Non-Cornstarch (removable armatures)
...temp.stiffened w/ wax or glue
...bakeable, to soften (veggies,etc.)
...water dissolvable or softenable (grain products, papers,etc.)

Wax, for hollow forms
, cardstock

Cornstarch based materials
...cornstarch "clays"
Other cornstarch recipes
Misc. materials

DISSOLVABLE or SOFTENABLE (removable) armatures/forms
Non-cornstarch removable materials
packing pellets & clays

Summary of some things which could be used as removable armatures:
...dissolvable, softenable, or meltable:
.....many fruits and vegetables can be baked, then dug out of the baked clay when cool
.....tissue or other paper products like boxes will become limp and flexible enough after wetting to remove
.....eggshells (can be removed later with vinegar soak (Eggs >Vinegar Eggs)
.....cornstarch pellets can be wetted (after baking with clay) to "melt" and remove
.....wax can be removed with heat (more in Beads >"Holey Beads" >Wax)
...physical barrier
......putting a bit of paper, cardstock, aluminum foil, or similar material between clay parts will act as a release (Vessels >Removable Arm's)
......powders can form a barrier as well, but they may or may not leave behind a residue (coating with or using packed/piled cornstarch or talc, or most powders of various types --even metallics or chalks (Powders)
......air --such as with pillow beads
...releases...liquid or gel or paste or oil, etc ...Molds > Releases
.......Fimo's Repel Gel (or its equivalent, "superglue solvent"...Glues-Diluent >SuperGlue Solvents >RepelGel)
...... ArmorAll
.......other candidates (like Vaseline, mineral oil, etc.).... may work only as releases between clay and non-clay materials such as metal, glass, etc,


Wax .......for hollow figures

Then I turned to trying to make a hollow figurine. My father told me once that sculptors make wax models in order to make molds for the real sculptures, so one day I took a regular candle (very bad decision...contemporary candles are not made of wax)
... I covered the candle with clay, made a humanoid, drilled a hole at approximately where the humanoid's butt is (so that during the baking the wax becomes liquid and gets out of the figurine) and then proceeded to baking. Never do what I did... the fumes from the melted regular candle were terrible.

...After this horrible experience I learned I needed ot use real wax (beeswax...the byproduct of honey, 100% natural stuff). I used the method described above: a crude shape, covering with clay, baking... the wax melts and pours out of the figurine. It worked fine. 275 or 257 degrees F, there were no fumes when using beeswax
...another benefit was (this may be subjective opinion) is that the figurines become a bit stronger.
.... I prepare the wax for work as follows:
Take a ordinary pan and a chunk of wax. Melt the wax. Let it cool. It forms a flat layer at the bottom of the pan. After the wax is cool in the pan, warn very very-very lightly the pan and remove the wax. The result is wax sheets that are thin, they become soft from the warmth of the hands and are a pleasure to work with. (I used FimoSoft in my experiments)
. . . .. Don't know if anyone used this technique or whether you'd approve of it but I like it. Also I must mention that half of the concept I owe to my father Ustinian. Boris
. . . the biggest thing I made is a ball shape with hollow interior, diameter about 5 cm... clay coverage is about 4 mm thick and it holds ok. Boris
...Plus the wax should then be reusable, right? after it melts out? Dawndove
.......It is reusable. Made 7 pieces with about 100 grams of it and continue to use it.
.... . . Not only would the wax be reuseable, but I think you could slightly warm the piece and polish it with the wax ...the remaining wax on the surface would make a really nice patina. (if you've ever done wax-resist Easter eggs, it would be the same sort of result, I think...the beeswax is slightly heated, and then rubbed around the surface, making a nice sheen and protective surface). Jennifer
...what I am saying is that maybe for larger pieces (rigid) armature methods and wax methods can be combined. ...maybe a net of stiff armature, filled with wax or something of that sort. Boris

(see coating organic materials with a layer of wax to stiffen them temporarily, just below)

Stiffened temporarily with coating of wax or glue, etc. (not baked later)...

You can temporarily coat things with melted wax to give a smooth and somewhat tacky surface
...I dip the cheese balls into melted beeswax to even out the shape, and to help the clay stick. I melt the wax by putting chunks of it in a clean tuna can, and then float it in a pot of water on the stove--sort of a double boiler effect. I keep the heat very low, as beeswax is very flammable
......I dip the crackers once or twice in the wax... and let cool.
......later, the warmth of your hands is enough to reshape things to get a nice round shape.
......I do a bunch of crackers all at once, then store them waiting for inspiration...the leftover wax just hardens in the tuna can and is stored for the next time--no mess. Laura O.
...I build up several layers....and when the wax starts to get too watery, I take it off the heat and it thickens up a bit....that way I get a very thick layer when I dip the cereal into the wax (I hold the cereal with a pair of tweezers.) Edith
...I have made various pieces into shapes such as hearts, houses and square blocks. Edith
...To melt the wax, have any of you tried the (plug-in) well-type heaters intended for hot glue? I find that they stay at just the right temperature to keep the wax liquid, without getting too hot. The hot glue heaters only cost a few bucks at most craft stores.. . .and no open flames
...some people use white glue afterwards to help adhere (clay) or even out the surface.
...After cooling, wax could also be carved or impressed with hot tools

cranberries! ...I was thrilled at how well they worked!!! no explosion, no mess...Celie Fago sugested them, and what a great sugestion!!!
....skewer while frozen or fresh, paint with sobo/tacky/elmers white glue, and go
.... they worked beautifully (they do get sort of prunie/soggy after a couple of days, so use them right away).
..totally dried veggies (beans, etc.), or fruit?

What about crumpling dried leaves, grass, flowers or sawdust into flakes, holding together with glue or maybe thinned with water?

sand or file the items (which items?) for smoothness or the shape you want, or cut with serrated knife. . . .or shape with a Dremel.

Bakable (to soften)

vegetables and fruits (some of them at least) can be used as armatures for creating forms under clay, then dug out or otherwise removed after baking:

Sue (Heaser) showed how to use an aluminum foil-covered raw potato as a removable armature to create a 3-D shape or vessel (leaving one side uncovered to remove potato later) in her book Creative Home Decor
... for the 3-D heart she made, she cut off the ends of the potato, then cut it in half lengthwise (leaving a flat side)
... she then carved the heart shape removing all brown skin...covered with foil all over, and then a layer of clay on all but back side, embellished ... the potato needs to be baked for 45-60 min... cool... dig out potato and remove alum. foil ...a back can be created in one of the ways above if desired (...could be a bowl but interior would be rough from crumpled foil)
... I like that idea because when you use a potato, you carve it to whatever size and shape you find pleasing, and go from there (but when you use a rock, you have to find just the right kind of rock with the right shape)... Gabe

lemon.....I covered 3 lemons with a base layer of clay ...the lemon came out after the base layer was baked (how?... hole left??)
...for one, I covered the baked base layer with faux abalone
...the other two became forms for a box and a hanging vessel ...Margaret Reid

Water dissolvable or softenable

sugar armature (
..."One day while watching a craft program on TV, it showed how to make sugar Christmas Decorations. The idea was so simple that I went and tried it out for something other than Christmas Ornaments.
supplies: 1 cup white sugar, 1 tsp water... lesson:
1. Mix well in a small container. Recipe can be reduced. I used 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of water and it was enough for 3 angels. I used plastic chocolate molds, but any container can be used. To make bells use a small glass.
2. Scoop mix with a small spoon into the form you want to use. Make sure the mixture is well packed.
3. To unmold cover with a piece of thin cardboard and flip over onto a flat surface.
4. Let form rest for about an hour to let a crust form. The mixture exposed to the air will harden.
a. For the angel, just let it fully harden for about a day or two and then use it to make your craft.
b. For a bell, now is the time to scoop out the center and then let it harden like the angel.

grain-based products
..The following materials would be fine for polymer oven temps too....then be dissolved out or softened with water?
(they were from a discussion on materials which would burn out in a kiln...Katie):
I would stick with Planter's Cheese Balls myself (as malted milk balls are way to good to not eat just plain).
... once I started using cheese balls, I've found that I cruise the grocery store with a completely different perspective, and now notice things like unsalted Pretzel sticks (or knock off the salt crystals first), Kix cereal, Chex, oyster crackers, graham crackers, etc.
...Nilla wafers are big, but have a nice curved surface.
...Japanese rice crackers... I carefully examine all the novelty peanut and cracker mixes at the store, as they sometimes have interesting shapes you wouldn't find in a single package. Laura O know Miniwheats make a nice hollow form for more squarish beads. Deric
.......actually all kinds of dry cereal
...what about Cream of Wheat wetted ...and made into shapes?

other powdered grain or vegetable materials may work in various ways, and be dissolvable in water later
....potato starch -- leaves no residue
.... rice flour ---smaller particles and semi-transparent
(...for cornstarch, see below)

baking soda and salt mixture ... maybe making your own dissolvable balls out of that stuff would work?... I used to sculpt with it before I discovered polymer.

paper products of all kinds will soften considerable when soaked in water.
..I used toilet paper dampened with water
......I surrounded a baked bead with it
......once it dried, I covered it with a layer of clay which had cut-outs in it
......after baking, I soaked it in water, and the TP washed away..... it did need a little pursuading with a needle tool to remove all of it.
...could use Paperclay instead?

PAPER CLAYs ...CARDSTOCK & cardboard

Most paper-based products like paperclays, cardstock, etc., can be softened in water (after baking) so they can be removed from polymer items... this could take awhile though or not be practical for certain items.

The following info mostly applies to using paper products as permanent armatures (so eventually it will be moved to Armatures--perm, but for now some of this info may be adaptable to temporary armatures)


My question is this... when using paperclay, after it's cured and very hard..should I cover the paperclay with sobo glue, let it dry and then apply polymer clay? Also, I do full body sculpts and was wondering if paperclay is an accepted medium for over the aluminum foil. Susan
...The armature for the body was made out of paperclay. I have a plastic dress form that I got at the dollar store. I used that as a mold for the paper clay. Gwen
....Was wondering what your reason for applying the sobo glue first??? To help it stick better...or to seal the paper clay??? I would not see where this would be necessary.

..I would think you could use anything over is a very sturdy under medium if used as I make armatures with the foil and hot glue. Several of our students work exclusively in paper clay (even fabric) and they use the foil and hot glue method now as their armature base....when making either fabric or paper clay dolls.

Paper clay does make great armatures-- I put it over wire and foil, then use PC over that for things like mermaid tails, dragons...its bakable, and lighter. Sarajane

I've used paperclay in making miniatures. I've made an Egyptian scene where I covered all the walls and floor with paperclay and then textured it to look like stone. I haven't used it yet to sculpt figures. I really like the texture while I'm handling it but don't like it when the clay dries on my hands! Euuuuu! One of the nice things about it is that you can cover things like styrofoam, which is a no-no with polymer clay. Another good thing is putting on new layers and having it blend together really well. Donna in Mt.

( has it been a tried and true method. I know Bob Mckinley used paperclay exclusively..but didnt' cover it with polymer clay..)
Yes he did..when Bob first started making dolls it was in Celluclay (the grayish lumpy paper clay ..Van Craig uses this also) before he started working in Super Sculpey. He would build his armatures from cardboard that was filled in with Celluclay...let it dry thoroughly...and then apply his SuperSculpey. Sand, Gesso and then paint! NOW...the KEY word here is DRY THOROUGHLY.... If you do not.....the under paper clay can mildew and
eat through the polymer...or at the very least mildew stain the polymer and long term cause lots of you have sealed a moist product into a hard substance...and even the oven baking the the polymer will not dry the paper clay...Bob began to dry the paper clay in the oven on a LOW heat to speed it up...but still would allow a few days to be sure.... Jodi Creager

using card stock stiffened with cyanoacrylic glue as an armature, like Katherine Dewey suggests in her book 'Creating Life-Like Animals in Polymer Clay' (an amazing book, btw!) for ears and other thin areas. I don't know how well it would work for larger objects, though. Cut the card into the shape of the feather, and then cover it with a thin sheet of polymer clay on both sides. The extra clay can be quite easily teared away. You might try coating the card with TLS, or some PVC based glue like Sobo, to get a better grip for the polymer clay. Christina

Polymer clay is very strong, but it is even stronger if you enclose a piece of screen or file folder card stock that is covered with a layer of SOBO or any PVA glue. If you cover the card stock with the polymer clay without the PVA glue it could separate? later on. The result is a very light weight and strong, and you can handle well.. The beauty of using the file card stock on the inside is that it saves multiple baking. I used the file folder on this mask swap. The clay is Sculpey III. It is very nice to use in this way because the board supports the otherwise fragile clay. The clay thickness is Pasta Machine #3.

Josh's card stock & white glue armature for fish fins, etc.

I've been using thin (strips of) cardboard shapes cut out of cereal boxes, etc., sandwiched with thin clay sheets (covering each piece with Sobo & letting it dry first) as armatures to add relief bits to basic clay-covered forms (for noses, etc.); these have adhered just fine to the raw clay already on the forms as long as there's plenty of surface area for contact. The largest single piece I have used so far is about 1" by 5". I like them because they're strong but flexible, and I can make the sandwiched clay "wrap" and curl following the contours of the mask, but I can also get them to curl away from it.. .Index cards and cardstock alone are not quite strong enough for the masks and small relief sculptures I'm making.
(I made the mask with a thin sheet of clay over plaster cloth forms first). Sid
... (he will add samples of these at his site soon? )

...for cardboard/papier mache, packing tape (brown on a roll) works wonders as a bond or as hinges...I use it for armatures along with cardstock. Sarajane H

CORNSTARCH-based materials

packing peanuts... pellets

Cornstarch packing "peanuts" will dissolve when soaked in water, so you can bake around them. Later if you expose the cornstarch to water, it will melt away leaving only the baked clay behind.

Also packing peanuts made from cassava from Brazil might be usable....the biggest were about the length of my thumb. They were all sorts of shapes. I don't know if cutting would work. I think they have lots of holes throughout them. But they are a lot harder (than cornstarch ones). I'll have to see if I can get some. Jody B.

Zog Log "cornstarch shapes" (my son used to have a set of this building toy...DB)
...Imagine my surprise when I looked closely at the building materials and they happened to all be made of the cornstarch stuff!; All kinds of shapes and sizes. So of course I had him cover one of the big (2"x2") cylinders with his choice of color and then use the 1/4" circle punch to cut out a pattern. He then baked it, let it cool, then put it under warm running water.  It works just like the packing peanuts!!! He made his piece out of some neon orange it is noe sitting on the christmas tree over a clear midget light; A really neat effect.
Yes, the Magic Nuudles (by KidTech Tool) are cornstarch and will work just fine (I work for the manufacturer, as their representative - just as I work for Polyform Products). The white cornstarch peanuts that can be bought by the box (for packing) may or may not be safe around children (depends on the manufacturer, but I suspect most are not, according to my source) (they may have been sprayed with a pesticide). Magic Nuudles *are* fact, I've eaten them. They are children ASTM certified, and were created specifically for the craft market.
........I found the colored ones at the local craft store. Here they come in a large bag and are different colors. ...are nothing more than the colored corn starch packing peanuts. The price was about $4.00 a bag. However, at Michaels and other craft outlets you should expect to pay more..The price at their website is $5.99 for the bag I got, plus $2.00 shipping. Tamila

"blocks" of cornstarch are being sold by the Artifactory. Unfortunately, the shape is not solid, but rather a number of layers of corrugated sheets of cornstarch bonded loosely together, which makes sculpting anything smooth difficult. ...For more infol, contact artifactory@juno, 206-322-9233, Tues-Sat.

suppliers of cornstarch packing peanuts:
I got a big bag of (the large) tan cornstarch peanuts at Mailboxes, Etc. for about $3.00.
I've seen them within the month in a pillow-sized bag for under $5 at the U-Haul Rental lot, right next to the bubblewrap.
I used to work at a new Barnes & Noble. When the warehouse shipped books to our store they used biodegradable packing peanuts. You would not believe all the ones we threw out. We had trash cans full that were the size of apartment complex trash bins! We continued to get these things in regular might ask to see if they have any of these peanuts in their recieving rooms. In case the booksellers you talk to don't know what you are talking about, the shipping manager of the store would and I think the shipping managers usually work 9-5. Maybe other bookstores use biodegradable peanuts too? -Laurie

Dogs love to eat the cornstarch peanuts! ... and some have eaten quite a number of them. No problem though. . .
.....(I disagree. . . cornstarch peanuts used for packing are sometimes sprayed with pesticides), so using them where children might stick 'em in their curious 'lil mouths, or such, means that caution should be used.... the only way to be absolutely "sure" that cornstarch peanuts aren't covered with insecticides is to buy a children's craft bag of "Nuudles" ...Elliiot

uses (cornstarch peanuts)

Since these cornstarch peanuts stick to each other with moisture, one can also stick them together, or on top of each other to create just about any size or shape desired. Elliott

If you dampen the cornstarch peanuts and moosh them into the shape you want and then cover the shape completely with clay and try to bake it, there will be moisture heating up inside your bead (or whatever shape) that might be enough to crack the heck out of the clay as it hardens, or it might 'only' cause a big ugly bubble. should either let your cornstarch blob dry completely before covering and baking....or allow for the steam inside your clay to escape (by using a small hole, etc.)Zig

The easiest way to dampen the peanuts is to have a damp sponge next to your work space. Patty B.
....(otherwise, too much wetness makes a gloppy sticky mess). Zig

I pretty much gave up on the peanuts... they weren't very easy to "configure" (into shapes I wanted)...
....They also weren't very easily smoothed the inside of whatever you molded around it would have those markings on it ...and I couldn't get the "base" layer of clay to stick to it. Zig

To make large (but still lightweight) items, cornstarch peanuts can be used as a core (armature)

Dampen the peanuts slightly & stick them together... smooth them (dampened fingers)...and let the shape dry thoroughly before you use it (even then, don't forget to drill a vent hole in the piece so that your work won't explode in the oven). Elizabeth

I could never get the clay to stick to the cornstarch packing popcorns., but the clay will stick to itself if you wrap a snake of clay around the puff first. and use that to anchor clay to .
......I made some 1 1/2" and 2" balls using cornstarch peanuts the inside of my Noah's ark elephants ..... I used 2 to 4 of the peanuts scrunched up tight and placed in the center of a # 1 (pasta machine) clay sheet and wrapped the clay sheet around it, shaped itinto a ball, and baked. It worked pretty well. I really like using the peanuts because the objects are lighter. Marty
If you cover the peanuts with foil before the clay, you might want to poke a couple of holes in so that you can do that after the item is baked. Lenora
Jody B's Archaic Filigree beads (holey)...I started with a baked tube bead ....and wrapped it with the cornstarch peanut so I could work over that as a base. I'll save the rest for the article, but I bet you could figure it out anyway! : ) Jody

...I used my Kemper extruder (clay gun) to make "spaghetti" strands of Sculpey III, then wound those around a peanut to make a lacy open work design.
Basically, you wrap clay entirely around one peanut, make a hole through your bead, and bake.
After baking, soak your bead in water; the peanut will dissolve and you'll have a lightweight, hollow bead.
....I did the same thing, but used strips of clay made with the noodle attachment to my Atlas pasta maker!
they can be shaped with a little moisture and finger pressure in case you'd like something smaller than the full nut. I suspect also that because they get somewhat gummy when they're moistened, one might be able to "glue" them together to form larger shapes than the single peanut, giving them uses beyond making just the hollow lacework beads people have talked about.

. . . Hummm. . . Think I will try this (the net result will be lacy balls within lacy balls.) .... apply strips of clay to a small ball of foam in an open lacy network then bake.... build up another thin layer of (cornstarch) foam around this ball and do another layer of clay network .....bake..... Repeat two or three more layers..... Then disolve all foam. Lysle
......For a lacy effect, extrude strands of clay or roll some very thin, then wrap the peanut with the strands going in various directions. can also bury either a clay, glass or metal bead inside the peanut and then wrap. Bake. When the peanut is dissolved out, you will have a solid bead within a lacy bead.
.........( actually, you can do this, more than twice: Place one bead inside the peanut, cover with strands of clay... cover this with a layer of peanuts which you have flattened, then cover this with another layer of clay in strands.... If you make each layer a different color, the results are pretty neat). Patty B.
(see also Desiree's bead like this in Canes/Wax)

I've used cornstarch peanuts to make some long hollow beads. Lenora
....I've used the pellets (peanuts) frequently as an armature for beads in a couple of different ways:
..........To make a hollow tubular shaped bead, just roll your clay fairly thin, #3 o #4 on most pasta machines. Then wrap the peanut with the clay, smoothing the edges and the ends. Poke a hole with your needle tool all the way through the ends. Bake. Place the beads in a pan, sink or bowl of water. They will allow water in through the pierced ends and in a few minutes you can blow out the gooey remainder. Patty B.

To make a ball shaped bead, dampen one end of the ball and stick it to itself. You can cut the peanuts in half and add to this bead on the sides, and with a damp finger press them into the shape desired. Patty B....

Violette's clay cage made of ropes (website gone)
....I made some bird cages around the puffs. . . . First I made a bird or a rainbow out of clay and baked it... then I squished the puffs around it , made a cage out of thin ropes, baked the cage,and dissolved the puffs out after cooling.
....The rainbow cage I sent to a friend who needed cheering up and told her to dissolve out the puffs and find the treasure inside.

To help keep the skirts of my figures spread and intact while baking, I use a bit of biodegradable packing peanut up each one. Janey

You don't have to remove the peanuts after baking. I used the peanuts one time to make a domed lid (hollow?) to fit on a votive glass that I was making into a jack o'lantern and a removable lid complete with stem. Patty B.

What about winding beading wire around something like a disolvable peanut pellet . . . Nora Jean

These noodles or peanuts can also be wrapped around a wire armature and covered with clay to make a light weight body for what might be a bit heavy pin. Think fish, frog, crab, sea horse, teddy bear, etc. A 2" clay pin might be a bit heavy if it is solid clay, but the peanut foam is much lighter than an interior of solid clay. However, be sure and use a #1 layer of clay for the body so it isn't easily crushed. Patty B.

I wonder if tightly gathering a bunch of the peanuts (or finely chopped pieces) inside a piece of plastic wrap or netting of some kind, then misting with a tiny bit of water, would allow you to shape the whole thing from the outside?
.... Could this work to make more scuptural forms? (it can be done with plaster) DB

cornstarch "Clays"

"cold porcelain"

"cold porcelain" clays (purchased, or can be made but that version isn't as satisfactory?)
....for most info on the air drying clay (often called "cold porcelain", but also known by diff. brand names in South America, England, Japan, etc.) which is made with cornstarch and white glue, etc. (not dissolvable... at least after it's dry)..... see Misc. > Cold Porcelain and Sculpting > Non-Polymer Clays.....)
some recipes:
...3/4 cup of white glue 1 cup cornstarch 1/2 cup of water 1 teaspoon of cold cream 1 teaspoon of glycerin ...Mix wet ingredients until smooth over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes and add cornstarch. Stir continually until it forms a ball, remove from pan and mix thoroughly with hands do not refrigerate. Keep in an airtight bag.... use chalk powder to color, or paint with any paint when dry. Use cold cream to moisten mold and/or when you are working with it, if it becomes sticky.. Or ..dust with cornstarch
...another recipe: 1/4 cup of water 1/4 cup of cornstarch 1/4 cup of Bicarb soda Mix all ingredients together and cook (stirring) until it forms a ball. This is used the same as above.

cornstarch & glue + cold cream + glycerin

promising recipe for special dough from Carol Duvall Show
.....ornaments, by Sylvia Gomez,,HGTV_3352_1383427,00.html
..(one cup cornstarch, wooden spoon, one cup (white?) glue, one tablespoon of cold cream, one tablespoon of glycerin, Teflon pan, 1/2 cup water)
1. Place cornstarch in a plastic bowl and make a well in the center. Add water little by little and pound the mixture gently with wooden spoon. Do not stir. If lumps appear, use thumb to smash.
2. Add glue all at once, stirring with wooden spoon. Add cold cream and glycerin then move it all into a Teflon pan. (especially recommended).
over a low temperature while stirring with the wooden spoon for 3-5 min. until it looks like paste.
3. Remove the mixture from the pan and place it on counter to dry for 10 minutes . If the mixture is too dry, knead in small amounts of water using your hands. If the clay is too sticky, knead in small amounts of cornstarch using your hands.
4. With cold cream on hands, knead the dough until there are no lumps. Store the dough in plastic bags until ready to use.
(will shrink 20-30% while drying... drying takes longer in a cold climate (to quicken, place the clay in a scrap of cotton material it's drying)

What i did (to use this with polymer clay) was:
....make cores for larger basic shape type focal beads ....let it dry completly (I even put some in a very low temp oven to get them good and dry)
...then cover the starch bead with polymer clay.
...bake the whole thing, making sure to at least have a starter hole for dissolving the starch
...I then sand and buff the bead with the starch still inside
...once you are happy with the finished bead, drop it in a bowl of soapy water (...I do take a drill bit and kind of drill into the starch through the holes I leave in the clay layer to speed up the dissolve)
. . . . So far it is working wonderfully well...... I would not recomend this for small beads (too much work involved) but for large lightweight beads i think this will be better than using foil...Denita

I know you haven't done this yet, but do you think that the dough would be strong enough to create holey beads (like vinegar eggs)? And do you think it would work for armature forms for sculpting --say, a pig or even a human?? Diane B.
I think it would work for "holey" beads if you use the same principal that you use with the viniger eggs

(now for the aramature for a form, just have to try and see)...the clay seems to hold shape pretty good if you get it to the right consistency...i keep adding starch to stiffen it up a little at a time, and i did put some into a face mold and it held the detail. does shrink when drying, so that is something to think about if you are going to do a sculpture. Denita

(see also Sculpting > Clays > Other Clays > Cold Porcelain for a sculptable mixture which may be quite similar to this, using "cornstarch and glues"... that "must be sealed after sculpting or it will dissolve in water")

cornstarch, corn oil + water clay
(use wet or dry?)

I started with a paste of cornstarch and water, formed it into a ball, then let it air dry. It may not have been strong enough - maybe I needed more or less water in the mix.
1TBS. cornstarch in a zip lock bag
2 drops corn oil
1TBS. water
.....Squish around in th bag to mix...then microwave on HI for 20 - 25 seconds ...make sure to leave the bag open . . . or boom!.
.....Remove as soon as it can be handled.
.....Build your bead around this but leave a way for the water to get inside and dissolve after firing. Denise
..."At this point the mixture has turned to a hot gel which solidifies (sort of) as it cools -- -it remains flexible can be formed into simple shapes or pushed into a mold to harden.
..left to cool in a flat or pattie shape, it can be cut when cooled-with a knife or cookie cutter."
..... I tried this but with very poor results-I used olive oil..and that does not work! Icky! Corn oil is what is needed. Mary
... Thanks for reminding me! I always meant to try that! Just remember, DON"T SEAL THE BAGGIE when you microwave it! It can blow up! Jody B.

I messed with this stuff a couple of years ago - if you keep it in a ziploc bag, it will stay workable for a few days.
(before drying?):
...The main problems I had with it are first, that it's not very moldable and second, that it seems to swell in the oven.
...You can't put a shell of raw clay around it and cook it without leaving lots of open areas for the goop to expand out of - even then, it might force breaks in the clay shell.
...It leaves a rough interior on the clay you're forming around it,
...and removing the baked goop is very difficult - I boiled the piece and scrubbed the interior with a toothbrush.

However, if you make a shape that you want, and leave it to dry so that you don't have that expansion thing going, the shape will shrivel up into something odd and crusty and warty looking.... so I guess it's not all bad. *g*

The cornstarch peanuts are a lot better for me, especially to make those beads that Jody wrote instructions for in B&B. Elizabeth (which recipe?)

I tried that receipe, and did not have good results. It did not dissovle well at all. (which recipe?)

other cornstarch recipes

(used for regular sculpting... not dissolvable??)
....Carol Duvall's favorite cornstarch recipe is the one that for many years appeared on the side of the Argo Cornstarch package:
1 cup cornstarch + 2 cups of baking soda (one pound package) ....1-1/4 cup cold water
... she created little people & trees for her Holiday Village with this clay,1789,HGTV_3352_1382824,00.html

(add other cornstarch recipes (often with salt) from Word file?)

Misc. Materials

It may be possible to cover Styrofoam and other polystyrenes to use as armatures (though the jury is still out) to create hollow forms (partly or completely)....(for more details, plus discussion of shrinking or melting rates and fumes, see Covering > Plastics, Styrofoam)... floral foams?

for a cheap and easy-to-carve "block material" (even for kids) for creating 3-D forms, see vermiculite and plaster mix in Carving > "Carving" Sculptures (this is not removable though?)