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· Witch-Finder of Lilburn
2,012 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is how to make small barnacles out of polymer clay. It's kind of a no-brainer, except my unhelpful brain told me it wouldn't -couldn't - work, so I didn't try it for a long time.

First, sculpt some small barnacles out of polymer clay. LOL Yeah, you have to start with something. I used this pic on Wikipedia as a reference. Or think of tiny little ridged volcanoes, but instead of a caldera deep down, stop just below the vent and make a slit. You can use the end of a paintbrush and an exacto knife. I made four different sizes, plus a "limpet," but have only reproduced three so far. I used original Sculpey. Bic for size reference, and each of those squares on my mat is 1/2".

You know what to do: 15 minutes at 270 degrees F. Take them out and let them cool.

Once they cool, get some Super Sculpey or some other brand of polymer clay that is more firm and less sticky than original Sculpey. I don't think Sculpey 3 would work, it is the stickiest stuff known to man or Cthulhu.

Make impressions basically, by putting the Super Sculpey on the barnacles you just made, one at a time, and shape it into stamps with little handles. Try to make the rims as thin as you can -- you will see why farther down. Then you will probably need a pin or something to remove the barnacles. Be gentle - this is the most delicate and important part. Bic for size reference.

Stand your stamps up mushroom-style and bake them. Now you are ready to make some barnacles, much faster.

Get a wad of soft polymer clay (again I used original Sculpey). Knead and flatten it to the approximate size of the area you want to cover with oceanic parasites.

Spray the inside of your stamps with water.

Start with the largest stamp and press a few times in the middle of the wad. Then use the next smaller size farther outward. Then at the edges, use the smallest stamp. Try to allow little or no space between the barnacles. Here is where I kicked myself for not making the rim of my stamps thinner. The thicker the rim is, the more obvious it will be how you did this, evidenced by the big empty perimeter around each barnacle. Also, the slit I made for the barnacle "mouths" didn't really work so well. You might have to cut those manually. Bic for overkill.

Then use your favorite tool to cut off the fringe. There you have it. If you don't make the rim too thick like I did, you're ready to bake and paint and glue, hambone. Kinda quick and dirty, but easy and fun. The barnacles in this pic took me about 3 minutes, from kneading the Sculpey and spraying the stamps to peeling it off the mat. Human hand for size reference. Bic for lighting pipe.


Notice the sheen on my cutting mat? That's because I'm working on a clear sheet of plastic, cut from some packaging or other, taped to the mat with artist's quick-release tape. I can't tell you what a helpful epiphany that was. You can see your grid, you don't get clay smeared into your mat, and you can remove the plastic (with your work on it) and deftly curve it around etc. while you work with a knife to make a smooth transition from board to cookie sheet.

· Registered
14 Posts
One technique I have used is to put parchment paper (the kind used for cooking) under the scupley. That way you don't have to transfer it to another surface to cook it. Make your barnacles then just put the parchment paper on a cookie sheet and into the oven

· Volat cum ea suas alas.
12,787 Posts
I spent most of my early 20's **avoiding** catching barnacles from various ports I visited...hehehehheh.

This is a very good idea & made even better as it can be used to make other stuff...thanks for posting it!
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