By Jessica Schenk
Do you have trouble making strong flanges on your ooak sculpts? Do they tend to crack after baking or over time? This can happen with polymer clay because when you make a deep groove in the clay, it creates a weak point.
Today I will demonstrate my technique for creating very strong, durable flanges that will stand the test of time. If you are not familiar with 2 part epoxy putty, it is an air hardening substance that cures after you knead the two parts together. The separate parts stay soft and pliable until combined when they create an exothermic chemical reaction. Epoxy putty cures to an extremely hard surface and it bonds to almost any material.
Step 1: You'll want to start with an amount of epoxy putty to put a flange on all four limbs and the head. This amount will vary depending on the size of your sculpt. It will just take a little practice to get it right each time.
Step 2: Knead the two pieces together until they are one uniform color and there is no marbling left.
I wash my hands after this step so as not to transfer residue to my sculpt. If it dries on the sculpt, you will have a heck of a time trying to get it off. You will need to add the epoxy to your sculpt at this point because it will begin to harden. The drying process can take from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the epoxy and the temperature of your workspace.
Step 3: Pinch off a small piece and roll into a ball.
Step 4: Time to apply the epoxy to your sculpt. It is helpful to use a bit of water on your finger tip to smooth the epoxy putty as you work.
Step 5: Apply the ball to the neck or top of any limb. Flatten out and shape as desired, using the water to smooth the epoxy.
It should look something like this when you are done.
The amount of overhang on your flange will depend on the size of your sculpt and the method you use to fasten the body to the head and limbs. In this demonstration, I am using a 6" ooak baby and I will use a fairly thin crotchet thread to fasten the body to the head and limbs. If you are making a much larger sculpt, you will probably want to use cable ties and make a larger overhang.
For the limbs, you will want to form less of an overhang. You will see why later.
Step 6: Allow your epoxy putty to set. As stated before, the time it takes to cure will vary with temperature, thickness of epoxy and the brand or type of epoxy. Be sure to not let the epoxy touch the surface that you have your baby on or it will cure itself to that surface as well. I like to make a little ridge in the wash cloth and prop the parts up on it.
Step 6: Using a craft knife, cut a little groove in the clay at the base of the cured epoxy putty. Be very careful not to cut yourself!! Clay cuts away easily with the knife so you will not need to use a lot of pressure. Repeat with each of the limbs, but not the head.
It should look like this when you are done.
Baby is done and ready to be painted. Look for my painting demonstration coming soon :)