Bread Clay is a modeling compound that is quick and easy to make. Best of all, you probably already have all of the necessary ingredients. I originally found the recipe for this substance online several years ago. At that time, I tried some of it out on a Castlevania sculpture (a large bone golem by the name of Angel Mummy), but, I didn't like the results and started the project over again using papier mache instead. Flashing forward to the present, I was looking through my Microsoft WordPad file of homemade clay recipes and decided to give Bread Clay another go, the results of which you can see further down this page.
Materials you will need:
(This recipe makes a roughly 1-1/4" sphere of Bread Clay.)
One slice of white bread (with the crust removed).
- One teaspoon of water.
- One teaspoon of white glue.
Pour the teaspoon of water and teaspoon of white glue into the center of your de-crusted slice of white bread (it helps to wipe the bowl of the spoon clean with the surface of the bread itself, to get all of the sticky white glue out).
White glue looks a lot like mayonnaise, no?
- Fold the now-soggy bread, water, and white glue up into a ball and start kneading and rolling it around in between your hands. At first it will be VERY sticky and messy--that's normal. If it spreads out all over your hands, instead of staying in a ball, don't panic, just keep rubbing your hands together, it will start collecting into semi-solid masses again once you've kneaded it enough. You will have to manipulate it for several minutes, but, eventually, it will become smoother, lose the stickiness, and take on the appearance and feel of dough/clay.
This is what your finished Bread Clay should look like.
- Once you get it to the proper consistency, you can use it immediately or store it away for later use (it should last for several days in an airtight container--but don't hold onto it for too long or it will almost certainly develop mold, and you'll have nasty Penicillin Clay instead of Bread Clay). I like to wrap mine up in plastic wrap, and then stick that inside of a small ziploc bag for double protection.
- The clay should harden overnight if you leave whatever you model with it out to air dry. The finished piece should also be painted, or some other type of sealer applied, if you want to protect your work for posterity.
Four, quick, temporary figures I made as examples on 3/7/11. Clockwise from top left: Cat, hand, fish, and jester. None of these has an armature/support inside; they're just Bread Clay.
Bread Clay dries out relatively quickly when exposed to air (it gets leathery), so you won't have a lot of working time. It helps if you keep any portion you're not immediately using covered. Slightly wetting an area that's getting too dry with a bit of water on your fingertips can also help make it more malleable again.
You can tint your Bread Clay by adding a few drops of food coloring.
I used aluminum foil, wrapped around a metal rod, as an armature/filler when I modeled this bust. My hands, a sewing needle, and scissors were the only tools I used to shape the clay. Incidentally, while it looks nice layered like this, I wouldn't recommend doing hair in that manner if you're going to paint the locks, because it's extremely difficult to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies.
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