BODIES, Other Figures
Whole body proportions
Types of figures
...bendy, flexible
...jointed (3-D or flat)
.......gen. info
.......various more jointed-dangle ....dolls-figures... marionettes ... fabric
...abstract figures (...& amulets & fetishes)
YouTube, etc (demos for body parts, etc.)
Arms, Legs... Feet & Tails
Shoulders, Neck
Hair ...... Beards,Mustaches, Animal Whiskers
Eyes ....Noses ...Ears
Scales & dragonskin
Fur & feathers
...applying clothing... patterns,templates
...all-clay fabric
inclusions,translucents ...canes & slices
......onlaid shreds&bits,random&collage ...mica clays ...more ways,info

...real fabric--stiffened, embedded (with clay, liq.clay,etc), other "fabrics"
...accessories... shoes,hats,purses, other .... books
TOOLS for sculpting
...Sculpting stands, support stands
...Rubbery-tipped shaping tools (purchased) + making
...More tools (purchased, found)
...Making more clay tools

BODY PARTS & sculpting TOOLS

for much more on HEADS, see Heads-Masks
....(plus more on age, gender & ethnicity characteristics, proportions for features, etc.... and skin tones)

...loads more info on body parts --human, animal, and alien is on main Sculpting page... especially the first few websites listed under Sculpting, Instructions!!, esp. Dan Perez' site) .. Websites section there may move to its own page soon though

...for armatures (esp. for larger figures) & stands, etc., see Armatures--Permnent purchase eyes, hair, etc., supplies, see Supply Sources

Whole-Body proportions

simple lesson on ovals technique for creating correct body proportions

from THE DANE:
Human Proportions: There are two forms of measurement for sculpture and 2-D figure artworks.
A. Inches or metric measure.. a man is 72 inches (6 feet) high and a woman is 5 foot 8 inches high. The human skull is 8 to 9 inches high. Scale figures 1/5th (16 inch), 1/6th (12 inch), 1/8th (9inch), 1/9th(8inch), 1/12th (6 inch), 120mm (8.25inch approx. I'm not great with metrics), 1/35th) military tank scale(2.25 inch0, and gaming scales, 25mm(1 inch), 54mm also.
B. Artistic Measure... people are 8 heads heights tall. Mid Height is just below the groin or crotch. Elbows end at the waist. Legs are a 6(thigh) to 5(lower leg) ratio. Men are 2.5 heads wide at shouders(widest point). Women are 2 heads wide at the hips (widest point). Hands are one face(from chin to hair line) long. Feet are one head long. Finger tips end at 1/3rd down on thigh. Chest opening at bottom of sternum (solar plexus) on men is 45 degrees wide and on women is 60 degrees wide. Navel (belly button) hieght Men: at waist, Women: just below waist.

Types of figure Measurements:
The PAST: (men) 6.5 heads high, TODAY: 7.0 heads high, FASHION Style: 7.5,
HERO: 8.0 heads high, MONSTER or MYTHIC HERO: 9 heads high

Eyes are at center from top of skull to bottom of chin. Ears are midway back on skull. Back bottom of skull ends at bottom of nose. Face measure (from hair line to chin) brow is 1/3rd down, nose bottom is 2/3rds down, ears are same hieght and location vertically as nose. Eyes are one eye space apart(any wider looks smarter, any narrower looks less intelligent). Nose nostrals are (Caucasion Whites) one eye space apart. Mouth corners width end at eye centers.

Head and hips can turn almost 90 degrees side to side. Spine has movement only at neck and below rib cage. Shouder Blades start move up only after the arms have risen 30 degrees.

This is lesson one for you. The best way to learn is by not trying to create a master piece, but get into the joy of practice and learning. Playing like a child is the best way to sculpt.Any questions or problems E-mail me and send jpeg figure pictures for free critiquing. Let's all have some FUN! Sincerely, THE DANE

Elvenwork Modeling Mat (and the Junior mat) Dewey's mats with all the landmarks and proportions of the human (adult and child) form listed and accurately illustrated at 1/12th scale on a precise grid, the scale used by most miniaturists... the other side is a multi-purpose work surface complete with a grid, clay measuring and cutting guides that will make it easy to convert the scale of your figures upward or downward.
..... my work mats got here from Elvenwork, and I have to say that these things are going to be a real time-saver! I got both of the mats... the adult and the child... I now have a quick reference for sizing and checking proportions on my dolls - no more scribbling notes on freezer paper! I'd seen copies of her workbooks, before, so I knew the work mats were going to be pretty cool - they are so completely thorough in the amount of information on them. The child mat has children from six months old up to ten years old. Really neat, Katherine! I'm going to love these! Elizabeth

(Katherine Dewey, 1998) ...Those who took my course or bought the handbooks at Ravensdale will understand this post. Follow are ratios that produce a leaner, but still accurate figure. I fear Henri Moore's influence got to me: I've been aculpting a fuller figure lately, and the ratios given reflect that. Here are the new ratios, ideal for elves and their ilk:
Head: 1 ball; Eyes: 1/128; Eye Lid: 1/128; Nose: 1/64, 1/128; Cheeks: 1/64, 1/128*; Ears: 1/64; Neck: ¼; Torso: 3, 3 ¼; Breast: 1/32, 1/16*; Thigh: 3/4, 1; Calf & Foot: 1/2, ¾; Ankle: 1/128; Upper Arm: 1/4, 5/8; Forearm: 3/16; Hand: 1/16; Thumb 1/64, 1/128; Shoulders: 1/32
Head: 1 Ball; Eyes: 1/128; Eye Lid: 1/128; Nose: 1/64; Jaw: 1/32*; Ears: 1/64; Neck: 1/4, 3?/8; Torso: 3 1/2, 4; Thigh: 1, 1 ½; Calf & Foot: 1, 1 1/8; Ankle: 1/128, 1/64; Upper Arm: 3/8, ½; Forearm: 1/4, 3/8; Hand: 1/8; Thumb: 1/64,; Shoulders: 1/32, 1/16

proportions of average adult human body and face:
* The average adult is eight heads tall (eight times the measurement of the head from the bottom of the chin to the top of the scalp). A woman's head is slightly smaller than a man's head, but both are still eight heads tall.
* The hips are at just about the halfway point; in other words, the legs are about four heads long.
* The eyes are halfway between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin.
* The space between the eyes is one eye-width.
* The size of the ears can be determined by aligning them between the eyebrow and the bottom of the nose.
* The placement of the ears should be just behind the center line of the skull in profile, positioned straight up and down.
* Divide the bottom half of the face in thirds to determine the placement of the nose and mouth.
* The nose is about as wide as the index finger.

* The hand can be measured using the face as reference--if the heel of the hand is placed against the bottom of the chin, the middle finger should reach to about mid-forehead; a man's hand might reach his hairline.
* Each finger bone between knuckles (tarsal, I think) is about 1.5 times the length of the next smaller tarsal.
* The foot is the same length as the forearm, measured from the inside of the elbow to the wrist where it meets the heel of the hand.

Proportion Wheel for doll artists! .... a 9" wheel that calculates accurate proportion for any size figure from 2-32" (simply dial the wheel to the desired figure height, and use the dimensions given in 10 key areas around the figure diagram)
... order online at (now gone?--sh. be available elsewhere?)...cost $18. plus $4. priority shipping. Linda

Overall Figure Types

The proportion, size, shape, color, texture of any body part can be created to look realistic, or it can be unrealistic-abstract (perhaps distorted).
....for example, the part could be short or long, fat or thin, extra-large or extra-small... or some parts could be one style, and other parts diff.

Some figures have all their body parts present (torso, head-facial features, neck, arms-hands, legs-feet)
........ but some have fewer parts and are still recognized and considered "figures" can also be suggested, but not complete (e.g., a short bit of twig extending from each shoulder to suggest arms, or a vertical indention created in a solid area of the lower body to indicate legs)
...when body parts are omitted, in general the first part to go is often the neck... followed by feet-legs... hands-arms ... torso... facial features: ears, nose, mouth, eyes ... (heads are sometimes omitted too, but then any or all other parts must be used) ...all these things up to the maker, of course

physical details can be added to any part even if the part itself remains abstract... or embellishments can be added to any part
...e.g., on a torso: boobs, round belly-hips-navel, jewelry or clothing ...on an "arm": bracelet or purse... on a "head": elaborate mouth or hair, etc., ...not to mention attached, dangling, or projecting feathers, wire, stones, beads, whatever

skin color possibilities:
...flesh (Caucasian, Asian, light brown, cocoa, dark brown)...(see recipes in Heads-Masks >Skin Tones)
...white... white with gloss finish (faux ceramic)
...translucent: plain... over white (alabaster) or color... tinted, with inclusions
...Pearl: over white or any color... tinted... using a mica technique or other pastels
...special colors like: green or glow-in-the-dark for a monster, witch... red for devil ...bone for skeleton, etc.
...any color at all

flexibility options for figures
....immovable poses (rigid)
... jointed (usually for arms and legs only... but could also be at neck, or elbows-knees, or hands-feet)
......joints can be movable in all directions, or only in 1-2 directions --depending on the material used for the joint, and the shape and tightness of the connected parts
.......e.g., the flexibility of most cording will give a joint that's able to move easily in any direction, whereas metal eyepins may give a more restricted motion
.......closely or tightly joined pieces or those with short connectors, may not be able to move as much as loosely joined ones or those with longer connectors
....... shape of ends to be connected can block each other's movement somewhat, or allow more of it

(for most rigid figures and dolls, see Sculpting)

Bendy, flexible figures

aluminum foil

NoraJean's video lesson on making an aluminum foil armature for figure which could also be used a free-standing aluminum foil figures (posable) (some of NJ's videos are from previous webcam demos so the frame rate is slow & choppy... so best to let the whole video load, then move the scan button at bottom of video window with your cursor to make the movement smoother and quicker)

pipe cleaners, etc.

lesson on figure from pipe cleaner (aka chenille stem)
lesson on 3" dolls ("wee folk") each made from a 12", 3mm dia pipe cleaner, folded in half, then for neck and arms
... 14mm wood bead head, real acorn cap (dress shown) of wool felt sewed with blanket stich and embroidery floss, perle cotton belt...neck of pipe cleaner poked through top of dress-shirt... long "fleece" hair?,,HGTV_3242_2334417,00.html

tallmouse's West African dressed figures made with
doubled pipecleaner for arms, dowel through bead (head), robe-dress rectangle of fabric (diamond cut out in center for head, then tie around waist and neck, turban)
.....these figures often carry everyday items like baskets with fruits/ vegetables/ straw/ fish, buckets, jugs, beautiful boxes, lanterns and filled sacks

"macaroni monsters" -- jointed figures &animals on pipe cleaners
...could be made with
polymer clay tube beads (thin walled) instead of dried pasta pieces
...for animals, create torso by sliding a few pieces of macaroni (or tube-shaped, or other polymer beads) onto the center of a pipe cleaner....bend on both sides to form neck and tail... add more (beads), folding ends of pipe cleaner to hold in place... bend neck between beads 90
° to make a head... attach pipe cleaner-and-tube bead legs, etc.. can add other parts like ears, horns, manes, of clay with glue or other pipe clearns.... can also wrap pipe cleaners with beads around torso, if want.

...if using clay, these could resemble brightly painted wood figures (and chairs) which have a different color and diff. pattern on each section ...similar to

...add my pipe cleaner doll or figure instructions (and Grace's photo?)

pipe cleaners (the bumpy kind) formed into many tiny animals by Garie and his kids
... then bodies are embellished with shapes of raw clay (and bit of white tacky glue?) to add eyes, muzzles, bellies, plus hands and feet, and many other things... then baked at 265 for 15 min. (frog, bears, Picachu, monkeys, bunnies, dragon, etc. )
Garie's lesson on making a fluffy bear with bump pipe cleaners

Max's wonderful pipe cleaner figures and action heroes (no clay, but could be)
Family Fun's examples of pipe cleaner figures

(see also below under Jointed for Sue's using short lengths of pipe cleaner as joints between clay arms or leg and clay torso)

mostly-wire figures

lesson on making a flexible simple colored wire figure... 2- 3 pieces of corrugated cardboard (for head and body, or head and chest and pelvis), which can then be posed or "play baseball" etc.... head has drawn face

Dar’s mostly-wire “ladies” pins ...torso is one large, flat, fairly triangular polished stone, multi-wrapped with wire and beads
...for hair and head, loose coils of wire around a ring of wire ...each leg or arm is a short wire with loop at end (one has tiny stone attached to loop for shoe )

Susan B's lesson on making a tiny simple wire figure ...then (partly) clothing it with caned clay (sheet of spirals)
Marcia B’s a tiny wire body with a polymer cane slice wrapped around (square orientation) for a dress...head of wrapped wire, hair of 7 cut loops of embroidery floss (lesson gone)
Michelle R's lesson on making a small body from twisted wire (wood bead head)... filling it out with scrap white clay... dressing with cane-slices top (probaly disk, w/ slash to center), a textured/highlighted skirt piece, and a belt? to gather top ... hair is loops of embroidery floss gathered in the wire above head, trimmed at ends,1789,HGTV_3352_1399700,00.html

Debra G's art figure in shadow box... mostly wrapped wire, with polymer head and hands,1789,HGTV_3237_3417221,00.html

see also bead people and tube-bead people below in Jointed
>>>>>>> reference aluminum foil figures

flexible, posable puppet (or figure ) made with 2 twisted wires, wrapped with cloth tape + sheets of polyfill a for extra thickness ...then (epoxy) clay, but leaving actual joints are wire-only

(flexible clays)

for making figures from special clays which remain flexible after baking, see (Sculpey's Super Flex) "Bake and Bend" clay n Characteristics > Super Flexible Clays
(one lesson on using it to make a flexible frog)

Jointed figures ...(3-D and flat)

General Info.


many of the Dia de los Muertos skeleton figures could be jointed, or just inspirational for jointed figures (see Halloween > Dia delos Muertos)
...a jointed (plastic) skeleton
...Joanne's skeleton ladies (white skin) have arms and necks which look jointed but aren't ...facial features & finger lines added with black paint

see also "marionettes" below for more inspiration for jointed figures (...just don't add strings or rods)... lots of ethnic ones too

arms-legs-heads for jointed figures could be made with clay:
clay fauxs :
...wood (unfinished or finished, "stained" or natural) ...twigs-bark...cork... terra cotta... ivory... jade or other semi precious stones...stone... metal... straw or twine... leather
(see Fauxs-many, Faux-turquoise&wood, Faux-ivory, Inclusions)
patterned clay:
...random pattern of stars, flowers, or any clay pattern
...abstract (marbled colors, mica manipulations)
...particular colors/patterns to indicate stockings, gloves, shoes, etc
(other possibilites for any clay)
...add texture (and maybe highlighting or antiquing)
...twisted-braided clay ropes

...use beads or tube bead for limbs and/or hands-feet
...use a mask or plain ball as a head
...make any kind of shoes, hats (or other accessories) and clothing for a particular figure's look (ethnic, seasonal, period, etc.)

or with mixed media:
real objects
... some 3-D items could be twigs or bamboo... twine (frayed for hands?)... wire (plain, twisted, flattened)... plastic (tubes, coated wire)... fabric (stuffed, pleated,rolled)... cording... twine... ribbon... paper-cardstock... fabric embedded with translucent clay or liquid clay
...for heads, anything round, oval, etc., but could really be any shape-thickness
.......coin, cane slice, small rock or polished stone, any piece of nature, metal washer, glass, aluminum foil shape, metal or other bead or "charm" or some part of a piece of jewelry,
...many "junkyard dolls" made from all kinds of things... most have dangle arms and legs

"Parts" of limbs (or clothing, etc.) can be any amount of the whole limb you want
... e.g., an entire one-piece arm could dangle from a shoulder... or the arm could be broken up into various clay shapes, beads, wire or wire coils, other materials for many parts (some of which could be jointed or strung on eye pins, etc.)
....legs could include shoes as one piece, or shoes could dangle

You can also use other materials and items to create "joints" which can move in all directions, or one direction
...cording of various kinds and materials could be used
...wire or pipe cleaners (could also be twisted or braided)
...for shoulder sockets, you might check out fishing swivels. It's a bead between two wire loops. The loops can be turned individually. The shoulder "muscle" over the arm socket might just be so thin and delicate that it would have to be made out of something other than clay. Maybe belt lining (available at fabric stores) embedded in the clay.
...I used chain like the kind used in pull chain lights....also embedded right into the joints. I am going to try this on my marionettes next…
....jumprings or things connected with eye pins or jumprings
....Irene C's joints made from embedded snaps (gone)
....Nancy's wire springs for legs/necks birds (heads, feet and body/wings made of clay) (website gone)
..........(see also nodders and bobbleheads in Kids > Sculpting
...the hinges on pinbacks might work if they're bare, but the upper and lower bar and pin were covered with clay, or embellished,
... ll the results (on doll joints) went into my miniature polymer clay dolls book . Sue Heaser
...fabric embedded with liquid clay or translucent clay
...liquid clay ropes

"cotter pin joints": plastic or cardboard discs in each part held together with a cotter pin which is bent apart inside the body (for clay too?).


Jointed or Dangle

by number of "units"
(below, both arms are counted as one "unit" ...also both legs as one unit)

Maureen Carlson's lesson on 2-unit figure (jointed at one area) with dangling arms (using embedded eye pin in "shoulder" and in arm to connect)
...body is 2 thick, tapered square cane slices (top square lengthened and narrowed a bit at top; bottom sq. narrowed a bit at top... join)
...neck is small flattened clay ball
...head is molded face placed on top of flattened ball a little larger than face (black clay with blue Pearl Ex) is 9 bent U's of colored wire (could be cut paperclips too) placed around face (jowl to jowl)... between face and "head"
...arms are simple tapered logs (wide end down)... insert eye pin in tip of small end on both
...butt head to neck to body, add eyepins to shoulder areas, butt neck to body, butt head on neck
...bake body and arms separately ... after cooling, attach arms by joining eye pins

Patricia's 2 unit figures (no arms)... separated at neck with one bead, and at legs with several beads

Melnik's 3-unit figures, jointed at two places ...with embedded eye pins in shoulders and hips ...head & torso...arms...legs

Selkies's 3 unitdangle figures: ...head... upper toso & arms ... lower torso-skirt & feet (gone?)

3-unit cane slices figures ..... head,hat,trunk,upper arm ... lower arms... legs/shoes (from the book "Five Artists--Five Directions in PolymerClay")

Nina's jester figures jointed between 4 units: .... head,hat & trunk (collar,shirt,skirt) .....
...also (hands & shoes are a bead, a wire spiral, group of beads, etc.)

Fayette's many fabulous dangle figures! ... mostly 4-units ... many diff. leg and arm styles & beads
...many heads, hats, shoes .......
mermaids w/ separate tails..... ethnic & Halloween , figures etc.

fashionruler's robot dangle... 4 units... arm is 3 unit but wrist is a stiff. joint

Lala's larger jointed figure/puppet made from various thick flat shapes of decorative clay, held with wire (& rivets)... clay slice face

Various More jointed and/or dangle
.... some a little different and/or jointed with other materials...

Cheryl's many and varied fabulous, more abstract, ethnic-looking figures
.....canes ....lots of mixed media for skirts (some are danglies)... hair ...many legs are danglies
.....most arms are interesting fixed-position (clay-covered wire strand, or wire coiled around clay rope, or around other wire)

Leslie Blackford's several whimsical figures, various number of joints (click on photo for extreme enlargement)

many wonderful varied jointed figures (very abstract), by different clayers
---made with clay, beads, yarns wire, charms (with different types of parts, and different looks)

Julie's 6-unit, dangle-jointed figures from thick-flat clay shapes (cane slices?)... joined with eye pins (or small bead between)
......units are: head-hair, upper torso, lower torso (a skirt), arm-hand, and legs-feet (
together )
("Kidz Pinz")

skeleton with 15-units (head/neck, chest, 2 each of upper arm, lower arm, hand, upper leg, lower leg, foot)
... eye-pins embedded in the end of each section, joined with eyepin of next section) made from glow-in-the-dark clay by suitcase2space

Tonja's 3-unit Lanky Lady pin... flat clay cutout as body-head... long arms and legs made from beads on a head pin attached with jump rings to holes in body... flat clay hands and feet at ends of head pins... (lesson will be in Polmer Cafe magazine)

Loretta's triangle (body) girl pins, with coiled wire arms & legs with polymer hands and shoes attached, clay disk heads & wire coils hair
Chris Gluck's lesson on making funny & simple bugs (could be people)... coiled colored wires for arms & legs, but head & torso rigidly connected,1789,HGTV_3256_1385790,00.html

Krista's jointed "birds or paradise", using beads or wire for long necks, legs attached to flat torso... heads are 3-D (see also assem. fig's)

Nancy's legs-dangling flamingo; body is covered xmas ball (website gone)
Christel's lesson on making a "rabbit" hair holder, using elastic for the holding band and also for the dangly feet and hands (click on any photo to see enlargement) (unfinished rabbits with clothing)

Gilda's cute dangles with large shoes dangling from long string legs
chicken ...& other animals leather thong dangly legs (other animals in dropdown menu)

Micky's dangle arms and legs made from embroidery floss and beads... one also has a dress made from a wrapped-around length of fringe (click on Dolls ... 2 of the gray-haired ones)
Josh's lesson for ribbon-dangle cow, cat, apple and snowman

Dawn's Dolly Dangles (website gone)
seasont's jointed dangling figures (website gone)

Gwen's dangling Humpty (and jester)
.... note the hole created for the leg's jumpring formed by 2 U-shaped clay extensions under body, each with a hole

interesting shoulders... rod or bar inserted through "neck" of chain links (to create shoulder unit) (see Evelyn's figures)

Kris R's very cute flat "Polydollys" (not "jointed" but could be)
... various body parts made from different clay patterns (slices from canes & stacks, or pattern sheets cut with cutters) ...lesson

Jean Comport's Ouchie Box (clay-covered metal bandaid box)... simple beaded arms dangling from each side (head pressed on top of box body)

Beckah's jointed figure with covered matchbox bottom as torso... flat arms and legs are jointed to sides of upright box with brads or bolt and washer?... head fixed rigidly on top of box end

Dan's and Tracy's "figures" made with box and other shapes .... tube bead arms, etc. (gone)
Merri Beth's jointed arms made from beads and jingle bells (hands?), attached to "Roly Poly" torso formed over glass ball ornament or light bulb? (gone)

pipe cleaners +long clay "bead" arms and legs = posable joints)
...make holes through the limbs (arms and legs) with a fine knitting pin (diameter?) before baking --think of the little limbs as long beads
...then make corresponding (short?) holes in the body (where they will attach) (not through body)
...thread pipe-cleaners through the limbs
glue the ends of the pipe-cleaners into the tops of the lower legs, the tops of the lower arms (?)... and then thread on the limbs... then glue the other ends into holes in the body)... . Sue Heaser ( add hands and feet (or hands and feet built into "limbs"?)

Garie's film cannister people ...many whimsical sculptures & chess set and

*wild, jointed figures (mostly flat).. all kinds, but especially "paper dolls" (not polymer?, but easily could be)
...& Liz's

*Ginny L's larger elaborate wire figures... many separate (flattish) clay parts threaded on wire... attached with sometimes elaborate wire (to create one dangling figure) and and

inspired by PAPER, or OTHER MATERIAL, figures
...You can make jointed flat figures (like paper dolls or puppets) with button-type polymer disks instead of the traditional paper fasteners at the joints (puppets could be paper or flat polymer clay).
.....make two holes in each disk, then thread a u-shaped bent wire through the holes and the corresponding body holes of both, from front to back; twist wire in back, and trim off ends. is one template & lesson:
various figures (hinged) diff. paper patterns, etc., but still inspirational

paper figures (hinged) --mostly paper but inspirational
Sarajane’s character dolls (& paperdolls) (hinged--mostly paper but inspirational)

lesson on figure with 5 parts (head/torso + 4 limbs) connected with brads (front view)

see also jumping jack figures of various kinds
acrobat figure lesson below under Dolls & Other Figures, shows similar technique used with clay pieces, but figure is from the side rather than front-on

FLAT "paper dolls," Flat Stanley, etc.
loads of different paperdoll patterns (or printables) ...(+animals, historic, movie, cartoon, misc.)
many paperdolls to dress online (click on each outfit, or print out and use)

many paper doll websites

(...for more on paper dolls, Flat Stanleys, etc., made from clay, see Kids >



small bead figures (jointed) like the following could be created with polymer beads instead (or polymer beads mixed with other beads)
Sue S's Beople figures... jointed with fancy bead bodies... beaded arms/legs longer beads for feet, and crazy, mixed media hair

moonbaby bead people (many pages with diff. theme figures)
simple lesson on making bead-type people (top to bottom)

lesson on making bead people (bottom to top)
few moonbaby animals, bugs, etc., using projecting beads only for legs or hair, etc., around large face or lg. body

Lynne M 's boy and girl jointed figures (cane slices/shapes, jointed with eye pins or curved wire --pipe clearners? or wire-wrapped arms & legs?)
wire and beads figures (some have personality or good-cause accessory) (head and body only, mostly wire)
Patricia's wire & mostly seed bead arms and legs (long, posable)... also head beads made with face cane slices, and hats made from disk of clay + wire toploop... some have simple painted faces

.... &

tube bead figures
jointed figures & animals on pipe cleaners could be make with all kinds, sizes and shapes of polymer tube beads (patterned, embellished, or plain, etc.), substituting for the pasta pieces! DB (see more on making tube beads in Beads > Tube Beads)
(see more on this idea above under Bendy, Flexible --"macaroni monsters")

(see also more ways to make joints in Armatures)
...for cutting, preparing and covering or painting aluminum flashing figures , see Covering > Metal

esp. "dolls" & other figures

(somewhat realistic figures ... often with simple joints at shoulders and hips)

most of the following examples are made with plain white bulk Sculpey, and painted after baking (though certainly wouldn't have to be)
...some clothing patterns, shoes, etc. may be painted on
...but fabric often used for clothing, or partial clothing ...may have mixed media accessories/jewelry/ trims, etc.
...legs and arms often long and slender ...small, slender heads ... very long hair
...simple joints at shoulders and hips using wire, ending with wire loop or bead outside each shoulder)
...often "odd/Goth" or Edwin Gorey effect
(...but...Sfigures like this could also be animals, or have none of these characteristics though)

Spookbot... women, painted fancy eyes, lower dress area made from fabric/trims, some with hair painted on, wire-loop joints...also skeleton figures (click on My Dolls, at left)
Dollings ...women, painted fancy eyes, lower dress area made from fabric/trims, wire-loop joints ...back stories to go with each figure (click on Sold)
Strangedolls... worry figures (and others)...embroidery floss or dental floss (many strands) joints
Micky's various figures ...mostly jointed with floss or cording (click on Dolls)

"Dame Darcy" doll (shown on Crafters Coast to Coast) ...long arms/legs...long neck...v.long hair...small head...fabric dress/trim... 5-6" tall ...
......downloadable doll-making video (currently unavailable)
..(she used plain white bulk Sculpey
, but I'd suggest a stronger clay like Premo, Fimo, Kato --in white or any color)
...shape a head and torso unit with a tapered rope of white clay (~3 1/2" x 3/4" at top?)
...flatten face area a bit ...roll neck area between thumb and index finger to narrow it (long neck)
...narrow waist area same way ...flatten abdomen a bit inward on hip joint area on each side of belly to narrow it at an angle (will better fit upper leg later)
...make fairly large joint hole through upper torso almost at breast level (drill with needle tool, et., from outside one shoulder, through torso, out 2nd shoulder)
...make another joint hole through depressed hip area (side to side) of face (ends up somewhat triangular)
.....eyes/nose: press index finger of each hand into eye area and slightly toward each other, to create 2 large shallow depressions (also creates beginning of a nose)... pull nose out a bit more ...add small flattened balls of clay in each eye depression
.....onto mouth area press small ball ...indent horizontally to create separate lips... press small vertical line down into top lip, to create lip bow
...arm...make thin, tapered rope (bit shorter than head/torso in length)... press down on smaller end to create hand... indent 3-4 small lines to indicate fingers... make hole through top of arm for later stringing (watch hole orientation so hands will hang with fingers forward!) ...make 2nd arm
...leg (slender rope but wider than arm.. same length as head/torso) ...taper let to a point (leave for simple shoe, pointing down... or create high-heeled shoe by turning up tapered end on leg a bit, then pinching a heel-arch for it)...
...knee ..pinch middle of leg area a little, then roll-narrow leg a little just underneath
...hip ..flatten inside top of each leg a bit ...make hole through top of leg (watch orientation)... make 2nd leg
...bake pieces at 275 about 20 minutes (...though Sculpey can darken at that temp)
...paint all pieces with acrylic paints before assembling... (wipe down with alcohol beforehand for best stickability... can use "artists" paint in tubes which are thicker than bottled, or may need 2 coats)
...(face): bright red lips (paint nice lip shape on mouth mound)
.....eyes... paint thick black line in crease along top of flattened ball to create upper eyelashes...then shorter-lighter black line in bottom crease for lower eyelashes... in-between black lines, paint large colored iris (will be truncated a bit by eyelashes)...add black dot for pupil
.....cheeks ...paint pink disks on cheek area (can water paint down, if desired)
...long stockings ...paint alternating stripes around lower legs (can even make each stocking diff. color)
......paint shoes over stockings ...high heeled shoes with "cross-strap"... or plain shoes (just paint tips of feet)
..assemble ...string arm-torso-arm together with cording...make knot in cording at each end ...can dab with bit of nail polish to secure (can also add sequin or bead to cording before knotting)
..assemble leg-torso-leg the same way
..fabric clothing... make simple shift-type dress using truncated-cone of fabric by sewing long sides together...add sleeves or not... cut length at knee or below ...can embellish by hand sewing several "buttons" (beads of diff. colors) down front of dress and/or add trims to bottom, collar, etc
.....slip dress over head, pulling it way down so neck area looks really long --part of this look (straight "real" hair... or any kind) ...put E-6000 glue onto head and add hair like a skull cap ... press center of very long hank of hair to top of head, and press some to sides... trim any unruly hairs (hair can be as long as hips or knees if desired)

Judy's lesson on making a toy polymer acrobat figure (with flat pieces... body in profile) from diff. baked clay pattern pieces, jointed with wire ---spiraled and flattened outside each join) does sommersaults on string when frame is squeezed,1789,HGTV_3237_2831708,00.htm

marionettes ...(jointed puppets)
often jointed at knees and elbows as well

(without the strings or rods, these make good inspiration for regular jointed figures and dolls...)

Garie's small bear marionette puppet ...6 pieces, connected to thin nylon filament strings... has T arrangement of popscicle sticks for controller
Garie's lesson on making a small puppet from a clothespin ("cloth clip"), jointed with wire loops, and toilet roll holder(?)
...4-6 pieces (don't understand swinging legs)

Garie's mid-sized marionette figure (no clothes yet)...8 or more joints

Lynelle's lesson on a more complicated marionette...10 pieces (+ optional 2 for "tail")...... jointed also at knees and elbows ...added fabric costume

flexible, posable puppet (or figure ) made with 2 twisted wires, wrapped with cloth tape + sheets of polyfill a for extra thickness ...then (epoxy) clay, but leaving actual joints wire-only

mini-me marionette (vegbee's husband) made by running wire through each body part, leaving a bit sticking out at any ends which will be joints... then forming a loop at ends of wires before joining two together ...(he also poked a small hole in hands and knees to pass through the invisible thread (monofilament), winding it through the hands, knees and top of head... tied the monofiliament from head, from knees and from hands to wood crosspiece for moving ...he suggests figuriong out the best length for each string so movements you want can be created)

I find that my marionette is difficult to operate because I did not constrict the movement of the limbs. you can form the limbs in such a way as to only allow certain movements which would greatly improve the end result. Have fun building your very own you.

Jan's bird marionette, comprised of only 4 polymer parts (flat body-with-onlaid-wing, flat head, and two hemiphere feet)... length of string (or pipe cleaner??) connected between head and body, and body and each foot (embedded in clay)... 4 strings control movement, and are tied through (side to side) hole in top of head, hole in tail (drilled into edge from one side of tail to other, and wrapped around bottom cording of legs to feet)
....similar bird marionette, but with large beads threaded onto the string lengths... other marionettes
...(add my photos of fabric bird marionettes like this)
...4-legged animal marionette (unicorn) at (gone)

simple bunny marionette wtih flat body & 2 dangling feet which move ... 3 pieces (head+body, +2 feet)... 3 strings attach fr. T controller to head & ea.foot (not made from clay)
(If photos don't show, click on "template," then return to page.... should become visible)

what about a miniature marionette inside a box. ...stand the box (cigar or other) on its side and you can have the lid/door open or not... if you have a string coming out of a hole at the top, you could pull it and make it jump). Nora-Jean
...DHM (Doll House Miniatures?), the March 2000 issue, page 56, has an article on Poly-clay marionettes by Sue Heaser ...lenora

examples of many marionettes (google search)
many Asian marionettes

rod puppets.... there are also marionette types which have only moveable arms, and are connected/controlled by sticks from below rather than by cording from above ... these are often from Indonesia, Bali, India, etc. ......wayang golek, wayang kletik, etc.

(for more on marionettes as well as unjointed puppets of all types, see Sculpting-gen > Other Items > Puppets)


fabric bodies can be "jointed" too... either by just stuffing them loosely, or actually sewing a line of stitching across each joint to narrow it (or could be tied or gathered)
...lots of patterns (free & purchase) can be found online for simple or complex muslin shapes to make figures with and (patterns, tips, various other figures)
... these can be used in lots of ways for making "art figures" ( bakable if necessary?)
...any fabrics can be used but some may not accept the acrylic paints or dyes/inks used to color them?
....can also use embossing powders or use other metallic techniques (especially over acrylic paint)
....can sew or glue on any other items, or sew with decorative threads coloring and embellishing first, or afterwards
Maureen Carlson's small fabric doll forms with polymer faces
sewn on through holes in each side
JJHandworks' polymer faces attached to simple small fabric bodies ...some have can slice? "masks" glued or sewn to head fronts ...
simple stuffed arms and legs --or no arms and legs ...bodies often pieced patterned fabrics with beads, etc., here and there ... some have elaborate mixed media hair or headgear
Debbie Jackson's faux ivory ethnic faces on fabric-body dolls
Chris Sickels' various figures with clay faces and fabric and other materials bodies ...

...premade stuffed muslin doll "blanks" (human or animal) can often be purchased at craft stores (I've seen bunnies for Easter time)... these may have fairly long arms and legs, or may be small and stubby
......"Bendi Dolls" and Bitti Bendi Dolls" can be bought in two sizes (6" and 14")
...many doll patterns for inspiration (see above for more)

fabric figure jointed by sewing small button, etc., through top of arm or leg fabric

Abstract figures

Non-realistic figures (usually without legs --sometimes arms, etc, or otherwise abstract, are fun to make ..and extremely varied.

...can be 3-D, or slightly dimensional, or flat
......if they're 3-D, can be used as dolls, or sculpts, or as embellishments
......if they're relatively flat, can be used in scrapbooking, altered books, cards, or anywhere
...can have fabric clothing, clay clothing, suggested clothing, or no clothing.
...often have lots of embellishment in the form of stamping, onlays, mixed media, antiquing, wrapping, etc, but these aren't necessary

amulets and fetishes (items with magical powers) ...and some art dolls, etc.

true amulets and fetishes
... are
small human or spiritual figures (or they can be animals or items) usually worn on a person's body to "protect" or to help them in some way or confer special powers, or to repel something bad . ..or they can be placed next to the thing to be protected or helped
(......can sometimes be a specific god/dess who then protects the wearer, or an animal whose special quality is given to the wearer ... also crystals, certain gems, etc.)
..."but almost anything could serve as an amulet --a red string wound around the wrist, a stone carried in a small pouch around the neck," a horseshoe
...may also have or contain special words, symbols, incantations, etc.
...traditional ones are most often seen in older cultures or those which continue older rituals... some religions... but in subtler ways, amulets can be found everywhere
...can also be used to proclaim or encourage association with an idea, a value, a characteristic, etc.
info about real amulets
lots of info about the broader topic of amulets and "protections," etc., and how widespread they are
meanings of certain amulets, fetishes
(other words and concepts for these: talisman, charm (lucky), totems, relic, runes, etc.)

amulets/fetishes/etc.are often used as stand-alone pendants or pins .....or can also be attached or connected to something else
...can also be used as vessels, pouches, containers which are worn (...some original amulets were for holding a medicine, or recipe for it)
.........(for rigid, hollow, or somewhat hollow, amulets which are formed over small rocks, see Vessels-Rock > Websites, mostly)
...but they can also be used as embellishment on items such as vessels, jewelry, covers and mini books/journals, covered gourds, etc.

attached to them can be things like:
......all kinds of embellishments.... (even
hair, bone, a belonging, etc. of one of the parties --intertwined with, attached to, or enclosed within, some real amulets)
......dangles comprised of beads, shells, or anything which can be hung or strung

.....framing or background piece ... or something to interact with, or to be associated with

Since I'm somewhat sculpting challenged, I like the a-hem "primitive" shapes and details that amulets and fetishes usually have. Plus, there are just so many little things you can stick on them, in them, or wrap around them ... kind of like an adult version of paper dolls <g> Diane B.

Polyform's Art Doll Super Shapelets (stencils & templates for abstract body-and-head units)
Polyform's Art Doll face molds (3?... in diff. sizes, eyes closed)

Susan B's lesson on amulet-type figure
....with flat torso... molded head.. and simple coiled wire for arms
Roberta A's lesson on simple textured amulet figure,,HGTV_3238_1386894,00.html

Barbara McGuire's lesson on amulet pendant figure (flat, textured, cut out for torso and head, with molded face embedded into head area... antiqued),1789,HGTV_3238_2216608,00.html

Susan B's lesson on amulet-type figure with flat body, molded head, and coiled wire for arms

Maureen Carlson's amulet-type figures, with molded faces on various bodies
Dayle's various ethnic and other faces used alone with embellishments, or for amulets, art dolls, etc.

complete lesson for "stick doll" figure with polymer face .
..flat, ethnic figures made with 2 upright twigs... body is attached between them mixed media-- could be all clay)
(keep clicking on Next Page)
(Star Shaman Wishing Doll)
(more photos)

Roberta A & students' amulets, fetishes, abstract women figures, etc, with stamping and mixed media and and
Crafty Michele's various spirit women and other figures for pins

"spirit stone" figure... clay pattern torso, faux stone head... wire neck, arms (one wire hand)... one arm holding twig
various amulet figures and other "dolls" from Arizona guild

Leslie Blackford's several small figures
Rosemary's small figures ... almost all clay, little mixed media ("Little Babies")
many more small all-clay figures from the Mile High Guild

many small mixed media amulet figures ...folk dolls (.."voodoo" amulets)
*wild jointed figures with transfers for faces (not polymer), "Milagro dolls"

....for more "art dolls" of all types, see Sculpting2 > Websites > Art Dolls

Arizona guild's "doll swap"... variety of figures & amulets, etc. ...(plus Donna H's " paperdoll " with polymer head)
Beckah's fetish doll head-torso, with bunches of dangling pebbles on sinew as skirt or legs

Dayle D's various mystical figures (& shrines)

Jean Comport's larger women & cat women... heavily embellished.... one woman with body of clay-covered cylidrical can?

2001 Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild goddess swap
goddess-figure swap (bas relief, other techniques) ...esp. Denise and Cindy P.... also stamped women (medallions)
Google's "Image Search" feature..go to: then enter the words....goddess clay
Sid's 4 goddess shapes (non--pc)
Jean Comport's Boob-a-la ( full-figured women with mixed media dangle arms, etc.)... over eggs? (gone)
Cindy's "goddess" (mixed media ...wild women) pendants (gone, find her new site)
"wild women" swap (many many styles and techniques) (website gone)
Dawn Sch's goddess figures (gone)
Jean Comport’s The Girls (gone)

Marie S's women pendants.... triangle body + small head (no features)...cane slice decorations on "bodice" & "hair cap"
Roberta A & others' wild women and various other fetishes... stamping & mixed media... hair is linen cord tied double in holes, then unraveled (lesson),,HGTV_3238_1386894,00.html ... ...

Jeanne R's "stiff-jointed" abstract figure.. head, torso and hips/legs units threaded onto a long stiff wire (somewhat nested but still separated)

Dave's various abstract "stone" figures and faces, runes, Celtic crosses. etc. (all faux rock... some polymer inclusions)

Dar's dried-bean-pod "body" (covered with clay) with face (mold)

Kokeshi dolls, nesting dolls, 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
Japanese Kokeshi dolls/figures aren't just round and "one-piece"
... kokeshi can have separate heads, hair, and/or even accessories (and clayers have given them to-the-body arms, etc. too), and they can have various shapes for their bodies, etc ...
...(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)
Japanese Daruma ...face (in depressed are), as half of abstract round body
"nesting dolls” come in all kinds of shapes, animals, etc from Eastern Europe, Japan, China, and India; these are usually painted and smooth-surface, but could be clay, and or have dimensional arms, clothing, etc. .... ....
.....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
.....(if wanted to make hollow, smooth size, and successive sizes, could be made with rock vessel technique ? (see Vessels-Rock)

for more polymer faces which are added to other materials like wood/twigs/gourds or metal, etc.or items (especially those surrounded or embellished with hair, headwear, neckwear, etc., or with cane slices or other onlays --leaves, flowers, anything), beads, etc). ....see Heads > Faces Used Alone)
...there could be more inspiration in the Masks section of the Heads-Masks page as well)

tiny worry dolls ...(Guatemala..share a problem with a worry doll, then place it under one's pillow.. will take the worry away)
...very simple 1" tall figure traditionally made from splinter of wood wrapped with bright Guatemalan fabric and yarn/thread, plus painted dot-eyes, but could be done with more realistic head, or arms and legs., etc. (many google images)

looking at all kinds of ethnic masks can be inspirational for doing these kinds of figures (see Heads-Masks > Masks)
...Jeanne R suggests using an ethnic, etc. mini-mask as the actual head for an art doll, or assemblage, etc.

for a totemic animal, you want to repeat what you see in symbology for that animal
...for example, geckos are almost always depicted with a curved body in symbology. Its head should be smaller, flatter, and more diamond shaped, its' toes more splayed out, possibly with balls on the ends. Maybe leave it eyeless, and only give a suggestion of spots if you want them, or stripes, and also totem symbols or fetishes would have the spots or stripes more in pattern than the random sprinkling you would see in nature. The whole body should be flatter and less rounded.
...fetish... an object (such as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner. . . . "At the most fundamental level, a fetish is "an object, natural or manmade, in which a Spirit is thought to reside, and which can be used to affect either good or evil." All American Indian tribes of the Southwest make use of charms, talismans, and amulets, but the Zuni Indians of New Mexico are especially renowned for their animal carvings."
...Zuni fetishes
...symbolism for many animal totems ..., plus links to other animal symbol websites and

Karen C’s deer hide medicine pouches with fetishes on the front (could be polymer) (gone/)

...larger high-art figures with twigs used as woven cages or in bundles for torsos, other wood/bark, and other mixed media (the rest isn't polymer, but it could be ...god for inspiration) (look all around)
Gabriel Colunga's various contemporary "figures" with mixed media and often multiple legs, heads, etc.(not polymer)
ancient and ethnic objects and symbols (loads of Egyptian, Greek and other items)


(all of the above applies as well to animal figures, monsters/ghosts, dolls, chess pieces, etc.)

.....for aluminum flashing figures (cutting, preparing and covering or painting) , see Covering > Metal


YouTube + Other Free Video-Sharing Sites

YouTube.... .....and other free video sharing sites
...many clay demos of all types are being uploaded to these sites all the time.....yay!! find the lessons at these sites, enter significant search terms into the search box there, such as these bolded ones
(from YouTube):


freestanding torsos (embellished, 3-D)...

unusual items can also be used as torsos (to which limbs and head are added)
...they could be covered with clay, or not, and be any size that suits the figure...some examples might be:
... glass balls, wood balls, eggs, empty containers of any type (Bandaid box, film cannister, matchbox, wire "cages", etc.), gourds, nature items (pinecones, rocks or polished stones, sticks, bean pod), tubes, even clocks/watches, CD's, or just anything at all

Dotty McMillan's women with highly decorative tubes covered with clay (here used to make kaleidoscopes into "figures")

woven wire "cage" used to make lower torso (skirt) for figures by Laura Balombini's ....patterned clay sheets over wire mesh, etc
...she also has upper bodies of amazing figures, birds, etc. (keep clicking on Next to see more)

(many examples of all kinds of torsos on all the sculpting-related pages)


Desiree's lesson on making a hand

Loretta's lesson on making a realistic hand
Christel's lesson on sculpting hands and feet (..& links to her head & body lessons)
Marika's thorough lesson on realistic hand (click on Hands or Lessons)
Jenna's lesson on making a wispy hand (thin hand/fingers, fingers curvy)... thumb added to palm later
Tony R's lesson on making a slender hand by making palm, index and little finger shape (middle &, ring fingers and thumb added later... fingernails drawn in)
Polymerclayfan's lesson on making a hand (thumb, palm, and thumb base added later... alcohol used to smooth out... he adds veins and lines for men)
Chrissie's lesson on making hands (and feet)... adding raw hands to baked arms
Angels Unawares’ lesson on sculpting hand and arm, using only toothpicks for finger armatures (from earth clay)
Jack Johnston's lesson on making a hand and arm over five 16 (or 18 wrapped) & 24 gauge wire, plus brass tube and paper tape
Mariel's lesson on making head, hands, feet, body armature
Monica's lesson on making simple head, hands, feet, body armature (cork)
Maureen's online video lesson on using her one-sided hand mold to make a 3-D hand
Maureen's lesson on head, hand (using molds) and body (armature also), and pattern for robe
see Karen P's lesson on how to use the hands, feet, and face molds to make a bas relief old word Santa on a plaque
Pennydolls' lesson(s?) on making small, simple hand, arms, etc. (click on English flag, then on Fimo Workshop, then on each photo for lessson)
Katherine Dewey's lesson on making paws, arms, tail of lifelike mouse,1158,CRHO_project_27285,00.html
Christel's lesson on making a rabbit hair holder, using elastic also for the dangly paws (click on any photo to see enlargement)
(for more dangly legs/arms/hands, see Sculpting/Websites/Danglies)
For LOTS of descriptions of making hands, go to Polymer Clay Central’s message board at and search for message # 2935.1

hands & feet ...with forearms & calves (groove in top for attaching to fabric doll)

lots of good hands to study on the sculpts of Julianne ... and fingernails (look all around site)
real baby hands to study (also newborn), photos from Millie

Sarajane’s hands (with Victorian sleeves as well) and
Celie's hand pendant (fingers pointing down) with "bracelets" of various kinds hanging down onto hand

the large-round tipped #13 tapestry needle forms a nice simple fingernail- simply roll the needle across the end of the finger. Kathndolls

Bunny's lesson on using a heat gun to help with making hands.... and giving hands different poses

Fingers can be very frustrating or they can be very easy! Here's what I do.
Mind Prep!: ...Study your own hand. You will notice as it moves it has certain design features. I like to break it down into two gesture areas. The palm and the fingers. Both should be considered as two slightly mobile solid blocks of clay. Forget about the divisions between the digits. As you move your own hand around, you'll notice that the palm and finger block areas behave in certain ways with the thumb as an independent but close nieghbor. The fingers and palm will do solid arcs of 3D curves. Imagine connecting all the finger tips and filling in all the gaps together between the digits. You'll see these two different waving arcs (fingers and palm). Now you can begin blocking in your sculpted hand imagining these arcs of movement. Any hand gesture can be symplfied into 2 two arcs (finger group & palm group). These quick gesture arcs are the KEY to a natural looking hand in clay (the natural pose). You have a LIVE model always with you! YOU! Take the pose you would to sculpt with your own hand!
Execution: ...Whether you have connecting finger wires to the wrist or not, it makes no diff.... visualize those finger group, palm group and thumb as arcs with a big nieghbor,Thumb.
Always start sculpting the fingers straight and splayed out to give yourself the maximum amount of manuvering room. Pose them afterwards.
Rough in the palm (it's a lens shape with a convex and concave side , unless you sretch it flat).
Now make coils of clay for the fingers off the sculpt before installing them.
Proportioning: ...Remember that each finger is devided into 3rds, each with 3 joints including the knuckles. The pinky ends at the the last joint of its nieghbor, the ring finger. The thumb ends at the ist joint past the knuckle on its nieghbor, the index finger. The middle finger is the longest with its nieghbors, ring and idex finger 2/3rds up from the middle finger's last knuckle. As a matter of fact the proportion of 3 to 2 RULES all the proportions of the hand!
I reccomend the book, An Atlas Of Human Anatomy by Stephen Rogers Peck, This book makes make drawing, but has wonderful tumbnail sketches and explainations about how the body is designed...
Slide those coils of clay onto your wires. Guide them so they stay "on center" keeping the wires and coils absolutely straight! Don't worry about the length of the wires or the coils at this point. One doggone thing at a time! This makes for more easily achieveable goals in everything! Once the coils are on the wires.....
Trade Secret for clay finger manipulation.
Using your index and thumb of your own hand roll the clay in the following ways to achieve desired results.:

1. To firmly attach finger coils to palm AND To thicken finger thickneses AND to add more clay to finger: use a gentle rolling motion pushing the coil towards the palm
2. To thin fingers: Do the reverse rolling motion gentley pulling the coil out away from the palm (always make sure the coil's bases have been attched to palm first!)
3. To create the hour glass thinness between each finger joint (in the top view of hands): Use the same gentle rolling motion pulling away from the palm. Do the rollling motion pushing toward the palms for thickening knuckles.
4. Masculine hands: keep the coils more iniformly thick along their length with the above rolling motion that pushes toward the palm.
5. Feminine hands: make sure to use the gentle rolling motion that pulls away from the palm.
Create a very gradual taper to the mass of the coil for each finger. NOW Cut fingers to length! make sure the wires are just short of the finger ends vusualizing the proportions given above.
(for babies' hands, see just above)
...Now pose your wires and fingers and thumb Use your own hand as a guide for the movement design based on those two solid arcs of movement with the loner thumb! Don't worry about mushing the clay doing the posing. You have the correct amount of clay on each digit from your layout sculpt above. Reshape the finger masses you have just mushed using that smae rolling motion with your own thumb and index finger if possible. If you can't get your real fingers to fit to do this, just make sure you take a tool and gentlely rewrap the clay around the wire from each side letting some clay go equally around the wire for good coverage. If at any time your clay gets separated from itself on a wire or from the palm, use your gentle rolling motion pushing the parts together or sliding the clay parts towards each other. Recreate those hour glass shapes to the finger lengths between each joint.
Make sure you have that convex curve to the upper palm, knuckle ridge line too. Note that the knuckle joints looked all in a row from above or below, have the same arc that the tips of the fingers have! *Use your own hand pose to refine your clay hands.*
...The secret to doing finish work in clay to to stop being as heavy handed (pun here!) with clay movement. Rocking motions and rolling motions with the tool instead of sliding motions to do what you need to get done.
I use a ball stylus tool for making veins. The tendons can be slightly in a stretched out pose in a younger hand before viening with a cylnder tool that has a bend curve in a it so it doesn't dig into the clay. The recesses on the joints undersides and skin folds on knuckles joints and palm skin folds, I use a rocking motion with the leading edge of a spoon tool that has a soft not sharp edge to to it.
Water is my savior for making softer looking sculpts and smoothing clay. I use it on my tools (predipping them). I use it on my finger tips always in an up & down finger motion, so the ridges of my finger prints don't transfer to the clay.
Plastic Wrap: can be used to create softer details first time in clay:
1. Soft clear plastic placed between the tool and the clay. 2. The tool only should move. Never the plastic against the clay. 3. Lift the plastic between each tool stoke for maximum detailing and minimum mushing. 4. the thinner the plastic the finer the details. The thicker the plastic EX: both layers of a common freezer bag. the larger or grosser the detail like boidy muscles general sculpted latout. Sandwich bags would be medium detailing plastic... Sincerely, Wayne THE DANE Hansen

Jodi & Richard Creager's video on making hands

simple hands can be made from ovals (with or without a narrowed area for wrist)
...if desired, simple fingers and toes can be indicated with indentions, or cut and separated without further manipulation

(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 dries). DivaLea

gloves and boots are easier for beginners than making hands and feet

Arms, Legs, Feet & Tails, etc.

(see Sculpting-gen for ideas on joining them)
(see bottom of this page, and also Miniatures, for more polymer shoes)

Maureen Carlson's online video lesson on making a foot from her two-part mold,beginning with a log of clay
...she also shows how to make a knee & leg by using a longer log of clay (only foot part in mold) (You Tube)

Nora Jean’s lesson on how to sculpt leg/foot and shoes (website gone)
catbyte's (Hazel) fat Maryjane-type shoes and socks on ladybug (website gone)
Christel's lesson on sculpting hands and feet (& links to her head & body lessons)
Marika's thorough lesson on feet (realistic) (click on Feet or Lessons)
Mariel's lesson on making head, hands, feet, body armature
Patricia Rose's lessons on making feet ...also legs and various body parts

Millie's photos of feet of real babies
Katherine Dewey's lesson on making paws, arms, tail of lifelike mouse,1158,CRHO_project_27285,00.html
Melnik's various kinds of tails (some articulated) (lesson) (website gone)
Monica's lesson on making simple head, hands, feet, body armature (cork)
Karen P's lesson on how to use the hands, feet, and face molds to make a bas relief old word Santa on a plaque
Pennydolls' lessons on making somewhat simple arms,legs/body for babies in various positions (click on English flag, then on Fimo Workshop, then on each photo for lessons, esp. January)
fireEyes' lessons on dragon shapes (bodies, heads, eyes, feet&claws, Eastern/Western style); drawing, but applies to sculpting too

(see also links of dragon photos in Sculpture)

Jodi & Richard Creager's video on sculpting life-like legs and feet

simple toes can be indicated with indentions, or cut and separated
...Peggy O's toes sticking out from mushroom people (mushroom cap on sculpted head on mushroom stem, on feet-toes) (click on "Enchanted Mushrooms" in alphabetical order)

boots are easier for beginners than making hands and real feet
(see making boots below in Clothing Accessories)

Katie created the (flesh-colored) feet of her sculpt shaped as shoes, so that after baking the shoes can be made by simply covering the "feet"
...she also firmed up (partly cured) the feet of her standing sculpt (in position, standing on a flat dish) with a heat gun or hair dryer before baking so that she could make sure the feet were perfectly flat on the bottom, and also the body would be well balanced over the feet for more baking (when clay softens a bit, and balance can change)

Arms are generally added to a fairly finished torso, rather than "sculpted" at the same time as the torso. Depending on whether the figures are simple or realistic, the arms may be blended into the shoulders or just left as is mostly hidden by the head.

dressed arms, especially for simple figures, are usually created by making the arms from the color or pattern of fabric desired for the clothing, with a flesh-colored hand added to the end.
....very simple "dressed" arms can be created with tapered logs... hollowed out at the end a bit to receive the flesh-colored hands... the thin end of each tapered log is then pressed to the top of each shoulder, and the wider area is pressed to the body (hanging down, or around the chest, etc.)
...for short sleeves, make the tapered log shorter, then press a flesh-colored log into the end as the arms/hand in the same way
...for totally bare arms, make the whole log from flesh-colored clay (less tapered perhaps, maybe pinching out an elbow if arm is to be bent)

I do the arms with cuffs a couple of different ways depending on how they are positioned, or what they are wearing.
....sometimes I make the sleeve first out of a solid rod of clay, and stick a hand in the end.... then I add a small rectangle of clay wrapped around the wrist of the sleeve to form the cuff so it is thin and cloth-like, and blend it in where it meets the sleeve
.......a tooth pick or knitting needle can be used to make the wrinkles around the elbow bend.
....but sometimes I make the arm, bake it while attached to the body, and then remove it while it is warm after the bake. Then I wrap the sleeve around it allowing some extra clay up around the shoulders.... Then I glue the arm in place with a 5 min. epoxy and blend the clay at the shoulders with the torso. Dawn S

This is the "etc." part... avoid if you are easily offended:
chimbo swap:

Neck & Shoulders & Chest, etc.

(mostly for more realistic figures)

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

The female neck should sit farther back and be thin and swan-like in contruction. A slight lengthening of the neck is an enhancement as well. Wayne the Dane

Shoulders (women's) 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. Wayne the Dane

hard lines read as "old" to our eyes, whereas smooth is "pretty"
... so I use this technique on doll bosoms for nicer "cleavage" and smooth joins to the chest.....
Roll out a ball of clay ..add bits of clay for the "sticking out" parts... Press them into place, and indent wherever needed... Then roll out a sheet of clay (set on #3 or so) and use as "skin" to cover the whole area... press gently into place, working any air pockets out to the edges. This gives a gentler smoother surface and sharp edges become obscured-- Sarajane

possible stylized "breasts":
-- the cut-off ends of a cracked (or not) uneven, roll of clay... especially from rolling a long fat triangle into a log, beginning with the wider of the two ends (like a croissant bead)
--Varda's teapot stacked disks... these are z series of smaller and smaller disk shapes shacked on top of each other... in this case, they are stacked toward the bottom of the first disk, not in the middle . . . more pendulous:



"wild women" swap --various hair types (website gone)

Clay hair

for caned hair, to use with canes, see Faces


For any hair which will have thin areas or thick projecting areas from the head, it's important to use a strong clay to avoid breaking off ...use a strong polymer clay (a strong regular clay, or use Bake and Bend flexible polymer clay, or mix Bake & Bend witn a regular clay) hair parts as close to the head and body as possible (to avoid projections and give support)
...perhaps use some matte liquid clay (TLS) for extra strength
...bake thoroughly
...perhaps use a finish (matte or shiny) for extra strength

Dotty's lesson on making a Japanese hair style for a head with ropes of clay piled around head

Make a sheet of clay that's the length you want you hairstyle to be
... use a craft knife to cut strips in the clay leaving about an inch or so at the edge. that over the figure’s head, pressing the uncut portion on the head to make bangs and to cover the top of the head
.... then curl the cut strips around your needle tool or just twist them with your fingers. You can make the strips as thick or as thin as you want. I'd reco mmend a strong clay like Fimo or Premo. Gwen

Or, after placing a cap of clay on the head ...I take a needle tool or other sculpting tool and 'style' the hair, making waves or giving the impression of strands. Gwen

for hair or just bangs:
...first cut a small rectangle from a sheet of clay
...then cut lines in it but don't cut all the way to the top...when you pick it up, it'll look like a small piece of fringe.
to make it curly:
ake each strand of the still-connected fringe and twist it
...apply those in layers on the head and it makes the CUTEST curly hair!

wrap small ropes of clay around a pin or small tube, then press to head for curly hair

for curly hair can also use extrusions from a clay gun or garlic press for short or long locks
......(for short hair) I extruded a small amount at a time, and then scraped across the end of the clay gun with my needle tool - which causes a group of those strings to stick to your needle tool - which you can then apply to the (head). ...It's a little time-consuming, but very easy to do. Ginny

for hair, begin with a flattish piece of scrap clay (or form it?)
... then use your clay gun to extrude teeny, skinny snakes
... swirl them around on the piece of scrap clayinto hair-looking arrangements ... bake.
...can make a mold from this too. Anna

Cecelia Determan wrote about a texturing tool for making curly beards or curly fur, in her HOTP book Merry Christmas Faces
... she wraps a 1 1/2" length of (20-gauge) wire around a bamboo skewer or pencil tip to form a 1/8" wide circle, and bends both tails back to insert into a handle of clay. This leaves a flat circle standing up to impress into clay. These could be made any size though. Stamp this a number of times on the beard, hair or fur. (top tool, right side) can use the circle side of a safety pin for indenting on clay. . -Laurie

(see much more on using tools and textures of various kinds to "scratch" or "stamp" lines of hair into raw clay, in the Fur category below)

Karen P's lesson on adding Santa hair & beard with extrusions, and antiquing

lots of kids with various hair styles, some clay some not

Julie W's long curly clay hair (2 of her "Wise Women" galleries ...

see many more examples of clay hair in Sculpting > Websites and in Heads > Faces Used Alone

hair sculpting is approached just like the rest of the sculpture.
1.You have the overall hair mass
2. Then you have a design layout of hair groupings or lock cluster layers.
3. Then you have inital detail textures which can be of varying tool pressing depths for a natural look. Detailing in some stray curved locks on upper surfaces adds realism.
4. Fine detail textures.
...Many beginning sculptors jump from #1. to #4. DON"T. My hair sculpting technique starts with laying in the hair mass. This should be planned for the molds, if you are going to produce castings. Any loose draping hair structures will have to be separate cast parts.
..Some sculpts involve laying in planned tapered clay coils to make up this mass in an actual first step designing stage. Just remember it's hair, not muscles and has certain characteristics of water in its flowing nature. A slightly random choosing of hair direstions helps give a natural effect in all stages of sculpting it.
....I take soft non-crinkly clear thin plastic and sculpt through this with my tools.... Lift the plastic between each stroke for maximum detail retention. The thinner the plastic, the finer the details. I do this for above steps 2 & 3.
...The final hair splitting detail stage is done (by me) without plastic with the edge of a spoon tool or a needle shaped tool. Using direct downward gentle pressing motions you can minimize any unwanted clay balls or overly sharp edges.
...To make a uniform look to everything I sometimes apply vegatble oil or alcohol with a very soft small brush stroking in the direction of the hair flow. One maybe two strokes at most! ....Bake and you are done. THE DANE
(see under Fur below for more on this technique, plus tools)

This is some advice my mother gave me (she's a professional artist) when I was doing a portrait of my daughter in pencil. ..I was trying to "draw"hair"...She said not to think of the hair as "strands", but sections of lights and darks.. . . leave the "highlights" as the raised parts, and the darker sections more indented, it might help.
....So, if you wanted curls, I would try to just indent between curled "locks". Of course, I would indent at different depths to represent different "shades"...Marianne 

Why not take a sculpting cue from cameos or similar items? I think if you looked closely at them, you'd get a good idea of how hair could be sculpted around those face cabs... the different hair designs on them are plentiful! Jodi

Celadonia's clay hair styles (and hats) . . . for woods fairies; some are leaves or flower petals

Judi Madiggan's lesson on using washes and highlighting on clay hair

The natural finish of baked Kato clay is shiny and can look nice for hair... Dawn

The sheen imparted by adding a touch of gold or copper metallic clay to your other clays makes a realistic effect for hair...also adding a bit of Granitex (brown, etc.) will add texture. Katherine Dewey

Non-clay hair

Many materials can be used for hair, even real human hair. Many can be baked at our temperatures so they can be applied to raw clay, or they can be attached after the head is baked.

.....see also Fur below for more on using non-clay hair

on Unbaked clay

Tommie Howell says that he snips the eye end of a needle (embroidery needle?) then uses the little "fork" to embed each group of several hairs into the clay. I have tried this too (thank you, Tommie) and it works quite well. Irene
....for a larger needle/fork, use a sewing machine needle and glue the other end in a dowel. MelissaJ
Cecilia D's snipped-off needle in a clay handle (left side of top tool)

Two ways to avoid messing up the face during the embedding process:
...use a heat gun to set the face
...leave an indented area where the scalp will be for the first baking .... then fill in that area with raw clay. MelissaJ

Start adding the hair a few strands at a time by pushing the ends into the clay.
...A tool for this can be made by gluing the pointed end of a larger sewing needle into end of dowel rod, then use wire snips to cut off 1/2 the eye so you end up with a mini, 2 pronged fork.
...When I glue to finished doll, I've had the best luck with tacky glue ...regular white glues tend to seep through the fibers and ruin the look... and silicone glues (E-6000/Goop,etc.) either skin over too fast, or just makes a royal mess. MelissaJ

Start at the back/bottom of the hair line and move forward.

"When I get to the front of the head, I push the needle in at an angle to create a more subtle hairline. Sandra

I also use my needle to draw "hair" texture into the clay, so it almost blends with the clay and makes a less startling transition between the two. Sandra

You just do not want to make the haircut and style until after the clay is cured. Dianne (baked or unbaked head??)

real hair (fur, mohair)
I do use that particular technique. Mohair is the stuff that I use though. And I do this because of the scale in which I work (and and doesn't suffer from the baking process.)
The hair shaft of human hair is simply too big to look in scale with the smaller figures.
The mohair (goat fur basically) has a much smaller shaft width and looks much better, I think, on dolls and small figures.
Mohair may have a tendency to stick to things though.

Another issue in using real hair of any kind is the overall sculptural look of a piece.
....for dolls and what not, real hair is sort of the tradition
... but on things meant more just for display like sculpts and figurines and the like,. it sometimes looks out of place a bit..... But it certainly has its uses and for certain effects it's really nice. SpookyT

I have lately been thinking about something which my sound strange but may look really nice... that is going ahead and using mohair, but separating locks of the hair and varnishing it..... let that dry... then paint it over to achieve a more sculptural yet very delicate look. I will let you know how that works out. .
...One of the garage kit hobbyists used varnish on a figure that was supposed to look wet, and the hair ended up looking really good that way. SpookyT

plastic hair will melt if baked.
... so stick with any kind of real hair or fur. . . mohair, dog, cat, human, goat, horse, whatever.
. . .even feathers. whatever you can dredge up.
....if you don't have any extra $$, stop by the beauty shop and glean some of the sweepings. --sunni
. . .what i do is pull some out like pulling on cotton candy, then snip it with scissors to get a straight edge. --sunni
(see below for more on mohair, and other materials)

Some sculptors, like Jack Johnston, just use hot glue to put on the hair.... I think I will prefer the embedding method myself.

see idea for embedding hair for manes and tails in horse-like animals below in Fur

hair on Baked clay

You can bake the doll with the hair on it as long as it is not synthetic. . . if it is mohair or other natural fiber then you can bake it, (many) synthetics will melt. Loretta
...although some synthetics won't melt at 275?. .

lots of kids with various hair styles, some made with various thicker "threads" somtimes arranged

braided crepe, mohair, and viscose hair types

Shelly's lesson on using Bunka thread-yarn (aka Bunca?) for hair -- when unraveled creates lots of tiny curls; found at miniature (and hobby?) shops-- cut into short lengths and glue (onto baked head)

...You might be speaking of a type of cording that is sold at Polymer Clay Express (look under Jewelry, then "Cordage") .silky/nylon type of cording that drapes nicely . . . (many colors, is used for graduation tassels) . . . Bunka is often used for tassels (and doll hair). Kay

how to put hair on a doll (wigging lessons) (curls, tendrils, straight bangs, wavy, viscose) (Barb's wigging lessons)

Antonette's lesson on wefting hair for dolls (using any type of hair)
...row of lengths of hair are sewn between a folded piece of tissue paper with a sewing machine, in several rows
...excess paper is trimmed away to leave onlya long narrow strip of paper with hair hanging down
...strip placed around head in spiral (bottom to top so each row overlaps previous one)
(attached with glue or sewn) (...can double for "part" if want)

If your doll is already cured, you can get a glue called "Dolly Hair" at Michael's... it's a very thick, white PVA type glue. I've used it a couple of times, and had intended to try plain ol' Tacky Glue for the next one, because it seemed like that's exactly what "Dolly Hair Glue" is. There are a couple of good books and a video about wigging dolls, so you can see that it's sort of a complicated topic. ;-) But, this is one way, and I hope it helps.

lesson: Wrap your doll in Saran Wrap, leaving the head exposed, and cover the head with a thin layer of glue. Let it "set" for a bit and get really sticky, then beginning at the back of the head/nape of the neck, start picking up small folded strands of mohair or synthetic hair on the end of a toothpick, and pushing that folded end down into the glue and working it in, well. . . . Make a line of little mohair loops across the back of the neck. Make a line of glue a little above that one and work in another line of mohair loops. . . .Above the ears, the line goes from right in front of the ear/behind the eye all the way around the head in a U-shape. Make a few of these U-shap rows, until the last one, which is so narrow that the loops of mohair will be touching each other in the middle... forming a middle part on the head. For this last U-shape, you fold the mohair , but you hold the top half of the fold up and away from the hair, so that it doesn't get glue-y.
. . .Let the head dry at least overnight, before you try to style it. . . .If you don't like how it looks, peel it off the doll's head and start over. Hope that's help enough to get you started! Elizabeth

Some of my doll's have hair that is a skin... I cut a small circle of skin to glue directly to the doll's head, and then I cut some hair off the skin and glue it to the doll- to create a hair line. Kathndolls

Are you folding the hair completely in half (the loops you call them)? Cindy
Yes, on some of them... it gives you an easier "grip" to just loop the hair over a toothpick and dig it into the glue.
and are you using Sobo or does it have to say Tacky Glue on the bottle?
Tacky Glue would probably be easier to work with, because the hair is going to want to spring away from the glue, and the tackier the glue is, the more it will be another pair of hands to you. Trying to keep all that hair under control is trickier than it sounds. ;-). . . One more thing that might be helpful... I have always tended to put wayyyy too much hair on a mini... it would look more natural to apply tiny wisps, especially at the back/bottom of the head - I finally managed to not overdo it on the last doll I made. Elizabeth

I use Mohair from goats. That is the best hair:)) If you maked the head, after baking it you take the mohair and pulls little strings out of it, you take the string in the middle and glue it to the clay with the hot glue gun. When you start glueing start almost on the neck and work slowly up. Take not to biggest strings, only small ones make it pretty.At last you do the front of the hair. That way you get the nice effeckt of a great bush of hair :) Ria

Viscose is just like mohair but so much thinner...i find mohair like horses hair and too thick for my dolls. Kara
I'm pretty sure that One and Only Creations also makes "Wavy Hair," a very fine viscose fiber, finer than the fiber of "Mini Curls" or "Curly Hair." Elizabeth

I used to use an acrylic "Curly Hair" but that stuff is not particularly consistent as to whether it can withstand the baking temperature. Usually it was ok, but sometimes it just shriveled up. Whenever I made ornaments without hats, I'd glue the hair on after baking.
....This year I switched to English Viscose doll hair (from, and that stuff has no problem withstanding the baking temperature. I usually plunge the hair into the head at the "roots" and then cut, style & glue it where necessary after baking. I have to say that adding hair is my least favorite part of ornament-making. I'm always happy to make the Baby's First Christmas ornament, since the babies are bald ;-) Lisa

Marina's fantasy woman with hair of dried moss, and some with other woolish hair also
*** look now at ---> http://www.marieidraghi.itinglese/epiccolopopolo.htm

......curls, tendrils, waves, etc.: (depending on amount of fiber used ...more fiber = thicker curl; wider rod = bigger the curl.
...spritz a length of hair with water and wrap around a knitting needle or other smooth rod, like floral tape on a stem (on diagonal angle, spiraling downward but slightly overlapping?); wrap around itself several times at end to hold in place. Dry with hair dryer (or bake in low oven?); slide hair off when cooled. can take thin strands of the viscose and wind it around a knitting needle of the diameter that you want, tying the ends onto the needle or rubber banding them. Then soak the hair with water and heat the needle in the oven to dry it. That hair endures polymer curing temps just fine, so... 200-250º should be fine for drying the curls.Elizabeth

Angela's lessons on dealing with mohair (straight, curly, using gel, etc.)... she likes "pearl moon" doll hair best (requires Acrobat Reader)
... Sue's lesson on making mohair curls for gluing onto head (Sobo or clear) by wrapping 3" lengths around a wire, submerging in boiling water before allowing to dry; she clips short lengths of curls and applies on their sides, all over head

Pat S's adorable little almost-bald guy ...with small clump of hair sticking up from top of head

if you unravel the satin braid that fringe is made from it makes wonderfully curly fiber called "bunka" that make great curly hair for a smallish head.
. . . you could unravel bunka yarn - it's made of another very fine fiber that's in scale for tiny creations, and when you unravel the bunka, it has a ripply or curly shape, depending on how short you cut it.
With the bunka, you can cut it into very short pieces and have a short, curly hairdo, or cut it into longer lengths and make "Gwenivere" type strands.
You can use regular hair spray to set the style as you make it.
With the very short lengths of unravelled bunka, you can also glue it onto a tiny doll or figure where it becomes a fuzzy sleeper on a baby doll or "fur" on an animal figure, like a lamb. Elizabeth

I have two nieces who I made dolls for using their own real hair and I gave them when they were four years old. They both are eight years old now and those dolls are handled with TLC. Just like I made them. Jeanne
...The other day I cut my daughters hair, I thought it was a waste to throw out the pretty locks (I had cut about 5 inches off), so I picked up a bunch... I made a pin - face with a half bust, and of course a nice head of real hair. My 17 yr old ...said "that's gross Mom"... my 13 yr. old said "you're weird Mom"... and my 10 year old said "cool!" Linda
...I used tls on the ends of real hair and baked them on foil. Then you can put it on the head in strips. Denise

The best way I've found is with Fabri-Tac glue, though many dollmakers use "Velverette." I bought some but haven't tried it yet... it's apparently been discontinued by the manufacturer and I'm afraid of getting hooked on a product that could disappear any minute. *g* Elizabeth

I used to use hot glue to attach hair to my dolls, and it works great until it cools, at which point you can peel it right off in one piece. And use it as a wig, which you glue on with dollmaker's wig glue.
The last stuff I used was a PVA type white glue that I bought at Michael's, very sticky and messy, but, it's holding... this brand is "Dolly Hair Glue" by Fiber Crafts, but I suspect that "Tacky Glue" would work just as well.
I washed the head with alcohol first, and sanded it a tad with rough sandpaper, then started at the neckline, gluing on small hanks one piece at a time and working up to the forehead. It was acrylic hair, so I couldn't rebake after it was attached.

I haven't tried wool or jute hair, but I did use some of that "loopie" stuff - cute! . . . I glued it to baked clay with a glue I got at Wal-Mart called Gem-Tac. It's made for bonding porous surfaces to nonporous surfaces. Worked well. :) Pat

BTW have you noticed how fast Fabri-Tac turns yellow and gets thick after you open the bottle? Is there anything I can do to slow this process down? The stuff is not cheap and I don't want to have to keep throwing away nearly full bottles of it! I wish it came in smaller bottles! Sally
It used to come in larger bottles!!! I had to tell all my students to buy the smallest bottle! I think it's much cheaper at JoAnn's fabric. I find I can still use it after it's thickened- if I make a stand to hold the bottle up-side-down. That way I don't have to wait for several minutes for the glue to get to the tip. I don't know of any way to prevent it from aging! I just lost about 1/4 of a fresh bottle- my cat tipped it over on my work surface- and it went ignored for several days. kathndolls

That is great that Fabri-Tac thins with acetone. . . .fingernail polish remover? Trina

My favorite glue to use for doll hair is Beacon Fabric Tac. It's available at Michael's and JoAnn's. It glues just like a glue gun... strings and all- but without the heat and bulk. It's clear and stays that way. As far as method... play around and see what works!! Kathndolls
I myself like to use a glue called "fabric tac" to glue the hair to my figures. Jenny P
(website gone)

The best way I've found is with Fabri-Tac glue, Do you know of a way to dilute it? I use it too, but by the time I have a drop in the right spot it's already started to dry, and I end up with shiny threads stuck to everything. By the time I have the wig finished, it looks like a spider's built a web between me and the doll. :) Leslie

I was glancing through Maureen Carlson's new "Family and Friends" book yesterday and she has excellent directions for gluing hair onto clay heads. Of course her characters are fairly small, but that shouldn't make too much difference. One tip I really liked was using a damp wooden stick to push the hair into the glue because the glue won't stick to wet wood. She uses Beacon's Fabri-Tac. Sally

Fabri-Tac dries very quickly, so you can apply a drop, then a lock of hair, a drop, a lock of hair and so on. When it's completely dry, it's bakeable at clay-curing temps, in case you have to cure the doll again, or in case you use a heat-set paint like Genesis to paint the doll's features. Elizabeth

I use FabricTac glue by Beacon. It acts a lot like hot glue- without the heat. It holds well- yet will peel off if you need to change a doll's hair. .. . Kathndolls

Christel's lesson on gluing sheep wool hair onto baked head with Aleene's Tacky Glue

.....see also Fur below for more on adding hair of various kinds to figures

If you pose the question of glue and wigging material to a group of mini doll folks you will start a major chit-chat! Most miniature doll artists use either Aleene's Tacky or Velverette for making wigs... most use viscose (a Viscose is the processed cellulose --plant fiber--used to make rayon... Jane) for the hair though some prefer silk and others use the ultra soft/fine mohair (be careful, there's some yucky mohair sold for wigging that does not work well at all). Fabri-tac is not used very often as it tends to yellow over time as do most of the house brand tacky glues. I use mostly vicose, followed by silk roving and lastly mohair when I need a coarser textured hair and always use Aleenes Tacky as it holds well, does not yellow over time. Sammy (I'm a girl) Smith

Child asks me today, "Mom, why is the Little Old Lady from Pasadena hanging upside down in the fridge?" "Because I couldn't get her hair to look like it was flying out behind her so when she came out of the oven, I hung her upside down so her hair would sag." "Oooooookay." Kim2

dyes and coloring:

(will all these work on natural hair like mohair, and synthetic hair??)

Leave it in until it's a bit darker than you actually want ... then I'd heat set (iron) and rinse with cool water, and iron again (heat setting helps lock in). pokopat

I really like Procion dyes. I get the MX fiber reactive dyes from either or Sarajane

RIT and Koolaid are both very light-sensitive and can fade quickly. ...both can often stain things they touch as well, especially if there's wetness at all.....go ahead and do it with good dyes--always use good materials if you can! Sarajane Helm

Rit Dye is readily available at discount stores like WalMart, and is inexpensive. ...pokopat
... Tan Rit dye with a little yellow mixed in makes a nice natural blond. . . it's much easier than human hair dye and is more permanent.
...I used to dye nylon rope in RIT dye... it says you can't, but it worked incredibly well for me.... I let them sit for 24-48 hours... GORGEOUS color.. Nae

I dye my mohair with regular human hair dye...I like a thing called Glintz by Clariol (I think)...kinda a rinse...or cellephane...I can control my color mor

I understand that several people use cold water wool dye...and they love that

A good hair dye section : (gone) .
his is one of the greatest sites for Barbie customizing, (or other dolls?) --it has info of about everything you need to know to get started. .Nicolette

Basically, the idea is, if it'll stain your clothing, you can use it to intentionally color fibers.
...experiment with things like food coloring. . .
...mustard will dye (stain!) almost anything a lovely yellow. . . .berries work, although you probably wouldn't want to use them as hair colors! and tea
...leather dye, available just about anyplace that sells shoes, would give you natural colors.
...water base paints can be thinned and used as dyes.
...DyeNaFlow paint
...inks that you use for clay (you can try some of those on the sisal). pokopat

Katherine Dewey is using sisal for hair in her new book
...sisal is a natural fiber, not a synthetic fiber, so should take almost any dye readily.
...she uses alcohol based silk dyes.....which helps narrow the field down quite a bit... Jenn

One inexpensive alternative, that's safe and available at most Michael's is dye markers, by FabricMate.. . .real dye, permanent, and works on natural fibers. pokopat

You can color Barbie hair with a permanent marker. I used Berol Prismacolor markers to color Barbie hair bright red on one doll and bright green on another. They were white blonds to begin with. Jody
...indelible markers can be used, if you don't need to color too much at a time.pokopat

And Kool Aid, don't forget that stuff! Nae
...just make sure it's the type without sugar! (...sugar in a dye solution gives mottled effects...can be neat if it's what you're going for...could also draw ants later on. pokopat

I discovered that I could transfer color by pressing Maroon Sculpey III clay on the baked head and get a very natural look. . . What a clever idea! . . . other colors too???

Beards & Mustaches & animal Whiskers

Actually, beards can be made from any shapes at all ... anything that covers the lower part of the face, or hangs down from the face will be seen as a beard
...anything from just a solid sheet of beard-shaped clay... to individual strands of clay ropes or twisted square ropes (see Clay Guns, etc.)
...beards can also be created by texturing . . . e.g., streaking with a pin or stylus, impressing repeatedly with a multi-pins tool or other object, or impressed with a texture sheet ...these things can be done to the beard before or after adding it to face
(see also above in "Clay Hair" for a tool to impress "curls" for beard)
.........and also (see Texturing and Stamping, etc.)

beards can also be antiqued if you want, particularly for the Old World look (see Faux Ivory>Antiquing)
.......or they can be highlighted with powders, inks, etc.

Karen P's lesson on making Santa beard with clay gun extrusions
Tracy's Amish figures, old-fashioned clothing and accessories, beards

Marie S's excellent flowing beard on wizard
Marcy's Santa beard, mustache (and hair) made from many overlapped rows of baseball bat-shaped pieces of white clay
Cecilia's several types of beards (see Hair > Clay Hair above and Fur below for tools for adding texture to beards and mustaches --curly, etc.)
Spooky's lesson on wizard & beard/mustache (gone)
Irish Red's marbled beard on wizard (website gone)
(see many more examples of beards in Christmas {Santas} and in Sculpting > Websites)

For those of you who can't collect real (shed) whiskers from your pets, look for some cheap disposable paint brushes (also toothbrushes?). ...The brushes I use have off-white bristles and work just fine. I am not sure what they are made of though, so any bristles you use make sure to do a bake-test before using them on your creations. Just to make sure they won't melt in the oven! Fayette

(see more ideas & techniques above in Hair, and below in Fur)

Eyes +Noses/Ears

lesson on inserting eyes and making eyelids
eye placement by June Goodnow --draw temp.horizontal and vertical lines bisecting face... mark placement one eye apart... place ... check for consistent depth by looking over top of forehead or up over chin
(...of course, pupils must be pointing in exact same direction!)

NoraJean's tips on making eyes &
......NoraJean's mini-lesson on pressing baked white clay balls into a molded face, then adding lids, etc (photos # 25-33)

Sandy's (painted or rolled-on-cane-slice?) eyeballs in figures (website gone)
Anita W's
lesson on making a more painterly eye cane and nose
Katherine Dewey's lesson on making eyes, nose, and ears on lifelike mouse sculpture,1158,CRHO_project_27285,00.html
Nora Jean's lesson on making cat face . . . the eye canes have a shadow on the bottom/side of them, which isn't part of the cane, but would make a good dramatic eye if it were actually part of the cane

Donna Anne's lesson on painting facial features (especially eyes) 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?

many lessons on heads, faces, features (eyes, etc.), and armatures fr. various participants at NoraJean's swap page



as part of face canes

Kim K's lesson on making an eye area cane for use in face canes
lesson on making simple spoked eye cane+ then eye-area cane
....Polly's lesson eye area cane, complete with folds and wrinkles, etc.

flat eyes (cane slices)

flat eyes with baked slices from an eye cane
...... Christel's lesson ... she makes an eyeball cane, then cuts slices and bakes the slices
...... then puts the baked slices into a raw clay face (...also makes a nose and ears)

flat eyeball slices (baked or raw) could also be used for masks, flat critters or people, etc .

dimensional eyes

flat-backed eyeballs (hemispheres) made from thick slices of an eyeball cane pressed into a mold
...first make an eyeball cane ...then reduce the cane, cut a thick slice, and shape the slice with half-sphere mold
.......this mold is simply a sheet of polymer clay with hemispheric dimples made by pressing ball bearings of varied sizes (or other perfectly round things) into to it halfway ....bake before using. Katherine Dewey

iris canes??

I make iris canes in all colors... then I make round white eyeballs, and roll a thin iris cane slice into each white ball. brigitta

Leigh makes an eye cane by wrapping many concentric layers of various shades (e.g., blue) around a black iris log
. . . every few layers, she cuts into the cane through several layers of wraps and inserts another shade (of blue) -- she does this all around the cane, like rays at least twice during the making of the cane, but leaves the outermost few layers alone.
...could do something similar with indenting through all the layers (but not showing the outermost parts of the log where the "loops" are?); maybe something similar but simpler could be done with a Skinner blend of light blue to darker blue indented to the iris?) DB

*Kerstin's lesson on a many-spoked-iris eye cane made with squashed ikat
Kerstin's iris cane (many tiny, uneven spokes radiating to outside... squashed ikat, formed into wedges) (esp. in Sonstiges category)
....just add a black pupil in the middle of the cane. That's what I did with the green eye cane. It comes out more realistic. Kerstin
.......If you don't add a pupil, you'll get a flower - not really an iris but a carnation. Kerstin
...slice of can can be placed on a white ball to make a 3-D eyeball
Ikat cane based on the ikat cane lesson from Mia Rox:
......and modified as shown here (the 4x4 grid is made with 4 gradations of a single color, rather than Mia's two-color checkerboard, then squashed so that the light colors run through the middle, dark at each end):
...I didn't use black for the outer edge for mine. I used a dark shade of green, so the contrast is not so great...But I really like yours, (Stargazer). It looks like it was drawn. :o)) Kerstin
(Jean's lesson)...Mia's tutorial uses 2 colors... i used about 5 or 6 different (separate) greens in my ikat cane
....(each triangle light-to-dark, but triangles reversed)
....... i actually cut it in half, then squished one piece one way, squished the other half using opposite corners... then i flattened them out. i stacked then up staggering the two versions, and actually flipped one over, so i had A, B, A, upside-down B, A, B, upside-down B, etc. it made a neat effect in the (iris color) greens
........I added a layer of black clay around the outside (like a bull's eye) after putting the pieces together... Stargazer

lesson on Skinner blend ikat iris cane, by Katherine Dewey
....create a graded sheet using the Skinner blend method for the iris (brown and gold... or cobalt and light blue...etc.).
....roll the blend sheet very thin... accordion fold it to achieve the effect of variegated striations.
... compress then wrap around a (round) black pupil log so that the striations are perpendicular to the center.
..... At this point you may wish to wrap a very thin sheet of dark blue, or brown, or green (depending on the color of the eye) around your cane before building the white of the eye.
There are two accordion folds to create the variegated iris: The first establishes a pattern of graded stripes from dark through medium values to light.???... The second accordion fold is done perpendicular to the first..... Then this pattern is compressed and is wrapped around the pupil so that these striations radiate outward.
....For the white of the eye, blend a non-plaquing translucent clay (Premo bleached) with white using a 2-1 ratio. Katherine Dewey
(using mutliple Skinner Blend ikat canes... see Canes-Instr. > Ikat)
.....spiral 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, and the number of revolutions in the roll, "eyelids" can show up, a white glint can appear in the "pupil" area, etc.

has anyone tried making an iris cane using translucent clay wrapped with colors?
... I see a snake of translucent wrapped in green, (then?) one in blue and maybe a bit of turquoise, and then reduced, flattened, and added around a cane of black,...I am wondering if you would get a little depth to the eye cane? fact I see a continuum of color with the eyes made of 3 connecting colors: red (burgundy), purple, blue... turquoise, green... brown, umber, yellow. KateAnd

Nora Jean's lesson on multi-colored mica, iris for eye cane
...Nora Jean's method for staggering lightly blended (still streaky) multi-color blends, then twist? to form half-circle (which she then doubles for a disk of radiating lines like an eye iris)
... not blends (simple stacks formed into wedges, placed around an iris and

Alan's owl (or other) very shiny iris eyes
. .. yes I did make the eye cane myself Diane - using about 10 or 12 different metallic and shaded blendings around a black core - all Premo incidentally) Alan

For the pupils, I'd suggest you look at goat eyes. They have the most alien eyes I have ever seen on a real live creature. Their pupils aren't slits like a cat, they're rounded "I" shapes *on their sides*! Tiggersong

Aurora's idea for cat eye and tiger eye effects, based on Mike B's technique for a holographic long bead with illusion stripe down the center --see Mica/Mike B.)
I do this thing with the "mica" colors. I think Mike B did it as well with a piece on his site. You'd have to pick the colors right, like black to gold to maybe a gold/pearl mix, and do a skinner blend with it.
Next, roll the skinner blend out at a five or six from black on one end to the light color on the other.
Now roll it up real tight and even with the lt. gold in the center. Compress the log a little to have it set together real good, you don't want the diameter too small.
Cut a 1" piece and set it on end.
Now cut down that piece and what you will have is a sort of cat eye effect. You can take it from there.
You can roll the slices from this out or thru the pm but not too much or you'll lose the mica effect.

eye ball cane (lessons):
... make a (log) of black... roll a slab of blue (around the log) with a bit of white conditioned in (remember the clay darkens when baked)... then adda slab of white around the outside
... cut across this cane (as a very thick slice?) and round the edges a little... pierce a hole across the slab and Viola!, an eyeball ..if you are really worried, a red slab around the blue inside the white might resemble the blood shot eye?
............To make an eye bead in a clay gun,er use the size Round (hole) you want as eyeball size... put a white ball/cylinder in front of the tube a blue one behind it and a little bit bigger (black?) one behind that... (extrude)...(if) you push (out a few inches) you should have many "eyes" (if you) slice these off and round em and bake em. . . you have eyeballs for little dolls or a million eye beads for a leviation... ( you can also) use this premade cane ...when making face canes. Faun

polymerclayexpress' lesson on sculpting (open, friendly) eyes ....then painting them
(after antiquing the face with a combo of burnt umber and red oxide, she then created eyewhites and eyebrow color by adding white to this mix)

I make and pre-bake several sizes of eyeball canes (I think I have 8)..... I then slice the canes AFTER baking so they don't get distorted.
... I have containers full of little eyes... I just insert them into the raw clay and rebake the whole piece. Tamila

simple "eye" beads (concentric circles) ... could be made from slices of bullseye beads (or bullseye canes, or both?)

I am toying with the idea to make a single eye with the pupil material going all the way through, cane fashion, which would then be baked alone.
.... Then I would cut it in half with my band saw. This would make two eye halves of the same size (they would not be totally the full half as that would require that they were inside the egg to some degree. These would then be placed on the skull.
....Once the eyes are in place, then the eyelids brow etc could be built up to make the dimensions more realistic. Lysle

Eyeballs (usually pre-baked) ....& sculpting eye areas


pre-baked eyeballs. . .I use white clay rolled into balls to make eyeballs, then bake the eyeballs 'bout 5 min... later I'll press them into clay face. Erin

If eyeballs or eye slices are not held in mechanically with eyelids, etc.... you can hold them in with a bit of liquid clay , superglue or diluent ... or just let the eyeballs sit in the raw face a few hours or overnight before baking
I did have some noses and eyeballs fall off of some critters once during baking
...... I had put recently conditioned clay on a sculptured piece that was cold and had been worked the day before. I think that might have had something to do with it... I use mineral oil (like a glue) and have had no probs so far (just a teensy bit, hardly enough to even see it). Kim2

With a bead roller, you can make a bunch of eyeballs to pre-bake! and they will match exactly in size and be perfectly smooth. Elizabeth
Sue Lee's bead roller set for small round beads.. 3-8mm....I love the idea of making eyes for my clay figures that are the same size and round!!! Dianne C.

...I've made several "eye ball rollers" based on the bead roller concept. To measure the clay, I roll it into rods the same diameter as the bead roller .... then cut the rods into slices 2/3rds the diameter of the rod. That way they're always the right size for that roller. Katherine Dewey

I make iris canes in all colors... then make a round white eyeball with my beadroller, and roll a thin iris cane slice onto it. brigitta

(I make an eyeball cane & reduce it...).. then I shape it using a half-eyeball mold.
....this mold is simply a thick sheet of polymer clay with hemispheric (half sphere) indentations made by pressing ball bearings of varied sizes (or other perfectly round things) into to it, halfway ....bake mold before using.. Katherine Dewey

You could also place progressively smaller disks of contrasting color (e.g, black, blue, black) on top of each other on a raw white ball, then roll in.


(if you want correct size eyeballs for a realistic human figure) Here's how to find the right size for eyeball and right placement.
...The eye is 1/5th the width of the head at the midline and placed on the hoizontal midline. Divide the midline into four equal sections, and roll a ball of clay the same diameter as the width of a section. Divide that ball of clay in half and roll those half balls into balls, eyeballs. Each will measure 1/5th the width of the head. Katherine Dewey

Plankspankers lesson on making a simple dragon/animal eye with a ball of clay, pressed down and eyelids formed (check subsequent pages too)

Jodi & Richard Creager's older person's eye area forms for studying & purchasing (may have others later?)

Nora Jean's many photos (lessons?) on eyeballs and eye areas
Dawn Sch's snail with eyeballs set into heavily hooded lids, way up on slender stalks

Antonette's lesson on making faux "glass eyes" with raw & baked clay, and gloss varnish
...create stiff iris rod by making a colored log (exact diameter for irises --roll log with flat object to make even thickness throughout) ... bake/cool... can paint outer surface of log with darker iris color for thin ring around iris ....cut baked iris rod into lengths twice as long as the eyeball
...create raw balls of white clay (from logs or cutouts for consistent size)
...push stiff iris through eyeball's center to back side (to make good contact, press clay around it on back side, use a bit of liquid clay, let sit awhile, etc.) ...bake together
... lay eyeball on cut-resistant surface with iris log parallel to surface by holding extending iris... with sharp stiff blade, cut off other end of eyeball deep enough to show the complete iris (& removing a tad of white)
...prop extending iris rod end into foam or raw clay, then place a drop of glossy varnish (or other clear medium) on the slightly flattened area of eyeball (surface tension will create a slightly rounded clear "lens" after several layers --dry between)
...apply glossy finish to entire eyeball.... cut off extending iris if you want

not clay eyes

simple, painted eyeballs
....Margene Crossan makes "white eyes" with white "quilter's" pins (see details below in Other Materials For Eyes) create an iris, Margene then uses 3 gradually smaller sizes of dowel ends, dipped in acrylic paint:
1-- black iris rim (large black dot) .....2-- colored iris (smaller dot) ......3-- black pupil (smallest dot)
...Susan's lesson showing this with
clay balls made in a bead roller... she paints them white after baking (before using dowels)

The eye area will be easier to shape if you place the rounded almond eyeball in the face.. then bake, and add the lids. This will keep the clay from squishing around as you work. 10more

eye expressions, tips on color, etc.

polymerclayexpress' lesson on sculpting (open, friendly) eyes ....then painting them
(after antiquing the face with a combo of burnt umber and red oxide, she then created eyewhites and eyebrow color by adding white to this mix)

eye expressions
...A larger iris, as well as both eyes pointing *slightly* inward indicates interest …. DB
...A larger iris tends to give a more innocent expression.
..Judi Maddigan
...I found you get really a "cute" or sweet look having the (animal) characters 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
...large pupils are perceived as "friendly"... tiny pupils are interpreted as "evil" or "mean." Elizabeth
.my "cartoony" eye slices (what do you expect from a girl with the last name of "Darling"?) give my pieces more character than plain black beads ...however, they are still realistic enough that for my angels, santas and other things they look nice too, and have become kind of a signature part of my work. Tamila Darling .

a suggestion for teeth & eye whites clay. . .I use Cernit's white- it's not a stark white, it's slightlly translucent, like real eyes. Make sure you use the # 010 white in the small (65g) package- their #049 white (in the big 500g package) is much more opaque.... I place a small dot of colour on the eye-balls for the cornea, then bake them for about 10 minutes. When I place the pre-baked eyes in their socket, they retain their shape while I do eyelids,etc
for eyes and teeth -- I've used (Premo) translucent-- It's worked great .

For non-realistic eyes (often in scary or caricatured faces), colored balls of clay (often in bright colors... like red, yellow, green, etc., or with gray, black. or brownish or yellowed)
... some of Kevin's colored eyes are also made glossy with varnish (look all around)
... plain colored eyes could also be have an iris or pupil painted on, or added in other ways

It makes sense adding depth to the iris like most real eyes actually are:
... .green eye
s with a tiny bit of yellow or amber within the center, or blue with grayish inside and outside too... brown could be done too using a lighter brown or tan in the center with a darker brown around the edge. Sandy

....I used Pearl Ex powders mixed into translucent clay for my iris cane... really makes it look real!... think I used Antique Gold and Spring Green, or something like that cox420
....Maybe I should try a Glow in the Dark clay cane? LOL Hang 'em aroung for Halloween...Tonja
....I used premo bleached translucent in it and I put it under the black light last night and WOW did it look awesome!!!!! Jen

The pupil needed a light reflection in it so a crescent moon of translucent and pearl alternating sheets was used in the black pupil, so it didn't look like a black flat disk... but it could be better. Nora-Jean

I find that (a pupil highlight) isn't necessary if you use a good gloss coating. It's the light in the eye that's important... and the light hits the gloss coating just like a natural eye. Kathndolls
...when the sculpture or doll is finished, I varnish with Hyplar Gloss Varnish for a shiny eye. Katherine Dewey
uffing them to a high gloss with my Dremel wheel made the black of the iris just glisten

Nora Jean's striped "highlight" for pupil in eye cane)


fireEyes' lessons on dragon shapes (eyes, etc.); drawing, but applies to sculpting too

Karen's lesson on drawing a dragon eye on an oval "cabochon" of baked translucent clay, using oil pencils (or colored pencils?)
... then surrounding the eye with clay for framing, eyelids, embellishment, etc.

Y'know, I found after many attempts to use the little white balls that they just didn't work for me. They would always seem a little buggy, or a little uneven, or whatever. And to fix them, I had to gouge them out and start over on the eyes if not the whole head.
...So I switched back to a direct-sculpted eye area instead of a ball. Here's how I do it (lesson) :
... I use my pinky or a properly-sized ball tool to press in eye sockets, pushing excess clay upwards to form a brow bone. Then I make an oval-shaped ball of (flesh) clay (shaped sort of like a Tic-Tac), and set it into the socket. I use a tool with a spear-shaped tip to press in the corners of the eyes in the centers of the tic-tacs. The clay that squishes away from these indentations will be the lids. I blend this excess clay into the brow-bone and cheek, leaving nicely-defined thin eyelids behind. Then I round out the eyeball itself using a spoon-shaped tool, digging a little deeper into the corners to give hte impression of an actual ball. I use a tiny ball-stylus tool to press in the inside corners of hte eyes, where the tear ducts would be. I think that's it. To finish up, I use a soft paintbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol to smooth out the ball and soften the edges of the lids. (then I paint it??) This method may not be for you, but it's an alternative to the little white balls. Both methods take a lot of practice--you just need to decide which works best for you. Leslie

Other Materials for eyes

....see many mail order sources for various kinds of eyes in the Supply Sources category, under "Eyes")
....eyes for sale --click on each to see variety of iris types
....I get mine from Hamilton Eye Warehouse in Moorpark, California, and from G. Schoepfer ... to find all of these contacts, go to (Dollmakers Suppliers List) which is a site compiled by one of our list members to find all of the contacts that we all use in dollmaking. Lynda Struble

Glass eyes come in sizes 2mm-8mm on a wire for small dolls, and larger more fancy and expensive up to human size. Linda S.

I've used hematite beads for eyes before when I wanted a spooky look on a polymer clay creature. They have the perfect amount of reflection, but look deep and weird. FerretNose

I am a dollmaker and I use both glass and acrylic eyes. The smallest that the acrylic eyes come is 8mm. They will melt as Ginger says at anything higher than 275 degrees. . . . .However, someone in our dollmakers group on the internet suggested putting small wet felt pads over the eyes while baking. It has to be re-wetted every 10 minutes but when I did it, I had wonderful results. No surface hazing or melting like I had come to expect. Linda S.
.../.If you place a drop of water on the eyes, or place a damp paper towel over the eyes before baking, you shouldn't have a problem...Sue

"Glastic" eyes do NOT survive 300 degrees. I've ruined so many dolls that way. 275 is the max, and it's right at 275, too. A very accurate 275. I use glass eyes now. ONLY! Hope this helps keep someone from making the same drastic mistake I made. Ginger

These particular plastic eyes survived at 265, but they dulled, so I just put gloss over them and they were fine. Cindy

Plastic eyes melt just sitting in an unbaked clay head over time ! I have had this happen. Make sure you finish your doll in a few weeks if you have plastic eyes----they will oooozzzz and look like a very, very old persons eyes! Been there and done that! Marty (plastic is eaten by the plasticizer)

Margene Crossan's method for making eyes is to use white "quilter's" pins. ...the smaller-head pins are glass and work well, whereas the larger-headed white ones are plastic and may melt in the oven.. ....she uses about 3/4" of the pin shaft as well as the head and presses it into a pre-made eye socket hole.
o create an iris, Margene then uses 3 gradually smaller sizes of dowel ends dipped in paint:
1-- black iris rim (large black dot) .....2-- colored iris (smaller dot) ......3-- black pupil.
...Susan's lesson showing this

Seed beads (see Tools > Misc for tricks on using toothpicks with either dried white glue or a tiny "wetting" of clay to pick up and place them correctly for eyes, etc)

I have another "altered toothpick" tool that I took ouside and scraped the tip on a slant a few times on the side-walk to sand it. Now it is a sort of teardrop-ish shape that makes for good tiny eyesockets when used on the slant. The still pointed end I use to poke where the tearduct should be and pull down slightly, to finish the eye shape. . . . They work as tiny smoothers too. Sarajane H.

polymerclayexpress' putting silver (paint, alum foil, silver leaf?) on the back side of a round, colored, glass bead to form a reflective eye; insert into head with silver to the back side and
.... one nifty and wonderful trick is to put a small piece of mirror on bottom and then the stone (on top of it). The mirror will reflect some light back trough the stone. It will sparkle when it moves. I have made few gremlin pendants having "fire" eyes that are somewhat creepy. They seem to be more alive. If you do not have mirrors available, use a small, very straight piece of aluminum foil. PöRRö

The eyes on that figure are not clay, they are hematite. pegg

For the little one though, her eyes are made of fiber optic black glass beads ...and they follow you (I love her eyes in person.). peggy

lesson on using using a 2-pt epoxy adhesive in a homemade 2 pt silicone mold a realistic whole eyeball (see more details in Other Materials > Epoxy Adhesives)

What I am using for the small dragon swap dragons are basically converted "jiggly eyes" that you can get at any craft store. I basically "disembowel" them, remove the black "dot", paint the back with a special paint mixture that I concocted, overlay that with the Black pupil, let it dry, and then glue it back together using superglue. Needless to say, you can't bake the piece with them in, so I usually glue the eyes in after their final post-varnish baking. I have found that tinted acrylic gel medium run through a VERY tiny cake decorating tip makes wonderful "lids", and helps to seal the eyes in, as well. Of course, working this small (well, for me at least!) means that I can't do all the detail work on the eyes that I would like...

Painting Eyes

in sculpted or molded faces:

Judi's mini-lesson on painting eyes (+ eyebrows, eyelashes) on molded face... "smiling eyes, etc.
....I always paint the eyes after the piece is baked.. There are painting directions and closeups on my site: . . . Judi Maddigan

(You can do some customizing of a molded face to make it easier to paint the eyes evenly and without smudges along the eyelid lines).
...first use a tool to define the edges between eyelid and eyeball and open up the eyes a tad --the teeniest ball stylus is good for this.
... also deepen the corners of the eyes
(lesson) ...Here's how I paint sculpted eyes (in heads):
...I either leave the eyeballs the same color as the face, or I put a coat of palest peach on the eyeball and let it dry (painting the "whites" of the eyes white can give too stark a look, & the smaller the doll, the more you notice it).
...Using a tiny brush, like a 6/0 or 10/0, paint a black iris in a each eye, starting with a dot - make the dots bigger, gradually, so that you can adjust either or both for size and direction. ....Make sure they're looking the same direction.... Let that dry.
...Then paint a thick "o" shape inside those black irises with the eye color (leave a largish pupil in each eye). Elizabeth

separate eyeballs to insert into faces

Susan's lesson (she uses clay balls made in bead roller)
...sticks a straight pin (or toothpick) into raw clay ball with a bit of superglue, then bakes
...dips the whole eye into white acrylic paint, and sets end of pin or toothpick to dry in a clay drying stand
...makes a large disk of black (will be outermost part of iris) on white ball by dipping into black paint
...makes colored iris and pupil by "stamping" with a dowel dipped in correct colors of paint
...trims excess pin/toothpick

I can get away with some roughness because he's a demon!
(lesson ... for 2 flat-backed eyes
.... I rolled a football (oval) of clay in my hands, made it a bit more eye shaped...then sliced it in half
....the lids were a thin sheet of clay laid over the eyeballs.
....I didn't sculpt in the pupil5471.

more tips

My favorite way to highlight is to put a rather hard, round light in the upper right or left quadrant of the iris... plus a softer arc (just a little bit lighter than the iris color) in the quadrant diagonal to the hard highlight is.
...also, to give decent realism for, shadow the lid and the eyeball just below that lid by toning down some burnt sienna with some of that very pale peach, then paint that inside the upper eyelid,. Elizabeth
... The "trade secret" (said tongue in cheek) is that I stick in one fleck of tiny glitter on the eye when I do the first coat of clear finish (later I add more coats of finish ). Erin

Large pupils are perceived as "friendly"... tiny pupils are interpreted as "evil" or "mean". Elizabeth

I like the surface of the eye to shine... so a bit of clear gloss on the eyes will give a very life-like quality!! Varathane works great for this. Kathndolls

Acrylic paints work fine, but you can use Genesis heat-set paints for more translucence, too. Elizabeth

One trick to get a superbly metallic, radiant, eye color
....paint the whole iris area black
....then paint over that very thinly with one of the interference colors (use either a pre-mix, or possibly Pearl-Ex mixed with a little acrylic medium)...the thinnest possible layer of interference paint with a very dry brush
....protect that after it dries with a coat or three of gloss medium. Halla

s since it's a lot easier to paint what I want on a smooth eyeball...
(He has gray green skin and red reptilian eyes. Nothing subtle about this guy, but he's for Halloween)! Jody B


to keep the nose from flattening (while you work), keep track of where your fingers are when you're working on the rest of the doll. sounds simple, but it isn't. Sunni

many lessons and tips on noses, heads, faces, features, and armatures fr. various participants at NoraJean's swap page

Noses (and ears) are made from cartilege, and therefore grow with age.

Jodi & Richard Creager's nose forms for studying & purchasing

(....see also above in Eyes+ for other lessons and examples for noses and ears that are included with eyes)
(....see more tips on making facial features in Heads > Age & Gender & Ethnicity)


Dotty's cat ears (caned and added to head cane as separate components ) (website gone)
(see also Odd-Shaped Canes in Canes-Gen)

Norajean's tips re making ears, and ears for a mer-man
Julianne has many ears (especially pointed and large ears, older ears) on her ogres, fairies, and other figures
Jodi & Richard Creager's ear forms for studying & purchasing

(....see more tips on making facial features in Heads > Age & Gender & Ethnicity)
(....see also above in Eyes+ for other lessons and examples for noses and ears that are included with eyes)


Full lips paint wonderful with thin coats of acrylic wash ...layer so that the darker color of the paint is to the outside of the lip and the lighter look is to the insdie of the lip...this gives a good perspective to the lip and added dimension...a solid color is flat and dull looking.
... Always add a tiny bit of shine to the lips when finished (bottom lip)..also adds a nice dimension.
...Back to the smoothing before baking...make sure that all small blemishes are removed by brushing with a fine brush...a tiny amount of nail polish remover can be used to make the lips smooth well...but be cautious.

It will help lip formation if you add a mound for teeth. 10more

I sculpt Santa faces out of Super Sculpey, so of course my mouths don't have to be real good because they are almost all covered up with hair, but here goes:
You need to make two logs, one for the top lip and one for the bottom. The one for the bottom should be a bigger log than the top.
Smooth just the very bottom edge of the bottom lip down towards the chin.
| Smooth the top edge of the upper lip up under the nose area. It might help to put more of a pancake type shape on the upper lip to begin with instead of having to smooth a log shape out.
Then kind of put an indent running from the nose down to the upper lip.
I feel the smile is more in the cheeks than the actual shape of the mouth, unless you have teeth of course. You can look at your own mouth in a mirror and that helps too....AllTucker'dOut
......Sometimes when you just add lips on top of face, you can end up with a pouty or kissing looking mouth. MelissaJ

Female Lips, in particular:
...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)
....Mouth forms should be "puffier" or fuller... not just 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. Wayne THE DANE

It does depend on ths size of the head you're making too.
....most small heads (dollshouse, and somewhat larger) don't need any added clay at all
-- just cut the mouth ... open it as much as you want ... then roll and shape the edges of the cut to make the lips. Crafty Owl.

One simple way to start the lips is to cut a slash ...then use the point of an exacto knife or something similar to lift the mouth. Do this slowly a teeny tiny bit at a time. .....You can add little dots of clay under the lips as you go, and use the excato to slice off any excess. MelissaJ

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.

I keep a mirror handy so if I have a problem with a certain feature, I can see what it looks like on a real face. MelissaJ

many lessons and tips on making lips
Christel's lesson on making a troll's mouth
Anita W's sort-of lesson on making a painterly mouth
Angelas lengthy lesson on sculpting lips and lower face (to proceed to all 3 pages, substitute L2 or L3 for L1 in the URL of your browser bar)

Monica's simple mouth with a # 1crochet hook (lesson) (she put a little ball of Fimo red and shaped the lips)

Dorothy G's interesting Skinner Blend mouth (website gone)

Julianne's many sculpted mouths (look all around)

caned mouth. . . (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
(see more in Masks)

(....see many more tips on making facial features in Heads > Age & Gender & Ethnicity)


(see just above in Mouths also)

Teeth can be made by indenting or cutting white or light clay, or by prebaking a set of teeth or individual teeth then pressing into raw clay mouths can shape your teeth, bake them, then individually place each one
... make a u shaped piece, and individually score the teeth onto that
... make a gum piece and insert the teeth one by one like a denture and then bake and insert that. Three different options! Hardened teeth are easier to work with and not mishape them accidently--like eyeballs. Sarajane
...I would suggest making the upper and lower jaw together with the teeth ...and then putting the jaws on the bear's head. That's what I usually do with my creatures. Boris

Christel's lesson on pre-baking teeth and inserting into an unbaked troll face

It will help lip formation if you add a mound for teeth. 10more

real-looking human teeth... form with dental tools (spatula, etc.)...shapes of human teeth are different front to back though Dan P.

For teeth, I've used Premo translucent-- It's worked great.
one thing to remember for teeth, mix translucent and a little ochre or yellow and brown for a faux ivory rather than true white. Teethre not really white. Sarajane

animal teeth especially are not white... animal teeth are also much darker near the gums than ours are supposed to be allowed to get. A little brown/red stain takes care of that. .....Like eyeballs, they also often have a little shine from being wet--I use flecto varathane. Sarajane
....Katherine Dewey's realistic alligator teeth

...the best thing I've found for teeth is Fimo Glow in the Dark! It's slightly off white just like most real peoples teeth and is firm

yucky teeth or horns, etc.... score with a pin, X-acto knife or dental tool (can mount on toothpick to hold), follow with alcohol
...Jody's monster's teeth (very crooked, and with spaces between; also "antiqued" with brown paint?)
Plankspanker's lesson on making dragon (or monster) teeth by onlaying baked cones of clay on gums, and also impressing? a second row of less pointed teeth (see subsequent pgs. too)
...Garie's horrible yellow teeth & forked tongue in mouth of snake creature
...Alexandra's skulls with yucky blackish teeth .....& deer skull with yellowish teeth

Dawn S's fiendish, etc., sculpts with various kinds of teeth (look around)

Julianne's teeth for ogres and wolf-type head
... and her great tongue!

Jill Willich's teeth and tongue

Plankspanker's lesson on installing a long tongue (into a the mouth cavity of the top half of a dragon's head) (see subsequent pages for other views)
Garie's teeth and tongue (with stud?)

caned teeth . . . (using mutliple Skinner Blend ikat canes... see Canes-Instr.>Ikat) . . . (also see more in Masks)
.....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


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

(almost looks like Pearl-Ex on surface) . . . .I work in layers which makes for neat effects... pale gray Pearl clay base with translucent over it, and then straight pearl clay ...rub the pearl to align the mica (baked inbetween ).... adding a gloss of varathane makes the pearl pop. (I was trying for mother of pearl) so it's not what I planned but I really like how it turned out. 10more

to create light texture in skin, make wavy and uneven crosshatched lines in the raw clay with a light touch
....then soften up the pattern by brushing with Turpenoid or 91% alcohol. K. Dewey) (more instructions for solvents for softening in Sculpting > Fingerprints >> Solvents)'s lesson shows fine crosshatches ("tertiary" lines) --made after deeper and farther-apart lines made for skin itself (deeper lines should be where the skin folds or strreches the most)

I have taken the spring out of a ball point pen and made a handle out of clay for it - i use it to make wrinkles in faces by just rubbing it over the face gently or not so gently depending on the size of wrinkles wanted … Kathy

I don't really 'carve' in the wrinkles, just like you wouldn't 'carve' folds in fabric. Try sort of pushing the clay over to form the shapes. use the tool for definition. or
...add a sausage-shaped piece of clay and then blend it in, you can build your details instead of carving them. look to fine art resources for reference, like figural sculpting books/lessons for help on that all. JoAnna
...wrinkles: thin clay ropes wherever desired...blend together ...or use a loop tool to cut grooves in the clay ...follow up with alcohol. Dan P. (...Wayne's method using of drawing with tools over a layer of plastic wrap on the clay)
...polymerclayfan's lesson on making dimensional veins on skin with tiny, uneven, curvy ropes placed on skin... then pressing each side of ropes into skin with spatula-type dental tool, and brushing with 91% alcohol to soften and shape more

Polly's caned eye area, with folds and wrinkles, etc.

veins (human & animal): thin snakes of clay...taper ends...apply and blend partway into surface...follow with alcohol to smooth. Dan P.
(also see Dan Perez' website for more (look esp. in Workshop and Model Shop)

for very wrinkled and rough skin, and for evenly-spaced scales ... see below in Dragonskin & Scales

...for many skin color recipes, see Heads-Masks --& also Color?
...for more on older faces, wrinkles & skin, see Heads-Masks > Age Groups



Barbara's extensive lesson on making dragon wings with wire armature
polymerclayexpress' lesson on making dragon wings (veined, powdered if desired, and shaped around body)
In the dragon swap, There were some lovely dragon wings out of translucent clay, with veining (must have been a cane) that were pleated like a fan which gave the wing more strength. They are holding up well, and look pretty good, . . . Cate
fireEyes' lessons on dragon shapes

embossing powders kind of explode into larger and smaller tiny dots after being baked in clay, so using a bit of embossing powder in translucent clay, e.g., might look cool for wings (the embossing powder will tend to puddle on the top surface of the clay after baking, so sand that top bit off if you want fewer and finer dots... also the embossing powder may feel a bit liquidy just after baking and will need to set) (see more in Powders > Embossing > Inclusions)

CANED wings

Any pattern can be used as a butterfly wing, or made into a butterfly wing if you're not particular about the biology any cane (or group of canes) or even individual slices into a roughly triangle or into any butterfly wing shape, then cut it in half for two wings, add a rod-shaped body between and maybe some antennae (... to make background, wrap the image with a thin sheet of background color, then fill in the rest of the cane with the same color as the wrap)
various butterfly wings at Kim K's site, with some wing shapes

many wings are made with some form of multiple bullseye cane (lace cane, etc.) . . . see Canes-Instr > Bullseye for more on bullseyes)
....Donna's, e.g., uses Skinner blend logs
Sue's simple fairy wings lesson using bullseye canes (translucent wrapped with white "lace cane") ( fig's 5-7)
Betty's lesson on making wings with translucent logs and color logs, ea. wrapped with trans, then black (teardrop shaped)
Carolyn's lesson on making a butterfly wing (and cane) using reshaped bullseye canes and Skinner blend bullseye canes (quartered lengthwise)
Linda's lesson on making a butterfly cane with many colored bullseye canes (could use any canes though)

Desiree's "butterfly wing beads" have patterns that could be adapted to actual wings? (...tiny logs rolled up on solid clay sheet into a spiral, then " football" cut
Tzunun's whole bull's-eye cane which trimmed with a wavy blade on all 4 long sides looks rainbow butterfly wings...did same thing with a spiral cane, using Linda H's " technique", with Skinner blend of colors, black, and Pearl, and even better (upper left)
Linda H's black-wrapped purple logs of diff sizes for outsides... black-wrapped Skinner blend canes (with inserted dot) for insides, plus onlaid body (click on "Details" next to photo)
Lynne M's butterfly & moth wings ...each wing made from a multiple-cane cane formed into various wing shapes, etc, wrapped in black (2 pages)

City Zen Cane has a long lesson on making a complex Monach wing pattern in the book Creating with Polymer Clay, pg. 64-67(color & pattern variations, pg. 6)
Cynthia Toop's many butterfly wing half tiles, strung on a necklace so that opening two flat tiles apart creates a whole butterfly (both wings)

Dawn C's caned monarch butterfly wings*&group=1&page=*&id=1038291490-002369
Diana's scalloped fairy wings made with purple and translucent clays, and gold leaf (edges are like sharp, waves) (gone)

Lorie's fabulous wings on her fairies, mermaids, insects, etc. (moth wings and fairy wings, with translucent, glitter, etc.) (complex caned wings ... monarch, etc.)
..... (these not caned, but good for inspiration)

lesson: For the butterflies forming my bowls, I carefully drew out all the veining of a 'typical' wing and used it to design the canes.
....a vitally important thing is that the wing canes be reduced separately- the forewing is rather triangular, and the hindwing is almost a circle. ...the two parts are assembled as a finished 'wing' only after reduction.
...Also, because of their strange shapes, the canes really benefit from being well cooled before slices are taken. Alan

Alan's caned dragonfly wings
.....those wings are just plain clay --translucent Fimo (next time I'll use Premo's bleached translucent), interleaved with "raw sienna" Premo-- Honest!
.....They were cured twice - after cutting the cane, I assembled the 4 wings and cured them flat and quenched them after 15 minutes.
.....Then later I made the body + armature around the wingset - coloured it, then re-cured the whole thing with the body in an aluminium trough and the wings as flat as I could arrange them. The whole lot was then quenched again. .. Alan
..I am the proud owner of one of Alan's dragonfly broaches, and was too scared to wear it in case these delicate beautiful wings would break. But, I touched them a little more and they were not as brittle as most fine things... Flyte

in your case, the first wings you saw were caned ...most likely with a combo of opaque and translucent clays this case, yellow/orange/red tinted translucent clays for backlit-looking parts, wrapped with a layer of black opaque clay
.....the other wings...plain translucent clay and browns ... opaque brown clay used for vein lines
.....(then they were textured and glittered). DB
multi-wrapped brownish "bullseye" logs, placed next to each other in long triangular cane, then wrapped as a unit ...NoraJean's "bug petals" . . .

Donna Kato's beautiful bug, moth, dragonfy wings, some caned

Kim Korringa's lesson on making a 6-color Skinner blend ikat-flame cane for dragonfly wings
... puts long triangular-wedge-shaped sheets of each color next to each other (to create blend
.......she puts through pasta machine 5 times ...(for this blend, she then covers the blended sheet with ultra-fine glitter)
...cuts long sheet lengthwise into 4 narrow strips, and stacks (offsetting?)
...WINGS: she then shapes the stack like a dragonfly wing (and lengthens (some?)
... cuts into 2 equal lengths and lightly stacks ...then presses together at one end to create a double-wing unit (the two wings at the other end will stay slightly separated)
...(she then dusts the edges of the wings with Pearl Ex)
...takes one thick slice from this unit for each side of the dragonfly (4 wings total)... and adds body with beads on wire

Those wings are actually slices taken from a complex cane
....draw a wing pattern you think you can convert into a cane. that design (make it fairly goodsized) under a piece of glass and then use that as a template to put (shapes) of clay until the design is complete. It's a lot like assembling a jigsaw puzzle.
...The veins are actually thin strips of clay between the shapes. For an idea of what I'm talking about, go to and look at my my Stain Glass tutorial can build a cane the same way, only it would be about 1-2" thick...Sunni

that little fairy had caned wings (partly using glow in the dark clay)
... I used a Skinner blend with fluorescent had gold veins... used liquid clay to attach the wings...worked great! Lorie (gone?)

Many "feather" canes and "folded" canes would work well for butterfly wing canes too:
Nora Jeans' feather lesson, made with bullseye cane, resembles a butterfly wing pattern (see above in Spiral canes for her owl-type multiple feather look)

Kellie's "feather cane" used as dragonfly wings (see Canes-Instr > Striped-Stack for lessons on this "Feather Cane") (bottom of page)
Teri's caned monarch butterfly wings, using many wrapped (bullseye) canes, one of which has an accordion-folded Skinner Blend inside (gone)
(... see more feather and folded canes in Canes-Instr)

for caning with embossing powder mixed into translucent clay (probably wrapping with opaque clay to separate the segments, see above in "Sculpted" wings ... might make cool wings

cutters or freehand cutting can also be used to create a butterfly shape from a sheet of clay... bodies can be added in various ways
... could use any type of decorative sheet like mokume gane or a cane slice sheet, or even a symmetrical "Natasha bead" pattern flattened
....or could use onlays, stamping, etc., to embellish
....Lynne's butterfly wings... non-symmetrical patterns cut out of a cane slice sheet, with butterfly cutter? (click on Butterflies)
simple flat and rounded-top wings can be created by using a heart cutter (to cut a sheet of slices), then cutting that heart in half if necessary to separate the "wings". (from Laurel)

non-caned wings & misc.

harryjohnpursey's various dragon wings composed of a sheet of decorative clay in a wing shape, topped by thick veins (ropes) of clay
(see more dragons and their wings in Sculpting-Gen > Websites > first set of links)

Peggy O's many wings (made from various materials) on backs of "babies" and other fanciful creatures (click on the various figures for many more)

I solved the problem of my wings breaking off by reinforcing the back - I used a piece of thin brass sheet (any metal would've been fine) and cut it to just less than the size of the back of the butterfly. Then I flooded the back with 5 minute epoxy and clamped it to the metal. I was lucky in that all I had to do to the front was reapply the varnish over the clay/pearlex surface. Alan V.

LIQUID CLAY, sometimes with other materials (see Liquid Clays for details)
....(decal) How about making wings on glass? Paint on the liquid clay ... then when it's cured, it should peel Deb
....How about making a wire frame from 24 or 28 gauge wire, then using the TLS on the glass over the wire, and cure? Caroline
...TLS is better (thicker) to work with for wings than the liquid Fimo in my opinion, after having used both... TLS is also easier to spread for a wing than the thicker (?) consistency of the Fimo... (though Fimo gel is clearer,) TLS will clear up if you bake it in a 300 degree oven for 20 min.... . Wendy

Interference or iridescent paints, mica powders or fine or very fine glitters can look good on some kinds of wings
...Donna Kato's beautiful bug, moth, dragonfy wings, some in textured cells with metallic powders, etc, some caned

Jenny Cox has a wonderful lesson on fairie wings using TLS and glitter, outlined with wire ...very easy to do, and very delicate looking. kellieAK

Wendy's lesson on making multiple-component wings held together with liquid clay between them, forming cells
...each component is a S-shaped, 20 ga. wire ...(strung with seed beads & ending with 1 larger bead)
...Pearl Ex added to back side after baking... she also may use floral wire instead of beading regular wires
Suzanne H's lesson on making butterfly wings by filling a black clay rope in wing shape with different colors of liquid clay & paint (oil?) on a sheet of glass
....she uses a log of clay for the body (with an embedded wire loop for hanging later)
... bakes the body together with the wings in an angled pose ... (later makes a mobile from the butterflies)

Sarah Lajoie's fairie/butterfly wings (made with liquid clay?)
Alan's realistic wings for moths, dragonflies, etc., made with TLS
liquid clay "bug wings" for fairies (see flies and description in bottom left) (gone?)

Alan's dragonfly wings made with photo transfers of real dragonfly wing images
Alan's (copyable?) photos of dragonfly wings
Some are just TLS alone ... and some have (bleached) Premo translucent clay for added support.
....the photos of wings were printed onto either Tshirt or temporary tattoo paper.
...I made my standard-type bodies to match the size of the wings and the largest fly's ended up with a 6" wingspan - a little large to be worn as a brooch!
...the bodies are coloured with Pearl-ex ...and are finished with Fimo spirit gloss varnish. . . .
...there's a brass wire armature along the whole body... and I've planted tinned, copper wire (like 22swg fusewire) along the front edge of the hindwings to allow the wings to be attached to the bodies.
...I drilled fine holes into the thorax area (after baking), superglued the wires in place and snipped off any excess which protruded.
.... the one with see-through wings is TLS alone- as is the one with the spots
.......I simply painted TLS onto the photo (on t-shirt transfer paper?), then dropped it face-down into a small puddle of TLS on a flat metal or tile surface. The trick seems to be to get the liquid to be the same thickness all over the wings - it also helps to have the photo weighted down a little (I use small brass pieces) - it stops the paper curling in the heat.
....There is, at present quite a high failure rate with the TLS only ones - bubbles will develop easily.... using a sheet of Premo seems to reduce the bubbles, but the wings are less lifelike. Alan

Patricia suggests using thin mesh fabric, or "silk" petals or leaves, or real dried leaves
...she then uses liquid clay on both sides of the wing, and a wire across the top (glued seaprately)... bake and cool
.. shape wire as desired... of trim if desired to change shape, etc....can singe edges(?)
.. can paint a bit (if heatset paint, bake again)... add coat of acrylic finish ...and can sprinkle in some glitter.

You could also consider encorporating fabrics or threads into petals or wings - make sure the sort you use doesn't melt at baking temperatures of course. After my success with (real, not synthetic) silk pongee (normally bleached and is sold to silk painters) in the TLS transferred wings, I even tried teasing/chopping up scrap bits of the silk and encorporating them in ordinary clays for strength. It does work quite well as long as you don't overdo it and add so much that it can be seen (actually, the texturing can quite be a pleasing effect). Alan

Could also singe holes through here and there, as with some wings??

I haven't done it yet, but am also thinking of putting curtain net between two thin layers of translucent clay give a veined look and run through pasta machine..could be plain or patterned I guess...and cook sllllooow. Flyte
..see also Alan's photo transfers just above... he sometimes uses bleached translucent and liquid clay

.....I have had tremendous work results with Shrinky Dinks shrink plastic. Because it comes in white as well as the roughened. I can go over the frosted with as fine a pen as I can get and after they are shrunk, the teeny veins in the wings look very realistic. I use an emery board to file the square tips after they shrink, and then cover them with irridescent clear nail polish. It makes the frosted parts clear again, and the sparkles in the nail polish look perfect. Pamsamom
.... i make my wings from a sort of plastic sheet . i cut some wings out the sheet and now you can put some 3d paint {scribbles glitter} on it to give it some effect or you can also paint them with glasspaint and than put some 3d paint{scribbles glitter} on it . but there are many things you can do with these wings if you use the plastic sheets as basic material. Brigitta
These wings a sooooo simple. It's just plastic. I save it when I get packages or food in a clear hard plastic. ...All I do is cut out the wings. I score veins into it. (You have to be careful not to cut all the way through the plastic. It takes a light touch.) Brush on a little varnish , sprinkle a very fine glitter on it when its still wet. A very light sprikle. let it dry put a coat of varnish over it to keep the glitter from shedding. let that dry. BINGO beautiful glasslike wings.. Joyce
(see more on shrink plastics in Mixing Media > Misc.)

mica tiles & dragonfly wings, fairies
... I bought the mica tiles at a rubber stamp store, but you can order them from USArtQuest ...(see more on these in Mica > Tiles).
....I know it looks like wire in my wings, but I don't use wire
... after stamping the wings with the permanent ink, I cut the wings out... then I separate them by putting my nail between the compressed layers of the tile and splitting the layers apart
..... I mix some (interference) Pearl Ex powders (Duo yellow-green and Duo pink-blue) with some Perfect Paper Adhesive, and spread a small amount of the mixture between the mica wing layers
........mix the colors separately before applying... and use only a small amount of the mica powders with the adhesive
.....Put the layers back together... stick them into the clay body of the dragonfly, and bake.
......After baking, I used a gold leaf pen to outline the wings for gold edging. Matilda Colf
....fairy with wing make from single mica plate

Angela's lesson on making flame-type fairy wings from 5-6 sections of color-washed filmy fabric, glued onto mostly 26 g florist wires (central wire left extending)
... more "veins" added on fabric with glue gun.. another color wash if wanted + some Pearl Ex
...all glue and wires covered with Krylon silver leafing pen ink
.. sections gathered at bottom and wrapped together with wire.
.. spray both sides with satin acrylic sealer (can add fine glitter on it)... she also adds a clear bead to the end of each extending wire (a pdf file... click under "Artist's Hints")
... or use this URL and change the L1 to L2, L3, L4 for each of the pages

use "fusible web" from the fabric store, which you can see through..... transfer a wing drawing to it with a pencil.... then fuse 2 together ...then paint. (get a good butterfly book out of the library to go by). Mary

I've experimented with the possibilities TLS offers as well as all kinds of cellophanes and acetates, tried intricate wire forms dipped in "Dip-It", and a similar thin film used to make ultra light wings for precision model gliders (model planes as light as feathers). I tried cicada wings but found that tiny mites were eating away at them
..... I still prefer my original solution (for making my own wings)-- wet media acetate
(a clear acetate film available at art and craft stores, this product is made to accept all water based media --you can paint it, dye it, or draw on it with water based products)
...LATER DESCRIPTION: I begin by drawing the veins in permanent India Ink.
.......after the ink dries, I emboss (impress) the veins in the fairy wings... and glue on a fine, but strong wire
.......then dye the wings, or paint with acrylics.
..........I use an air brush for painting (see Finishes for more on air brushes), but a sponge pouncer will work as well.
......... if you want clear wings with a hint of color, fabric dye is the answer. ...for darker tints soak the wings in repeated dye baths, but let the wings dry in between each bath.
......when the wings are finished, I insert each one (see piano wire below) into a small pierced hole in the fairy's back. The fairy is finished before the wings are added, and it is the very last step, because the acetate can't really handle the heat of baking. That's how I make my wings, but I urge you to explore the possibilities offered by TLS. Katherine Dewey
...EARLIER DESCRIPTION: With a Rapidograph 000 tip (and India Ink), I draw the venatia by tracing wing patterns (slightly modified) taken from an insect field guide. I use a french curve modified for ink drawing to prevent smearing, and waiting three or four minutes between each line. To fill the time I draw about ten sets of wings at a time.
...When the venatia are finished, I cut out the wing and lay it on a soft rubber mat, but a folded paper towel will do.
.......With a ball stylus, trace the venatia, pressing down firmly enough to create a groove in the acetate, but not so hard that you cut through it (this step curls the acetate, so flip it over and use a larger stylus to impress the broad unveined areas of the wing)
....The transparent wings are then dyed a pale green or brown, sometimes vareigated... I use an alcohol based, salt free silk fabric paint called Dupont.
...The insertion point of the wing is then glued to a shorth length of fine piano wire with super glue. ...over the super glue, I place a tiny bead of vinyl glue (white glue ) to hide the wire.
... A spritz of black paint with an airbrush over this same spot finishes the wing. The wings are inserted into the fairy's back after the fairy is baked.
(...I use the same technique for butterfly type wings, but paint those with an airbrush.)
Wet media acetate can also be impressed to make leaves, fish and mermaid fins as well. Katherine Dewey

Some of the wings I have purchased have a nice area between the two wings ... I put a coordinating piece of clay over the wing and bake it to adhere it to the angel. Mary J.

vein lines in wings can be incised (before or after baking). DB

real dragonflies (photos for inspiration)
Marilyn Radzat's fantasy sculptures (fairies, angels, elves, and also bases)


I make lots of elephants, complete with floppy ears, toenail & tusks but I consider anything over 1" tall huge. My trick to making it look "unjointed" is to make head, body & trunk from one piece of clay except for eyelids, eyes, tusks & tongue. Legs, tail & ears are started as separate pieces. I start out with a smooth egg shaped mass & draw out from that enough mass for head & trunk, almost like siamese twin eggs wiht the head part smaller. The trunk is then drawn out of the "head" egg. This is easier to show than to tell, but it works. Linda J.

(see many animals in Sculpting > Websites, and books in Books & Videos)

Scales & "dragonskin"

There are lots of methods for sculpting scales, and there are a lot of different types of scale textures.
... look at the scale patterns on a horned lizard, a snake, a fish and an alligator to see just how diverse scales types and patterns can be. Dan Perez

Simulations of scales or wrinkly-rough skin can be dimensional or flat (some flat ones just look dimensional, but aren't).

Barbara's various shapes of scales for different animals (balls, teardrops, "leaves," etc. ... some overlapping, some butted)

For all you dragon fans, there is a whole bunch of wonderful illustrations of dragon anatomy! Look for (the newsgroup) alt.binaries.clip-art (news:alt.binaries.clip-art ?? --through or see Online Groups/Newsgroups) and then "neato dragonz" ... well worth a look! -- Kelly


One simple way to convey a scaled pattern is with wavy crosshatching
......take a spatula tool or X-Acto knife and incise a series of parallel lines into the skin surface...then draw a perpendicular set of parallel lines, creating a diamond pattern
.......then soften up the pattern by brushing with Turpenoid or 91% alcohol. (K. Dewey)
...lesson uses major crosshatched lines, then minor lines in other directions, in clay for skin, then softens with mineral spirits, at
........create the major crosshatches where the skin folds or strreches the most ...the "tertiary" minor lines will be the texture of the skin itself

........lesson on making heavily textured skin (less crosshatching)
...polymerclayfan's lesson on doing this to make his wrinkly skin, using a U shape of floral wire to create the uneven crosshatching, for "monster" skin (...for smoother lines, use tool over a sheet of plastic wrap laid on the skin)

Julianne's dragon has thick butted "tiles" of scales, as well as impressed? scales (metallic)

I've made a few textures that work quite well. .....I started by rolling a thin sheet of clay and cut it into a square base
.... I then made a bunch of small balls of clay and pinched them into a teardrop shape, then flattened the teardrops to form slightly rounded scales.
........ I layered the scales on the base sheet, overlapping slightly, until the base was covered, then baked.
.....Then I also made a dragonskin stamp and a texture sheet from the baked scale piece as a negative.
.........I have ended up using the stamp much more than then texture sheet though, as I found it was a bit difficult to get a good impression from the full sheet
.......... I just press the stamp randomly all over an item, overlapping the edges
..........You could also use the stamp to cover up seams or touch up areas of the sheet that don't impress completely. Vicki

Dan's texturing stamp lump made by forming a 3/4" ball of clay into a football shape, and then indenting it with varied sizes of ball tip tools (or paintbrush ends, etc.)... he textures one end all the way around, as well as over the long edges too, so he can get into tight spots with the texture, etc.

That reminds me of a weird *tool* that I used to create mermaid scales....*the back-end of a large glass eye!!* great!!

there is a cardboard roll which iscovered with dimensional square bumps (pyradmidal squares) from some kind of paper (cash register? don't remember on this one....) which will texture little indents on the clay
... if you fold two thin pieces, with the indents inside together, and run thru the pasta roller, it looks like alligator/crocodile skin where the bumps are pocketed. Sarajane H

Alexandra's light green dragon with bumpy skin, highlighted with gold

Plankspanker's fabulous wrinkly and leather-like skins for dragons, dinosaurs and other creatures
... he makes a mold of texture with "Mountains in Minutes," a latex rubber mold compound found in hobby stores, then presses the completed texture plates into his skins (for mold textures, he uses guitar cases, amiplifiers, book covers, a toy lizard, a dryer and other cases/holders),.
...... "Mix some of the latex with water so that it is thin enough to fill all the recesses of your texture sample. Put the sample in as level a position as possible, and pour the latex over it, using a popsicle stick or similar device to work it onto the surface. .
...... When wet, the latex is a sky-blue color. As it drys, it turns a translucent dark blue. It is completely dry when all the milkiness has gone out of it. When the first application is dry, apply a second undiluted coat to strengthen the "stamp. This second coat usually takes longer to dry-a hairdryer can help.
......When dry, peel the latex off the sample, moisten with water or spit, press into soft clay . . ."
...and horny protuberances on head

One way to create slightly overlapping scales is to lay down a row of small clay disks (butted tightly together) on a base or your sculpt (beginning at the bottom layer)
...then cut off the top third of the whole row ... repeat with the next highest row
...I've discovered that I can make really neat scales for the spine out of a triangle pinched up and nestled, tip to base, with the next one. Gillian
...Skygrazer's "pinecone" kaleidoscope, showing "scales" made with partially overlapping cane slices (in this case, they are Skinner Blend cane slices)
... Jane Zhao uses "leaf" cane slices for her dragons: as free standing "plates" on back or at end of tail, and overlapped for "beard"

*the jellyroll cane technique (translucent or a color plus a sheet of metallic composition foil, rolled into a spiral cane then sliced) makes FABULOUS scales!!! Pat

NoraJean's fish scales made by using a Skinner blend, wrapped around a center log of another color, yielding a spiral cane; the jellyroll log is then cut lengthwise into 4 wedges which are nestled-stacked together in a clamshell pattern, creating a 1-2-1 pattern (top to bottom); this new cane can be cut into lengths and combined repeatedly for as large a pattern as needed (this beauty is light green to gold Skinner blend wrapped around a gold log)
Cindy P's rows (of cross-cut striped canes --Skinner blend) separated by solid color clay line)... would make good fish or other scales?
...see Canes-Instr > Animal Skins for more possibilities?

individual scale slices can be bent back at top, then have back of that "tab" glued onto fabric with liquid clay in rows, creating a flexible fabric of scales

Peter Konig's excellent and thorough lesson on making a creature with very wrinkled and rough skin (5 pages)

(also see Dan Perez' website for more (look esp. in Workshop and Model Shop)

Katherine Dewey's realistic alligator skin (head)

see also above in Skin


Nora Jean's clamshells cane (fish scales) ...using a wrapped cane or Skinner blend bullseye cane, which is cut into 4 long wedges... each wedge is cut into 4 lengths, then lengths are stacked and nested together (all with points down, alternating rows) ...yields trianglular or diamond shaped canes... large cane slices are cut and flattened then butted together for the overall pattern
......lesson on same clamshell, but with silver clay on outside for depth (could use pearl or translucent) (also click on 2 and 3)
These could also be stretched to change shape of shells in cane or sheet

For a smooth skin that looks firey for your dragon:

marble some clay colors together

Or begin with strips or ropes of yellow, red and orange (and possibly white or blue) .... & place bits of those on the dragon by hand
.... or roll out a larger sheet of it and apply that ... pleat excess up and cut off... then smooth with fingers (over a piece of plastic wrap can help avoid smudging)
....... sanding after baking (and buffing or applying a glossy or matte finish to) it will also get rid of the top layer of smudges
....(look at similar descriptions for making faux wood in Faux-Turq&Wood, but substitute firey colors for the browns)

Or stack together diff. size ropes and flattish lengths of the different colors.... roll into a log ...then cut the log in half lengthwise in long slabs and use the patterns that were inside the logs (...more streaky effect)

or use slices from a flame "cane," slightly overlapped all over the dragon, to create a scaley flame effect, see Canes > Flame-Zigzag

optical illusion bumpy skin... for dragons, snakes, other scaley animals can be made with a variation of "texture sheet mokume gane"
...(finished pattern is actually flat since it's been shaved or sanded-- but looks really dimensional

Dotty's lesson: You could take three colors of clay, one of them light and bright. I love to use black, metallic gold, and cadmium hue red. Roll all three colors out on the #1 setting of the pasta machine. Stack together, putting the gold or lightest, brightest color in the middle.
......Run the stack through the pasta machine on the #1 setting.
......Cut in half and stack. Do this two more times.
......Take one of the plastic texture sheets (dots-in-a-grid) (or find something similar to use) and spray it with water. Lay the sheet of clay against it and run both through the pasta machine on the #1 setting. Be sure you put the concave side of the texture sheet next to the clay so you will have little bump-outs all over the clay. ...Use a very sharp blade to shave off the tops of these little bumps. Keep your blade almost parallel to the clay with just a tiny bend in the middle of it.
......once you shave the piece, you can use as is leaving it as a slightly bumpy textured sheet
......or you can put some waste clay behind it (for thickness) and run it through the pasta machine again ...that opens up the pattern and expands the dots some, and also smooths the surface. DottyinCA

Kathy W's texture sheet mokume gane pattern (on an inro)
(click on Details)

Desiree's lesson on making "honeycomb" or faux snakeskin texture this way with a stack make from a Skinner blend stack
...she uses thick-gold, red pearl, burgundy)... plus a thin layer of dark maroon on the gold side and and coordinating mid-tone (very thick) on the other side
...uses hobnail glass as the texturing tool ...(Desiree says that twisting the hobnail slightly as you impress the clay will create minor distortions of cell shape, which can help make the pattern look more like a snake skin).

When I got Dottie's Snake Skin Tutorial from her a couple of years back, I used the plastic honeycomb texture sheet from Shadetex . Valerie
...I recently discovered the bottoms of children's running shoes.... one of those claying maniac moments :-) Adria
...while shopping at a local dollar store, I came across this neon pink plastic dog chew toy tube with all kinds of different shaped bumpies on it. Desiree

For those who don't have hobnail glass or a suitable texture or plastic texture sheet lying around, bumpy texture sheets (or rollers) could also be made
......that would also allow a variety of different shapes for the "cells"
...for round cells like those made by the hobnail, texture sheets could be created with baked balls of clay pressed onto a clay sheet (then baked)
....the balls could even be positioned evenly on the clay by placing a removable grid of some kind on top of the sheet first (like hardware cloth, plastic mesh, light fixture plastic grid covers, or even stretched threads) ... then each ball might be dipped in a pool of liquid clay, and centered in its own little square of the grid material (or just eyeball it) ... round balls make nice deep impressions for texture sheets too compared to a lot of the plastic texture sheets
... other shapes could also be rolled and baked for the texture sheet cell teardrops, short rods, squiggles, etc.
....or clay gun extrusions could be baked and thickly sliced, then put onto the raw clay sheets --flat slices wouldn't have those nice rounded areas on the bottom that look good for mokume though.
...hexagons might be a little harder if wanting an actual honeycomb ... maybe could make and lengthen a triangle log, then slice off the top of the triangle all along its length, before cutting in half and joining two lengths together to get a hexagon and baking?
.....or would it work to just stamp into the mokume stack with a single hexagon clay "stamp" (with a rounded bottom) using the grid?
.....(real-honeycomb patterns might be good using gold mica clay with the ghost image technique too). Diane B.

SHAVING: It's easiest to shave bits off a textured clay sheet if you drape it over a large jar. (I like the big straight-sided Safeway salsa jars; they also make good forms for cuff bracelets and bracelet beads). The outward curve means you don't have to flex your blade while slicing. You can stick your nondominant hand in the jar for even more control. Really helps with ghost-image metallic effects as well as mokume gane. -- Georgia
...And don't forget to flip the shaved pieces over onto a slice of scrap clay or a contrasting color to use for other things later! Jean/PA

...these shaved sheets can also be sanded after baking to reveal the dots
(see more on this technique in Mokume Gane >Texture Sheet)

Texturing and shaving also works this way with mica-based metallic clays ("Ghost Image")
...Jeanne R's lesson on use of a plastic canvas as texture sheet before shaving ... using gold and Pearl
......plastic canvas---There are even diamond-shape grids now and this makes a really nice scaley look. Just experiment with different thicknesses and different colors of clay and shave off some of the top layer. I made the most perfect snake skin by doing that.
.......And about the stickiness. I usually use the second from the thickest setting on one pasta machine for the thickness of the clay and then powder the canvas with cornstarch or baby powder. (I use baby powder most of the time.) Then I dust the layer of clay on the side that is going to touch the plastic canvas. Run through the pasta machine on the thickest setting. I have no trouble separating the clay from the canvas with this technique. The clay will go spread up on the canvas as the canvas takes up space so dust your canvas several inches past where the clay lays on it.
......When you go to shave off the little squares, stick the smooth side of the sheet of clay down to a piece of glass (or another smooth surface)so that it does not slip while shaving. Jeanne R.
(see more on this technique in
Mica > Ghost Effects)

Fur (& feathers)

fiber fur

Kerri Pajutee's fabulous but time-consuming lesson for putting fur on bodies of dogs/cats/etc, then putting flocking on faces, etc. (click on Techniques)
(...remember to sculpt the animal's body thinner than it looks since the fur will make it bigger)
fur: ...match type of fiber to type of fur as much as possible (smooth, wavy, fine or course, etc.) to the animal you are creating.
...she prefers to comb out natural fibers-- alpaca, kid mohair, silk and wool from knitting shops,etc, but can also use fiber "rovings"
...make a knot in a number of strands of yarn/etc to hold together
...use fine-tooth metal eyebrow comb (e.g., Chanel 9) to comb out a short length of the ends
...cut off 1/2" length and place aside... repeat combing and cutting till is enough for the entire animal
...beginning at bottom of animal (legs), apply tacky white glue with paintbrush then press ends of small bits of fur onto glue with tweezers
...apply more fur above previous fur, overlapping and moving upward on body
...let glue dry as you go, and scissor clip excess... give final haircut when done
flocking for faces, paws, legs, ears, or all over
...after combing fiber, cut the shortest lengths possible (almost powderlike) into a container
...apply glue as above to small areas with paintbrush, beginning with legs
...moisten finger on damp towel, then press into flocking flocking lightly onto glue and repeat with more flocking till glue covered...face last
(...when using non-white flocking, she adds a bit of acrylic paint of the same color to the glue)

(see more ideas above in Hair > Clay Hair...and in Beards)

for tails and manes especially:
1... some people "make a central hole in the middle of the back of head, bake the figure, then glue the hair into place, then style.
2....wrap a piece of raw clay over the ends of the hair and place into the hole, baking again, then separating the hair around head as they style.
3... "rooting" process that embeds the hair into the clay. Usually the entire figure and the front of the face with ears are completed (to the hairline) and baked so details are preserved. ...Then the back of the head is added as a ball of raw clay, and beginning at the outer hairline the strands of hair are pushed deep into clay and hair is added towards center." Linda Douglas
Linda's lesson on embedding a mane hair on a horse-like animal with mohair with 2 flattened logs of clay (+ tail?)
...sculpts up the neck to head/ears (skipping both sides of neck just below the mane area), and bakes
...rolls 2 ropes of clay, then flattens
...first clay log has mohair pressed into it (at ends?), then it's turned over and rolled over with a brayer to flatten more and somewhat embed fiber ends
...haired-log applied to left side of horses spine (horse on its side)... other log added on other side of spine and worked toward 1st log
...entire sculpt wrapped in fiberfill for baking the 2 logs (to avoid burning the mohair, etc)

for feathers or flocking, see Mixing Media > Feathers & Flocking

sculpted-clay fur

Jill Willich's fabulous textured fur on wolf

" stamps"
...coarse (60 grit) sandpaper, or textured leather, or roughly woven fabric like linen. Irene NC
...make yourself a texture "stamp" out of scrap clay--cure it-- and then stamp the impression into your uncured, pieces. For the "stamp" you could make it as large or small as you want, and make "fur" marks across the top of it using a large needle or some other sculpting tool. Fayette can use the circle part of a safety pin for indenting clay. If you do a bunch of overlapping little circles, it can look like a curly beard or curly fur. -Laurie

Maureen Carlson's book (Making Clay Characters)... and Katherine Dewey's book (Creating Lifelike Animals) both use the same technique.
...Basically you first make a "naked animal" with eyes ... bake it ... add (a layer of raw?) clay... then make it furry by stroking with a sharp knife. Pat

One fascinating tool of Katherine Dewey's is 3 small needles sticking out of the handle, used as a supplementary furring tool. Don't use two, don't use four! Katherine Dewey presented workshop demos on achieving realism and on making sculptured mice. She has a fantastic littel instruction booklet which was selling for a mere five dollars.
...Cecilia's had the 3 needle ends placed tightly together (in triangle shape)... same as Katherine? (bottom tool--can see only 2)

Cecelia Determan made a fur tool with 20 or so straight pins (cut really short) embedded randomly in the end of a long clay handle 3/4" wide by half that width... some pins had sharp ends, and some were rougher since they were cut ends (wire cutters) (bottom tool)

Garie made a tool using a bunch of short pieces of wire (what kind) bundled, then embedded in the end of a long clay handle (sev. photos)

One thing I would like to buy or make is the tool Laura Reynolds uses to make her eye-popping animal fur.
... It's 3-4 sharp, short, springy loops of piano wire set into the end of handle with a ferrule of some sort. I think she said she made it herself, but just pouncing that against the surface of the clay makes a very convincing fur texture... and you can control the grain of the fur and scale it to the size you're working, by how much you work the surface and in what directions. Halla Fleischer

...I did some black eyed susans last week and used a small plastic potato cleaning brush. It has hundreds of little bristles and the effect really looked like fur. Karen
 ...I used the curved back of a dental scraper to stroke a fur/hair texture into the clay. Halla
Katherine Dewey also makes needle tools using long tapestry needles and things like that with clay handles.
how about a metal comb ..... then use it to "back tease" a bit, like they used to do with hair. cindy

Sculpting fur:
1. The main thing is to follow the natural growth pattern of the fur or hair. Start at the cowlick areas when grouping locks of hair.
A: the first and best way is to sculpt it outright, starting with the major hair groups and then refining the smaller lock areas and then "spliting hairs as they say.
B: You may speed up this process a little by creating a texture stamp of the finished detail and pressing that in some areas. Then you can touch it up to blend everything together.
C: Make a fine hair detailing tool. Use small tubing and insert as many fine (I use beading wire) wires as will fit. You can either glue them in with thin super glue or crimp the tube handle to fasten the wires. . . . Trim the wires off at an angle to reach tight corners. While working with this tool, you can adjust the flow of the wires. . . . Use a dragging motion with the tips and a pressing motion with the entire wire group. ...But you will still need to design the the lock groupings for a realistic layered look in about two rougher stages.
D: Thin plastic wrap can be used to rough in the several hair group (lock) stages and even for almost fine detail fur strands. You will be placing the plastic between your tool and the clay and lifting the plastic between each tool stroke for maximum sharpness. Lastly go back and split these plastic wrap hairs into finer starnds. Note: Clay balls may result and can be "flicked" carefully off the hair after you are done. with a tipped brush. That's my tech on hair sculpting. SOME SUGGESTED TOOL SHAPES:
1. spear shaped dental tool
2. the side edge of a tool
3. a needle file or needle
4. Smallest size clay conical shape tool (silicone rubber paint erasers with the brush handles) The Dane

(see more ideas above in Hair > Clay Hair...and in Beards)

for feathers or more on flocking, see Mixing Media > Feathers & Flocking



there is much more inspiration for clothed figures in Sculpting > Websites >> Dolls & figures

Clothing for clay figures, dolls, abstract figures, etc, can be made with:
... plain fabric alone
....clay or liquid clay (or other stiffener) embedded into the fabric
... 100% clay that has been created to look like fabric (could be patterned, textured, or plain fabric, etc)

on making shirt and overalls from simple patterns (fabric only , but could be clay),2025,DIY_13753_2268309,00.html
MarthaStewart clothes and patterns for cylindrical figures
....(click on Clothespin Ornaments link near bottom for actual patterns --pdf)

examples of clothing structure (all kinds of clothes) Donna Kato's skirts, blouse, jacket, long & short neck scarf (realistic) *Cheryl's fabulous figures (art dolls) with caned clothing, hats, and lots of mixed media Joanne B's skeleton ladies, beautifully dressed) NoraJean's lesson on "dressing" a mermaid (Pennydolls' simple clothing, hats --some made from leaves, etc.) must click on English flag, then on Fimo Workshop, then on each photo for lessons Cheryl's skirts and pants made from clam shell mold
ALL WEBSITES GONE: (notice how Tracie has created the look of multiple-piece clothing by using piping on the elf, etc.)... ("wild women" swap --lots of simpler clothes, also hair)... (*Jenny P's many wonderful draped clothes, incl. clowns, Santas,etc.)... Nf's santa on bottle... pattern for jacket

ALSO, from Sculpting websites:
*wire+ armature for sm. figure plus & head, hands, clothing, etc. (Astralos')

Donna Kato's lesson on robes (etc.)
Maureen's lesson on pattern for robe, etc.

Marie's cloaks and robes on figures (with dog-like faces)
*Spooky's lesson on making a small simple wizard (beard/face,robe, etc.)...Margie's troll face, body, clothing lesson...
Nora Jean's visual lesson on alum.foil armature, old man in robe, and how to make leg/foot and shoes (

*Sculpey's many lessons (look around)
*Dawn S's figures with accessories, clothing, hair, nursery rhyme figures, etc.
Diana's cowboy clothes

football clothing, & helmets
*Pat-nipntuck's tiny clothed figures (pigs, etc.) (website gone)
(look in Sculpture > Websites for many more)

Emi Fukusima's lesson on making a small figure from twigs and yarn, then dressing it in layered, solid polymer clothes,,HGTV_3352_2014206,00.html

ETHNIC & HISTORICAL polymer clothing
Sarajane's lace, and gauzy and embroidered effects on "sleeve" fabric over hands (Renaissance, Victorian, etc.), created with various inclusions in translucent clay ...and opaque-trans. canes... & Pearl clay
Dotty's high decorative clothing & hair (metallic) on attitude-woman (misc. layers... neck ruff gone?)
& (click on Dotty's)
Molly's simple "Elizabethan"? gowns

Dinko's many various clothing & headwear, footwear, etc....(including old Roman, etc.) on NEW,and all, galleries, etc.
Tracy's Amish figures, old-fashioned clothing, hats/bonnets and accessories

Tallmouse's simple West African figures dressed in rectangle of fabric (small diamond shape cut out in center for head to slip through, then tied around waist and neck, turban) ...these figures often carry everyday items like baskets with fruits/ vegetables/ straw/ fish, buckets, jugs, beautiful boxes, lanterns and filled sacks as well (made with dowel through bead (head), doubled pipe cleaner arms)
Debbie Jackson's African clothing on small figures
Gwen P's kimono and other clothing (see more kimonos by doing a "search" for kimono or Japanese from home page)
Egyptian, Greek, Byzantine, Oriental, Hindu, Pre-Columbian costume & jewelry, etc.(non-polymer, Treasures of Ancients)

Applying clothing ....Patterns-templates

It is a good idea to get as much of the clothing on as you can before putting on the arms and the sleeves. For example if my figure is going to have pants,I put them on first, one leg at a time. Then the shirt, I put on the back, one side of the front, then the other. I add the pocket, the collar, the belt adding my details along the way. NOW I am ready for the arms and the sleeves, I put the arms into the sleeve. Leave the shoulder holes open, fix the cuffs, bend them into the right position, now slide them on the armature wire. If I don't have wires for the arms, I slip the handle of a paintbrush down into the sleeve, and press the arms only to the elbow, against the unbaked shirt. This gives the strength. After that I finish the seam around the upper arm.
..."Harry the clown" in his case I made the armature with no arms, no head (just the wire) and his legs with his bare feet. I didn't add wires for the arms because I was going to have them close in, and the clay for the clothing would be attached to the sleeves, I felt this would be strength enough. Otherwise would put one wire all the way through the torso, but with no clay on it. I baked my form. I added his shoes stockings and baked again. After that I made the head and added it to the armature and baked again. Now while working on his clothing I could hold him by his head and his feet and not mess up my work. He looked like a little naked man, really skinny with bony knees and his shoes and socks on! Next came the clothing, and after them the arms, I baked again. Very last I painted the face, and added the hair and the hat. Jenny P.

if you want to figure out what pattern shapes you need for a particular piece of clothing for your figure, or at least to see the general shape it might require
...look at real patterns (Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity...etc) for the piece you want, either at a fabric sewing store or online .....or buy them
.........then make a photocopy of the instruction drawings of the small pattern pieces, enlarging them to close to the size you need for your figure (take meas. with you) may be able to combine some of the individual pieces into larger pieces first for simplicity
...the pieces can then be pressed together, rather than sewn together
........(overlapped or butted, and smoothed ... or just overlapped, with or without faux stitching, piping, hidden in folds, etc.)
Barb's lessons on using patterns to make doll clothing, plus more...
...all you need is just a basic knowledge of how garments are constructed to make your own custom patterns from paper towels (these can be cut and glued like fabric and tried on the doll... the main alterations can then be made to the paper towel pattern and you can snip it apart to use as a pattern to cut the fabric. I'm no seamstress, believe me - it's been years since I did any sewing, but it was still pretty simple. Elizabeth
...or sometimes you can use
aluminum foil ... wrap the area the way you want the clothing piece to fit, and smooth the foil down... cover all over with strips of masking tape to hold the shape ...then cut off the alulm.foil-tpae with an Xacto, etc., and press the pattern flat ... then use that piece as your pattern

...the rest of the clothing was "stitched" together with Fabri-Tac glue... Elizabeth

Lisa’s skirt/dresses (for angel or other) –loosely fan-fold (don’t crease) a sheet of clay; gather at top and place around body or as a substitute for body're trying to work with a rectangle so all you will get is those kind of folds. Roll out a large circle instead. Cut out a circle in the middle a bit smaller than the waist size. You'll have what looks like an old 45 record. The distance from the inner hole to the outer is the length of the skirt. (this is much like sewing) You'll have to experiment with the thickness of the clay. The thinner it is the easier to get smaller folds but you sacrifice strength. A small slit from the inner hole will allow the skirt to slide on the figure.You will need to have the arm that holds the skirt already in place and baked so you can place the skirt in the hand and adjust the folds. The round shape of the skirt will give you much more "fabric" to work with and allow you to achieve that natural look. Dawn S.

Tracie created the look of multiple-piece clothing by using piping on her figure

Generally you sculpt clothing after you've formed a basic body mass. This body mass doesn't need to be anatomically perfect if the clothing isn't skintight or clingy, but the proportions do need to be there. To sculpt clothing, I highly recommend you look into Burne Hogarth's book Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery, sold at major bookstores and art supply stores. This book shows how all sorts of clothing bunches up, hangs and wrinkles, and if you follow Hogarth's advice you'll be sculpting realistic clothing. For sculpting armor and weapons, check out any of a number of books on the subject at the bookstore or library.
...see also Shane's angels for magnificient polymer "fabric" draping (click esp. on Gallery at top of page, as well as on Products)
...Lee R's simple choir robes with draping

While baking, I use one spot of (cornstarch) biodegradable packing peanuts up the skirts of each one (to keep that form intact). Janey
....use aluminum foil or fiberfill stuffing to position pieces that are likely to droop in the oven…Elizabeth might have to leach the Premo in order to get the sleeves to billow out like that... the stuff I was using is pretty "stiff" for Premo. Eliz.

my faux fur is a non-woven felt fleece... no raveling, short nap, and you don't have to worry about cutting only the backing as you do when cutting faux furs. Elizabeth

Joann's has the most wonderful new fabric ... the burgundy is one called "moleskin," and it looks like velvet at this scale. ...It would make a beautiful ball gown for a dollhouse scale doll, because it's got such a low profile, plus it comes in lots of great colors. Elizabeth

For only real fabric clothing for figures, I cut out the pattern peices from my old clothing so that I used only the finished hems from the original garment... those finished hem areas look nicer than I could currently do on my own since really nice professional looking hems are tricky. Lori K.
...Now you,ve got my ol' brain agoing. Could hit the thrift shops with a completely new eye... Annette
... sometimes at garage sales, you can get an item that is stained but still completely usable for doll purposes... bady stained or torn velvet dress, or item of kids clothes, or heck wedding dress, are cheap.... I hoard my treasures and keep them until I find a use. Lori K.

ALL-CLAY faux fabric

There are many, MANY ways to make faux fabric completely from clay:
...simply texturing clay can create a woven look, cane slices can be used to make patterned faux fabric in sev. ways, and bits or shreds can be onlaid on sheets of clay (or collages created), inclusions mixed into clay can simulate various fabrics, mica clays can be manipulated, paints and inks can be used, mokume gane techniques used, etc.

few examples using various techniques: (middle of page)


Kathy Dewey uses crumpled aluminum foil in a dabbing motion to create the look of fabric wrinkles, etc.

I then textured my cane slice sheet with a piece of sheer chiffon... gives the little quilt a "fabric" look and camouflages fingerprints, too. :-) Elizabeth
.....Marlene's shoe fabric created by using a texture sheet (over background with roses) (website gone)
Donna Kato's faux brocade ("Brokato") appears gold-outlined because after impressing raw clay with texture sheets or stampings, she then antiques-backfills the impressions with gold acrylic paint by wiping the raw clay pattern until the high gold areas are mostly removed
.........or a flattened variation of the "brocade can be made by first completely covering the texture thickly with gold paint and drying, then applying a (different) color of acrylic paint to top surfaces (tapping on with finger) and drying... then roll over the clay gently to flatten the texture and to spread out the pattern (hand-rolling may be gentler than pasta machining to avoid actual crackling)
(...see much more on using texture sheets --plastic & others--- to texture sheets of clay for clothing in Textures)

using a (Kemper or other) small cutter will cut the clay without cutting through a layer of Saran or other plastic wrap which has been placed on top; this bevels the edge nicely --and then you can lift the wrap off. (Cathy Johnston showed me this) .Becky
The heavier the plastic, the smoother and rounder the edges. Sally
..... I also used it when cutting tiles for a quilt, since the beveled edges make it look "quilted." Becky
....or how about pressing an exact-same-size tiny cutter into a sheet of quilt "squares"around each "block" to do the same thing?...even if it were done over a bunch of tiny wrapped canes (lg.lace cane), it would probably create the look of quilted "blocks"... DB

a good way to make the really fancy reticulated /granulated armor pieces . . . . try making a deep impression in clay, bake it, and then give it a coat of flecto making sure its a good thick coat and gets down in the impression. Wipe off the top of the piece, removing (any?) raised area (wet?) flecto , leaving it in the grooves.
.... pour some Beedz (tiny, glass, holeless orbs...see Mixing Media) (into the impressed areas), wipe off strays, allow to dry. Very cool effect, especially the metallic (clays?). . . Sarajane

for stitches ... MicroMark has a set of three tiny pounce wheels: - the wheels are much smaller than a seamstress' pounce wheel, (which really *is* a neat tool to have around) and the "dots" it makes are closer together, which you might like better for small scale figures. Elizabeth I have that same set, only I got it at a woodworkers store.... it's used to transfer a pattern to wood. Joanie
(see also Alan Vernall's rotary marking tools made with miniature modelmaker's circular-saw blades mounted on a handle, in Stamping > Miscellaneous)

inclusions, translucents

Inclusions of various types, often mixed into translucent or partly translucent clay) can give many good fabric effects too denim Levis, with sparklies (I used Fimo's Lapis clay-- a very blackish blue, with inclusions of very fine glitter. Kim2 (discontinued color; see Faux-Many > Lapis for mixing lapis yourself)
...I've been getting some really interesting effects using colored play sand mixed into the primary colors(yellow, red & blue) . . .because the particle size is so large, there is optical mixing going on and the resultant color mixes look like heathered yarns after sanding and buffing
...(see more on the possibilities in Inclusions and in Fauxs)

You can tint some translucent clay (add a tiny bit of colored clay to the trans.) then press it out super thin on your pasta machine. that will give you semi-see-through clothing for fairies ...this adds a very delicate touch to them. .
Lorie's Annabella fairy, wearing translucent dress with flecks of gold leaf

canes & slices

sheets of "fabric" can be made from cane slices in various ways (slices cut crosswise or even lengthwise):
....slices butted together tightly or slightly overlapped (on top a sheet of paper for easy removal), then rolled totally flat
....butted or overlapped on a base sheet, then rolled totally flat
....laid here and there on a base sheet (spaces between), then rolled
(can also use slices from different canes on one base sheet --randomly or ordered)
.......(for lots more info on these technique, see > Making Sheets from Slices)

Many of these canes will look especially fabric-like when repeated if the canes are reduced really small

Faux fabrics created with canes could result in abstract patterns, or have pictorial slices, or even be completed "paintings" created from various "component" canes (as with Donna Kato's slice paintings...for those, see Canes-Instr>Overall> Slice Painting)

Individual slices can also be added to a pre-shaped clay area, especially if just here and there...(if the area is small, use a knitting needle or pen barrel as a small roller)

For my "lace" on the dress, I first made a cane made with about a 1" log of Premo translucent, wrapped with a thin sheet of Premo white pearl.
.....reduced it ... cut in 6 or 8 lengths...combined together... reduced and cut again.... reassembled and reduced... cut in half... put the two pieces together... reduced to a square cane
....then to make the lace fabric, I then cut slices and put the squares close together on a sheet of paper (or a base clay sheet), and then rolled over them with a rolling pin or brayer to blend the edges together. Then run it through your pasta machine to get it thinner. Elizabeth
...Sarajane's lace effects, created with either inclusions in translucent clay ... opaque-trans. canes... textured or sculpted Pearl clay

to simulate Hawaiian muu muu-type dress fabrics, Cat uses ("floating canes" ) made from an opaque clay (white) and translucent clay for flower and leaf canes, etc.on top of a colored background (often on a narrow Skinner blend)
....often canes are silhouette images of flowers like hibiscus or jasmine, and/or banana leaves

(see more on floating canes in Canes-Instr. > Translucent Canes)

brocade ..Sarajane uses many canes (different patterns, but similar colors) to create her rich, brocade type fabric (gone)

Martywil also impressed her cane-slice sheet (with a fine texture) for a pr. of faux fabric shoes (website gone)

Dora's lesson for making millefiori fabric (for crazy quilt simulation, on diagonal) ... each shape differs in cane pattern
...Anna's fabulous crazy patch sheet .. many shapes of clay, fitted together ...each clay shape differs in texture, surface technique, and/or cane pattern (website gone)

James L's many wonderful sheets of pattern ... created with all kinds of cane slices (stripes, random layered,etc., often combined and repeated) and possibly strips from marbled sheets, etc. (can't describe all these... have to see to believe). . . some fabric -like

Lisa used a basketweave configuration for her striped canes(wedges of Skinner blend bullseye canes)
.... these resemble busy woven fabrics (less busy if more similar colors/shade chosen)

bargello ... offset. rows of logs or canes could look like bargello if colors are stepped up or down
....Elizabeth's bargello swap photos
...see more examples and lessons forclay bargello made in various waysin Onlay > Bargello and Canes-Instr. > Bargello)
...(another lesson)...make a number of different canes or logs ( plain or wrapped or Skinnered, or any other)... place them together to make a row
...cut across all the logs, creating many segment lengths (at least 3)...reassemble segments by staggering one color (either up or down)... continue offsetting (again either up or down) till you have a pattern you like (the resulting pattern can then be cut again and added to the first to form a larger repeat of the pattern)
...other patterned canes can be used as above as long as the colors and patterns have some contrast to the ones next to them
using small pattern canes, e.g., may look like various (different) fabrics

Marcia B's lesson on making a tiny wire body with head of wrapped wire, hair of 7 loops of embroidery floss cut, and a polymer cane slice wrapped around it (square orientation) for a dress

Susan B's lesson on making a tiny wire figure and clothing it (partly) with caned clay (spirals)

many MORE possibilities for creating caned patterns of clay which resemble fabric, see Canes-Instr.
> Ikat ...ikat-type woven fabrics, Guatemalan-type fabrics, and others made in rows
......Susan Hyde's clay figure with clay dress and turban made from her "faux fabric" technque
..... Desiree's version of Guatemalan faux fabric made with ikat (bright reds, blues)
.....Mia's lesson on "squashed" ikat

> Stripes
> Repetition ... for any patterns repeated in grids & rows
> Plaid... for plaids and gingham, etc
> Checkerboard and Gear (dots, etc )
> Basketweave (can look woven)

shreds, bits... random & collage

Emi's lesson for making "fabric" by placing random torn bits of several colored clays (somewhat widely-spaced) on a black backing sheet (later adding a bit of metallic leaf here and there), then running through the pasta machine on progressively thinner settings... she then put this through the pm backed with another sheet of black clay to get back to the thickness she wanted for making a sculptural kimono pendant,,HGTV_3238_1390604,00.html
....(see more on making collage sheets in Canes-Instr > Collage)

fabric could be made from "torn" bits of a thin Skinner blend (or other sheets of layers --some called "watercolor" bead effect when applied to scrap base)
...for more,
see Sheets > Flattened Shreds & Bits)

random dense patterns can be made with shreds or gratings or chopped bits or even tiny snakes/clay gun extrusions of other clay colors(or canes or scraps), or perhaps shavings from ghost image or other mokume gane?... lesson:
......dump, or carefully place the bits where you want, on a base sheet of clay (... the base clay could itself be a solid color, marbled, Skinnered, whatever)
......then flatten the sheet.... (base sheet will show through as a background color if some space is left between the shreds... and/or one of the colors used in the shreds could be the same as the base sheet to add more "background")

Lindly's "collage" fabric sheets made from various other bits like (separated) strips of other pattern sheets, or slices..or combinations of various canes, etc.. all flattened on a base sheet
....I learned from Lindly Haunani this summer about making a color wheel, choosing colors from it (or choosing colors from appealing bits of magazine photos), and then making many individual 'swatches' of clay put together to see how they interacted; colors then duplicated in clay and placed on a base sheet. It was a fantastic, eye-opening experience! No longer am I stuck with the idea that I must use on or two canes to cover an object! Anna (bottom) (see more in Sheets of Pattern > Flattened Patterns)

some of these are examples of shreds on a base sheet (middle of the page, and also lower in Barbara's McGuire's class)

mica clays

Jeanne R's lesson on simulating a woven fabric using a mica clay sheet and ghost impression technique... produces a coarse to fine (depending on texture sheet), even-weave, grid-like pattern
...put mica clay through pasta machine with a sheet of plastic canvas... shave off upraised nubs ... flatten in pasta machine
...don't use sticky clay (leach if necessary) and dust clay sheet with powder before impressing
...plastic canvas also comes in non-square grid patterns---circles, heart, stars, diamonds
...can make nubs into diamond shapes if sheet is put through pasta machine from one corner, repeatedly
...for miniatures esp, may want to flatten gridded sheet in pasta machine thinner and thinner to create less definition
...(or if using two stacked sheets of color, the result will more resemble gingham)
(...can also place the shaved nubs on a base clay sheet, then flatten, for a non-regular look)

texture sheets can also be used to create fabrics...either with the "ghost impression" technique (using mica clays), or by using two layers of contrasting (opaque) clay in thin sheets (....see more on this tech. in Mica >Ghost Impression)

more info

more non-polymer fabric patterns, for inspiration:
(geometric) designs from Polynesia...could be caned or onlaid)

mudcloth (geometric) designs from Africa (Mali)
kente (geometric) cloth from Africa

for even more ways on creating faux fabrics, with all-polymer, and more details on above techniques, see:
....Mokume Gane (esp. Texture Sheet m.g.)
...Stamping ...and Texturing
....Mica clays
Paints ... Lettering & Inks

REAL FABRIC embedded with clay & fabric stiffening + other fabrics

Synthetic fabrics cannot tolerate high temperatures (sewers can't use high temperature wash cycles and hot irons when pre-treating their synthetic fabrics or else the fibers will melt - at best you'll create a shinny spot on the fabric, at worst a hole). Cheri
...(so you'll need to use natural fabrics and fibers when baking with clay)

(...for most information on making clay-fabric, see Mixing Media > Fabric)

raw clay

Directly to fabric ....polymer clay can mesh right into the weave of many fabrics
(...this gives you a flexible piece of clay with fabric showing on one side)
Translucent clay can be applied to the fabric from the top or back side , but white or colored clay is usually applied to the back side) a sheet of clay through the pasta machine (I usually start with # 3-4)
......then put the clay sheet under the fabric... I run over the fabric a couple of times with my hand, or an acrylic roller
......then put that thru the pasta machine on the same setting can then cut it with scissors ... bake like you usually do. Karen (here she cuts out a shape, applies to something, then often adds a clay rope or other frame around it)
...if you're using a dark fabric, use dark clay..... light fabric, light clay.

...if the fabric has really tight weave, it might not work as easily long as the clay can get into the weave, it'll work
.....I've used various fabrics... cotton, homespun, polyester (which stretches so could be really interesting if you used that as part of your design... (though some synthetics may not be as good?)
......Velveteen is really bad... it has all those little specks of fabric floating around...but works great for lining the inside of a box.
SOME USES: ....on boxes, or inside them... skirts for miniature tables... sculpting dresses for characters are easier to handle
... if you butt together 2 fabric-covered clay sheets, their edge sides will bond together
.... (sewing seams on 2 fabric covered clay sheets, which are laid on top of each other)....the clay on the back bonds with other clay making the sewing of the seams faster. Karen R.
....Shelly C's lesson on attaching clay and fabric with just a pasta machine; then you can cut the fabric-clay sheet into any pattern shapes needed with scissors (she rolls base clay to # 5, then through the pasta machine with the fabric on # 6; she cuts small squares also for pockets, patches.
....Marcia B's lesson on really embedding clay (usually translucent clay on top of the clay, in order not to change the color of the fabric) into fabric for roll-up beads, pins, clothing.. she uses fine cotton cloth (sometimes with metallic threads) ... condition the clay with the pasta machine until about half the size of the cloth at almost the thinnest setting...then put clay and cloth (on back side?) through the pasta machine twice more at the same setting, then on the thinnest couple more times.

white glues, liquid clays, special stiffeners

I liked Sobo (white glue) and fabric technique the best (...did all this before Fimo Gel was released, so can't speak to that)
....the glue didn't dull the fabric whether it was lightly brushed on the back, or completely soaked the fabric -- thought that the (TLS) did slightly deaden the crispness of the fabric patterns
...rub Sobo on the fabric back or on the raw clay... lay fabric on clay...bake together
...different fabrics may be treated differently for a thick Chinese brocade (you can just coat one side of it with a "gluing" liquid) ...but for something sheer like silk organza, you are automatically soaking the entire cloth. Cassy

You can instead apply liquid clay to fabric, then bake, to bond them.
....these can be sewn (easily on the sewing machine or by hand) ?
... can cut into pieces to make a garment (for you or a figure/doll), used as a journal cover, made into a cosmetic bag, phone bag, coin purse or totebag, etc. Patty B.

If the fabric piece is too big or you just don't want to put it in the oven, a heat gun can also be used to bake it. Jody

liquid clay does very well with draping.... jenny patterson uses it to make her fairy clothes to good effect
.... like dotty, i dilute it first with Sculpey Diluent... saturate the cloth... squeegee off the excess with my fingers, drape... and bake. sunni

I use either 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend (I prefer the cotton... lightweight, sheer fabrics wrinkle more). I would use what I think of as shirt weight of bed sheet weight fabric......fabrics which have a lot of white or light colored background don't look quite as nice.
.... iron the cloth until their are no wrinkles.
....spread a layer of TLS (this is the only brand of liquid clay I've tried so far) onto a sheet of tempered glass (I use glass cutting boards..... place the inside or outside of the fabric against the TLS coated glass depending on which side you want shiny (I prefer the shiny side to be inside so I place the fabric face up...that side will have a smooth slick feel which is great because it can easily be wiped off making it great for a cosmetic bag)
.... then I apply a slight layer of TLS on top and smooth the fabric/TLS until it is as smooth as possible(If it is not smooth and in good contact with the glass, you will see an air pocket in the fabric (press from the center out to the edges to help eliminate these, and look underneath to check... fix bubbles now or you will have a non-shiny spot after baking)
....Bake at 275º for 30 minutes..... Let cool. .....Peel from the glass.
......I made one purse by selecting colors from the fabric and added a clay flap to the top edge than folded over the bag to close it. I could have added a magnetic or toggle closure if I wanted to. I reinforced the bottom of the bag by making a fabric covered board to fit in the base of the purse. I used some of the same coated fabric as the purse. Then I braided a cord to coordinate and attached it with heavy duty spring rings such as are on key rings.
...My next project already in design is a roll-up fabric tool pouch much like what is often made for paint brushes. It will have either a tie or Velcro closure. It will have an assortment of pockets for various tools I always use. Actually the design will have two layers of pockets, with the top one shorter than the back one. Patty B.

You can also make the clothing of plain fabric, and then stiffen it with Aleene's Fabric Stiffener and Draping Liquid, or any brand of stiffener.
...... can be brushed onto the material after the clothes are on the doll, or soaked into it before they're dressed.
...... dries hard (not flexible) and clear, and can be wiped off before it dries on the clay.
...ClothClay (by LaDoll) . . . same thing?

(...see more details on making clay-fabric in Mixing Media > Fabric)

clothing Accessories ... shoes, hats, purses, & other

hats & headware
...definitions of hat types:
hats & other headgear (lessons on subsequent pages too)
Fayette's many miniature hats, often for polymer figures (not polymer themselves, but inspirational)

...the cowboy hats I made were for 3 1/2" finger puppets. I simply took a ball of clay and cut it in two hemispheres, then pressed a marble into the bottom of one half to create a crown with a small depression for the head. I placed that over a disc of clay cut with a small cutter (which had a smaller disc cut out from the middle, flat donut style). I think I used some kind of brass rod or thin knitting needle to press the crease in the top of the hat. Then I curved up the side edges of the brim. For finishing, I wrapped a small band of contrasting clay around the join, then added a small feather sticking out of it (I had trimmed it way down from a *real* black and brown feather). Looked pretty realistic, if I do say so myself !
Another possibility would be to get a book from the library on hat making and create one the same way you would with expensive felt, etc. (I remember seeing books like that in with the costume books, as well as with the theater books, both in adult and kids' depts.) Actually, there should be some things on the Web like that too. Diane B.
...the Creagers feel the proper type of felt to buy for blocking doll-size hats is "fur felt" (from beavers, raccoons or rabbits), which has a good texture & doesn't become fuzzy.. as thin as possible. 100% premium virgin wool felt (avoid lesser quality wool felt) is also good but lacks the smooth finish and density of fur felt; handle carefully or it will become fuzzy. Craft store felt from synthetic fibers is not dense enough to stretch over hat blocks. ...Try buying old hats at vintage clothing shops, antique and thrift shops and using its material.

I did a top hat once for Elmer Fudd and a Ranger hat for Smokey Bear. I don't know if I can explain the method in print but I'll try. All the pieces were made with PC rolled out to the right thickness for the size of the hat.
For the crown of both hats I started by making a tube of the proper size for the head. Of course the top hat was easy. All I had to do was flare out tue top end of the tube slightly and cut a disck to fit. to shape the ranger (cowboy type) hat I cut darts out of the top edge of the tube so I could bend the top over and shape it, weld it together and pres the dimples (creases) into it. I baked this part. The brims were cut (looked kinda like a washer) and attached to the bottom of the crown with liquid sculpey. The hat band was a ribbon of really thin PC which actually helped weld the crown to the brim. Then you just shape the brim and bake the whole thing. You probably already know that you can bake your pieces on polyfoam filling so they don't deform during baking. If you don't have any liquid sculpey to use for glue you can make a paste of PC and diluent. I have put a couple of pics up on the web... Robert

lesson on making a (non-3D) red hat (fedora? hat) with flowers
Marcy's red hats and hats Sarajane H's hats/bonnets & headwear (on buttons) (Donna Kato's lessons on fez type hat, turban, crown, halo)
(for more headwear, crowns, Middle Eastern, etc., see nativity figures listed on Christmas page (do Ctrl+F search) Tracy's Amish figures, old-fashioned clothing, hats/bonnets and accessories simple hats and other head wear on little people, Jan's page
(website gone) Marlene's jesters with ruffled collars, hats, etc. old-style crowns & headwear (Pennydolls' simple clothing, hats --some made from leaves, etc.) must click on English flag, then on Fimo Workshop, then on each photo for lessons
...lesson ...many kinds of hats to make by shrinking foam cups in the oven, then embellishing, see Sculpting-Bodies > Other Accessories, Not Necessarily All-Polymer
....for more hats, see below in Other Accessories, Not Necessarily All-Polymer

Maureen's online video lesson on making various small boots with the mold she designed/sells
(mold has separate areas for making the boot, sole, and laced area)
...also turns into pointed shoe for elf, etc., by pulling toe area outward) (at 4:00, shows how to put wire and clay into boot for leg --Santa, etc.)
Maureen's lesson on using molds to make boots, pattern for robe, etc.

Diana's cowboy hat, cowboy boots & clothes dumped on chair

Nora Jean’s lesson on how to make leg/foot and shoes (website gone)
Susan 's lesson on making lace-up type leather "saddle" shoes?
catbyte's (Hazel) fat Maryjane-type shoes and socks on ladybug (website gone)
Ricky B's (real metal) shoes of various types
many, many shoes --all types (ethnic, romantic, Christmas, etc., etc.) (very slow website??)
Katie created the (flesh-colored) feet of her sculpt shaped as shoes, so that after baking the shoes can be made by simply covering the "feet"
Marika's lesson on making foot and ankle, then making elf-type shoes (with pointy turned-up toes) from them by adding an ankel cuff and pointing the "foot" (click on Boots at top)

most info on miniature shoes (used as jewelry, etc.) like flip flops or reg. shoes (+ miniature purses), plus more hats, saddles, etc., is in Miniatures > Other Mini Items

Lucy A's 2-4" fancifully shaped shoes, larger than miniature...she makes hers with white p.clay... bakes...paints with gesso ... paints w/ sev.layers of acrylic ink, pearlescent ink, or nail polish (applied last, for sparkle)...sometimes glittered nail polish? (be careful to use only acrylic nail polishes)
.....however, she could also use metallic acrylic paints instead of the inks, and doesn't really need gesso if using several layers of acrylics
.... she could save herself many steps by just using one of the Premo pearl clays for the basic color of her shoe... after baking, she could mix Jones Tones or Art Institute glitters into either gloss Varathane or Future then paint those onto areas she wants the sparkle.. Patty B.

....for some removable shoes (see SuperFlex clay in Characteristics)
........regular-size shoes --pumps mostly (made from clay and/or with scenes, embellishments), for Feat of Clay Challenge:

Miracle Mold (a silicone mold material--see Molds) is great for making molds for the heels, and also for making a little last-like shaped tool for poking in and holding the toespace, etc. Sarajane
...a "last" is the wooden foot form form of a foot which is used by shoemakers to form the shoe over
lesson for making a last from polymer clay (and then leather shoes) --modifiable in part for making polymer shoes or shoe parts as well? (Repel Gel or just cornstarch might be useful for making the shoes and not have them stick to the form... see Glues > Repel Gel)

more styles of shoes (& diff. ages/ cultures), patterns, etc. which could be inspirational /webstore/homepage.asp

I've made some larger shoes myself ("fairy slippers" and "elf boots") by covering real baby shoes with canes. Then I use fabric stiffener on a real baby sock, put it in the shoe (after curing, sanding, etc.), fill it with styrofoam and put a little floral arrangement in it. They're really cute for baby showers and that sort of thing. If you use a boy's high-top baby shoe, you don't need the sock. I buy the shoes at Goodwill and test-bake before covering to make sure they won't melt. Suzanne

for miniature .purses & shirts (often used as jewelry), see Miniatures > Other Miniature Items

Shane's accessories held in the arms of her angels ...Christmas and non-Christmas items (click on Products and Gallery)

Caroline's clay seascape painting "framed" by flowered clay curtains (website gone)

Real clothing and costumes/accessories (some have supplies for making them too)
The Costumer's Manifesto (all kinds of stuff!!!)
Costumer's Quarterly catalog
fabrics, hats, wigs, show costumes, Christmas supplies & costumes... character costumes, makeup, gloves, trims, accessories, ...wide selection of theatrical costumes, character costumes, period costumes, Halloween costumes, etc.
the costume webring (list of sites); searchable
extensive site for examples of English dress from 55 (B.C.)... to 1982 (A.D.)
extensive European times & categories
none of this (including the clothes) is polymer, but is inspirational
(see paper dolls above too)

not-nec.-polymer accessories

very cool walking sticks for wizards could be made from Sunni's wildwood hairsticks with mixed media (polymer clay, beads, Austrian crystals, feathers, doeskin and found items) Kim2

hats made from shrinking foam cups in oven... place cup upsidedown on cookie sheet and bake in oven at 350, for 1 to 1 1/2 min. (different baking lengths = diff. results)
...scrunched alum foil inside the hat will keep it larger (or in certain areas)... pill bottle filled with weight can be placed inside for more stability
...options (before baking): cut top band off cup, or cut with decorative scissors, cut cup in half; paint or stamp with acrylic/water-based materials, glue on tiny baked polymer flowers, etc.
...heads under hats: bake cup over rolled-up and taped 3x4" cylinder of cardstock or construction paper with face drawn on it, or paint face on an egg and do the same ..,,HGTV_3293_1370963,00.html and,1789,HGTV_3352_1396182,00.html
....hats or other accessories made from Friendly Plastic

clothing Books

Katherine Dewey has a new workbook available through her web site called "Costumes of Clay," which was originally written for The Muse.. . . ."7 full-page illustrated workbook -- $7.25...Katherine teaches how to plan, fashion, and create polymer clay clothing ...
*Family and Friends in Polymer Clay: Techniques for Making Character Dolls and Whimsical Figures from Polymer Clay, Maureen Carlson, 2000 (see review in Books on Polymer Clay)
How to Make Clay Characters, Maureen Carlson, 1997
Making Miniature Dolls with Polymer Clay: How to Create and Dress Period Dolls in 1/12 Scale, by Sue Heaser
How to Make Perfect Dollhouse Figures, Kitty Mackey, 1998


many faces, bodies, dragons, etc. (click on all pages)

As a trick I have taken my embossing gun (you can use a blow dryer) and on a thin piece of clay ...just heat the part and reposition (bend somewhat) and while holding this new position, quench it in cold water to set it to that position . Great for repositioning clay tails and thin limbs and fingers.

Do you use nature products??? When i make a big dragon i alway's us a Kalebas (dried hard squash ) from India and Afrika. The kalebas becomes the body of the dragons because it has a really nice shape:) For those who think making a dragon is really difficult this could be the sollution for your problems because half the dragon is there already :) And you don't use that much clay because the only clay items are legs,feet,arms,claws,head, tail and for some wings.(not all have to have wings) And you can work in one color clay and paint the clay and kalebas when they are baked. Ria
(example? (see more on gourds in Covering > Wood > Gourds)

TOOLS, etc. for sculpting

Support Stands ...for sculpting figures

Sculpting & Baking Stand, by Jay Dearborn (...was called "J-Clay Station")
...2 sizes of stands for holding figures while sculpting, and also while baking
......for whole figures (one large, one small enough for toaster oven--Mini Sculpting & Baking Stand)... (2007 model has rotating smaller disk on pedastal? disk)
...the large complex stand has a rotating base with holes...
various dowels act as pegs which can be placed into them... the smaller dowels can also function as crosspieces .....base can also hold various tools
...can accommodate miniature size sculpts, up to 24" sculpts (or even cloth dolls) by strategically connecting additional copper tubing held in place by brass rods through various holes.... many different configurations possible
...also a Doll Head Sculpting Rooting Stand
( on Enter, then click on "Sculpting Stands")
Jay also sells at e-Bay: (click on Sculpting Stands)
...also sold by OneStopPolymerShop... Make and Bake Sculpting Stand (and mini)

purchased Rubbery-tipped tools for sculpting

These are available at art supply stores, some craft stores (smaller selection maybe), and online.

The Clay Shapers and Colour Shapers are made by Forsline and Starr in England, I believe. The darker the color of the tip, the firmer it is - thus the white ones are pretty soft, and the black ones stiff enough to carve into unbaked clay.
They are terrific for smoothing small areas that you can't get your fingers into, and the variety of tip shapes available are pretty cool - I had no idea what I would do with these tools until I got some, and I find I use them quite often, in sometimes unexpected ways!

These come in a vast array of sizes and about 3 different hardnesses (and degree of flexibility)
....I prefer the tapered cone shape myself. Nothing is better for roughing in a sculpt in super sculpey!
....I have sizes and hardeness like this:
1. very hard, very small one for detailing
2. a medium, large and extra large medium hardness for tuning and smoothing broad surfaces and softening hard edges.
3. my secret weapon for more refined surface smoothing and edge softening is a medium very soft tip cone.
...When used with water these work even better.
... The best motions are rolling and a combo motion of rolling and dragging. Of course direct pressing is always the king movemnet.
I have used these puppies very successfully for working epoxy putties for kit customizing. Nothing beats them for filling numerous small pin holes in resin castings! Wayne THE DANE

I think the grey and black tips are probably the's a dark grey. I love the smallest #2 sized set...I do pretty smallish pieces though..the biggest full body was maybe 8-10" tall.

My favorite tip is the Taper Point~it is the only one I have in Soft and Ex~Firm. My other favorite shape is the Angle Chisel Ex~Firm. But I must admit I love them all. THey get into little nooks and crannies wonderfully. I like the soft tipped one for more of a final smoothing type fella. BTW~I have used these with paint as well and they are great and clean up beautifully!

making one's own rubbery shapers

So......why couldn't one MAKE their own clay shapers out of a flexible polymer clay like Superflex (now called Bake and Bend) or possibly Eraser Clay, using wooden craft sticks or other rods/sticks underneath or as support or longer handles? DB could also make *really* tiny shapers with over toothpicks.
...the size and rigidity of the handle or support, as well as the length the rubbery material projects out by itself, would make a difference in the flexibility of the finished rubbery-tip tool (whether the material was silicone, flexible, clay, eraser, or other). DB
....Japaya's rubbery-tipped (double-ended) tools with various rubbery shapes... created by placing each shaped and baked tip that made with Sculpey Moldmaker into the end of a baked clay rod handle --she had also put a stiff metal rod inside the clay rod, and created a lengthwise hole in each end largejust deep and enough to be able to hold a projecting Moldmaker tip
...... (she cured the clay rods/handles first, applied a bit of liquid clay into the holes, then inserted the rubbery tips and baked again)

(see also just above in Purchased Rubbery Tools for variations in size, hardness, and flexibility and what each works well for doing.. and also tips on using rubbery tools in general)

2-part silicone molding material
...I have made "clay shapers" from Alley Goop (a 2-pt. silicone mold material... see Molds) by using small amounts, and working it as it cures. Karen (see for Alley Goop)

...You can make your own clay shapers out of 2 part silicone modeling putty. I use MicroMark's it's fairly soft.. . . Exaflex, a dental putty, is firmer, but twice the price. (see Other Materials)... Both cure very quickly, so there's not a lot of time to make them.
...I model my shapers over my homemade tapestry needle tools. . .the result is a soft rubber tip that yields only slightly because of the needle armature. If I want another type of tip, I simply change to the one I want.
... I model the tip over a needle smaller than the size I will actually use; this insures a snug fit when I do put it on the larger needle. Katherine Dewey

I like to use erasers on pencils for blending seams ... I cut them to the shape I want, and the length of the pencil helps me reach inside places that my fingers are too wide to get to easily. Steph
...erasers cut to shape certainly is a good idea. I imagine they are much like the commercial clay shapers which come with a variety of shaped tips and different sizes and degrees of firmness. Patty B.

...Sculpting tiny 1" faces, I couldn't get into the tiny places to smooth. The hard rubber tool I bought was too big.
.......I took the ridiculously narrow (1/8" dia,, <1" long ) cylinder eraser from a mechanical pencil ...then sliced the tip off at an angle (which gives me an oval) with an xacto. Perfectomento! But too tiny to fit the hand well. ....the eraser fits well into the wrong end of an eraser holder of a larger mechanical pencil
...... removed the eraser, glued a toothpick in for strength and made a clay handle and popped it in the oven. ...When it's cooled, I'll stuff the little eraser cylinder into it. TA DAHHH....Do not attempt to twist the little eraser into the holder with needle nose pliers. You cannot hear it scream before it disintegrates.

I also made the other end into a tool for pressing eye sockets into clay...but I was greedy to get it done and made it too large.

I recently discovered a product called Plasti Dip at Home Depot. It is in a tennis ball type can in the Hardware section and also in the section with all the different putty (it is a liquid and you use it to dip tool handles in to give them a rubber grip).
.... Well, I dipped the tips of lots of my tools in it --including some needle tools, dried out pens, orange stick, nail with pc handle, etc. ...It worked great.
.....this s a very simple proccess but the liquid can get a little thick...just read instructions on the can and play around a bit. ClayLadyClay

I dipped the tip of thelarge carpet needle into melted candle wax several times when I wanted something more blunt.
... you can shape the warm wax to some degree too. I find it very useful. miki.

More Found or Purchased sculpting tools

Metal knitting needles can be used for rolling over clay to smooth it, or the rounded point tips can be used for sculpting.

I also use the pick end of a nut pick to open up a slit that was started with a #11 exacto blade. The other end has a smooth acorn shape. this is what I use to continue to open eyes and mouths and even make the eye socket dents, and some nostrils.
A trick i found that I use to smooth cheeks is not to try to slide the tool over the surface but instead take the smooth portion of the handle just behind the pick and roll it across the surface. . . . this is also a way to move clay from one area to another. after setting an eyeball I will use the same tool to pul down the eyelid over the eye. This makes the eyelid very thin. practice you can even put a ridge on the edge for eyelashes. Lysle?

I also use the pick end of a nut pick to open up a slit that was started with a #11 exacto blade (the other end has a smooth acorn shape).... this is what I use to continue to open eyes and mouths and even make the eye socket dents, and some nostrils.
A trick i found that I use to smooth cheeks is not to try to slide the tool over the surface but instead take the smooth portion of the handle just behind the pick and roll it across the surface. . . . this is also a way to move clay from one area to another. after setting an eyeball I will use the same tool to pul down the eyelid over the eye. This makes the eyelid very thin. practice you can even put a ridge on the edge for eyelashes. Lysle?
...sunni's realistic relief "paintings" (leached Premo; regular clay smeared thinly with nutpick for shading; hints & instructions from Katherine Dewey's workbook)

For engraved art (scratch art) ..there is a little scraping tool which is great for all kinds of uses with clay. The end has a small round tip to use and the scraping end works great with sculpting a piece.. . .making evergreen trees...fur or feathers, makes great lines. . . .this tool I use on every project. Debbie

Kemper Tool Company makes a tool called a Lacing Tool ...actually it is made for working with them and get a catalog. Really a great tool...I show how I use it in our new Sculpting Video that we put out...I use it to make the hand sculpted eyes...Jodi Creager

(Katherine) also uses a few wax carving tools (jewelry suppliers) including one with a small flattened sort of ball on the end. . . . .Another is formed with wire loops of different sizes like maybe about a half inch across and a quarter inch across, attached thorugh a piece of small brass tubing from a model-hobby store, then witht he handle part of the tube covered with clay. . . .One thing this kind can be used for is forming nice eyelids.

If you are looking for really cheap and interesting sculpture tools check out your local scientific supply store or university bookstore. The basic tools that they sell to biology students are wonderful for details. Lana

The eye ends of those big needles also make great dip pens for TLS, paints and frisket. Halla

My favorite tools of all tools are these little screwdriver sets you get at computer stores.... They come in their own little case and everything. I love these things! I do more textures, smoothing, etc, with these things.... They are cheap, and usually you get alot of tools for your money. Lynda

We use the JASI slicer here in production. . . for the angels. . . we make this big log of clay and use the slicer to cut off equal amounts of clay that are just the right amount for parts of the angels. Before the JASI this was guess work with a lot of waste.

For tools, I recently got a set of Perfect Touch Modeling and Sculpting Tools that I simply adore!!! They're teeny-tiny tools made specifically for small-scale figure sculpting in polymer clay. Walter Vaughn handcrafts each tool, and the quality is superb. (I'm not affiliated in any way--just a very satisfied customer.) The Perfect Touch website and phone #, by the way, are (now) Perfect Touch Modeling & Sculpting Tools, P. O. Box 905, Sugar Land TX, 77487-0905, PH: 281-980-6498, FAX 281-491-5498, . . Leslie

The Compleat Sculptor, Inc.,,  515 West 24th Street,  New York, NY 10021, ( 212) 243-6074
This place is great for sculpting supplies. They have carving tools, sculpting tools, shellac, moldmaking products, casting products, and marble, alabaster and stone (which can be used for bases instead of corian). They have a nice looking catalog.

Plankspanker’s sculpting tools

I have many other very essential and unique tools at my websites.
.... I also offer the world's only post-bake Polymer Clay Smoothing Fluid. I also offer free critiques and tech answering services. Just e-mail me at . Wayne THE DANE Hansen
Product Descriptions
orig. figure kits, pricing .... Videos: fig.sculpting + modeling, etc.

....(to learn more about Wayne the Dane's tools, see below)

One Stop Polymer Shop ...pre-bake ProSculpt smoothing oil ...+ 3-in-1 tool for fingernails, ears, and gen sculpting (as well as Prosculpt clay and glass eyes

(see also Suppply Sources)

Making More of Your Own Tools....various

(I have a tool I made originally for carving rubber stamps.) It's a tapestry needle inserted eye first into a polymer handle. ...the pointed end is cut using pliers and the subsequent end filed on a whet stone to a bevel. ....I use it for very fine lines where I want the edges to be a little wider, or for carving already-baked clay. Rubymac
the large-round tipped #13 tapestry needle is handy for sculpting…. It makes a nice hole for nostrils or anything else. . . It forms a nice simple fingernail- by simply rolling the needle across the end of the finger. ...You can smooth the clay in tight areas- by rolling the needle....with its round tip- it doesn't cut into the clay. Kathndolls

tool tips of clay... What I have done is to make a rod of clay about the thickness of a pencil, I bake this.... I cut a piece of this the length I want, and sharpen the end with a pencil sharpener.... then I shape the end by either carving with my knife, or using sandpaper.... after I have the final shape, I smooth it with fine sandpaper and then a coat of finish (I like to use the Fimo finish for this, but future might work) ... I find the smooth finish doesn't catch the clay
....I can have a different shape on each end, I can easily make a new one, and of all the tools I have purchased these are the ones I go to for the final finishing. Jenny P

tiny spatula for scultping tiny details -- anneal metal in flame, then pound tip flat and sand or grind into shape

Another thing I thought about doing is to use tumbled stones, inset into clay rods. If I can find them the right shape and size that is. I know of a dollmaker who uses the smooth stones and a little weak enzyme solution (aka: spit) to give her faces the final smoothing, she uses Super Sculpy, and her work sells for 4 digit prices. I haven't yet tried them myself though. Jenny P

knitting needles can also be used as armatures for tool handles:
...aluminum knitting needles sizes 10 and up are hollow so you can pack them with clay and add some kind of tip, then bake (cut the knitting needles into shorter lengths by rolling back and forth under a knife blade if you don't have an inexpensive tube cutter) tip or inserted bit might be a wire loop to use as a gouging tool. Katherine Dewey
... I baked 3 needle tools according to your book (Creating Life Like Figures), but when I took them out of the oven, the ends had popped off...due to expanding clay. Jenn
...Oh dear...moisture pockets of plasticiser may have formed when you tamped clay it into the cylinder...baking would have caused the air to expand and pushed part of the clay outward.... try reheating the tool and while it's warm, hold the handle with a hot pad and use another or a pliers to push the needle and clay plug back into the tool. ...Secure with instant glue. Sand and recap...... I suspect my habit of always working with very firm leached clay (hence drier clay) prevents moisture pockets from developing. Katherine
...When I tried it, the clay not only expanded out of the tube at both ends, but it also cracked open the end of the clay covering around the needle so I couldn't just reinsert the popped out I tried leaching my clay overnight before packing the tubes, but still the clay extruded from the end of the tubes during baking... what I finally did was to pack the tubes alone (without covering), bake, cut off the extruded clay while warm, then cover the outside of the tube and insert the needle since it didn't expand farther (...or cover and bake, then add needle)...a starter hole could be created in the raw packed clay before baking, or the needle end could be heated red hot over a flame and quickly inserted into the baked clay --don't inhale the brief fume that emerges ...after cooling, remove and reinsert with superglue). DB
(...see below in Toolmaking Processes for Wayne's 4" brass tubes used as handles)
(...see more ways of making handles in Tools > Handles)

making & finding & using tools from The Dane

First, Boys & Girls, what shapes of tools are the best to make? AH! Here's where Uncle Dane knows the good stuff! I've been researching this info for many years, talking with other folks in the hobbies. (see above for purchasing these)

THE SPOON OR TEARDROP SHAPE: You will love this, because it is the most universal tasker in any sculptor/modeler's toolbox! the ones that are mass-produced these days are all too sharp edged for moldable clay shaping, and are not made in enough smaller sizes.

MAKING THE SPOON SHAPE: I'll say at the outset that you can make either wood or metal spoon ends from the different diameters of of wood and metal rod stock or wood boards (for large paddle type spoons). ...A range of sizes is very important for detail work. ...You can actually sculpt these spoons (at least the large ones) from epoxy putty, wood and/or metal material combinations.

METAL SPOONS with crimped brass tube handles:
Step 1. Cut off the length you need to make the spoon, its neck and enough to get a strong fit into your handle. Electrical plier cutting blade will do the trick. I make my larger spoons from Copper ground Ground Wire (comes in about 2 or 3 different diameters for varying sizes). The romex house wire copper is good for some smaller spoons.
.......Here's where you can make sure about your brass tubing handles ( I cut off 4 inch tubing lengths for handles) fits to these copper rods. Use your electrical plier/crimper blade for setting the handles to the spoons. . . . use Super Glue Thin for final reinforcement of the fit.
Step 2. Holding the rod (soon to be a spoon) by a pair of pliers over a slightly curved surface, (I use an auto lug wrench or a round corner of my table vise) hammer the exposed rod end flat with angled blows evenly on each side of the rod to leave a raised middle to the spoon. The curved surface you are hammering on will create the concave side automatically with each blow, if you keep the spoon sationary on the curved surface. Now tap the leading tip of the spoon a little flatter to create the tapered tip of the spoon. Just visualize a poon in your mind and you've got it! This is the rough stage. the smaller the spoon the gentler the hammer blows.
Step 3. Using your belt sander, dremel or sanding paper (220 or medium grit), create the oval edge of the spoon end along your hammered spoon. Now carefully even out the hammer blows to an even smooth surface on the toop and bottom of the spoon. Have a good light source just as if you are sculpting, because you are! The smaller the spoon the lighter the sanding process. This would be the first step for wooden spoons shapes or any wood shape. If you are using already cured epoxy on your tool end, this would be step 2. also.
Step 4. Metal Spoons and all sanded spoon stock must now be sanded in finer grits (# 300 & 400). I use the medium and fine 3M 1/4 inch thick flexi-pads here, since the curved surafces are all shaped an just need sanding marks eliminated.
Step 5. metal tools only. You have collected a smooth steel cylinder preferablely with a round end. This is the time to be a black smith again. The process is called burnishing (rubbing of a harder material on a softer material to polish the softer one). This removes all remaining sading marks and creates a perfectly smooth shape, if you have sanded enough! You will see a wonderful shine here!
Step 6. Fit your spoon to the 4 inch handle. Crimp about 1/8th inch down on handle with electrical crimpers and super glue the fit. you may want tpo prep your brass tubing ends by sanding them even and rolling the leading edge on some sand paper to smooth over the sharp edge left by sanding before fitting your finished spoon or whatever into it.
Step 7. Wooden paddle spoons are now completely sanded and ready for a sealer. Vegtable oil works well with 2 or 3 three rubbing in sessions. Thin Super Glue will do it too. just dip the tool in super glue thin and shake off the excess onto and newspaper.
....large paddle spoons are useful for highly smooth broad surface treatments as with large scale dolls and comic or cartoon or female characters where good control of open surfaces and smoothness is of the essence. A rolling and rocking motion works well with these paddles.
End Part 3. The DANE

Flea Markets...-Old Necklaces with ever tapering sizes of perfectly round glass or plastic beads. ...old used Dental tools for shaping putty or clay! Kitchen Supply Store -Bamboo skewers (they make two different diameters that I know of).
Hardware and/or Electrical Supply Stores -1/4 inch diameter Copper Ground wire (there are various diameters of this type of wire and short lengths of every size would be excellent for different tool sizes), short lengths of 10 & 12 gauge Romex Copper House wire and various diameters of birch dowel rods, close grained hardwood (cherry, maple or birch not oak) board scraps from their milling shop.
Hobby Shops -- various sizes of brass tubing closely selected for inside diameters to use as handle stock for different tools of metal shapers ..... solid brass rod with smaller diameters than the copper wire rod stock for making even smaller tool ends
.... Very high quality 2 part Epoxy Plumber's Putty (the 2 hour setting kind) for reinforcing purposes and sculpting wierd tool end shapes.
...Tempered Steel Wire or Guitar String wire for making different wire loop putty/clay removal tools.
...SupefGlue Thin for coating wood tools and reinforcing attached handle fits. The Dane

a very good crimping tool to crimp/attach very small metal ends to small brass handles (too small for electrical wire crimpers) is a round jawed jeweler's pliers for bending wire. The Dane