File puptcrit/puptcrit.0707, message 61

To: <>
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2007 08:23:58 -0400
Subject: [Puptcrit] TECH: smoothing plastalina (revisited)

Hi all.
Tonight I decided to try something more basic to smooth my plastalina clay sculpt.
I know so many methods from so many sources since I started looking into it, all work to a certain extent, but I find none are ideal.

-This one I tried tonight is simple and works very well.
Just keep a small container of baby oil (liquid paraffin) close at hand, and dip your tools and fingertips when needed, to make the smoothing easier. I find it works marvelously well with smooth metal tools, and silicone tools (color shapers, clay shapers).
You can use a brush to apply the oil too. A stiffer brush will work as sandpaper, a smoother one will just act subtly.
The plastalina (oil-based clay) will absorb the oil and make the surface easier to smooth for a long while.
You can also remove burrs from textural work by gently rubbing some of the oil over the details with a finger.

-Another way to quicken the smoothing process: use an alcohol torch to heat an area in a second (no more), then immediately rub smooth with fingers or tools. 

-To smooth some deep tricky areas, heating a smooth metal  tool over a blue flame (alcool burner, or alcohol torch) for about 4 seconds will make it glide over the surface without grabbing. Repeat as needed.

-The "dangerous" time saver: spray a little bit of rubbing alcohol over an area of your sculpt, then set it on fire with a blast from the alcohol torch (or maybe a long lighter?). It will only burn for about 6 seconds, because rubbing alcohol (isopropyl, 70%) is not that great a combustible.
DO NOT try with the same alcohol as that inside the alcohol torch (ethyl alcohol), as it burns too long, and tyour caly will melt anyway.
I use that trick to smoothen large areas quicker, or to finishin smoothing into very deep areas that are hgard to reach with a tool.
I make sure the work area is clear of anything flamable, and that there is more than enough ventilation.

These tricks work very well with the clay I'm using: Chavant NSP.
I don't see why it would be any more difficult with other oil-based clays.

Background info:
I thought of that oil trick when i remembered how easy it was to smooth my old customized plastalina i made from cheap oil-based clay and vaseline. Because it was already smoother and softer, it was easy to spread with fingers and tools, without any resistance.
Alas, it was droopy, which is why I switrched to the Professional kind.

The baby oil trick is a good compromise, isntead of mixing more oil into it.
It works with mineral oil too (probably a better idea, for consistency of the recipe, since mineral oil is probably already in it), but it has a different feeling.

This smoothing trick gives a nice smooth surface that is still "alive"


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