This is a reader-supported site. When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for your support! 🙂
African Animals Pattern Set.
Save $10 when you buy this three-pattern set. Use the patterns to create memorable gifts, or to bring a little bit of Africa to your own home
A package of WED clay arrived in the mail a few days ago, and I used it for this silly Goblin portrait.
Maybe I’ll use it to make mask, (with some feathers added), and maybe I won’t – I really just wanted to get my hands in the clay.
WED Clay feels good when you’re working with it, and it’s a lot of fun to push the clay around to see what happens. Just a tiny change will create an entirely different expression, and with this clay you can make changes really fast.
The book shown in the video is called Goblins, by Brian Froud. I collect books with photos or drawings of interesting, unusual faces, and this is one of my favorites.
My sculpture was inspired by one of the goblins in the book, but I didn’t try to make an exact copy. That wouldn’t even be possible because I used my home-made skull form underneath the WED Clay. The goblin in the book has a much shorter face (and no chin), and it’s adorable – to get that look I would need to cut the chin off the form, and I didn’t feel like going to that much trouble. 😉
I bought my WED Clay from amazon.com because my local pottery supply store doesn’t carry it. It’s made by the Laguna Clay company, and was originally developed for Walt Disney’s theme parks. Great stuff!
However, if you want to make a mask, you’d probably want to use an oil-based clay or the unfired Super Sculpey that I used to make the masks in my book about how to make a mask. The WED Clay will leave a grey residue on the inside of your mask, but the oil-based clay or Sculpey comes out clean.
It would be fun to try making a latex mask someday, but maybe another time. 😉
20 thoughts on “Making a Goblin Portrait with WED Clay”
I am making a 3 foot hight giant puppet head. I am currently trying to build the armature but I will eventually use the process you are describing by using WED clay and then paper mache clay for the actual mask. I am wondering what you would recommend for building an armature for a mask this size?
Hi Michael. I’d probably stuff a large plastic bag with old newspapers or bubble wrap, and then cover it with masking tape so the WED clay will hold onto it so you can sculpt your mask. Or tape on a sheet of aluminum foil, and then use hot glue to add some of the larger details, like the nose, so you don’t need so much clay. The hot glue would melt the plastic, of course, but the foil should protect it. Maybe masking tape would, too – I’ve never tried doing something like this, so I’m not sure.
I hope you’ll let us see that huge head when it’s done!
I find him very interesting, he has a very kind face.
To me it would be a great wall sculpture just like that .
But I also like the idea of a hat like the lady said before me.
This stuff looks great where can I get it and is it waterproof Jonni
I bought mine on Amazon. But no, it isn’t waterproof. It’s intended to be used the same way you’d use an oil-based modeling clay. You would do your sculpture with the WED clay and then create a mold. The casting would be the final sculpture. You could use it as part of the process for creating a waterproof sculpture, though. You would do the final casting in resin or concrete, and you’d have an exact copy of the sculpt you made with the WED clay.
Jonni I was wondering when you are applying the plaster bandages are you applying to the clay so the plaster easily releases from the clay? I want to reuse my WED clay but I am scared to apply vaseline ect… because it might ruin the reusable properties of WED clay. Thank you so much for replying and can I see a finished product of what this might look like? Thank you
Hi Laura. If you apply the plaster bandage directly on the clay, it will get plaster in it. You can usually scrape most of it off, but it isn’t easy. A good way to protect the clay is to lay some kitchen plastic wrap over it. you can spritz it with water to get the plastic to stick to itself and lay flat where it overlaps. You can see me doing that in this video I made about my African mask.
Where can I get this clay Jonni do you make it to sell
I can see him with a red hat on and being a garden gnome his face is amazing. Is the WED clay air drying? You have given me something else to think about Jonni!
I love the hat idea, Penelope.
The WED clay will air dry, but it will soften up again as soon as it gets wet. This clay isn’t intended for making a permanent sculpture. It’s used in place of an oil-based modeling clay to create an original, and then a mold of some kind is created and the mold is used to cast the final permanent sculpture. If you need a clay that will dry hard and waterproof, this would not be a good choice.
Oh I see. Gosh, there are a lot of products out there now for one thing and another. I can see you with a lot of these masks in all sorts of guises. Thanks for sharing with us.
Yes – there are so many wonderful art supplies that it would take a lifetime to play with all of them. But wouldn’t’ that be fun?
It would indeed…..hmm think I will ditch the h/work, which never goes away. and go and play instead!
A review on Amazon remarked that you could seal your WED mask form with Krylon spray fixative which would probably prevent the grey residue you mentioned on the inside of your mask. On the other hand, that might interfere with reconstituting the clay with water for another use? Thanks for reminding me about WED clay!
That probably would help. I’ve tried using other things to seal in the color, with various results. Anything that is added to the clay will change it somewhat, and you could end up with little nubbins of plastic that would make it harder to create fine details in the next sculpture. However, you can just scrape off the outside layer – the WED clay is so much less expensive than most oil-based clay that this isn’t as extravagant as it sounds.
Besides, a bit of grey color inside a mask isn’t the end of the world – if it’s really bothersome, you can just add another layer of paper mache on the inside. But it does add that one extra step.
Yes, I thought you could scrape it off. Or give a quick acrylic spray paint to the inside of the mask. I’m thinking how dreamy it would be to use WED clay instead of this %*#! wax I’m using for the bust I’m doing. Maybe I should get some WED and start over! How strong is it when dry?
Dry “pottery” clay is rather brittle in the green state as you know.
The WED clay will dry quite hard, but it won’t be permanent and you wouldn’t want to drop it or scratch it with a tool or bump an ear – assume that it would be very similar to using regular pottery clay, except that it takes longer to dry and it’s smoother. It would go way faster than wax, for sure, but it would feel completely different, and it might take time to get used to it so you could get the kind of details you want. Jordu Schell has some YouTube videos that shows him using WED clay. this one is 2 hours long, and free, but not nearly as easy to watch as one of his more highly-edited videos. (I paid $50 for one of Jordu’s videos, and I thought it was totally worth it.) I haven’t seen this one, but the short trailer gives you a good idea of the detail you could get for your portrait. He’s using WED clay in that video, too.
Nice Jonni, you are so good with faces, I am jealous! He is quite a character…put some pointy ears on him and he would make a good elf as well(since we were talking about elf faces on the other page)
So, can you reuse the wed clay after you make your mold? I don’t know anything about it. It might be fun to check it out.
You can use the WED clay over again, if you don’t get a lot of plaster of Paris mixed in with it when you make a mold. Silicone molds work, too, if you let the clay dry out and then seal it, but that makes it hard to reclaim the clay. I’m sure you’d enjoy playing with it.