How to use Magic Sculpt
What is magic sculpt anyway? Its a two-part epoxy clay. This guide outlines our favorite ways to work with it in our sculpting projects.
How does it work?
Magic Sculpt is self-hardening clay. Once part A (resin clay) meets part B (Hardener clay), it activates the curing process. Over a period of about 2 to 4 hours, it becomes solid. It is formulated for sculptors who desire the feel of clay with a final piece that is hard and solid.
Pinch off two equal amounts of part A and part B. It's usually good enough to eyeball the amounts. The key is not so much ratio as it is getting a thorough mix of the two parts together. Everyone has their own techniques for mixing, and I’ll share my own below. Use a clean glove/hand when dipping into the containers. i like to designate my left hand for part A and right hand for part B when i pinch off pieces from the tubs. This keeps the two parts from mixing with each other.
I make two, evenly sized separate balls of each part. Push them together and begin rolling them out into logs, and keep rolling until they look like thin rope. Then i smash the rope up into a glob and repeat the rolling process. I’ll do this about 4 or 5 times. When it is thoroughly mixed it will be one solid even color. At this point you can knead powdered pigments into the clay to change the color if you like. Or you can simply paint the final piece with any kind of paint. Magic sculpt cures to a virtually impervious solid. Enamels, acrylics and lacquers all work great on finished magic sculpt. For this demonstration i used paper tape over a mannequin head, then sculpted over the tape. I did this so that i could have the basic face structure as a starting point and so that i could remove the sculpted part from the mannequin head when it was finished.
Your magic sculpt has a working time of about 45 minutes, varying based on how warm the air is. Warmer air means faster curing time, colder means slower. I like to pinch off small bits and push them onto the region i want to sculpt into, smooth it out with water, then work the details into it. You can keep working with the clay until it simply becomes too hard. I like to get the general shape done in its soft stage, then refine it as it gets firmer, then work in the details as it gets hard.
Almost anything can become a sculpting tool – from toothpicks to fine sculptor's rasps. I find our set of dental tools work ideally. I also use this rasp set for working into the clay after it’s hardened. Water is incredible for smoothing magic sculpt. I like to use a spray bottle and a sponge sometimes, but really, all you need to do is dip your finger into some water and it works like magic.
One of the ways I like to use magic sculpt is with plaster castings. I make my plaster castings, and use the magic sculpt to fill in the gaps and blend the textures seamlessly. You can embed anything into magic sculpt – metal, wood, paper, plastic, glass, etc. Some sculptors meticulously push hairs into the clay, one by one. I’ve also used our casting urethane in place of plaster, since it has a similar feel to cured magic sculpt.
You can also use silicone or latex molds to add detail and texture. Take a mold of something, then use it like a stamp onto the soft clay. I would recommend our purple lifecasting silicone or our silicone putty. good old latex also works!
Try making a mold out of plaster, then using it as a push-mold. (just push the Magic Sculpt into the plaster mold and pull it back out. Sculpt back in any details that didn’t make it.
To match the texture of the skin from my plaster castings, i cut the bristles down on an acid brush, and stippled the clay with it.
So your magic sculpt is fully cured. it no longer yields to your touch… but its not over! Magic sculpt is still workable once its completely hard. This is a great time to file it down using rasps and sandpaper. You can also drill into it at this point.
Storing your magic sculpt out of the sunlight, with the lids firmly closed is the ideal way to keep the life of your clay. After a few years on the shelf, the hardener may firm up a bit, but it is still workable. Magic Sculpt is not water based, however you can use water to smooth it. Adding water to either part of the clay will not soften it. Always remember to keep part A separate from part B.
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