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Clay Panther Sculpture Demo p.7 - Repairing a Broken Sculpture


repair clay sculpture repair clay sculpture cracks While the base is drying, assess the damage to the sculptures from the firing. If there are any breaks, cracks, or armature holes, they should be addressed before the sculpture is finished or attached to the base.
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fix broken clay sculpture fix ceramic sculpture When working with body putty, have good ventilation and wear plastic gloves that protect against chemicals - this stuff is toxic.
The tail on my sculpture broke before firing, and, of course, I dropped and shattered it. When this happens, make sure to save and fire all of the pieces. Once fired, it's just a matter of getting it all back together - almost like a 3-d puzzle. For broken parts that are non-structural (like an ear, the tail, etc.) I normally use body putty to put it together. This cuts down on drying time (only 3-4 minutes between applications) and you can work on smoothing down the surface as you go. Sort out all of the pieces and start finding the ones that fit together. Mix very small amounts of body putty (since I'm working on such small parts, I mix it on a plastic lid using a nail - a plastic knife also works well). Work on two pieces at a time; if you try to attach too many together at once, it will fall apart.


fix ceramic sculpture cracks
repair a crack in a clay sculpture
You can work on multiple sections at a time. While the pieces of the tail are drying, I applied the rest of the mixed body putty to the crack on the side of the sculpture. When you apply body putty, smooth it down with your finger. Once it is dry to the touch, lightly sand it down with a rasp to smooth it out. If you wait the recommended amount of time, it becomes much harder to sand. Rasp it down until it's smooth, and then lightly go over it with about 100 grit sandpaper. It shouldn't be perfectly smooth or it will not match the texture of the clay. You will usually apply more than one layer of body putty, especially on areas like the tail. If you smooth it between each layer it will make the sanding process much easier.


repairing a broken clay sculpture fixing a broken clay sculpture If your lucky, you'll find all of the broken pieces before firing. If your not so lucky, you get to fill in areas with only body putty because there are no clay pieces available. I was not so lucky, but it worked out well for the demo:)


how to fix a broken clay sculpture fixing a sculpture after firing
fix a sculpture damaged in kiln
You probably won't get it completely filled in the first time, just let it dry, sand it down, and repeat until there are no more openings.


fix broken clay sculpture When the sculpture is finished and smooth, run your hands over it to feel for rough spots or cracks that weren't completely filled in. When it feels smooth to the touch, let it dry overnight to make sure it cures properly. If you find rough spots or cracks after you start finishing the sculpture, you can always sand away the finish and add more body putty or sand the rough spots until they're a smooth.


1. Creating the Armature 2. Sculpting a Panther 3. Finishing Touches
4. The Unfired Sculpture 5. Firing the Sculpture 6. Building a Base
7. Fixing a Broken Sculpture -p.1 (current) 8. Fixing a Broken Sculpture -p.2 9. Adding the Base




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Copyright 2012, Artist Jen Pratt, Equus Studio - horse art & clay art by horse artist Jen Pratt
Contact: Jen Pratt | 417-763-0428 | jen (at) jenpratt (dot) com


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