Sculpting & Modelling > Sculpting & Modelling Questions

Wing Armature - help please!

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Hey guys, I'm currently sculpting a full figurine of Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, and I have  run into a problem... Well, i was basing my figuring loosely on the techniques from this online tutorial ( All was going well until I started work on the wings.

so based on the tutorial, he used a fine wire mesh as armature for the wings. but problem is, I cannot get my hands on any wire mesh at all, so now i'm look for alternatives... anyone knows what can be done? can i use things like alumninium foil or something? or do i really need a sheet armature?

(i'm using sculpey III and the wing is going to be about 15cm by 8cm with 2 ribs/bones/finger in between)

Hi  :)

I have never sculpted, but l know you can use foil as an armature, but in the case of this large dragon, it does look as if you need something stronger.
Could you perhaps open out a drink can, flatten it and use that?  You can easily cut them with kitchen scissors.  Making it larger than the wire structure as suggested in the tutorial is a good idea, so you can fold in the sharp edges.  Otherwise, you can buy flexible sheet metal in a few gauges - it is sold for embossing.

I have bought mesh in the past, similar to the stuff in the tute, in an ordinary craft shop, here in the UK.  It was folded into an A5 pack....not sure now what it was sold for, but l did buy it to use for an armature for some project l have now forgotten about!

In the tute he says that thin parts might can avoid this happening by protecting the sculpture in the oven with a sheet of foil or inside a tin.    It will all need to be cured at the full baking temperature preferably for longer than the pack suggests - up to an hour for a final baking wouldn't hurt.  You can bake multiple times which will help a lot when you come to complete the wings as you can bake the body first. 

You might need to use some tacky white glue - even a glue stick works - to help your polymer clay stick to the metal.  The metal will be completely covered by clay so there'll be no need to use liquid polymer clay to bond them.

Hope this will help.

Please introduce yourself in the appropriate section  :)

Hey Carrie!

Thanks for the wonderful tips! I've never thought of using drink cans... hmm I shall give it a try! Well I'm not from the UK but from Singapore, and Art and Craft items here are over priced. The only mesh available freely here are all made of plastic (as if there was some ban on metal mesh that I am unaware of)... i did find a metal one though, it was from the local craft supply chain that is known for being expensive - 7 bucks for a small 20cm by 30 cm piece! i wanted to try my luck with other alternatives so i here I am, asking the forum for its expertise and i guess you came to my rescue!  ;D

and thanks for the great tips on baking and sticking the clay on to the metal! especially the foil and the wings! I would never have thought of that! thanks Carrie!

I'll try to post a pic up here of the final product! :)

I hope it works out - we'll love to see your pics.  You aren't the only dragon addict here, you know  ;D

Alright! Dragon lovers of the world unite! haha!

Quick update.. i tried using the flattened drink can but the problem i faced was that it was too stiff to hold the shape i wanted. also, the folding of the edges to make a "latch" to hook on to the wire armature was not feasible with a drink can since the folded metal can breaks away upon unfolding. not that you'd need to unfold it, but if anyone reading this for reference is also going to experiment like me, you'd probably be playing an awful lot around with it..

so anyway i took a risk and tried using aluminium foil instead since my wing structure is fairly small... took your advice to put something sticky before adding the clay. its holding up so far... and i'm still crossing my fingers... :)

here's a sneak peak of the wings so far!


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