because it will crack at fusing temperature
(...this means to pose those fingers after the piece is completely finished and will never go into the oven again, or be prepared to repair the cracks) Katherine Dewey


breaking-chipping-cracking (different issue)
> I've tried some bracelets and they all cracked after a little use... I'm using Sculpey but have tried Fimo also. <
...Sculpey is one of the most brittle of the polymer clays; if you made something like a bangle bracelet from it, I'm not that surprised that it cracked. Try shaping the bracelet on an armature (such as a metal cuff bracelet, or a wire for thinner bracelets) which will give added strength to the finished product, and perhaps stay with the stronger clays (Fimo, Promat, or Cernit) for projects that need to take a lot of stress. Troy

To fix cracks immediately

If (you see cracks after the full baking time) rather than letting the pieces cool down in the oven, plunge them into cold water while hot. The clay should shrink and seal the cracks.

I will probably make a few of you a bit crazy saying this.....but...since reading all of the posts on conditioning clay and being concerned about some cracks that I have found in my beads... I began conditioning my clay only enough to make it pliable and to be able to 'rope' it. I cut the size I want, roll it in my chosen bead roller and bake it at 260 degrees regardless of whether it is Premo or Fimo (only use these 2 brands right now). In 20 minutes, I promptly take the cured beads and plunge them in cold, cold water until the beads are cool. Since I have been doing this --for just the last 10 days or so-- I have found NO cracks in any of these beads. Dianne C.

As the clay cools, it retracts.

A Diluent rub (then reheating?) will probably help the cracks re-bond. Trina

To fix cracks later

I did all of the sugestions you gave me (to fix my cracks). After 3 coats of clay and 4 of TLS and then plunging it immediately in cold water (after reheating) it worked!!!! Whew!! Vicki
...As for the cold dunk, at the CT retreat this summer Marie Segal recommended putting beads WITH cracks in an ice bath. She said it helps close up the cracks sometimes, but that you should leave them in for awhile. I have found that sometimes it helps and sometimes there's no change. Libby

There are several ways to deal with the cracks that I use.
.......one is to use a high quality CA (cyanoacrylate) "super" glue and fill the crack, sanding if necessary.
.......if the crack is pretty wide, I will pack in baked-Sculpy dust ( from sanding) or baking soda before adding the CA glue (the powders act as fillers and harden super strong).
.....if the crack is in an area that needs to be super smooth, I will use the CA (super)glue, then fill any crevice with modeler's body putty and sand smooth.
.....if it is noncritical and not load bearing, fill it with clay and rebake with proper supports.
..You probably baked the piece in such a way that it wasn't balanced and the weight on one side created the crack... that's happened to me on some of the limbs I've sculpted... I make rather large pieces. Alan

To fill cracks in your cured sculpture pieces, try Plumber's Putty, available at most hardware stores (2 part).
...looks like a bullseye cane, just slice and mix.
...once the two parts are mixed, you can press it into your work and let it cure (this happens pretty fast so, don't waste time!)
...once cured, it can be sanded and painted. Donna Kato

You can also use liquid clay to repair cracks.
.... If the cracks are very small, thin with diluent and rub into the cracks (this of course requires another baking but it does work). Dawn
I create my own liquid clay paste by pouring a little liquid clay into a metal jar lid. Then I let this sit on my worktable. The more it sits, the thicker it gets. I use toothpicks to dip out the stuff and use as paste...I start a new lid every month, so I have about about 3 lids with 3 different viscosities of TLS, so I can choose how sticky I need for each use. syndee

I felt a need for a more viscous substance to fill in cracks (and TLS is not always effective in keeping the sides of cracks in close proximity while the clay cures. so, this is what I did):
...... I conditioned about a tablespoon-sized piece of translucent Fimo clay, and then chopped it up into fine bits.
.......onto my little pile of clay bits I squeezed 9-10 drops of diluent, and then tossed it all together with my tissue blade...I scraped up this gummy little pile and put it into a tiny individual-size glass jelly jar.... screwed on the lid and let it sit overnight to give the diluent a chance to penetrate the clay.
.......In the morning I stirred the gummy little mass into a thick paste, adding a couple more drops of diluent to get the consistency I wanted. The result was a creamy substance, about the consistency of library paste.
.......I used a flat toothpick ...It works marvelously!
......After curing, the seams were invisible. ... I even tried breaking the heart apart, and the seam proved indestructible! Elissa

I've used all the methods that everyone has suggested and have always managed to heal/seal a crack, one way or another, so don't give up
.sometimes it takes several bakings and some sanding to manage it. ..Dotty

small, fine cracks, happen when I have a skin of transparent over something... these are harder to correct than the larger, wider cracks.
...but (someone’s) suggestion to carve out a fine crack to make it wider, and then refilling it with soft clay mixed with some liquid clay, works pretty well for these. Dotty

antiquing... Recently, while experimenting with making some faux stone beads I had a bunch of them crack in a number of places.
... I took black acrylic paint and put it all over each of them. I used a stiff brush so I could jab the paint as much into the cracks as possible. I "mushed" the paint around leaving a thin layer of it all over the bead. When the paint was completely dry (I used a heat gun to dry them) I sanded them with a 320 grit wet/dry sandpaper, then a 400. After that I buffed them and wow! I suddenly had very old looking beads which really showed the cracks. I loved them, and made whole necklace using them. DottyinCA


Evelyn's impressions for features and hair (rubberstamps or freehand) to make faces-heads from flat shapes
...antiqued with black, or powdered with dark gold ...used for small jointed figures

Lidija's painted features (on flat, oval clay)... impressions and onlays added as embellishments on forehead (could also be hair or headgear, etc.)

Head Websites

...........(see Sculpture for many more heads and lessons and sculpting groups)

YouTube.... http://www.youtube.com .....and other free video sharing sites
...to find the lessons on heads at these sites, enter significant search terms into the search box there to get results such as these
(from YouTube):

many lessons on heads, faces, features, and armatures fr. various participants at NoraJean's swap page
*Christel's very complete lesson on making a troll (or other) face/head, also coloring with acrylic paints
(she used a ball of aluminum foil as a center, placed rough shapes for nose/cheeks, etc. on, then covered the face half with a sheet of flesh clay before refining the features)
Brigitta*'s very good lesson on making a head (over a ball on a skewer)
Marika's lengthy lesson on making a head over aluminum foil (small chin)
Angela's lengthy lesson on sculpting a head by adding components one at a time
http://www.emilysfairies.com/hints/Head_L1.pdf (to proceed to all 3 pages, substitute L2 or L3 for L1 in the URL of your browser bar)
.....also "lips" http://www.emilysfairies.com/hints/Lip_L1.pdf (do same as above to see all 3 pages)
Claudine's lesson on sculpting a realistic baby head on a compressed foam armature

Monica's somewhat simple head (with simple tools) --lesson

Norajean's many lessons on faces, face parts, skulls, etc., including ethnic ...
....many made over aluminum foil-covered "skull" forms (lessons)

Jodi & Richard Creager, very realistic, fabulous, ethnic heads
http://www.creagers.com ....... http://members.aol.com/creagers1/gallery.html(gone)
June Goodnow's very realistic heads, also Native American

Marika's dolls and figures (many types of heads and faces)
Margie's troll face, body, clothing (lesson) (website gone)

Leslie’s sculpted, painted heads on sticks(website gone)
some (puppet) heads
*Cheryl's fabulous jointed figures (art dolls) with sculpted heads, caning, and lots of mixed media for skirts, hair

Bonnie's realistic old-Santa faces
Jannie's fairly realistic figures and heads (olders too)

Jenny P's many faces (clowns, fairies, women, etc.) --look around(website gone)
Fayette's many heads (old, young, etc.) --look around(website gone)
Leif's simpler but not simple heads (sculpted) (website gone)

Dotty McMillan's faces, etc. (with powders, or another one ??)
Jessica A's amazing face on a collage (with many examples of metallic powder, stamping, as the other collage elements)
(click on each "Detail," but beware that the detail window may jump down into your task bar!)
Selkie's faces in framed collages made also with mixed media, nature objects, etc.
crazyblackladydesigns' African heads in profile
Gwen's African American (covered bottle) (website gone)
"wild women" swap --heads/faceshttp://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=866491&a=10819552
Jo's? heads, faces, used with boxes too

Ginny L's many heads (painted and mixed media also)
molded, sculpted or caned heads/faces on jointed "bead people" bodies

Garie's heads (tiny, ethnic, Halloween, with articulated mouths on clothespins)
Plankspanker's lesson on dragon/monster/dinosaur type heads (plus teeth,tongue,skin,protuberances)
fireEyes' lessons on dragon shapes (bodies, heads,etc.); drawing, but applies to sculpting too
(click on Tutorials)

Ed's Bog Mummy, Green Man face (& Celtic pony helmet) --masklike
Joan's faces surrounded with clay or mixed media
~Susanna Oroyan's lesson on making a face from wet felt stretched over a Styrofoam base, then features painted (use as mask or added to second half of Styrofoam ball for doll head)

MASKS & molds, forms

I've been playing with different ways of forming the masks
--built up individually
--in push molds, indenting the back
--over rocks
--over eggs
(also over molds made from from doll faces or other forms, plaster filled styrene masks, plaster gauze masks made on a form or on one's own face, wire mesh, etc --see below.)

embellishments and techniques (for the mask swap) included:
hand sculpting, cane slice trim, metallic leaf and powder, applique clay, inlay, faux ivory, paint, carving, use of molds, feathers, shells, beads, glitter, threads, fur, rhinestones . . . . a LOT of diversity!
...Dorothy Greynolds' wonderful colorful masks, using cut outs from Skinner blends as onlays, various texturing, piecing, etc.
http://tinyurl.com/5o6ut (can't access unless member of PolymerClayPeople yahoogroup)

features (eyes, noses, mouths, ears, hair, facial decoration) can be added to the masks.... onlaid, etc.
.....sometimes cane slices can be interesting:
........(using mutliple Skinner Blend ikat canes... see Canes-Instr.>Ikat) ...when two rows with horizontal line patterns are separated by one row with a vertical line pattern, these can look like crazy lips and teeth
......jellyroll canes/slices of various kinds, including ikat) can also be used as very interesting eye canes, or eye slices ...depending on how they are oriented, "eyelids" can show up, a white glint can appear in the "pupil" area, etc.
...cutters work nicely for cutting eyeholes...

I find superglue much better for adhering raw clay embellishments to baked clay in mask making.... I use liquid clays in most of my pieces. . . ... white craft glues can work ok though... redturtle

Some ways to mount/hang:
...pin back, pin back/peandant bail combination, eye pins (or variation), side-to-side piercings in the masks for a cord to go through (similar to how real masks tie on), simple hole, jump rings, leather loop, clay tube (cylinder bead), plastic tube,etc.
...Robert Shields mounts his small masks on a (wood) rod standing in a base (his has lots of feathers)

If you want to make your own template for a mask, draw or cut it on folded paper so it will be symmetrical when opened.S

BOOKS on mask making:
....The Mask: Methods of Making Masks... 4 page illustrated workbook by Katherine Dewey-- $5.00
Katherine developed this method of theatrical mask-making for the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (University of Illinois) way back in 1976 when polymer clay was brand new. Since then she has refined her methods to include both new and tried and true materials, evolving her original methods. ...next best thing to a trade secret in life-size mask making, full of detailed written instruction and how-to images.
........Felt soaked in fabric stiffener, pressed over positive, anchored around edges with rubber band.... negative silicone pressed over felt. It's in my mask workbook. Katherine
.... The Prop Builder's Mask-Making Handbook, Thurston James


For smaller masks (for pendants, etc.), make a mold, then a cast to use as a base/form from it, using a doll's or other small figure's face:
--make the cast thin (don't fill in the mold completely with clay), and use that as your mask (embellish if desired), or
--cover the cast with aluminum foil, flattening as much as possible, then cover it with clay and embellishments, bake and remove from foil.

Michaels' lessons on making various masks with various materials:

or use other rounded forms underneath
...Jan R's mask pendants, formed over small river rocks
..........I bet it'd be a great way to make lightweight little insects too.... neat! Joanie
...Susanna Oroyan's lesson on making a face/mask over a rounded drinking glass

Susanna Oroyan's lesson on making a face from wet felt stretched over a base, then painted (use as mask or stretched over Styrofoam ball for doll head)

mytvine's masks ...mixed media, mostly ethnic...made on gourds (but idea could be applied to other rounded forms)

Sarajane's lesson on making tiny clay mask by texturing a piece of clay and cutting a fan shape from it (with a Shapelet), placing on a slightly larger backing shape of clay, cutting eyes with a teardrop shaped cutter, highlighting with Pearl Ex, then forming the bottom around a pencil and adding simple flowers and other embellishments

Wire based (some with alum. foil)

Paragona's WireForm mesh (available in sheets or rolls; "Sparkle" mesh is the smallest diamond grid, so can be formed with more detail)
(or buy at a hobby or crafts store)

http://www.reuels.com/reuels/product29624.html (faces)
http://www.catsgroup.co.uk/wireform.html (various uses, face, miniature landscaping)

There are two types of WireForm, one which is woven just like window screen (except it's made from copper, brass, etc.) and the other which is produced from a sheet of metal, into which holes have been punched. Each row is offset so that when you pull from the opposite sides, the holes open and it easily stretches in all directions. It stretches most side to side and less from top to bottom (when you pull from top to bottom, you're actually closing the holes). Does this make sense? Anyway, it's pretty interesting material. Barbara Maguire has done a lot of work with it and did a demo at Ravensdale. . . Donna Kato

wire mesh (WireForm) can be used over the face to create a base form for polymer clay or other materials... or can be left as is
http://www.reuels.com/reuels/product29624.html (faces) and http://www.catsgroup.co.uk/wireform.html (vairous uses)...see Armatures for more

Karen P's lesson on how to use an aluminum foil armature under a sheet of clay (could be applicable to masks) http://www.sculpey.com/Projects/projects_HolidaySantaPlate.htm

Maureen Carlson's lesson on making a very basic face shape with aluminum foil (hemisphere with added bits for nose, etc.)
... gently covering with scrap clay layer... pressing Wireform over the scrap layer... adding the skin-color layer ...adding clay pieces for nose, lips, etc.
(she makes a face surrounded by leaves for hanging on a wall)

see more on using WireForm in Armatures, and on making boxes, etc in Vessels, and on making miniature landscapes, tunnels, etc. in Houses/Structures)

It's very nice for masks; that's how I used the sample I was given. K. Dewey

Other materials

the base (for my mask) is a ceramic mask from a dollar store with the ugly glitter scraped off. Then the polymer clay is laid over that and baked. Greg

I bought a small plastic face at a craft store, and filled it with regular old Sculpey (the white stuff) and baked it. I can shape masks on it, and bake them (with lots of cornstarch). Tess

a full size mask...covers my face completely! I used a white plastic mask for the base - the kind you can get in craft stores. I covered it with the blue clay, then used the different sizes of the star shaped Kemper Cutters to make the stars out of the Premo glow in the dark clay. It was a whole lot of fun to make! The plastic mask did melt - but it stayed in shape (in the oven) long enough for the clay to harden enough to hold the shape. I just pulled the melted plastic off the back while it was still warm. I am still trying to find a plaster or porcelain one to use as a base instead. Kimba

Barbara McGuire made a mask form by using a layer of Sculptamold inside a plastic mask; she removed the form and brushed it with Pearl Ex?... laid sections of slightly overlapped clay (trimmed through both for an exact fit, seams smoothed with fingers) on all portions of the mask... wires shaped into spirals pressed well into raw clay.... then baking, removing and drilling a hole in each side

Other masks could also have plaster poured into them probably.... using for those with hole

...I bought a plastic mask form (from an art supply store), and used plaster of paris to fill it... the plaster makes a great mask mold ...and if (when!) I drop it, I can use the plastic form to make another. LOL... The form is just basically a plastic human face, no holes in it at all,( with a rim/flange around it).. . .I just flip it over and hang the edges on the sides of a bowl so it's even (or set it in a pile of towels, or similar soft stuff), and fill the back up with Plaster of Paris (PoP). . .
...I had trouble getting the PoP out of the plastic even with vaseline as a release, so next time I'll try something like Armour All. I had to put this one into the freezer, and it cracked, so I fixed the cracks with TLS.
... I didn't need to use any release on the Plaster of Paris when I formed the clay on it. The clay sticks enough to provide a firm surface, but after it bakes it lifts right off.
.. I also used a regular black halloween mask (with just eyes & nose) to make the pattern to cut the clay from in the first place. Tess (
Teresa 's leaf onlay mask)

...Maxine Grossman created masks over Wireform (which had been) first shaped around a *plaster-filled, styrene mask*. She left part of the wire showing in the completed mask.

Dorothy G's full sized masks made on papier mache bases (masks # 1 & 2)
...I've used a papier mache mask as a (form) a number of times and it worked really well. What I do is to coat the side of the clay sheet with corn starch or talc and then I lay it OVER the front side of the mask, not the inside. I press and shape and work with it until it takes on the appearance of the mache mask. I have to cut and fit here and there, then smooth over everything. I use "mud" (well mixed waste clay) as a rule for this if I have enough. I use a # 2 setting on the pasta machine.
When I'm done shaping, I let it sit for an hour or so to firm up slightly, but not so long that the plasticiser leaches through the talc or corn starch into the mask (form). Then I carefully lift and remove it from the (form) and begin filling the inside with fiberfill. The fiberfill will keep it from collapsing when it's heated.
When it is baked and cool, I then begin laying on a thin decorative layer of canes, textures, whatever I have planned for it. I use small amounts of Liquid Sculpey to make sure the raw clay adheres to the baked surface. Only once did I leave the clay on the mask (form) and bake it that way. The paper mache was covered with some kind of glaze which stuck to the clay and made a terrible mess. Dotty in CA
We used paper mache masks and covered them with clay. Kris (Richards) said you could remove the clay from the paper mache base if you made the clay thick enough (#1 on the pasta machine). I made mine thinner so I left them on....The masks are roughly life size. The larger one is about 8-1/2" tall and about 5" wide at the widest point.
......Anne Igou and I get the paper mache masks from Dick Blick art supply. If there isn't a store near you, you can call for a catalog at (800) 828-4548 or visit them on-line at: http://www.dickblick.com ... Lisa P.
....I use a papier mache mask form (Dick Blick has them). Cover with tin foil and create the mask right on top of it. You can bake the Mask Form with the Mask so it doesnt distort and lose its shape in the Oven. redturtle
......The papier mache masks cost about $5 each. They are made by a company called DCC in Wichita, KS (#28-0097). I found them at a good craft store. I have a few ceramic masks that I will cover next. The clay can be removed from them as well. Dorothy

Build your (head) over a hollow papier mache form, but do NOT use the flour based paste as it will bubble in the oven. Instead, use strips of paper soaked in gesso. You can apply these over a balloon, letting each layer dry before the next layer is applied. I've built several masks in this fashion, using a gesso based papier mache covered with polymer clay (usually Super Sculpy). Katherine Dewey

good info about making masks with papier mache (or plaster gauze)

I have made a few bowls from the homemade (newspaper) type of papier mache...when finished and fully dry, they are rock solid, have no bubbles, and can be handled like a soft wood (sanded and thicker pieces can even be sawn)
...I use a pvc type glue, thinned a bit with water, (usually the yellow carpenter's kind) to seal the surface
...I speed up the drying by putting them in a low temp [150 F] oven for as long as needed. . . .
...once dry I sand it smooth.
(these steps can be repeated until I'm satisfied with the surface)...a last coat seals any spot where sanding may have gone thru to the actual paper layers. Ke

If using a form that can't be heated in the oven, wrap foil tightly around the outside of it, put on a layer of plaster gauze (see below), let dry and remove foil; then cover the plaster form with polymer and decorate; bake and remove foil.
~Nora Jean's half masks made on an aluminum-foil covered form lesson, & also ethinic masks/heads lesson (website gone)

I've been using thin cardboard shapes cut out of cereal boxes, etc. as armatures between thin clay sheets covering each piece with Sobo & letting it dry before sandwiching). I like them because they're strong but flexible, and I can make the sandwiched clay "wrap" and curl. Index cards and cardstock are not quite strong enough for the masks and small relief sculptures I'm making.
I made the masks with thin sheets of clay over plaster cloth forms. I use thin cardboard "sandwiches" (of cereal box cardboard between two layers of clay) to add relief bits to the basic form (noses, etc.); these have adhered just fine to the raw clay on the forms as long as there's plenty of surface area for contact. The largest single piece I have used so far is about 1" by 5". Mostly I have used them (to wrap or) to "curl" following the contours of the mask, but I can also get them to curl away from it. (He will add samples of these at his site soon? http://goddessmandala.com/index.html Sid

Ballard Institute's partial masks & lesson ("coming soon")

Meredith's sort-of mask, made with polymer sheet components, placed on a wire frame, but not covering it

Anne's HALF-mask lesson on Carol Duvall
...I bought a "lone ranger" plain black half-mask, and use it to draw a template from, to cut the base piece of clay from. Tesselene
Anne's many half-masks, many styles
Debbie's half mask with feathers sticking up from top and stiff wire dangly shapes in front of them... lots of metallic shapes on the mask itself http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/throtmortn/detail?.dir=/Polymer+Clay&.dnm=d5ae.jpg
Sarajane's half masks (metallic, ribbons) and her mixed media ethnic-type pendant masks (for sale)
Anne Igou's large-leaf onlay, half mask (Kato clay... accid. dropped 4' with no damage)
Kim K's half mask made with overlapping slices... 3-D plumeria-type flowers onlaid here and there
nitefalcon's half mask made from bargello strips
various cane slices made into sheet, then made into half-mask by Kathleen Dustin

jenleviel's use of embossing powders on a mask for metlalic effect (...on painted wood backgrounds)
http://www.jordanstreasures.com/images/long_goldbronze_embossed_mask2.jpg (gone?)
...all of the detail pieces you see were done with embossing powders, the base is PC, "slicked up" with ModPodge after it was baked . . . .

Garie's embellished dust masks (intended for avoiding the SARS virus in his Singapore area); baked clay critters to eat virus, arms with butcher knives to kill virus, tank to roll over virus, etc., glued to top or sides of mask "Perhap my masks will help, but mostly to cheer everyone up, especially the nurses and doctors fighting on the front line.".... might make wearing them more fun for kids too? (see Safety/Health>Avoiding Dust for a bit more)

Make your own mask or form

Possibilities for materials to use
1. see Molds > Other Materials for other materials besides the ones below
2. use one of the materials listed below to use as a base/form
3. buy a Make A Mask type kit at a hobby or child's educational store (which includes plaster gauze, plastic facial form, booklet)
4. make a mask with plaster gauze on your own face without a kit (to use directly, or as a form for a polymer, etc., covering)

kids making masks of the faces (and hands!) with an unidentified substance (wrote)

make a mask with plaster gauze
(on your own face ...or on a wire or other form)

medical "casting plaster" (aka orthopedic gauze... aka plaster gauze)
....roll of wide "gauze" impregnated with un-activated plaster..
.. can be purchased at hobby supply stores or cheaper online or at medical supply places?

....strips are cut from the roll, and dipped in water ...then (accordion-folded) squeezed somewhat to remove excess moisture
... apply (to your Vaseline-coated or plastic-wrap-covered face, or to a wire mesh form, etc.)
...let dry for 5 min. or so, then remove... or let dry up to 2 days (or in an oven____) until completely cured

It dries very fast, and if you put some face cream (or Vaseline, plastie wrap with nose holes) before applying the cast it does not leave any residues on the skin. You cut the bandage-like role into rectangles (~2"wide) and follow the instructions (wet in warm water and apply one piece at a time). It is fun and an interesting trusting experience. Varda
........Once you've made a mold with this plaster, add more plaster for strength, if you want
....fold the outside strips so they will be more rounded at edges of mask, or cut with scissors after drying

blue "shop" towels which are drapey but strong and good for at least outer layers of "papier mache" for smoothness and thicker coverage
.....buy them at automotive supply stores, hardware stores, or even Target
where is info on Rachel's??)stuff?)
..some white paper towels could work too (the Viva are quite soft and clothlike)

various polymer clay masks made by children with cancer by putting a layer of clay (solid color or other) over plaster gauze forms made on their faces, then embellishing with cane slices, impressions, etc.
http://www.pcpolyzine.com/0302february.pdf (click on Masks and Hands)

various lessons on making plaster gauze forms on faces:
http://www.art-rageous.net/MummyMask-LP.html (mummy mask laid out cardstock flange to make larger)

great lesson and photos of painted finished masks made on faces

lesson on make plaster-impregnated forms on faces
....buy a roll of plaster-saturated gauze at a craft store
.....coat your face with Vaseline (don't forget the hairline or you'll be sor-ry)
.....use either face-width strips, or cut squares for more detail
.....for strength, you can fold some layers of gauze in half, especially the ones on the outside.....begin around the outside, or the way my son learned it from the middle
.....dip each plaster gauze strip into water, accordinion-fold, squeeze a bit....after applying, rub with your fingers to soften the plaster and eliminate sharp edges
.....overlap the layers somewhat
......leave holes for eyes, nose, and mouth (if you want), or whatever you want (or features can be painted on)...if you choose to have the eyes covered with plaster pieces, a small piece of plastic wrap should be placed over the eye before it is covered
(.....for the lightest form, use only one total layer of gauze; otherwise use two layers)
(.....for the smoothest effect, rub the plaster mask with your finger until the plaster forms a sort of paste, then smooth as well as possible)
photo of my nephew waiting for mask on his face to set before removing:
.....wait 3 min's until it sets, then gently pry from face and let completely dry ___ hrs

you can add features (ears, eyebrows), or enlarge or change the shape of your own features, by attaching scrunched alum. foil, rolls of wet plaster gauze, or other bits and pieces from around the house (small balls, cups, etc.) with masking tape (or hot glue?) to the dry form and covering again with plaster gauze**, or add these items to the plaster gauze mask using squares of plaster gauze around the bottom or as necessary
.....let dry again
.....trim holes and edges (and sand? --not necessary though)

(.....if you want to paint the mask instead of using clay, or to use paint under clay decorations, use any kind of paint --if using tempra, seal afterward with acrylic spray or a layer of white glue --brush in one direction), or
.....cover with a layer of polymer clay and decorate .... or bake the base first, then decorate & bake again.

If you want to wear the mask with the gauze layer still in it, you can smooth it some on the inside by painting with a thick layer of white glue.
Make holes in each side of the mask and thread through a length of elastic, etc.
can also be used on the inside of the mask at the forehead and cheek areas if the mask is uncomfortable.

(.....Instead of covering the plaster with clay directly as above, you can cover it with aluminum foil, flattening it as much as possible, then cover it with clay and embellishments; bake and remove foil.)

**this adding/enlarging/changing step can be done before any plaster gauze is added if using a disposable form, or on top of the alum. foil if using it.

lesson: feet, hand, whole body, from plaster gauze or over other armatures

Gene Schklair's lesson on making a face, head or whole figure with plaster gauze and a wire mesh (hardware cloth?) armature
...begins layering with a double layer of long strips of gauze, and continues layering with smaller and smaller pieces as more detail is added. Schklair then refines the basic sculpture and adds the features--still made of plaster. After allowing two days to dry, he creates texture and paints the surface with gesso. The sculpture is then painted using acrylic paint and glaze.
...Gene's website for more of his sculptures http://www.sculpturesbygene.com (click on all galleries)
...he often uses other media as well... and for example, has a plaster head and arms extending out from a body which is painted on a flat surface

lesson on making mask (papier mache) over a half-gallon milk container http://www.art-rageous.net/Masks-LP.html
lesson on making animal head (papier m.) over blown balloon which was taped to a cardboard tube for a neck... dried overnight, then cardstock and masking tape ears and other details added... another layer of papier mache and paper towels

made her own plaster impregnated cheesecloth (for making a ghost)
...mix plaster about the consistency of thick paint. Pretty thin.
...cut cheescloth into strips about 6" wide (and any length)
...saturate the cheesecloth in the plaster and wring out ... lay strips as thickly as the effect desired.

wire mesh (WireForm) can be used over the face to create a base form for polymer clay, plaster gauze, or other materials... or can be left as is
http://www.reuels.com/reuels/product29624.html (faces) and http://www.catsgroup.co.uk/wireform.html (vairous uses)...see Armatures for more

Go to google and look up the term "alginate", or go to your dentist and ask where he gets it. (It is the stuff dentists use to make dental impressions). Compared to plaster it is a little pricey, but it works beautifully. Richard....
..... FX supply houses carry it in bulk and it's cheaper than dental alginate. It sets up quickly, doesn't heat up the way plaster does and is more comfortable during the mold process. . . . For my masks, I use a sculpted face made of polymer clay as my positive, and mold a felt armature over that. I'd like to create a silicone positive and use polymer/epoxy laminates for masks in the future when I have the time. Katherine Dewey

(...see more on alginate, plaster, etc. in Molds > Creating MoldsYourself > Other)

Vaseline thinned with naptha and fill with liquid plaster (hydrocal or potters plaster) to make a positive form for building a mask of polymer clay. Katherine



2 miniature mask swaps, at Sarajane's site
http://www.polyclay.com/maskswap.htm (3 pages) ....and http://www.polyclay.com/mask2003.htm
Sarajane's pendant masks ...+ links to more masks
http://www.polyclay.com/masks.htm ....+ her masks for sale: http://www.polyclay.com/maskpendants.htm
Jody B's and Dawn's masks (Ethnic Swap)
http://www.geocities.com/n_late/ethnic2.html (2 pages)
simple mask shapes (with many patterns)... created over same form, eyes punched out with mini cutters (Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild's Clayathon 2007)
Leslie Blackford's many ethnic-type masks
http://moodywoods.deviantart.com/gallery/#_featured--3 (see other pages also)
Robin's many mini masks
Lois' many mini masks
Kathy G's many masks for a swap

many masks for a 2004 swap
various masks at PCC ClayPen (some large, some mini)
Dorothy G's colorful whimsical masks, with cutouts, onlays, texturing & mixed media
(all but #1 & 2)
Kim Cavender's partial masks-- painted with alcohol inks
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimcavender/2473466555 (click also on other 2 photos in photostream, top right)
cforiginals' masks built up with added onlaid component shapes
http://store.cforiginals.net/shrunkenheads.html (look all around site...clicking a second time will make photos much larger!)

mask (beads) ...as only Dinko can do them. . .
http://new.dinkos.com (...click on NEW gallery... look down a bit for the cherry & brown colored mini-mask beads)
Dinko's masks with wire embellishment by Leigh
http://dinkos.search.bg/gallery14.html (gone?)
Sarajane's polymer mask/face to be used on cloth doll form
......Jeanne R. suggests that ethnic, etc. mini-masks make good heads for art dolls, for assemblage, etc.
syndee's lesson on making Mardi Gras mask pins from Pearl-Exed mold faces, adding feathers, sequins and pinback after baking
....(for half-masks, see below)

Garie's masks (some scary)... made from Friendly Plastic, but good for inspiration anyway
(click on pg. 2 also)
KellyK's tribal mask pins (some using feathers or mixed media)
Ginny L's small masks and busts (painted polymer and mixed media) --click on various
Beckah's powdered mask faces used on tiny shrine pin?
Mexican coconut masks (hemispheres with extensions around outside)

*Lori G's fabulous slightly larger micro-mosaics with cane slices too... masks
http://www.abundancebox.com/Masks.htm (gone)
....mine is a smiliar idea to Cynthia Toops (micro mosaic), whose work has been an inspiration but my "micro" pieces are probably 3 times the size of her little threads...which is still tiny. I'd say each little individual strip is about 3/8" x 1/16", maybe a little thinner. The masks are about 2-1/4" x 1-1/2" and are all 'wired' to be a pendant. Laura Liska's work and Sarah Shriver's blending techniques have also been great inspirations. Lori

Shrinemont mini mask swap (gone)
MDPAG's mini masks swap
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=4530485&uid=531344 (gone)
Linda T's small green jade mask with carving (website gone)
Linda C's small ethnic mask (for mask swap) & mask made into pendant (website gone)



Medium-size Masks

Adria's mask used as a Christmas ornament

Larger Masks

Helene Grove's half mask with elaborate overlapping canes

*Grove & Grove masks, elaborate overlapping leaf canes, and others, & mask pins
http://www.groveandgrove.com/maskgal1/gallery1masks.html + maskpingals/maskjewelgal.html(gone --boo hoo )
Kris Richards' stamped & metallic powdered mask (...brightly colored onlay mask gone)
...lesson for similar mask http://www.polymerclay.co.nz/projects/pxmask.html

Ginny L's painted polymer mask with feathers, wall mounted
Klew's many cane slices mask (her other masks gone)
?'s many-caned mask (one of many with his wife)
Christine Brasher's masks .. on plaques, or freestanding

Cyndi C's unusual, larger, ethnic? masks
Janet Farris' mosaic mask! (more-than-half mask)

Carol Z's use of various mosaic tiles and bits in some parts of mask

*Donna Kato's ethnic looking flat masks (website gone)
Greg's faux ivory and jade masks, with long bead dangles from ear area (website gone)
Denise in Austin's faux bone and horned, caned, and white-antiqued masks
http://hobbystage.net/art/denise_in_austin/ (near bottom) (gone)
Barbara's Nigerian masks (ivory... carved and embellished) (website gone)

Denita's mica clay effect base for mask http://djoneofakindcrafts.com/micashift.html
jenleviel's wonderful ethnic masks (wall art...on painted wood backgrounds, some with 3 masks vertically per piece)

Kim Korringa's African mask with onlaid strips cut into shapes for facial features (could be micromosaics though)

*Olga's fabulous small fantastic faces and bodies http://sites.netscape.net/olgaayalataino/decor (gone)
Janet Ferris' half-masks (caned, colored wire, ribbons) http://userzweb.lightspeed.net/jrfarris/gallery.html

mask of King Tut with some polymer http://www.rcs.k12.va.us/csjh/1st_99/kristin10b.htm
Dawn Sch's sculpted faces w/ leaves onlaid over all but features (green man) http://members.aol.com/rhaiven/greenman.html

"mask" made from leaf canes (website gone)
Dotty's ethnic? mask with metallic powders used various ways (website gone)
Jo's? half and ethnic masks (website gone)
mask Nora Jean's ethnic masks and faces (website gone)

Christel's lesson on aluminum foil form for half head, adding rough shapes, then covering with a sheet of skin (applicable to mask?)

Other Masks ....for inspiration

lesson --roughing out a shape for an ethnic mask
(click on Process 1)
some instructions (lesson) for making masks over a plaster gauze mold or papier mache over a balloon (Yale-New Haven teachers)
Liz M's masks made primarily with found objects as elements... very creative

*OMG! --hundreds of real masks!
many great masks (by an artist/psychologist)
many different masks, from around the world ... plus links to more
many wonderful masks ...ethnic, animals, people, unusual (made from cardstock, but translatable)
(African) http://www.fellersartsfactory.com/Masks2003.html ...(other) http://www.fellersartsfactory.com/index.html
many unusual masks, many extending off the face ...and also fancy half-masks
masks of papier mache, fronts finished with laquer & gesso
Japanese Noh masks
Chinese opera masks
World and Japanese Oni masks
D Lucento's ethnic masks+
Robert Rivera's small Indian (Native American theme) masks & gourd art
Native Alaskan Yup'ik masks (wood and mixed media)
http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/features/yupik/ (click on View the Masks, then on > repeatedly)
masks, headdresses, figures
half-masks, some skeletal in theme
female glamour masks, some with feathers

many more great masks can be found using an image search
, then using search phrases like: theater masks or tribal masks, etc.

(see also: Faces (for canes), Sculpture, Sculpture Body Parts, Armatures, Molds)