Sunday, 5 February 2017

Making your own DIY Sculpting Tools

This article is designed to give those beginning sculpting characters a way of making their own sculpting tools for minimum cost. The materials used are easy to source and there are a variety of methods used here.
Many sculpting tools are available commercially but very often they are too large for fine figurative sculpting. 
Plus there is an undeniable satisfaction from making your own bespoke tool kit.

Bespoke Sculpting Tool Kit

The main tool used by sculptors is the loop; in various forms.
The simplest way to make this is using paper clips and staples!

Paper clips & staples are fine wire but strong & resistant to bending.

Paper clips come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses of wire.
Chopsticks cost next-to-nothing but the bamboo makes an ideal toolhandle.
A Bic biro is a great ready made handle.
This tripod from a pound shop can make three telescopic handles.
A clothes peg makes a surprisingly good rake tool!
Sculptors always use rakes to flatten the clay, create faceted faces and add cross-hatched patterning.
Old saw blades make really good rakes.

Bend the blades carefully around a tube, they can snap.
Good clean curve.
Shaped and ready for trimming.
Two different types of saw blade, create different effects.
Idea size to fit into the tripod leg.
Hair clips also make good strong loops, and electrical wire can be bunched together to make a wire brush head.

Hair clip & electrical wire brush.
Shaped paper clip & staple,
Trimmed, shaped chop stick ends, and a saw blade. The handle is a leg from a pound shop lap-top cooling stand.
The parts are all held together using Milliput. This two part epoxy putty sets rock hard after a few hours and comes in several varieties.

These four tools are all telescopic, easy to carry, and very lightweight.

The next set of tools are based on Bamboo chopsticks.
Bamboo is very easy to work with.
These cuts make it easier to attach the ends.

Milliput again to bond everything together.

This clothes peg is the basis of a smooth rake.

More clips and staples for these tools. This time the handles is an old biro.

These tools look  a bit of a mess after the Milliput has gone on so I gave them all a good coat of matt black paint to make them look more professional and it also makes them feel smooth to the touch.

The final collection provides a huge variety of fine sculpting choices for very little cash.

Bespoke Sculpting Tool Kit

Other options are possible;
Bass guitar strings are very good the rounded loops, as are piano strings.

If you have a workshop and want an easy way to trim handles, tubing, K&S, etc try this rig.

MDF parts
Place for the most ideal thickness of tubing to be cut.
The 90 degree slot makes accurate cutting easy.

Holding the tube in places is easier with a gap to reach the tube.

Rounded of on a sander.
I hope that this article proves useful to budding sculptors out there and gives existing sculptors some ideas for their own tool kit.