Skulls in 275 and 950 degree heat

Submitted by Dej J. on 9/5/05 at 11:58 PM. ( )

Before I get started on some art projects, I need to know how exposure to heat will effect the skulls I plan to use to make them.

First of all, I was thinking of making a sculpture in which I would include a clean mole skull embedded in clay. If I have to bake the polymer clay in the oven at 275degrees for about fifteen minutes, will the skull be damaged or damage my oven? What if I put it in at five-minute intervals and let it cool down completely inbetween?

Also, I plan on using a wood-burner on a skull which applies 950degrees of direct heat to a small area. Will it withstand that, or will know...explode into osteo-shrapnel on me? What about the teeth?

Thanks in advance!

Return to Beginners Category Menu

275 will work

This response submitted by Lee D. on 9/6/05 at 10:03 PM. ( )

I'm also an artisan/sculptor. I've baked skulls up to 300 degrees without any changes in the skull or explosions. possibly slight to very little expandature. If you use sculpey clay (Fimo), it will usually bake in 250 - 330 degrees, depending on thickness. Start off at 100 degrees, and every 5 minutes, boost the temp up in increments of 50 degrees.
However, I have tried torching a skull to obtain a charred look, and it didn't turn out so well. The softer/more delicate tissue will disintegrate upon touch, and makes the skull extremely fragile - don't forget that bone is porous! If heated too fast, any enclosed air bubbles will explode. I speak from experience!
Give it a try, we learn from mistakes. If you want to torch a skull, do so on a common, easy to find, inexpensive skull.
Good Luck!


This response submitted by Dej J. on 9/6/05 at 11:13 PM. ( )

I'm going to use a paperclip and foil armature in the sculpture, so hopefully the clay (yep--super sculpey) won't need to be so thick as to need a lot of time to bake.

Thankfully, another rat or mole is always at hand for me to experiment on, as my skulls come from whatever my cats bring me. Since the wood-burner will have me within inches of the skull however, I think I'll just burn in small sections of the design each day to lessen the chance of an explosion.

And if you don't mind me asking another, totally unrelated question: I've searched on the internet for what kind of material and paints one uses to make fish-safe aquarium decor, but Google and search engines like it give me the run around. Do you have any idea where I can find out what I'd use?

Thanks so much for your help, Lee!

Return to Beginners Category Menu