Monday, 15 January 2018

Making a modelling clay figure

Before Christmas I spent some time revamping a character in a book I wrote a few years back.  It occurred to me that to help me with the drawing it would be good if I could have a model to work from.  I always struggle with profiles and obscure angles of the head. 
Now my modelling skills do have a lot to be desired, I do like to give these things a go however, so here is my little tutorial for making a 3d figure.

So I'd like you to meet Pigley!  A cute toddler who is discovering new and exciting things about her world.

So how to start creating her???  Well first off I got some wire and bent it into a vaguely stick figure shape.  (really thought I had a pic of this ageist but apparently not.)  for the head I just made a loop shape.  Make sure your arms and legs are the same length as each other and that each end has a loop of metal. You can see the feet in this image are just loops.
Now get out the foil!  I found the heap foil I had was a bit useless... Actually it was very useless all round.  But I had some proper stuff and this worked far better.  You want to compactly wrap the wire structure to flesh out the bones as it were. 

Here you can see my little person now looks more person than stick!  Why bother?? Well if I made the head completely out of clay it would 1, be very very heavy and 2, very expensive!  This way you don't waste materials.

Next step was to get some flesh coloured clay and create the head shape. Because you make a loop in the wire at the beginning you will find the head should twist around or fall off!

Now bake you clay for about 15 minutes.  This is something I hadn't thought to do before but it made a huge difference.  The key thing to remember is to make sure you have all the facial features you want.  You don't even need to add hair.  If you wish to you could also add flesh to the hands and feet or anything else that will be exposed.

Once baked I allowed to cool and then started work on the rest of her, adding clothes and hair.  I also added a stand so she wouldn't fall over.

Lastly, into the oven she goes (I felt like the wicked witch then lol)
Baked on 130 for 25 minutes (from a cold oven)  In future I would pop a mug behind as she did tumble back at one point and the back of her hair caught slightly.

And here she is all finished.  There is lots I'm not that happy about but I still love her.  My first partially successful attempt at modelling a figure.

Why not have a go yourself!  I'd love to see what you create!

I am popping by Handmade Monday again, so why not pop by and say hi!

Jen xx


  1. I love this! Such fab work, I'd never be able to create anything half as good as that!

    1. Thank you honey. It still has loads of flaws but I rather like her.

  2. Lots of things you're not happy with??? She's amazing! I did love you're comment about popping her in the oven :-)

    1. Ahh thanks honey. I guess its the perfectionist in me lol!