David CusakDavid Cusak ✭✭✭
edited October 2013 in Lab work
With our diverse experiences and skill sets, this is a unique opportunity to share some of our hard earned tips and tricks we've horded over the years
Post edited by Christopher Vaughan on


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    David CusakDavid Cusak ✭✭✭
    edited June 2013


    I've experimented with soap and water, steam cleaners, picking at them with a fork BUT I think I finally found the trick:
        1.    Invert a can of compressed air
        2.    Blast chavent ball with a couple burst. Ball and carpet should turn white.
        3.    Using a table fork, place fork teeth under the ball.
        4.    Don't pull the fork up, but push the fork until the ball collects towards the handle.
        5.    Use warm, soapy water and a sponge to remove the remaining "cold" spot.

    That's it! Until this I was considering how much of my damage deposit would go towards a new carpet.

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    David CusakDavid Cusak ✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    Great tricks when working with Super Sculpey!

    MARK NEWMAN'S Super Sculpey Mix

    • 50% Super Sculpey (Pink)
    • 50% Super Sculpey Firm (Grey)
    The best way to mix is to run the mix through an old school pasta maker a few times (a good one runs about $30.) The mix should be a light grey when finished, with no pink or dark grey streaks. This should keep the clay from getting crumbly or becoming too flexible when heated during working.

    If you're not familiar with Mark's work, your in for some goodness:

    CASEY LOVE'S Foolproof Method of Baking Super Sculpey

    (resource: http://theclubhouse1.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=36612&p=447790&hilit=baking+super#p447790 )

    1. I start at 225 and leave the sculpt for an hour.
    2. I raise the temp to 250 for another hour.
    3. I raise the temp again to 275 for 2- 3 hours or until the Super Sculpey has turned a dark caramel or even as dark as a reddish brown brick color.
    4. I shut off the oven and leave the sculpt to completely cool down before removing the sculpture.
    5. If you are baking a rather thick sculpture use the same method above but raise the temperature slower and in smaller increments.

    I use this method above and have baked sculptures with NO CRACK'S and even better the clay is hard as a rock. I have noticed a huge difference in dremeling the clay and how strong the clay is compared to a weaker baked Super Sculpey. Yesterday I dropped a hand on the floor and the sculpture bounced, no crack's or damage happened to the hand, normally it would of cracked or worse shattered if it had not been baked properly. " - Casey Love

    I think most of us are very familiar with Casey's work, especially his exceptional masks, but if you're not here's an extra helping of goodness: http://www.caseylovedesigns.com/
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    "Sculpting tools are essential kit for sculpting in clay or oil based clays such as plasteline (a high grade plasticine), wax or chavant.

    Usually, there are two main kinds of sculpting tools-the stick-like variety which usually are used for adding material, and loops which are used for taking away. They are not that expensive to buy, but there are some great tools which are not easily found but easily made. It's fun, too.

    This article will show you how to make your own loop tools from scratch. Loops can be all shapes and sizes depending on the scale of the job. For blocking out life size figures, you will need something bigger, and for fine lines and wrinkles on prosthetics you'll need something smaller. The principle remains the same."

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    Great tips so far thanks.
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    I use Guitar strings all the time if you can hole of bass strings you can make some really good larger tools that work really well on WED clay and larger sculpy works.

    Thanks for sharing



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    Wow!! Really nice to have this Tips and Tricks forum!! Many thanks!
    Hi David Cusak, thanks! Have you any notes about Clay types? I mean, if possible to post something here about the diferent types of clay, the difference between them, like chavant and monster clay, what is the difference?, I don't know. Which are the uses of each one, etc? Thanks!
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    David CusakDavid Cusak ✭✭✭
    edited June 2013
    Glad to hear the Tips and Tricks are helpful! Keep sharing whatever you may as well!

    @Gustavo Here's how I usually work. Hope this helps!:

    WED - water/oil based. Excellent for large sculptures. My experience with WED is really limited, but its great stuff. Easy to work the forms, holds detail well, and doesn't dry out as quickly as standard water base clays.

    CHAVANT - my go to favorite, using it for most maquette work. Around 12 to 18 inches. Quickly build up forms while the clays warm and once cooled fine details can be create much the same as wax.

    SUPER SCULPY -  The baking properties are great for maquettes/sculpts that will not be cast and need to be shipped. I don't use sculpy directly from the box. I instead mix the SS (pink) and SS Firm (grey) in about equal portions (see Mark Newman's SS Mix in a previous T&T). The mix helps keep the sculpty from getting too flexible or crumbly.

      - I have yet to work with, but I surely am curious. Monster has many of the same properties as Chavant, but it won't stick to your tools or fingers and that alone would explain its growing popularity. Here's a great video detailing sculptor Cyril Roquelaine's first contact with Monster.


    And using Monster for Lifecasts

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    David!! Incredible help you are offering us!!! Let me ask you more details on clay types... I live in Brasil, here I don't have any idea of where to buy any of those. Is there any number, like you should try Chavant number 3, because it is easier to keep the details, or something like that or is it only Chavant?

    Thanks! Do you have any request? Maybe I could help? Thanks again! Great help!!
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    @Gustavo Many sculptors use Chavant NSP Medium (no sulfur). For smaller sculpts, something under six inches, I will use NSP Hard. It just saves my sanity in not mashing my tiny hard earned forms.

    As for where to buy in Brazil, I'm not really sure BUT I did a search and found a place that does ship internationally. And the price is right!

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    Thanks for posting your tricks David. Appreciate and will use them
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    Hi David!! Thanks again! Have you got any issue I could help?
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    You're welcome! Please feel free to share any and all tricks that you may have as well. I can use whatever ya got!
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    HUMAN ANATOMICAL REFERENCE  |  Full Body/Heads Digital Scans

    Various male and female full-body or head images of digital scans provide a nice all-in-one-place and kinda tricky resource for the human body. Especially helpful for blocking out the primary and secondary forms. Click on the details button for turnaround and detail views.

    Here's an example of male full body in various poses.

    Christopher also had this nice resource for anatomy, this one for sculptors.

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    does anybody know where i could get Plexiglas/glass tubes for my alien.  im looking to do something like don lanning is in the photo but it be a longer lube type to fit his neck and head.
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    @John Feel free to contact Don directly! He's always willing to help and I'm sure he'll know (that and every other scultpture/industry question you may have.) Probably easiest to get a hold of him via Facebook:

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    Thanks David will do
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    edited November 2013
    @john I would try also at a garden/plants store .... who knows, maybe you'll find some stuff there.
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    I made my mold and made a latex piece and need to make a gelatin piece and tips for molding?sorry it's side ways
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    Finished my piece in gelatin had redo it twice but I am happy with the results. Thanks for the info.
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