Friday, February 6, 2009

A Note on Tools

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of just how one of these creatures is "born" I thought I would talk about tools for a minute. This photo shows exactly what I use to make a small dragon, no less. Pretty easy. I use plain old Super Sculpey for 95% of my sculpts and then paint them with acrylic paints. You can use what ever you want. This list is just to let you see what I use. There is no right or wrong in any case. 1. 2 needle tools, one is thin like a sewing needle and the other is larger. The larger one is made by Amaco and the little one is so old I have no idea where it came from. 2. exacto knife 3. TLS - translucent liquid sculpey 4. couple small paint brushes - I use the paint brushes for multiple uses. The round end is great for smoothing and joining legs/arms to body. The bristle end I use for smoothing and applying TLS. OH! Plus the round end makes a great texture tool! 5.Speaking of texture tools.... See those super attractive ...ha ha... little nubs of twisted clay laying and standing near the box? Those are my super important texture tools. You can use anything your heart desires to make a texture tool. The purple one has some beads that are simple leaf shapes, great scales when you mash it into the clay over and over in a pattern. The red one has seed beads mashed into it. The "o" pattern the seed beads make adds great detail, especially on sea dragons or fish. My favorite is the orange one that is laying down. I used it and the round end of a paint brush to texture Eco. That one contains tiny gravel. I put a thin layer of TLS on my clay nub and then gently mashed in the tiny pieces of gravel. Then the nub is baked for the appropriate time.(same way beaded ones where made) The last all important texture tool is the flesh colored signature stamp. That one is a very simple stamp I made from a thin rolled snake that was shaped into my initials...SRG. Hint, hint make sure you apply the letters reversed! First time I made one I wasn't thinking and was all happy, happy then realized, ooops! I ended up with a reversed stamp. 6.wire, beads for eyes, wire snips, and needle nose 7. and last but not pictured... toothpicks! I do work on a ceramic tile which is sitting on a Lazy Susan. Nice and easy to get to all sides without having to pick that bad boy up all the time. And let me tell you, sometimes those dragons get rather unruly while you are working on them! Picking them up over and over makes them want to move thier necks and tales all over. Especially right after you finally get it where you want it! When working on LARGE dragons it isn't so much a problem because they are built over a solid foil and wire armature. OK, I've rambled enough and must be off to work. Tonight I will try to get some photos and the first couple steps ready for "birthing a dragon". Don't worry, it's pretty simple. So warm your hands up and get ready to roll, roll and shape some clay.


  1. Thanks for the info on your very important tools Sally. I am always looking at all sorts of things for texture and never thought of making them my self...duuhhhh!! See you at cforiginals..
    Am hoping to make you style dragon soon. Have some wonderful canes to use. Laurel

  2. Hi Laurel, thanks for stopping by. You can make texture tools out of anything. I have even made one out of tree bark. Canes work out beautifully on the dragons either as complete coverage or just as decorations. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Sally

  3. I must agree with Laurel, I never even thought to make my own texture tools! And I have boxes and boxes and boxes of beads to choose from. Hmmm must ponder this. I am so excited and can't wait to watch the 'birthing' of one of your amazing dragons.

  4. Thank you Sally for the tutorial on the dragon...I do make little dragons but yours are so awsome. When ever my granddaughter is here she wants to go through your album to see all the new things you have made. Again thank you...