Polymer Clay & Carving a Sweet Potato

See a demo on how to carve a sweet potato and how to sculpt with Sculpey to create surrealistic face brooches.

46 min. video

Explained are the advantages of using polymer clay, showing three different colors of Original Sculpey.

Learning to sculpt with carving tools can be very challenging. A sweet potato which is easy to carve, but rigid enough to hold it’s form, is an excellent entry point to figuring out how to approach a reductive way of creating sculpture.

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Deepti Menon.

Video Walkthrough

  • Polymer clay is a terrific option for home studios, it’s neat, non-toxic, and can be baked in an oven.
  • Sculpey can be baked at 275 F for every 1/4″ of clay.
  • Deepti has a small toaster oven that she uses exclusively for polymer clay.
  • You can do a lot with Original Sculpey after it’s baked; you can rebake it, paint it, glaze it, drill it, and more.
  • A lot of plastilene clay has a stickiness to it, and sometimes an odor which can be unpleasant.
  • Original Sculpey is very smooth, there is no stickiness or odor.
  • Carving in 3D is really exciting, but materials like wood and soap stone are very tough for beginners.
  • You can use any tool for carving a sweet potato, but woodcut tools work particularly well.
  • Practicing on a sweet potato is an easy entry point to carving.
  • “Play time” as an artist is a great way to have a different experience, where you don’t have any expectations for the product.
  • Switching up your art media is a great way to try something different if you’re stuck in a rut.
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