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Sculpture: Beginner's Start in Sculpture: A Bust: L1/4

Author: Rod Webb, Associate Editor

If you have ever wanted to try your hand at sculpting without too much expense then this is the project for you. I was always fascinated watching the sculptors chiseling away at their blocks of sandstone. Then I found a recipe for sculpting on an internet site. This is my first experience of negative sculpting. I enjoyed the project and ended up with a small statue for the garden. 


Tools and Equipment required
Wheelbarrow, Spade,watering can, rubber gloves,face mask,
hammer,chisels.plastic container for measuring.

Materials Required.
Vermiculite (fine grade)
Portland Cement.
Cardboard box approximately 14 inches high by 11 inches square.
Duct tape or similar .

Run tape around your box to strengthen, paying attention to the base and all seams. The cement mix is heavy and places pressure on the seams.Hold up and tape the  flaps for a taller box with more capacity.

Vermiculite is available at hydroponic supply stores.

I have medium grade, a finer one is also available which would be prefered if you want to carve more detail.

Wear your face mask when mixing to prevent the fine cement dust getting into your breathing passages.

Mix equal parts of vermiculite and cement, add water and mix thoroughly with your spade. Add extra water until a thick smooth mix is obtained. If you find you have added too much and mixture is too runny then add a little more cement. 

It is important that all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.

Several mixtures will need to be made to fill the box to the top.

You will notice the box will bulge with the weight of the cement.If you want a round block ,no problem.

If you prefer a square block then the box will need some support. I placed a sheet of wood one side and a block of polystyrene on the other. Held in place with the trusty lawnmower or anything with a bit of weight. Also used two pieces of frame to hold the sides. Now leave to cure for approximately 36 hours.

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