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Cracking hands

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  • aethelberga
    I have worked with polymer clay for a while, but am just starting to sculpt dolls. When I am making hands over wire armatures (floral wire wrapped with floral
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 2, 2006
      I have worked with polymer clay for a while, but am just starting to
      sculpt dolls. When I am making hands over wire armatures (floral wire
      wrapped with floral tape) the fingers are cracking. I am assuming this
      is because the metal in the wire expanding when it is heated, but if I
      am supposed to use wire armatures what can I do about it? I looked
      around and can find no one else who has commented on this problem
      My top two guesses are 1) I am using sculpey and it is too soft (just
      FYI, I am using sculpey because I am just learning and I have a ton of
      the stuff to use up) or 2) floral wire is not suited to this and maybe
      I should use a metal that does not expand as much.
      Any dollmakers out there care to weigh in on this topic?

      Vickie
    • Alan Vernall
      Hi Vickie, I ve used that floristry tape for other non clay crafts and was quite surprised by how variable the amounts of wax in it were. I ve assumed that the
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 2, 2006
        Hi Vickie,

        I've used that floristry tape for other non clay crafts and was quite
        surprised by how variable the amounts of wax in it were. I've assumed
        that the wax is in the crepe paper to make it stick to itself when
        it's exposed to hand heat.

        I'm wondering if the wax is vaporising at the claybake heat and its
        expansion is causing the cracking as it tries to escape. It's
        extremely unlikely to be metal expansion that's causing the trouble,
        unless you're using very thick wire and very little Sculpey3 over it.

        Of all the commonly available wires, galvanised steel (like florists
        wire) has one of the lowest coefficients of thermal expansion - so
        I'd stay with that.

        Try aluminium foil as a shaping agent rather than the paper/wax tape -
        it may well solve the problem (I've used Al foil over steel
        floristry wire for very spindly insect parts with no problems of clay
        cracking - but that was with a Fimo/Premo mix)

        Good luck in finding the soluton.

        Alan

        --- In UKPolyClay@yahoogroups.com, "aethelberga" <aethelberga@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I have worked with polymer clay for a while, but am just starting
        to
        > sculpt dolls. When I am making hands over wire armatures (floral
        wire
        > wrapped with floral tape) the fingers are cracking. I am assuming
        this
        > is because the metal in the wire expanding when it is heated, but
        if I
        > am supposed to use wire armatures what can I do about it? I looked
        > around and can find no one else who has commented on this problem
        > My top two guesses are 1) I am using sculpey and it is too soft
        (just
        > FYI, I am using sculpey because I am just learning and I have a ton
        of
        > the stuff to use up) or 2) floral wire is not suited to this and
        maybe
        > I should use a metal that does not expand as much.
        > Any dollmakers out there care to weigh in on this topic?
        >
        > Vickie
        >
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