Back to Basics: Experiments with Sculpey

I’m no sculptor.  Plain and simple.  That’s a whole other hobby in itself that I have no knack for.  But there are some easy things that can be done with a little bit of Sculpey that can add some flavor to your latest diorama or gaming project.  Anyone can roll Sculpey into balls or into ropes.  Here are a couple of projects that I knocked out this week using these very simple methods.


First is a set of totems.  These are generic enough they can be used in just about any setting.  The tools I used were pliers, nail clippers, hobby knife, tweezers, some floral wire, and a lighter.  I also gathered some plastic skull beads, dollar store skull rings from the Halloween season and some plastic teeth from a dollar store necklace.



I rolled some “logs” of Sculpey about an inch thick and stuffed some skull beads into the sides.  I cut off the ring part of the skull rings and stuck the remaining skulls onto the logs.  Then I rolled them out some more.  This gave the appearance that the skulls were in the logs. I stuck some plastic teeth and some tips of dental flossers in them and then I took the tweezers and scrapped vertical lines to emulate tree bark.


I cooked the Sculpey according to the directions and after about 15 minutes I removed the totems and noticed that both the larger sculls and teeth had partially melted.


Cool.  Bonus side effect!  But now I had an unattractive gap around the skull.  After I base coated the totems brown I took some yarn and some superglue and wrapped the skull to look like rope.


A bit of dry brushing:


Nothing special here but with the 2 foot rule they’ll work great for objective markers, check points, spawning sites, triggers or just good creepy decoration.

Next, with the extra material to work with I rolled out a thin rope of Sculpey about 2mm thick, cooked and sliced it into candle sized pieces.


I  cut a generous length of floral wire and using pliers I heated it with the lighter until it was red hot (a candle would probably be a better idea here).


I carefully plunged it into the top of the Sculpey cylinder and let it cool off.



Next cut the wire with the nail clippers.


You can use them at this point or paint them whatever color you need.  I used the lighter again to add some charred effects to the outer edge trying to get an added creepy effect.


Two Sculpey projects so easy that even I can do them!  Give it a try and see what you can come up with.



Night Owl


Back to Basics: Shipping Material Terrain

Lately I’ve been downright fried when it comes to getting anything done in the hobby room.  I think we all go through this “writers block” from time to time where we start a project and motivation just fizzles out almost immediately or, even worse, we pull out an ongoing project and just stare at it until we get up, turn off the lights and leave the room.  I have found with myself that sometimes going back and revisiting the basic things is just what I need to rejuvenate; to start over somewhere back at the beginning and play familiar songs until I get back in the groove of things.   That is what this weeks project is all about.


My wife, who works at a medical facility, sometimes brings home things that we might be able to use in our hobby.  Recently she brought home some paper-board shipping inserts from one of their laser printer cartridges thinking they would make nice terrain pieces.  I couldn’t have agreed more.


Now let’s be honest, most of the time when we see these on the war table they look like…well…paper-board shipping inserts but this particular set had promise.


Some black and rust spray paint followed by a light dry brush of dusty brown and glued to a foam board base:


I proceeded with my magical mix of textures and started covering all the flat areas:




and the base:


Next I sprinkled on some sawdust and followed that with dried coffee grounds to give it a little contrast:


The second piece had a perfect indention that could work as a little waterfall so I filled it with some white glue and let it sit overnight:


The next day I painted it blue and added some gloss varnish:



There you have it.  A couple of  terrain pieces for the war table.  Each measures about 8″ x 12″ so they don’t take up too much room but still have the vertical presence to resemble mountains.

So next time you come across shipping material make sure you give it a second look before you toss it because it might just be what your looking for to get things back on track.

Thanks for taking a look,

Night Owl