Sculpting stands are stands about the size of a stool with a small tabletop that can raise up and down and rotate. These are helpful because they provide a small portable and adjustable surface area for you to work on.
Even better, is a sculpting stand with your armature base mounted to it.
This is extremely helpful when you are sculpting something that you do not want hold the entire time. Sometimes it can make the process of sculpting quicker and easier because you won’t have to constantly re-sculpt and smooth out the places where you had to hold your sculpt while working on it. Holding your sculpture, depending on the clay type, often “melts” the clay in those areas, if in the same spot for a while, because of the warmth for your skin. The clay in that spot may become smushy and lose its detail in that area. I usually start out holding my sculpt in a place I haven’t yet started working on, so I am not as worried about messing it up. But when I get closer to the end, and want to make precise refinements, I often wish I had a sculpting on a stand.
Wire for Armatures
Using an armature can really strengthen up your sculpts. An armature is often made of wire twisted and formed into the shape of your future sculpt, but much smaller, to become the “bones” of your sculpture. Simply add your clay around the armature to thicken, then add the rest of the clay in finer details. The guage to use, depends on how thick your sculpt is going to be. You will want the wire to be thin enough to not show through your finished sculpt, but strong enough to keep its shape.
Modeling tools can help with fine details and impressions that you want to make in your clay before it is cured. There are plastic, wooden, and metal tools in different shapes. For instance, a tool with a rounded ball at the end would aid you in making an eye socket in your clay, for the sculptures that require eyes. Or a smaller tool with a point on the end can help make dents, holes(e.g. for beads in jewelry making), and other fine impressions such as wrinkles, that might be hard to form with your fingernails. Or you could file your nail into a needle point and call it your sculpting nail, if that is your style. Also, a lot of these tools can be found around the house. I started sculpting with a nail file, and a toothpick. Here are some examples of the tools for sculpting that you can by in stores or online.
Sometimes you may want to by a mold for a shape that you want to recreate, like a small flower design. I personally don’t like to use molds because I make dolls mostly, and I like them all to be one of a kind, the only one out there just like it. But I can see the need to use them in some situations. It would be quicker. And molds are so much fun for kids too!
This can be handy if you want to drill small holes in your sculpt after curing it.
Using a fine grit sandpaper on your sculpt after it is cured and completely cooled off, can give it an even smoother and flawless appearance. Simply rub your sculpt in the rough areas gently and wipe off the excess clay shavings.
You may need one of these if you want to make pottery.
Rolling Pin or Pasta Machine
These are both great when conditioning clay and blending colors together. Pasta machines are a bit easier and don’t require as much manual work.
If your clay is too hard, smoothing oil is nice and helps condition and soften up your clay, making it easier to work with.
Glazes and Paints
If desired, you can paint and/or glaze your sculpture after it is cured and cooled. Glazes give your sculpt a nice glossy finish. Just be sure to choose paints and glazes that are compatible with your clay type and brand.
A Kiln, Convection Oven or your Home Oven
Earthenware, Stoneware and Kaolin are natural clays from the ground that require high temperatures to fire them. Therefor, you’ll need to use a kiln to fire them. Kiln’s can be expensive so you may want to borrow one or rent one. Polymer clays are cured at lower temperatures, so your oven can handle the job.
Sometimes having a separate home oven is nice, if you can afford it, have the room for it, and are getting more serious with your sculpting. Convection ovens can be handy for small sculpts such as jewelry, but you will need to monitor the temps to make sure they don’t spike or get too high. The temperature needs to be steady during the entire curing process or you could end up burning your piece.