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Armature Wire Sculpting Tips

Whether you’re creating a mammoth masterpiece or a tiny sculpture, armature wire gives your artwork the stability it needs to stand the test of time. Sculptures made without the structural help of an armature are more difficult to mold and more likely to break, but if you don’t know how to use the wire properly, it can seem frustrating. By properly using armature wire, you give your sculpture the stability it needs without giving yourself a headache.

Getting Started

As you’re planning your sculpture, make sure that you choose the right gauge, or thickness, of wire. You will likely need armature wire in varying gauges, both thick and thin. The thicker wire will form the core of your shape, while the thinner wire supplements it. For example, if you are creating an armature for a human figure, you may find that you have difficulty making the clay adhere to the smooth surface of the wire. What you can do, then, is coil thinner-gauge wire around it, which fills it out and adds texture that the clay can cling to.

Supplementing Your Armature Wire’s Strength

The wire along may not be everything you need to create a strong, stable frame for your sculpture. You can supplement it, though, with other hardware and household supplies. For example, once you have formed your basic armature wire skeleton, wrap it in aluminum foil. The foil fills out the form, allowing you to use less clay. When you use less clay, the risk of exploding in the oven or breaking afterward is significantly reduced—not to mention the money you save on art supplies.

If the armature wire seems to be slipping around, you can hold it in place by soldering it. Use a soldering iron on the places where two pieces of wire meet—this melds the metals together for a strong, cohesive connection. If you don’t feel confident working with a soldering iron, even hot glue or epoxy hold the pieces together long enough for you to wrap your clay around them and get your sculpture off the ground.

Learn about Wire Gauges

For more information on the different types of wire you can use in armature construction, contact Arcor Electronics.