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Oversized Sculpted Mantid
Every year I give a new sculpted insect as a present in a Secret Santa exchange. This year it was hard to let this guy out of the house.

I used TLS to keep the sanding down which greatly reduces time spent and damage to limbs.

Posted by Stephen L. from Virginia, Minnesota, United States • Published See Stephen L.'s 3 projects »


Stephen L. posted this project as a creation without steps

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Lau5ren · 65 projects
I was showing my sister and she was like "now that is art"
Stephen L.
Stephen L. · Virginia, Minnesota, US · 3 projects

First use the right polymer clay. Sculpey III though cheaper is really really mushy. I like a Super Sculpey/Sculpey Firm mix or Premo Sculpey. How firm you like it is up to you personally, I like it a little softer than others because it blends better. This sculpture was Green Premo. It costs more, but watch your Michaels/AC Moore for deals and you can generally get it for $1.25 or less per block. Super Scupley is best ordered online (Firm is only available online as far as I know)

Use tools not fingers - I have tools made of knitting needles and wood which I used primarily. This reduces the heat on the sculpture from your hands.

Series Bake - If you have a detail nicely in place, hit it with a heat gun or bake the piece and then start working from there again. You'll need to paint the baked clay you want to add to with PVA glue and let it dry, but it will stick. This is particularly useful for top/bottom work. On my scorpion I made and baked the tail first, then used that as my grip. If you have too much clay on a baked portion, just pull out your x-acto knife or dremel and cut it off.

Build an armature - This sculpt has a core of 14-16 gauge floral wire (the green stuff) twisted together, then split off to form the legs and arms. The whole thing is then coated in Magic Sculpt, a 2 part epoxy with a long working window. Then coated in PVA glue and the clay is added on top of that. The epoxy is tremendously hard when cured, so it lets me handle the sculpture pretty easily.

I'd recommend checking out Katherine Dewey's Life Like Creatures or Life Like Figures in Polymer Clay books.
Emily F.
Emily F. · Buckingham, England, GB · 1 project
this is amazing. how do you got so much detail on your polymer clay projects? Maybe it's just lack of practise but when I use it i find it impossible to get any detail without completely mashing the rest of it! got any tips?
Becsta! · Clarkefield, Victoria, AU · 3 projects
wow! Its beautiful!
Apricot · Sacramento, California, US
Looks really real Happy
Sheila Squirrel
Sheila Squirrel
Fantastic detail x
Mokita · La Cañada Flintridge, California, US · 8 projects
This is seriously impressive. Good work on getting the anatomy and proportions correct...Looks tricky!
Janie R.
Janie R. · Eastern, Kentucky, US · 25 projects
just marvelous!! what a talent you have, thanks for sharing!!
Twizzy · Brighton, Michigan, US · 18 projects
I had to look at the twice before i realized it wasn't real. Great job.
Jynx · Margate, England, GB · 3 projects
I just have to say that that is amazing
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