So a few weeks ago, a friend and I were chatting via AIM and he asked me about Celluclay as he’d never used it before. The conversation ended up being worth my saving to write a tutorial on but I figured the conversation itself is as much of a tutorial as any! The following is a conversation we had with the names changed and spelling fixed.
Other Modeler (3:26:53 PM): where do you get your celluclay from?
FichtenFoo (3:27:27 PM): Michaels
Other Modeler(3:27:35 PM): oh yea?
Other Modeler(3:27:42 PM): cool, I need to go there today
FichtenFoo (3:27:53 PM): don’t think I’ve ever gotten it elsewhere
FichtenFoo (3:27:53 PM): lol
Other Modeler(3:28:39 PM): oh cool
Other Modeler(3:28:48 PM): how does it work? I’ve never used it
Other Modeler(3:28:51 PM): does it get hard?
FichtenFoo (3:29:03 PM): oh jeez… welcome to the learning curve
Other Modeler(3:29:07 PM): haha
Other Modeler(3:29:18 PM): well, I’ve worked with some pretty nasty clay
FichtenFoo (3:29:25 PM): it’s really not an easy thing to work with
Other Modeler(3:29:28 PM): hahah
Other Modeler(3:29:30 PM): woo!
FichtenFoo (3:29:50 PM): ok… first off it’s a fibery powder. Gray.
FichtenFoo (3:30:07 PM): you need to add water according to the directions, but you can throw them out
FichtenFoo (3:30:45 PM): Basically pour as much clay as you’ll need to a 1/4″ layer into some sort of mixing container. Let’s say 1 cup of celluclay.
FichtenFoo (3:31:19 PM): then add about 1/4 cup of water (with a drop of dish soap) a good splooge of white glue
FichtenFoo (3:31:33 PM): themix it as dry as you can so you might need more or less water
FichtenFoo (3:32:15 PM): smooth it over your surface Thin layers is best as it stays wet for a while and while wet can transfer its moisture to your wood thus warping it
FichtenFoo (3:32:35 PM): put it in the sun or in front of a heater vent
FichtenFoo (3:32:41 PM): whatever you have in CA
Other Modeler(3:32:45 PM): LOL
Other Modeler(3:32:49 PM): we don’t have the sun here
Other Modeler(3:32:55 PM):
Other Modeler(3:33:21 PM): hmmm
Other Modeler(3:33:30 PM): sounds interesting
Other Modeler(3:33:38 PM): is it workable after its dry?
FichtenFoo (3:33:40 PM): now one thing people end up with is weird peaks and valleys from their fingers. Wet your hands and smooth the celluclay out as flat as possible, then take a stiuff wet brush and stipple it… stipple it around rocks and such to blend them in
FichtenFoo (3:33:59 PM): keep a dish of water to keep your figers wet as the celluclay is sticky…
Other Modeler(3:34:05 PM): cool
FichtenFoo (3:34:15 PM): oh and while first mixing it, it’ll seem very dry then smooq
FichtenFoo (3:34:18 PM): wet
FichtenFoo (3:34:25 PM): so add water a little at a time
Other Modeler(3:34:33 PM): crazy stuff
FichtenFoo (3:34:36 PM): yeah
Other Modeler(3:34:38 PM): I figured it was just clay
FichtenFoo (3:34:42 PM): like I said… learning curve
Other Modeler(3:34:43 PM): not some magic powder
FichtenFoo (3:34:45 PM): nooooo
FichtenFoo (3:34:53 PM): its a powdered paper mache
Other Modeler(3:35:01 PM): ahhh
FichtenFoo (3:35:01 PM): and when dry it’s like freaking concrete
Other Modeler(3:35:10 PM): hahah
FichtenFoo (3:35:22 PM): OH… watch for it shrinking when drying, especially around edges
Other Modeler(3:35:27 PM): k
FichtenFoo (3:35:49 PM): seriously… it’s been 7-8 years working with the stuff and I just recently consider myself to be “skilled” i its use
Other Modeler(3:35:57 PM): hehe
FichtenFoo (3:36:02 PM): do some tests first
Other Modeler(3:36:07 PM): yea, it sounds very tedious
Other Modeler(3:36:16 PM): I wonder if I am better off just using hydrocal
FichtenFoo (3:36:29 PM): it’s great once you get the hang of it… not really THAT scary… I just want you to know the bad things so you can avoid them
FichtenFoo (3:36:38 PM): it’s definitely worth trying
Other Modeler(3:36:43 PM): cool
FichtenFoo (3:36:46 PM): what’s hydrocal?
Other Modeler(3:36:52 PM): um, fancy plaster
FichtenFoo (3:36:56 PM): and it is clay like
FichtenFoo (3:37:04 PM): oh, no… celluclay is better
Other Modeler(3:37:08 PM): k
Other Modeler(3:37:20 PM): I have a spare little box I got from Michaels
Other Modeler(3:37:24 PM): I can practice on that
FichtenFoo (3:37:27 PM): you can mold it, texture it, etc… it’s like working with a wad of sticky wet TP
Other Modeler(3:37:32 PM): hah!
Other Modeler(3:37:39 PM): that sounds perfect then
FichtenFoo (3:37:44 PM): probably the best way to describe it
FichtenFoo (3:37:47 PM): yeah
Other Modeler(3:37:51 PM): I need to make a little cliff and stuff
Other Modeler(3:37:57 PM): so this sounds good
FichtenFoo (3:37:58 PM): now I need to save this conversation for a tutoorial
FichtenFoo (3:37:59 PM): lol
Other Modeler(3:38:03 PM): yes1
FichtenFoo (3:38:16 PM): mixing some sand in it or small rocks is also nice depending on the look you want
FichtenFoo (3:38:56 PM): the “wet water” aka water + soap helps it mix better and the glue helps it stick to the surface and hold whatever you apply or mix in
So that’s it in a nutshell. I think it’s a decent primer on how to start using the stuff and the modeler had success with it after the assistance.