So after hours of work, you’ve sculpted a masterpiece of detail onto one of your toys. But alas, it is still soft. Worry not my dear friends, for I shall teach you a safe way to cure the sculpting clay without damaging the toy it’s put on.
The first and most obvious solution is to sculpt with a self-curing 2-part epoxy. These epoxy are usually for fixing leaks and can be found in most dollar stores. The unfortunate thing is you’ll have roughly 15 minutes to sculpt before it becomes too hard to use. I myself prefer Sculpey sculpting clay.
Now the instructions on the clay will say to bake it at 275’F (130’C) for fifteen minutes for every 1/4th inch of clay. Don’t. You’ll end up with this after just five minutes:
For the record, it’s not supposed to be that shiny and those are supposed to be 90 degree angles. Yikes. The clay couldn’t even stand up to its own weight. Boiling produces similar effects, although with much less pronounced aethetic warping. Bare in mind boiling can still produce irreversable warping to key joints, leaving a toy unassembleable.
So I thought long and hard. Was a tough puzzle to crack: to expose the clay to enough heat to cure without making the plastic warp from said heat. Then someone bugged me to play a game with them via Steam. That’s when inspiration struck!
Behold the power of steam! Also my dirty stove, but that’s not important. You boil the water on the highest setting leaving the sculpting clay just over the water’s surface via your ingenious tether system. I did roughly 1/4th an inch of clay for this test and it took roughly an hour of constant steaming to cure. It was still a tiny bit soft on top but that went away when I sanded it. Over the course of the hour you will need to refill the water, as it will lower over time. Once you pour more in, try to not count the time for it to start boiling again. Also try not to make the “I’m running out of steam” pun. That can happen totally by accident.
This is the safest way to cure the clay without damaging the plastic. Any warping of the plastic that does occur will only resemble a minor quality control issue and will be easilly fixed with some sandpaper or super glue.
Powers trains, cooks broccoli, moisturizes your face, downloads games, and now cures sculpting clay. Is there anything steam can’t do?