Our friend Eileen is back with another guest post, and this time she shows us how she made an adorable rabbit sculpture from a new sculpting material called Pal Tiya. It isn’t quite finished (she’ll be painting the bunny in a few weeks) but she agreed to show it to us now because I couldn’t wait to see it. We’ll get a second peek after the outdoor rabbit sculpture is painted. Thanks, Eileen, for writing this for us!
How I made my outdoor rabbit sculpture.
©2017 Eileen Gallagher
Recently, Pal Tiya has come to the USA and some of us have been itching to try it out.
One of the biggest problems with our beloved paper mache is that we have not been able to figure out how to make it weather proof. In comes Pal Tiya! It is totally weather proof, impervious to cold and heat and most importantly, to water.
I learned a few things, would do things a bit differently next time. The Pal Tiya people have some excellent videos and information on their website which I strongly encourage you to view prior to attempting your first project. Here is the link: http://www.paltiya.com/
An armature needs to be prepared prior to any clay work.
- tin foil,
- hot glue gun and sticks,
- reference photo if desired,
- a base covered in tin foil. I used a scrap piece of wood.
Make an armature similar to the way we make the armature for paper mache. Use tin foil instead of crumpled up newpaper as the heavier clay will need a sturdier base. The use of wire and other supports are not needed unless you will be doing very large, climbable sculptures.
I decided on doing a rabbit, found a reference for the pose I wanted and made the armature out of tin foil. Start out loosely packing the tin foil and then press in later for details.
I started off with a cardboard tube to work around so I would have something to build upon. For the ears, I folded up several layers of the tin foil to make it really strong. This was the one area that I could see a weakness in my design. I did not know if the ears would hold up once the clay was applied, or if they would collapse. They did not! Yay!
Sculpting with Pal Tiya
- PalTiya(I used the 8 lb box),
- water in container,
- disposable bowl for mixing,
- latex gloves,
- drop cloth,
- measuring tools,
- sculpting tools,
- spray bottle with water,
- armature on base.
Wear old clothes as it does have cement in it.
My sculpture is about 1 foot high and I opted to make small amounts of the Pal Tiya at one time instead of using a mixer. Kim Beaton has a good video on her website telling just how to mix a small amount. Follow her directions exactly to get the right consistency to work.
First, I covered the whole thing with a thin layer of Pal Tiya. It is supposed to start out about 5mls thick which is slightly less than ¼ inch- pretty thin!
I then started on the details, starting with the face, ears and forepaws. Occasionally, spray the sculpture with water to keep it moist. Continue adding on until the sculpture is done. Fine tune your details.
In paper mache, we want our sculptures to dry quickly, not so with Pal Tiya. When you are done sculpting, spray the whole thing with water and cover with a plastic bag for 1 day.
The following day, spray it again and cover with a wet towel, cover with the bag again. This is why you need a base, so you can move it to a safe place. Now it must sit for an entire week. Pal Tiya needs to cure slowly to be as strong as possible. They say it is 80% cured in the first week, totally cured in one month.
patience is needed to wait the week and resist peeking. Here are a few pictures of the finished rabbit.
It is blotchy in color which appears to be lessening as it cures. Obviously some areas were thicker and wetter than others. Eventually the color will all be the same.
It is a fun sculpture medium that is more like sculpting in ceramic clay than in making a paper mache project. It is pliable, does not crumble and it does do exactly what you want it to do. When mixed properly, it is easy to add and subtract clay as needed. You can see the fibers when mixing but not so much when sculpting. I did not mind the fibers as my sculpture is furry anyway.
Gloves too thin – I ran into some difficulties with using the gloves because my gloves were too thin. Doubling up on gloves solved that problem.
Do your project indoors – I had started the project outside. It was a cool, overcast day and I thought to keep the mess outdoors. Not a good idea…before long the sun came out, the wind kicked up and started the sculpture drying out too quickly. In I went, making double the mess, oh well.
Print your reference photo – Another problem I had was that my reference photo was on an Ipad. I would advise to print one out because the Ipad kept timing out and you can’t touch the screen with cement on your gloves!
Finish in 2 hours – With Pal Tiya you get about 2 hours of manipulation time for the initial sculpt. I had wanted to finish the project the first go around and I had just enough time to do that. I probably would have spent more time on the fur details but it was getting too hard to make the marks that I wanted. You are able to go back and add some more the next day if you score the area you want to add to. For the first project, I just wanted to complete it on the same day.
Added note – make sure to use outdoor hose to clean up tools and the like. Cement can/will clog your pipes.
In all, a fun medium. In a few weeks I will paint the rabbit and will update you with photos. Happy sculpting and if you choose to try this medium, please remember to send pictures!
All the best,