The Complete Guide to Beginner Clay Sculpting Tools and Their Usage (2024)

Today, I will explore clay sculpting tools and their usage with you; whether you're an experienced clay artist or a beginner just starting, I'm sure that after you read this article, you'll have more new perspectives and takeaways on clay sculpting tools and their usage.

All the clay sculpting tools and materials introduced in this chapter will be used in our tutorial series on making clay figures out of air dry clay, where you will learn the usage of the different sculpting tools as well as the scenarios of their use. Each step is explained with detailed step-by-step instructions and pictures to ensure you can learn and understand it quickly.

So, let's explore clay sculpting tools and materials next and take your clay crafts to the next level!

Table of Contents

Selection and Use of Clay

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01: Resin Clay, 02: Metallic Resin Clay, 03: XGB Air dry Clay, 04: Lok Clay, 05: Love Clay

Types & Characteristics Of Clay

Air dry Clay

The clay figurine examples in this guide are made using air dry clay. Air dry clay is highly malleable and can be easily molded into various shapes. It also dries quickly and naturally without baking, simplifying the process.
I highly recommend XGB air dry clay, it has a smooth, fine surface texture when molded and doesn't warp when air dried.When creating figurines, using skin clay to mold the facial features and limbs is the ideal choice, as it beautifully captures the smoothness of human skin.

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Metallic Resin Clay

The gold and silver resin clays boast a metallic lustre, making them the preferred choice for creating unique patterns or metallic props. For instance, in the image above, the silver resin clay was used to make the collar, while the gold resin clay was used to create the magical wand components.

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Resin Clay

Translucent resin clay is ideal for making jade and translucent objects (such as the jade flute pictured) or delicate muslin garments.

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Clay Sculpting Tools and Their Usage

Sculpting Tools

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01: Double-sided Round Clay Cutter, 02: Stainless Steel Circular Cutter, 03: Basic Clay Sculpting Tools, 04: Craft Carving Knife, 05: Tweezer, 06: Modeling Ball Tools, 07: Dotting Tool Set, 08: Clay Carving Modeling Tool, 09: Detail Needle, 10: Egg-shaped Auxiliary, 11: Backing Board, 1214: Scissors, 15: Face Mold (Scale), 16: Face Mold (Chibi), 17: Mini Round Cutting Tool, 18: Stainless Steel Blades, 20: Rolling Pin

Double-sided Round Clay Cutter

It is used to cut out round and smooth circles or neat arc edges in clay; its reverse side can press out wavy edges.

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Stainless Steel Circular Cutter

These circle-cutting tools are relatively compact and can cut out semi-circles, circles, concentric circles, and neck round grooves.

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Basic Clay Sculpting Tools

The sculpting tools are used to create lines and marks on clay. It can also be used to press hair and clothing patterns.

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Tweezer

When pasting small objects or working on small corners, it cannot be easy to control with your hands, so you can use tweezers for better precision. Tweezers can also be used when creating wavy edging.

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Craft Carving Knife

Use a carving knife when cutting small objects or shaping small clay shapes.

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Modeling Ball & Dotting Tool

Using a modeling ball and a dotting tool to press a circular depression is the most efficient method, resulting in a smooth depression.

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Carving Modeling Tool

The side of the sculpting tool can be used to create indentations, while the front can be used to smooth the edges of clay.

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Detail Needle

Detail needles have many uses and are commonly employed to adjust clothing pleats. The two ends of the tool are used for different purposes; the round end is suitable for creating wide wrinkles, while the pointed end is suitable for creating delicate pleats.

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Egg-shaped Auxiliary

The egg-shaped auxiliary can help produce arc-shaped clay pieces, often used to make skirts, hats, and hairpieces.

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Backing Board

The backing board can shape long cylindrical objects and flatten thin sheets.

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Scissors

There are three commonly used types of scissors: small for trimming details, large for cutting clay, and curved for decorating the curved shape of clay.

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Face Mold

Many face molds include chibi faces, cute anime faces, and realistic human faces. These molds can quickly produce standard facial shapes.

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Stainless Steel Blades

The long blade is often used to cut long or circular thin slices.

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The shorter blades are easier to control and are preferred for shaping and detailing.

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Mini Round Cutting Tool

The cutting tools are too big when making small circular patterns, so you should choose a needle hole pressure circle tool for production.

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Rolling Pin

A powerful tool for quickly rolling clay into thin sheets. Thin sheets made with a clay rolling pin have a uniform thickness, and the thickness of the sheets can be adjusted.

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Coloring Tools

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01: Acrylic Paint, 02: Clay Eyeshadow Makeup Palette, 03: Memo Pads, 04: Acrylic Paint Brush, 05: Eyeshadow brush, 06: Pencil and Eraser

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint and white clay can be mixed to produce beautiful colors, such as jade. However, their most common use is for painting, which can be used to draw facial features and patterns.

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Professional Pastel Set

Pastel is a material used to color the surface of clay. Its most common use is to brush on red color for skin tone, but it can also be used to create makeup looks.

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Memo Pads

Choose a memo with a thin film layer on the surface, which can be colored on and torn off after use for convenience and efficiency.

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Acrylic Paint Brush

The brush is used to mix the pigments to apply color to the figurines, commonly used for drawing facial features and for drawing some patterns on the clay.

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Eyeshadow Brush

The brush is used to make figurines dip into eyeshadow and apply blush onto the character's skin, making it look rosy and fair.

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Pencil and Eraser

It is often used to draw lines and patterns as drafts.

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Fixation & Bonding Tools

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01 UV lamp, 02 UV glue, 03 B-7000 Glue, 04 502 Super Glue & BYB Nail Glue, 05 School White Glue, 06 Iron Wire, 07 Copper Wire

UV lamp & UV resin

UV light can quickly solidify UV resin. UV resin can be used to create small accessories and combined with accessory materials to create different accessory styles.

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BYB Nail Glue & 502 Superglue

The primary use of 502 super glue is for parts that are difficult to fix together or for positions that require a quick bonding process. With 502 superglue, the bond can be formed within seconds.

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B-7000 Glue

It is mainly used for bonding small decorations and small diamonds. It is a special environmentally friendly adhesive that can be used by simply opening the cap, making it easy to operate. The bonding time is 10-15 minutes, and the material becomes transparent after drying.

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School White Glue

School White Glue is the most widely used and frequent adhesive, with high transparency and good toughness when dry, making it very suitable for bonding clay.

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Iron Wire

Fixed joint connections, such as those found in the arms and the neck, can be adjusted by fixedly securing them with wire to allow for rotation and positional adjustment.

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Copper Wire

Copper wire is slightly thinner than iron wire and can be wrapped in thin clay sheets to make long sticks. In handicrafts, the most common use of copper wire in crafts is to hold legs and as a skeleton support. By inserting the copper wire through the soles of the shoes and crossing it through both legs, the legs can be fixed and kept upright.

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Matting Tools

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01: Craft Cutting Mat, 02: File Folder

Craft Cutting Mat

The Craft Cutting Mat features a non-adhesive clay surface, and its built-in ruler enables precise measurements of your handmade creations.

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File Folder

Plastic film bags can be used as a mat when making figurines with resin clay.

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Place & Dry Tools

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01: Sponge & Foam, 02: Wooden Blocking Board

Wooden Blocking Board

Clay placed on a wooden blocking board will not be squeezed or deformed.
The clay figurines can be fixed on a pinhole wooden board for drying using copper wire.

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Smooth Tools

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01: Sealer Super Gloss, 02: Clay Smooth Water, 03: Alcohol pads

Sealer Super Gloss

Sealer Super Gloss is a water-based varnish that gives clay surfaces a beautiful, glossy finish. It's perfect for enhancing the shine of leather shoes and other shiny accessories. You can also apply it to painted eyes to create a watery, transparent effect, adding a lifelike quality to your creations. So why try Gloss Clay Varnish today and elevate your clay creations to the next level?

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Clay Smooth Water

When clay blocks are joined, there may be a trace left. Brushing a layer of smoothing water over the seam line and readjusting it will remove the trace.

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Alcohol Pad

The seam can be wiped clean with an alcohol pad after brushing with soothing water. If there is dirt on the surface of the clay, it can also be removed with an alcohol pad.

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Decorative Tools

Decorative Materials

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01: Textured Molds, 02: Metal chips, 03: Semi-circle-shaped Pearl, 04: Crystal Diamond, 05: Caviar Beads, 06: Bubble Bead

Textured Molds

Roll the clay into thin strips, cover it onto the mold, and gently press it to create the woven texture easily.

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Metal chips

Stick these metal flakes on belts and headpieces to adorn clothing or create headwear.

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Semi-circle-shaped Pearl

Half-circle-shaped pearls can be used as decorations and stuck onto corresponding positions.

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Crystal Diamond

The usage of crystal diamonds and semi-circular pearls is the same, but different decorations are chosen according to the needs of the craft.

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Caviar Beads

Fish roe beads are much smaller than bubble beads and are opaque. They have the same usage as bubble beads.

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Bubble Bead

The material of bubble beads is semi-transparent, and the particles are round and commonly used as accessory materials.

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Dried Flowers

Dried flowers are used to make decorations for statues. Small dried flowers are usually purchased. In the case study in this guide, dried flowers were used to create a flower basket and a small red flower branch in the Chinese style.

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Summary

This chapter describes some of the common tools and materials used in clay art and how they are used, most of the above materials and tools you can get from our online store.

I am sure you can't wait to start sculpting your clay art now! Don't worry, in the next chapter we will cover some of the basics of clay sculpting and some simple practices.

So, join us, and let's get started!

The Complete Guide to Beginner Clay Sculpting Tools and Their Usage (2024)
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