July Fairy – Sculpting The Baby Body

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July Fairy Baby armature 2It’s polymer clay fairy baby body sculpting time! This is part 4 in the July Fairy Baby sculpting series. Catch the previous posts to see how this baby got her armature and face.

  1. Sculpting the Baby Head
  2. Sculpting the Facial Features and Ears
  3. Building the Body Armature

Adding Clay To The Armature

July Fairy Baby mixed clayClay doesn’t always stick to non-clay surfaces, and so it can be a tricky process adding the first layer of clay to a foil armature. Once again, this was made easier by using a softened mix of polymer clay and TLS (translucent liquid sculpey.)

I covered the armature with clay ‘pancakes’ till the foil was  no longer visible. I created a basic body shape to ensure that I had the right amount of clay. Given the clays softness I fully expect the body to disfigure as I work on the other features.

July Fairy Baby padding torsoJuly Fairy Baby torso pancakesJuly Fairy Baby large torso

Sculpting the Pre-Limbs

July Fairy Baby leg placement

I added small blobs of clay to the lower hand wire to form the basic hand shape. This was much more difficult since the thin wire makes it too easy for the clay to slip off.

I then added to ‘logs’ of polymer clay for the thighs.

From this point forward I feel like I’m in fully uncharted territory. I have sculpted a similarly shaped baby once before but I didn’t push much focus into the limb details. I pushed, pulled, and manipulated the clay for over an hour trying to get the buttocks to look ‘just right’. Alas, the soft clay was proving too tricky and the fingerprints were appearing faster than I could wipe them away.

Another big issue is the accumulation of lint and fibers. I purposely wore a white t-shirt, yet the colored fibers kept finding their way into the clay. I won’t let this bother me too much right now since my focus is learning the skill rather than creating a perfect sculpture. One day I will learn how to eliminate fibers from the clay…

In the future I will use less TLS in the clay used for the body so that it’s stiffer and harder to disfigure while working.

July Fairy Baby sculpting buttocks July Fairy Baby forming body


Another challenge I uncovered is sculpting the legs next to each other without them attaching to form one big blob. I chose to leave the upper legs for  now, and inserted a small piece of baking paper between them to prevent sticking.

July Fairy Baby separating legs July Fairy Baby clay covered torso hand and thighs

One final detail to address before starting on the limbs.

July Fairy Baby sculpting the bodyI formed the supporting arm wire to the full arm length. But now that I think about it, it’ll be tough to sculpt the fingers of the wire. And so I removed the temporary ‘mitten’ where the hand will go, cut the wire. and added a fresh mitten.

Alas I once again ran out of sculpting time. I don’t know where the time went… this session took a good few hours. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

I set the baby to nap on my sculpting glass, loosely covered in saran wrap for protection.

July Fairy Baby covered for later

To Be Continued…

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  1. Judy says

    I love that you are doing these sculpting posts. Not only is seeing your step by step process helpful its also inspiring. You mentioned on the PCE Team of Etsy Facebook page that you are going to sculpt your way through Maureen Carlson’s Fairies, Gnomes & Trolls book. I have some orders to complete first, but I think I am going to join you on that journey.

    One trick for helping the clay stick to wire, and this may work for foil as well, is the TLS, but spread some on and then use a heat gun to almost cure it. I was checking out the beautiful sculptures that Jamie Lee Dolls does. In the sculpture I was looking at she was working on the hands and they were only partly finished. It looked like there was something on the wire and when I inquired she responded that she coats them with the TLS and then uses the heat gun. Since then I have used this myself, and while you CAN break loose the cured TLS if you are not careful, I find it works great to keep your clay from twisting around on the wire.

    • MagicByLeah says

      Thank you for your kind words Judy. I look forward to having you jump in on this journey. I’m actually thinking of doing a group Pinterest board so others can pin their journey pics as well.
      And thanks so much for the tip on wire and TLS. I love the concept and will have to try it. I have an embossing gun but expect it may not be hot enough. I do use genesis paints so perhaps I’ll invest in a genesis gun and try it. (invest for paint, try this for fun 😉

  2. Ann Marie Donovan says

    I enjoyed this. it’s something I feel going back to it to confer what the process is step by step. Thank you.

  3. Janice walker says

    Hi Leah

    I’ve been folowing this sculpt with you but can’t find anything about the rest of her legs,arms tec. Can you help?


    PS I love your tutorials as they are so honest and easy to follow too.

    • MagicByLeah says

      Thanks Janice. I never did get around to finishing this one… moving and life got in the way. I’m sculpting some more now but not a baby at the moment

  4. Darlene says

    What a little cutie 🙂 I’m curious as to whether or not you are covering the wires and foil with anything. I have been reading that you need to cover them because if you don’t there could be an issue with color later on. I have been using masking tape lately and it really helps to keep the clay from wiggling around too much.

    • MagicByLeah says

      I’ve seen the masking tape strategy but haven’t tried it yet. If you use a non-corrosive wire I don’t see it being an issue. My first sculpture with an armature is from a few years ago and I haven’t noticed any negative effects

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