Sculpting hair

I’m modelling puppet heads in wax for a stop-motion animation at the moment. I can’t show the heads in their entirety because of film contract/spoiler agreements but I can show bits of them or better still the processes I’m using. Honestly, I wish I hadn’t chosen wax now (wanting to try something different) because it’s so ‘literal’ (see ‘Modelling wax’ in the Materials section, which has more info on the current work in the Worklog at the end). I’m more used to working with Super Sculpey which has a very slight rubbery quality which helps especially when smoothing edges. Wax doesn’t do any of that itself.

But on the other hand, because of it’s extreme softness wax is easily ‘impressed’ and can even be ‘sledged’ into shapes. Sledging is the traditional technique still used by some plasterers to create a run of moulding, such as a shaped cornice, directly onto the wall by running a profile shape along wet plaster. I wanted to use a combination of pressing and sledging to model the hair for the puppets.

carving the tool

This is the first attempt to create a tool for it. I used a short length of 1/2inch ramin dowel and sanded the top end down to 3 differently sized curves, using sanding dowels and files.

tools for carving

The easiest way of cutting small grooves in these end curves was to use a mini-drill with a thin filing bit.

cutting grooves

The 3 sizes would give some variety to the effects obtained.


These are my first quick tests and more will follow.



4 thoughts on “Sculpting hair

    • Yes, it’s a ‘royal pedigree Bogger’, but it will be at least two years before the film’s out and I can show them. But there’s nothing to stop me using what I’m learning from this work to create my own versions.

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