How to Repair Baked Clay That Darkens
by Judy (Judith Lynn Originals)
(Livonia, Michigan, USA)
How do you repair an already baked object so the new clay isn't a different color?
I'm working on a baby figurine. Sounds awful but the head (being done separately) fell off its perch and landed at the bottom of the oven. By the time I got all the oven racks removed and got to the head the cheek had been scorched. I scraped off the discoloration and was left with a 'pockmarked' hole. I mixed a thick paste with my flesh color clay and Kato liquid poly clay and packed the 'hole' and smoothed the edges. It came out great! You wouldn't notice anything wrong if it weren't for the fact that this repaired section is noticeably lighter in color. Is there a way to fix this besides relying on a paint wash? For future reference, should I have repaired this one in a different manner?
Pic 1 - you can see the baby's Right cheek is darker. It originally was lighter, but I've used pastel chalks to darken it up a bit. I decided when I couldn't get the cheek right I would have the baby laying on its side in the basket.
Pic 2 - full body. Since the body was added after the head was baked it is several shades lighter. Aside from painting is there another way to make sure the clay is the correct shade when adding it to cooked clay?
Thank you so much for your help.
By the way - I wouldn't have attempted the baby if I hadn't followed your how to sculpt a female face tutorial.
So, thank you for that too.
You're welcome and thank you! :) Lovely sculpture Judy :)
Ah yes, I remember this problem from the days I was using Super Sculpey or Prosculpt. One important factor you need to remember when working with these clays is the more times you bake the clay, the darker it gets.
So what do you do about it?
Firstly, you need to do everything possible to ensure you have a perfect bake first time round. Make sure the armature for the doll is very solid and that the ooak doll is very stable in the oven. Make sure when you're sculpting that no areas of the clay are too thick. Bulk it out where you can because really thick clay can crack. Also, to help prevent the clay from burning, you can create an aluminum dome to place over the polymer clay.
If despite all of this something still goes wrong then there are measures you can take.
Firstly you will need to repair the clay. If it's a crack, carve out the crack so it's wide enough for you to putty it up- reaching as deep as the crack goes. Using a paint brush, brush a thin layer of Fimo Gel or Translucent Liquid Sculpey into the crack. Then you can fill the crack with clay and smooth into the baked sculpture.
This is where it can get a little tricky. Find some paper towels, something that isn't too textured or thick (cheaper paper towels or napkins may be suitable). Spray the towel with water until it's damp and you're able to carefully wrap up the sculpture with it. Cover the entire doll with the paper towel (apply the towel in slightly smaller pieces if the doll is small). HOWEVER, be sure to leave the areas of raw clay exposed. The raw clay should get the full heat whilst the already baked clay should be insulated enough not to darken.
This is a very tricky process and I cannot guarantee that it will work perfectly every time, but it should help.
Double check the temperature of the oven (using an oven thermometer) to ensure you're not simply baking at too high a temperature- as this will also cause substantial browning, especially in these particular clays.
You can help the problem with the darker head than the body by sculpting the entire sculpture and baking only once- rather than series baking. However, it takes an awful lot of skill to do this as handling the sculpture becomes a lot more difficult. This strategy isn't for the faint of heart.
If all else fails, then yes, you will have to blush the pale clay to suit the shade of the darker clay. This should be your last resort though because it doesn't usually give a flawless finish.
Ultimately, I would recommend using a clay that is a bit less fussy, such as Puppen Fimo or Cernit
. Neither of those clays have a tendency to darken, and although the finish looks slightly more polished than the other clays, they cut out A LOT of hassle.