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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
"Bulking out" is a term used in the polymer clay world that means creating a substrate underneath your clay projects that allows the sculptor to reduce the amount needed for a project. Generally, per 1/4" of thickness of clay, a baking time of 15 minutes is required for best results. There are two types of armatures that exist - removable and non-removable. Below is a way that I found to make cornstarch packing peanut armatures easy to remove thus creating hollow clay sculptures. A step by step is probably not necessary but they are easy for me to follow.

How to make an easily removable only if you need to make a hollow polymer clay sculpture. Please read notes first at the bottom.

Before I get started, I am not a pro at this. If anyone has a suggestion please let me know - thanks in advance.

Materials:

  • Cornstarch packing peanuts - they have to be cornstarch
  • Latex gloves
  • Cup of water
  • a work surface that can get messy
  • common sense
Steps:

  1. resist eating the peanuts - they are supposedly OK to accidentally consume but don't eat a bowl of them. i tried one just because (and too much PBR) and it tastes like unleavened bread.
  2. put the gloves on
  3. grab some packing peanuts
  4. dip fingers in water
    • use as little water as possible because you can always add more but too much will ruin the peanuts.
    • a little water will make the cornstarch pliable and sticky.
  5. work the peanuts around in your fingers as you carefully wet it down into a rough shape of your sculpture. this material MIGHT expand so experiment with the next step.
  6. when done, let the peanut glob air dry out.
  7. sculpt your clay around it
  8. bake clay according to the manufacturer instructions (see note below)
  9. when ready to remove the armature, soak it in water (2 hours for me). you may have to wash out or stab around to get the cornstarch globs out.
** NOTES REGARDING FIRE

  • If baked according to the clay instructions, the peanuts will not catch fire in the oven. mine didn't up to 275 degrees
  • take the safety precautions necessary though before doing this
 

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I've tasted those starch packing peanuts, too, and don't even have the excuse of too much PBR to justify it:D

This is a clever use of materials. I can believe the part about being careful of too much water. Doesn't take much to dissolve those starchy peanuts.

You might want to add the part about baking the sculpt before soaking it in water to your listed directions, just so it's more obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've tasted those starch packing peanuts, too, and don't even have the excuse of too much PBR to justify it:D

This is a clever use of materials. I can believe the part about being careful of too much water. Doesn't take much to dissolve those starchy peanuts.

You might want to add the part about baking the sculpt before soaking it in water to your listed directions, just so it's more obvious.
phew, i'm glad someone ate them too! the smell compelled me and they were pretty good with beer :). my fiancee was in shock when she saw me eating them HAHA. it was a Kodak moment.

i will add the baking part i reluctantly left out. today's world is so weird with disclaimers and pointing blame for harm elsewhere :)
 

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Dude, this is genius. I can think of all sorts of projects where I would want a core for polymer clay that I can get rid of. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Dude, this is genius. I can think of all sorts of projects where I would want a core for polymer clay that I can get rid of. Thanks!
hope it helps man. i am using the technique for little 1" jack-o-lanterns for my groom's table. i want them hollow so i can put tealight LEDs in them and wire them all to a single power source and switch

these are my jack o lanterns. the one on the very left is not hollow and the first thing i've ever sculpted. they get increasingly better. you see tin foil in the ones on the right. that was before i had the revelation using cornstarch.
 

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I would have NEVER thought about using the cornstarch peanuts, what a brilliant idea!

These are so cute!
 
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