How To Make an Armature for Sculpting Clay

In sculpting clay, an armature is very important. It will serve as the base and framework for your sculpture, whether you are using clay or plaster. It is especially important for making large sculptures, as it serves as a strong base that is resistant to breakage. Yet another importance of having an armature is that it will enable you to use less clay material during the sculpting process. With that being said, what are the steps for making an armature? 

  • Start with the head, going down to the main body. Begin creating the armature from the head of your planned sculpture, going down the main body. Once you already have the main body, continue to branch off from here to form the limbs and other parts.

    Do remember that since the armature is just the framework of the sculpture, it does not have to be precise in shape and measurement. All that’s important is that it has the basic shape of the figure you want to create. 

  • Have a steel rod and a wooden pole. These two materials are the basic materials that will be used for the armature. In a piece of wood drill a hole at about half an inch. Then put the wooden pole or steel rod in the hole and stick it using epoxy or anything that can be used to paste it. It will stand as a base and provide extra support for your armature as you add extra clay.
  • Place extensions. You should use steel wires for this purpose; use a kind of steel wire that is manageable and is easy to bend. Glue your chosen wire to your wooden base. If you have a steel base you can use a welding material for a stronger bind.

    You can use lighter, thinner and more pliable wires for the smaller parts of your sculpture, but it’s best that you use stronger wires to form the main body of your armature.

  • Connect each part. Next, put together the wood and metal for your armature. In joining each part, you can nail the wood or just glue it. You must be sure that your armature is strong enough to hold the sculpture because it will become heavy as you add clay or plaster to it.
  • Wrap the armature with aluminum foil. You’re almost done! Wrap aluminum foil all over the armature, and press the foil tightly to make it compact. For the head of your sculpture, you can ball up the aluminum foil. 
  • Know the other options. Another option is using a welding plant for your sculptures. This is a lot cheaper compared to some other materials. However, this option will call for a welder’s skill, and it is necessary to take extra caution in using this option.

There you have it! These are the essential steps for making an armature for clay sculptures. Do take the time to experiment and try out making an armature before you embark on the actual clay sculpture itself. This will really help you have a more efficient time with the sculpting process, and will help you plan for the body of your sculpture as well. Good luck, and hope this helped! 


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