How to sculpt a face the easy way, using polymer clay and a mold. Add personality and make it unique, with a few simple steps.
Time Scale: 3 out of 5
One of the hardest things about learning to sculpt, is getting the proportions right. There are guidelines that you can follow. Find out more about sculpting proportions here*.
If you are just starting out, the easiest way to learn how to sculpt a face, is to start with a mold. The placement of the eyes, nose and mouth will be correct and you won't have to worry about figuring it out on your own. Can you still make it a one of a kind, unique piece? YES! Here's how to make a face, that doesn't look like it came from a mold.
Condition your polymer clay. Roll into a ball. The 2 inch santa face mold uses about a 2 inch ball of clay.
Now shape the ball into a tear drop shape, so it has a bit of a point at one end.
The larger the mold, the easier it will be be to make the face. Smaller faces will have tiny details that are harder to define.
I recently made a cloth santa doll that was suppose to have a painted face. Since I didn't want a painted face, I decided to use polymer clay. I was in a bit of a hurry, so instead of sculpting the face from scratch, I decide to use a mold. The back of the head was left flat and then glued onto the cloth doll head.
Run the mold under water and shake off any excess. This will act as a release agent, so the clay doesn't stick to the mold.
Push the pointed end of the clay into the nose hole on the mold. Keep pushing, until the mold is filled up.
Remove from mold, leaving the head flat on the back. If you are attaching this to a cloth doll face, sit it on now and shape to fit.
Make an edge around the face, with holes in it, so it can be sewed on. After applying the hair and beard on the Santa, this edge won't show.
Crumple tin foil and add to the back of the head to mantain this shape.
Now, to make the face one of a kind, add little bits of clay here and there and build up certain features. Add a small ball of clay to the end of the nose, and blend it in. Use your sculpting tool to poke holes, for the nostrils. You can even add tiny pieces of clay to each side of the nose, to build it out even more.
Maybe you would like the cheeks to be rounder, especially if you are doing a jolly santa. Add more clay to the cheeks and blend it in. What a difference these extra pieces make!
Use a needle tool to add definition around the eyes. Decide on the look you are going for and then add lines and wrinkles, to give expression and personality to the face. This can include laugh lines around the mouth, crinkled lines around the eyes and wrinkles across the forehead. The more you work with it, the better it will look. Soon, you will see, there isn't much resemblance to the molded face you started with. It is becoming a unique, one of a kind piece.
Once you have added all the details you like, use a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to smooth out any rough edges.
Now bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes. Check the directions for the type of clay that you are using. The baking time and temperature can vary with brands.
When cooled, add the finishing touches, to really make this come to life. Paint on the eyes. When dry, apply a clear coat over top.
Use watered down pink paint on the cheeks and mouth.
To make the hair, wrap pieces of damp wool roving around skewer sticks. When dried, remove from the sticks. These curly white locks can now be attached one by one, to the head and face, using white glue.
Before you know it, you won't need to rely on a mold, but for now this is a great way to learn how to sculpt a face.
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