Learn to sculpt bread

By Juan Walker,2014-04-26 09:30
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Learn to sculpt bread





    Materials Needed:

    ; Premo? Polymer Clay

     - Translucent

     - White

     - Cadmium Yellow (Or Equivalent Polymer Clay)

    ; Artist Pastels

     - Yellow Ochre

     - Medium Brown

     - Dark Brown

    ; Sand Paper or Rough Rock

    ; Aluminum Foil

    ; Thin Paint Brush

    ; Cornstarch Or White Chalk

    ; Matte Varnish

    ; Ground Apricot Pits* Or Black Sand (Both Are Optional If You Cannot Find Them)

     - *Ground Apricot Pits Can Be Found In The Soap Making Section Of Many Craft Stores

    ; Baby Wipes


    Please wash your hands really well and dry them with a paper towel or if possible a light colored towel ~ you won't believe the amount of lint that you pick up from towels and it all shows up in white clay!

    1. This step illustrates the clay recipe - 1:1 white/translucent + tiny bit of yellow - use only about half of the amount of yellow that's pictured there...I sort of over-did it! If your bread mix clay comes out too yellow for your taste, just break off about half, and mix it up with more of the 1:1 white/translucent mix. That should fix the problem.

    2. Make sure the clay is warm and well mixed or roll it through your pasta machine if you have one. Make a log about ? inch thick it doesn’t have to

    be exact!

    3. Cut the log into chunks about 1/3 inch thick and form the

    chunks into balls the balls should be about ? inch in diameter. Please don’t worry if they are not exactly that size. This is one area where you don't have to worry so much about scale. Just make sure that they aren't huge.

    You can make as many of the clay balls as you want. Keep some round, and then form some into long loaves. The long loaves can measure about 3/4" long and about 1/4" wide. If you want you can even lengthen them more to make baguettes.

    4. After you've formed the balls into round and long loaves

    texture the tops with your sand paper. I specified a medium-grit because I didn't know what you had available near you. I tend to use 50-60 grit paper more often than the coarser types. In the picture I'm using a rock that I found in my back yard. Rocks work great too!


    Texturing your bread also covers up any fingerprints. If you'd like your bread to be smooth and you want to get rid of fingerprints, take some of your chalk or cornstarch and lightly buff the top of the loaf. It's abrasive enough to get rid of them.

    5. Next get out the foil. Roll up a piece of foil into a long thin snake shape. Try to get it really crinkly for the best effect. Press it into the top of the breads to make “cracks” in the loaf. You can even rough up the cracks a bit with a pin.

    6. To make the “country bread” make a tick tac toe board on the top of the round loaf. I usually make 2 or 3 diagonal cracks on the top of the long loaf. Enlarge picture showing how to make country styled miniature bread using your foil

    7. To make the oblong bread appear cracked, mark the long loaf on a diagonal as shown, 2 or 3 markings or crack impressions will work nicely.

    8. Your loaves should look something like this. Don't worry if they aren't perfect, because most real bread isn't.


    My favorite pastel brand is Schmincke. They are expensive, but since you are only using a small amount, a stick lasts a long time. You can get them at Dick Blick Art Materials

for a discount. Rembrandt Chalks Budget Art Materials are good too. I like the more

    expensive pastels because they tend to be richer in color. Just make sure that the chalk pastels that you buy are soft - so you can powder them easily.

    9. Now you will color the bread before you bake it. The color

    bakes into the clay.

    First, cut off a small piece of your chalk pastels - the yellow ochre, medium brown, and the dark brown - and grind them up into a powder. You can use some of your sand paper to do this, I use a craft stick, or I'll put them on a tile - cover them with a piece of paper, and step on them. Keep your crushed powders in separate piles, don't mix them

    10. We're going to start with a base color of yellow ochre. Cover the cracks in the bread with a clean piece of foil then using a soft brush gently apply

    yellow ochre all over the top of the breads. The foil keeps the cracks clean.

    11. This picture will show you what they are supposed to look like.

    Apply the color all over the breads and try to keep the cracks clean. If you get some in the cracks, it's really not a big deal - just do your best.

    12. Be bold when adding the base color. One of the things I've

    noticed with beginners is they tend to not put enough yellow on, so don't be afraid to make the clay a nice rich yellow.

    13. The second layer of color is where your bread starts to look baked.

    Using a clean soft brush take some of the medium brown chalk and brush it lightly over the top of the loaf try to think about how a loaf would really brown in the oven what

    areas would be darker and what areas lighter. You'll want to be more sparing with the color this time. If you notice that your brown chalk is too 'brown', just dilute it a bit with some of the yellow chalk before applying it to your loaf. You'll want to concentrate more on the top of the loaf, and try to gently blend it down over the sides. Leave some yellow peeping out around the base of the bread.


    You'll be coloring both loaves - even though just the round loaf is pictured. If you're worried about getting chalk into the cracks, remember to use your foil.

    14. This picture isn't the greatest to show this since it came out lighter than I wanted it. So if you'd like to add some darker brown areas, like where the bread might have burnt a little in the oven; you can go back with a thin brush and touch up some of the areas with the darkest brown to give your loaf more depth and “personality”.

    You'd want to do this on the top, near the edges of the cracks. Just picture a nice crusty rustic loaf, and take it from there. Don’t over do it with the dark brown or it will look like

    my real loaves do, burnt!

    15. Ok, time to preheat your oven. You can bake your bread right on a tile, if you are using one, or on a piece of foil. If your oven is old you might want to invest in an oven thermometer to make sure it is at the correct temperature. Bake according to the package recommendations. I bake my loaves for about 30 minutes. I like to let them cool in the oven - In my opinion it helps the clay to strengthen.

    16. Get out the varnish, cornstarch/chalk, and ground apricot pits or sand. This is one time when I break my own rule about not using 'food' items in clay. The ground apricot pits make nice nuts/seeds, and since they are on top of the bread and sealed in varnish I haven't had any problems with the clay itself breaking down. I would not mix them into the clay. Black sand makes wonderful poppy seeds, so if you're afraid to use the pits this is a nice substitute.

    17. Brush the round loaf with matte varnish, again avoiding the

    cracks. Then sprinkle with a light coating of ground apricot pits/sand let it dry. If you

    need to add a bit more that’s fine, just keep them out of the cracks. When dry you can add a top coat of matte varnish to seal them.


    I've also not had any problems with cornstarch. I know that some people prefer talc, but I don't like to work with it since it's a carcinogen (well, the plasticizers in clay aren't that great for you either, but they don't get airborn like talc can). If you are in an area where critters are a problem, white chalk works really well in place of the cornstarch.

    18. Pat the cornstarch/chalk over the varnish. Let it dry.

    19. Using a soft brush, lightly dust off any excess powder. The

    cornstarch/chalk simulates flour.

    20. Viola! You have made dollhouse miniature bread!


    Betsy Niederer has been making miniatures for five years, after discovering that she could make miniature food for her children's Barbie? kitchen. She is an IGMA member since 2003, an IGMA Fellow (Food category), and since 2006 a Guild school instructor.

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