The easiest way to sculpt is to part bake. I have always had mixed thoughts on this matter. Because, while it does help by allowing you to not squish parts already done, it can also give you false sense of the clay being cooked (which its not) and perhaps cause you to put extra pressure on lightly cooked piece and cause it to crack.
But I think if you keep it in your head that the piece is only lightly cooked, then it is the best way to go, especially for people still learning.
I have also found that the clay I am using, see the last post, is very strong, and I am adding an extra little step in strengthening it by using Mark method of putting it in the freezer while it still cooling.
My blend of clay is working very very well with part baking in that there is no colour difference. I have found that Living Doll beige can darken with each part bake, so I don’t recommend this colour for part baking, but my 12 part living doll light clay and 1 port Sculpey Mold Maker is not showing any change of colour regardless on how many times I have part baked it.
I wont go into to much detail on how to sculpt each piece, as I have already posted that information, I will just talk about the steps I took.
So first thing was to sculpt the torso. Once I had done that I did find that the TLS I used to cover the masking tape was starting to peal off. So I ended up pulling it off.
And I also found that I had used to much clay around the bum area, leaving me a choice of too little clay, or a big derrière.
So for my next doll I will ensure I don’t use TLS (I have already made a doll without it, and you definitely don’t need it, the clay sticks no problem to the masking tape) and don’t pack up the bum with too much tinfoil.
Depending on how you feel you can either part bake the doll after just the torso, or do the legs (just upper or lower as well) and then the part bake. Just go with your gut and whatever is easier for you.
Part Baking is done at 275° Fahrenheit or 130° Celsius for just 10 mins.
When I bake my dolls I use a convection oven. The pros about this is that you are not using your own oven, and some people have concerns over the fumes and if they are dangerous to you or not. But it also helps to not burn your dolls as convection ovens use hot air which means there are less hot spots that normal element ovens have.
I also use poly-fill to cushion and prop up the doll, but I also completely surround them in the poly-fill to ensure they are cooked in a nice warm cozy cushion and have no heat spots that can cause burning.
The poly-fill is also handy when it comes to using the freezer method to help strengthen the doll. When the doll is cooling I leave it a couple of minutes, then I open the oven top and take the whole package out with the doll softly contained in the poly-fill. Then very gently place the whole thing in the freezer to make it cool down fast which strengthens the clay.
My oven was getting a bit old and the temperature was out (I use two thermometers to ensure the right temperature at all times) and I just got a replacement one from K-Mart for a very low price of $49 NZD – what a deal, so if you are in NZ and after one I would suggest checking out K-Mart
After your doll has completely cooled in the freezer you can take her out. Let her sit for a while and come back up to room temperature. You will notice she will sweat a bit as she warms, this is perfectly normal.
Once she is back to room temperature you can continue to sculpt adding legs and feet as need be.
Again I think I used too much tinfoil around the legs. They really only need some around the thighs and maybe a tiny bit for the calves. But the more tinfoil the lighter the doll and since this one is sitting on the flower the lightness of the doll will bode well for this piece.
Next step arms, hands and head.
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