Introduction: How to Make a Mini 3D Clay Sculpture

Lets learn how to make a 3D clay sculpture!

Step 1: Create Your 3D Shape!

What you will need:

1) Clay

2) Spray Bottle and Plastic

3) Carving tool and Needle tool

4) Pen and Paper

A) You can use any type of Clay. I use earthenware because we use this in our clay studio. You could also use stoneware, porcelain, Fimo or self drying clay. Wedge the clay by pressing down on the clay and rotating it. This is essential if you are using a Kiln. Do not fold over the clay like a pancake. This will make air bubbles. Wedging removes the air bubbles that can cause your piece to break in the kiln.

B) Pick one of the following shapes to start with: a sphere, a pyramid, a cone or a cube

C) Gradually shape your clay into the shape you decide on. Smooth out all corners, surface and angles. If clay starts to dry out use a tiny bit of water. Remember that water weakens clay so adding to much will weaken your shape and make a mess.

D) Your fingers should start to get tired from all that smoothing. Once you are happy with your shape set it aside.

Step 2: Draw Out Your Design!

Draw your shape from all sides. A cube has six sides so draw each side including the top and the bottom. Now start to get rid of sections of the shape. It helps to shade the sections you want to remove on your paper. I would suggest connecting the lines from side to side. Your sculpture should be continuous not static.

Note: If your piece is going in a kiln not one single area can be over 1/4 of an inch to 1/2 an inch think. If your piece is too think it will break in the kiln.

Step 3: Draw on Your Design

Draw your design onto your clay using a pencil. This will make a small indent. Draw the corresponding design on each side.

Step 4: Start Carving!

Start carving out your design using a carving tool and/or needle tool. Go slow and take your time. Make connections between the sides. Make a hole that goes through your piece and have fun.

Step 5: Tips for Carving

Keep rotating your shape and carving away and hollowing out your shape. Think about carving away a lot of clay in some areas and not as much in others. Its okay if you make a hole, this will only add to your piece.

Step 6:

Remember you want your shape to look interesting from all angles. Each section should continue into the next!

Step 7: What If I Want to Take a Break?

If you need a break and want to continue working on the project at another time. Spray the clay with water or dip the sculpture in a bucket of water quickly (Do not let the sculpture sit in water this will ruin it, remember water weakens and breaks down clay). Then wrap the moistened sculpture in plastic. You will need to rewet the sculpture if you want it to sit for more than one day.

Step 8: Almost Finished

When finished remove any extra clay you don't want. I added a texture onto the surface of my sculpture by lightly scratching the surface. You could also smooth all the areas out with your finger or the tip of a paintbrush for smaller areas. To create a shiny surface use a smooth polished stone to burnish your piece. Burnishing creates a shiny surface area. To do this take the flat part of the stone and rub the stone gently in circiles on your piece of pottery.

Finally set it out to dry. If its going in a kiln make sure its completely dry before the firing process. The clay should not feel cold to the touch. If it feels cold there is still water that need to evaporate from the clay before it can be fired.