Techniques for Le Beau Touche Modeling Clay

Written by adela sanders
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Techniques for Le Beau Touche Modeling Clay
Sculpting is easier with a model. (manichino image by DAN from

Le Beau Touche Modeling Clay is a high quality, oil-based moulding clay from Chavant Clay Modeling Products. It is softer than similar brands of clay, and stickier than other Chavant clay brands. It is also resistant to breaking and cracking at the right temperatures. These properties make Le Beau Touche clay ideal for art students and professional sculptors.

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According to the clay specifications listed on the Chavant website, Le Beau Touche is designed for use at room temperature. It retains its properties up to 32.2 degrees Celsius. If you are working in temperatures greater than 32.2 degrees C, use the Le Beau Touche HM clay instead. The HM clay is designed to handle temperatures up to 40.6 degrees Celsius. Like all clays, Le Beau Touche hardens as it cools and softens as it heats. Unlike other clays, you can heat and cool the clay as often as necessary. To make your clay softer, set it under a lamp or put it in the microwave for no more than 10 seconds.

Tools and Utensils

Many art stores sell tools that are specially designed for sculptors, like clay shapers, ribbon loop tools and wooden finishing tools. However, amateur artists and professionals alike have used basic kitchen utensils for the same effects. Because Le Beau Touche clay is so soft and tacky, you can create a variety of textures with toothpicks, turkey skewers, butter knives and forks. You can smooth the clay with wooden or Teflon spatulas. Please note that you should never reuse designated clay tools in the kitchen.

Models and Photographs

The easiest way to create a realistic sculpture with Le Beau Touche is to work with a model or a photograph. Because the clay stays flexible and tacky, you can work with live models over a period of several days and never worry about your clay hardening prematurely. If your live model is another person, he can provide you with a critical eye and suggest improvements to your work. If you are working from a photograph, tape the photograph to a wall, or somewhere that is both easily accessible and out of the way. The photo will become caked in clay and unusable if you handle it too often.

Smoothing and Fixing Mistakes

Because Le Beau Touche is soft, it is easy to manipulate. However, overzealous smoothing with such a soft clay can result in small ripples around your project. To avoid ripples, keep a light hand when you are smoothing your clay. It is easier to prevent ripples than to correct them later. If your project already has ripples, you can try to erase them by adding another small, thin layer of clay and blending the new layer into your project. This works well with Le Beau Touche clay because the clay is naturally tacky. Chavant also says that you can smooth the clay with a little bit of solvent liquid, like turpentine or lighter fluid.

Finishing Methods

Le Beau Touche clay does not harden on its own, and the oils can sweat through your project if it is not finished properly. If you want to glaze or paint your project, you must spray it with a shellac or epoxy spray. These sprays create a hard coating around the sculpture. Once the glaze hardens, you can use any kind of paint to colour the sculpture, from spray paints to acrylics and oil paints. Always test your glaze on a small piece of waste clay, just to make sure it won't damage your project.

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