Hi all! We’re talking about all the different clay sculpting tools and their uses. What they look like, what each of them do, and which of them you really need.
You know when you go through your closet one day, one search leads to another, and you discover things you’d forgotten or didn’t know you had?
Well I came across all of my old sculpting tools. They still look as good as they did when I last used them, of course I took good care of them.
I was taking classes and we were required to have a set with all of them included. Some of them I used more than others.
Prior to then I used to get into air dry clay, for the obvious reason, I wasn’t going to need to worry about having an expensive kiln. My creations would become fully formed in a matter of days – cool, right? I used to have some dark orangy red terra cotta color and some that was a plain slate gray, I liked the terra cotta for coming up with Southwest-inspired designs.
It was pliable, and easy to knead. Now it wasn’t all sunshine and roses – every now and then I would have a piece that would show cracks forming (mainly smaller pieces) but I learned how to remedy that problem.
List of Sculpting Tools
The tools I am abut to show and talk about are good for the air dry variety or the kind that can be fired. I use much smaller, daintier tools for polymer clay since I make things that are smaller and I want to focus more on detail.
And now, onto the tools. Pardon my little helper there in the picture; she always gets interested in anything new I trot out of the closet or storage. All of these tools are made for clay work. They are somewhat different from the tools I used to do this work here. I numbered them all, you can read up on the different tools and what they are used for.
1-5 Wooden carving/shaping tools
Mine are made of wood, they are used for various shaping maneuvers. Notice how they all have different shaped ends?
More varying size and shape tools They do the same, in different ways.
11 – Double ended ribbon tool
A wooden tool that has hollow scooped at both ends and is used for detail work.
12 – Needle tool
This baby is used for very minute details, and etching out cross marks for joining coils of clay together as the marks helped “rough up” the surface better enabling it to stick. I used this tool a good bit. I also like that has a protective cap since it’s sharp.
13 – Loop tool
It’s similar to the double ended one, but with one end and larger. It is good for hollowing out clay in various areas.
14 – Sponge
Self-explanatory. Moisten it to re-wet parts of a work in progress. This one like many, is synthetic, but there are some sponges made from real sea life matter too.
15 – Potter’s Rib
This little spade shaped object with a small hole in the center is used by potters as they work with a slab on the wheel to produce a smoother finish.
16 – Cutoff wire
This long wire piece with wooden handles is used to cut slabs of clay.
17 – Scraper
This device is made of metal and works kind of like the potter’s rib, only it may produce a cleaner edge around the object.
This Starter Sculpting Tool Set is Perfect For Beginners
When I did some research today I checked out various tool sets, comparing them with mine, and comparing with others to see which had the most to offer based on quality and which tools were included.
Truth be told you don’t need a gazillion tools to get started, if you have most or all of those in the list above, you will have everything you need. This one here comes with a nice zippered carrying case too!
For less than $20 at the time of writing, you can have all of what you need and none of what you don’t.
And now, here is one of my old early projects from school. This is a tissue box. I attempted to do a little bas-relief with the front designs. I also blinged it up a little. This is the real deal, it’s been fired and everything.
Good luck sculpting!