Ah the world of putty, where anything is possible. Everyone should try playing around with putty, it's great fun. And before you say sculpting isn't your thing; We are all sculptors, and we sculpt master pieces everyday.

You have it in you!

Usually come supplied in 2 parts that need to be mixed together to form the putty. It then sets/ cures depending upon how mix ratio and temperature.

 
Tips:
  • Generally use water. You could use oil but really it isn't good for the putty and could weaken adhesion. Before using, clean hands and prepare the tools you will be using. When finished, clean your hands and tools. Always look after your tools and they will serve you well.
  • (With baking type putty) Lighter fluid with a cotton swab can help smooth things out. Be careful as it is flammable. Cotton swabs with Alcohol can also help smooth areas out but not as well as lighter fluid.
  • Drying/curing can vary depending upon ratio of mix and temperature. It can be speeded up by heaters/lamps/oven
  • Use armature to avoid finger prints. You can use tin foil to fill larger spaces.
  • Mirrors, calipers are useful are getting symmetry right.
  • Use lots of reference material to help you sculpt.
  • Do not be afraid to cut bits off and start again.
  • Constantly move the work piece around to get a overall look and help keep things balanced. Take a step back and have a look.
 
Tools:

You'll often find a favourite tool. Try not to devote all your time using that one tool. Feel free to customize your tools for better comfort (adding a larger grip for example). Generally a blade tip, ball-end (embossing), cup shape tips, and wire hoops are a good selection. You can of course make your own tools in a manner of ways.

Texturizing/stamping:

These are great methods to quickly add detail. (We'll add more info at some point).

The Putties

'Greenstuff' - 2 Part that need to be mixed together. Has an elastic quality to it.  Great for holding detail and doing fine work and used largely for miniature scale sculpts. It's also great for sticking onto armatures. Greenstuff has some of the best adhesion.

'GreyStuff'(procreate) - A bit firmer than greenstuff. I find it sets quicker too. Being grey, some people find it easier to visualize the details. More expensive than geenstuff.
 
'BrownStuff'- Similar to Greenstuff but with slightly different properties. Brownstuff can be carved and hold sharper edges than greenstuff (Good for swords/blades). More expensive when compared by weight.

Bake Putty / Polymer Clay

Usually comes as a block. Great for practice. You can work at a relaxed pace and come back later to work some more. 

1.    Good working surfaces: Glass, metal, wax paper. Knead clay until soft.
       Do not leave on furniture, carpets, plastics unless baked.

2.    Pieces thicker than 12mm may need bulking out with aluminium foil or armature.

3.    Use alcohol, baby oil, or handy wipes to clean hands.

4.    Bake following guides using a baking tray. Do not microwave. Do not over bake.
       Use good ventilation. Do not exceed temperature (harmful gases may be produced).

5.    Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, baked pieces can be cut, drilled, sanded, carved.

6.    Pottery or dishes made with polymer clays should not be used for foods or beverages.

7.    Wrap unused putty in cling-film and store in a cool place out of any sunlight.
 
Fimo - Quite crumbly.
Sculpey  III - most preferred, cheap and easy to use. Can crack when baking
Sculpey - skin appearance, soft. Easy to mix. Bakes easy, can go red easy (over baked).

Baking Table (according to instructions)

Sculpey Eraser Clay

121 C

10 min max

Bake & Bend

Bake Shop

Granitex

Original Sculpey

Pluffy

Sculpey III

Super Sculpey

UltraLight

130 C

15-30 min

Keepsake Clay

130 C

15 min max

Premo Sculpey

130 C

30 min

 

Oven care - Try not to use domestic household ovens. But if you have to, usually the lowest setting is what you want. Generally gas mark 1/2 for 12 mins is good however all ovens vary. When done, remove tray from oven to allow to cool. Do not leave in oven to cool as prolong baking can occur. Never use food with any of the  tools, including the tray. Allow oven to air out when done. 

DIY Putty type

These are usually pricey. Sets in a rapid 5 minutes, 2 parts normally supplied as 1 (usually 1 part is wrapped around the other). However can come with steel in it (which is fun). Great for weighing things down or magnetizing.  These usually set really rock hard out of all the putties. But it's frantic sculpting (quick quick).

[Pic tut for chopping into 4 more manageable pieces]

Milliput

It's a epoxy putty. Comes in variuos grades: Standard Yellow/Grey, Silver Grey, Superfine White, Black, and Terracotta. Each has it's own characteristic. Comes in 2 sticks that you need to mix together (preparation is the same for each grade).

The standard yellow/grey is generally the main one to go for, it's cheap and goes a long way. The terracotta is quite good too, holds good  sharp edges. But it's a little more expensive.

  • Once fully cured/set, Milliput can be drilled, tapped, turned, filed, sawn, sandpapered, painted, cut.
  • Milliput will set under water and has a heat resistant of 130C.
  • It will stick to most things: wood, brick, glass, cement, metal, concrete, plastics (according to instructions).
  • Milliput is great to fill in gaps and large spaces. It's great for building up sub-structures. If it's becoming to messy, then you're simply using too much water.

Instructions (from packet)

Mix together equal parts of each stick. Knead, roll, squish in your hands until it's a uniform colour with no streaks in it. Superfine White Milliput may need further mixing as the sticks are virtually the same colour. Surfaces which Milliput is to be applied should be free from grease or dirt. Abrading the surface will improve adhesion. Use tools with water to manipulate Milliput into the shape you want. Water will help avoid sticky fingers and helps keep tools clean. Avoid using oils as the oil will get worked into the putty. To get a smooth finish, while the Milliput is still soft (just applied), use a wet cloth or finger and gently wipe the surface. Otherwise wait until it's cured completely and sand.

Don't forget to clean your tools after using Milliput! Once cured/hardened, it'll be troublesome to remove. Wash hands with soap and water. If you find skin irritation, gloves may help.

More Tips:
You can mix putties together to blend properties. Example, standard + brown milliput works very well.  Mixing Sculpey into some cheaper brands like fimo can give a more pliable mixture. Sculpey can be a bit pastey sometimes (whispy syndrome - like trying to sculpt cream). Fimo/cheaper brands can be crumbly sometimes, so mixing sculpey in does wonders!
It's also a good idea to 'work' the putty a bit in your hands to soften and 'activate' the bonding chemicals in the putty.

you can check out our quick sculpts for examples using these products.

- Happy sculpting! :)