Yet another clay-sculpting question...


blk n blu dream

I'm in the process of sculpting my female pred head and I need to know how to smooth out oil-based clay. I've had experience with water-based, but this oil stuff is new to me. Is it a matter of diligent tool usage or is there something I can put on the clay much like water does for water-based clay?


P.S. My thumbs hurt like H*ll. lol


I know how you feel. You really need a rake tool. I actually turned a little junior hack sawblade into one, heated it and bent it into a triangle shape and mounted it on to a wooden dowel. You use the rake to even the surface out then it depends on what you want to use to smooth it out, as you can use iso-propyl alcohol(the rubbing type) napatha, lighter fuel, or as I'm a wuss and don't like things that can ignite I used baby oil. You only need to use it sparingly. just rub it on and smooth it out. You can heat the area to be smoothed the with a hairdryer or carefully with a heat gun then use the baby oil. Hope this helps a bit, I'm sure someone with more experience than I will chip in too.


My thumbs sympathise with yours. I woke up last week after a long night of adding and smoothing clay, and my right thumb was swollen. I couldn't write to well the rest of the day. I kept sculpting anyways hehe.

This is what I use to smooth out the clay (Im using oil-based too) -


I spent probably about $14 on all of those tools together. I picked them up at Hobby Lobby. They usually come in sets. I've got round wire and flat-wire ribbon tools. They work like a charm.

I've seen that you can use alky-hol to smooth out the clay by using a small paint brush to add it and a sock (or something similar) to smooth out the clay. I've been tempted to try this out, but I figure I'd wait until the sculpt was close to being finished.


For larger areas I use part of a scotchbrite pad with alcohol or mineral spirits. I use it kind of like wet sanding paint. Then let the clay harden back up and smooth it out with my fingers and some hand lotion. for smaller areas a paint brush with some alcohol or spirits works good.