How to Make Life-Size Statues Out of Clay

Written by katebo
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How to Make Life-Size Statues Out of Clay
clay sculpture (clay figurines image by fabersky from

You can make a life-size statue out of clay with much work and patience. Most statues are made by a sculptor watching a live model pose in the nude, but this isn’t a necessity for all artists. This project may take months or longer to complete.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Many blocks of clay
  • Armature wire
  • Sculpting tools such as toothpicks, pallet knife, etc. (optional)
  • Wood pallet with plywood affixed on top
  • Wood dowels
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Chicken wire
  • Newspaper (optional)
  • Wet towels
  • Large kiln

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  1. 1

    Decide what you want to make and make a miniature model out of clay by bending the armature wire into the shape you desire.

  2. 2

    Break off a slab of clay from a block of clay and slam it down on a hard surface over and over to get the air bubbles out.

  3. 3

    Sculpt the clay onto the armature in pieces. Use whatever sculpting tools you desire to form your artwork.

  4. 4

    Build a life size-armature out of wood dowels and chicken wire. Use a drill and screws to affix it to a sturdy base, such as a wood pallet covered with plywood.

  5. 5

    Build an upside down L-shape out of large wood dowels behind the sculpture. Affix the bottom part to the base and the top part of the L to the back of the sculpture to keep it from falling over.

  6. 6

    Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the life-size sculpture.

  7. 7

    Apply damp towels to the entire sculpture and allow them to stay affixed overnight to keep it moist until you are able to resume sculpting.

  8. 8

    Fire the figure in a large kiln when you are finished.

Tips and warnings

  • A clay statue of this size is usually cast into a bronze statue to preserve the art for life.
  • You can create a ball of crumpled newspapers and wrap chicken wire around it to create the head, if you wish.
  • Make sure you set up your work area near the kiln because the final clay sculpture will be extremely difficult to move due to its massive weight.
  • Make sure you know how to operate a kiln or pay an art school or art supply store to fire it for you. It can be dangerous work.

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