How to use oil based clay

August 16, 2018


Oil based clay has great plasticity making it easy to be used in a variety of ways. It’s common use is over some kind of armature traditionally used for moquette building when planning a large scale bronze sculpture.


Over an Armature  

Oil based clays can be rather heavy, so it’s advisable to build a supporting armature for the sculpture to be built. If the sculpture is to have limbs such as arms and legs, the armature will prevent the clay from folding over itself and breaking off the figure.  

It’s important to use aluminum because the contents of the clay will cause rust to other types of metals and could eventually be the demise of your beloved sculpture.  Armatures may also be built out of foam to allow for a lighter weight sculpture when working in large scale.

When sculpting without an armature the piece should be rather stout providing a wide base without protruding parts. This is because the clay in spite of its pliability will break under its own weight.  


Give oil based clay a try with one of our sculpting kits! 


Carving and Building 

Oil based clays are extremely versatile. They can be carved and added to without scoring. It molds to itself quite well and can be shaped using a variety of metal, wooden and handmade tools. 


The clay takes and holds impressions easily, making it possible to achieve a very wide variety of textured surfaces. Heavy texture such as pushed or thumbed clay can achieve a beautiful flow of movement. More refined textures such as hair and muscle tone can be accomplished using wire, loop, or wooden tools. The clay may also be smoothed to have a fine marble look to it. This can be achieved by using rubber “ribs” used by ceramicists to scrape away imperfections or a gentle sandpaper for firm clays. An application of rubbing alcohol can be applied to the surface for a firm sleek finish. 


The best way to understand a clay is to experiment and play with it. This will help you develop a feel for the material, discover new textures, tools and techniques that help you achieve your desired outcome. 


Begin experimenting with our starters kit TODAY! 






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