3 Types of Sculpture Materials to Consider Using as a Hobby

Updated on June 23, 2018
Tricia Deed profile image

Gardening is a growing hobby which produces. A garden shed becomes essential for storing garden tools and large equipment.

Marble Sculpture

John Wall is busy working on a marble statue. Working with marble is for the more advanced sculptor.
John Wall is busy working on a marble statue. Working with marble is for the more advanced sculptor. | Source

What is Sculpture?

It is a form of art expressing itself into a three-dimensional object. The object may be molded, chipped or cut depending on the medium used. It is art because it is beautiful. It is a craft if it has a practical function. It can be both an art and a craft because it is both beautiful and functional.

The sculptor may choose to work with clay, sand, sawdust, paper, plastics, or any other soft malleable medium. Sculpture can be chipped or cut from wood, metal, stone, marble, and other medium to hard classifications of objects.

Many of us have used clay and sand in school classes for many types of art and craft projects. Most of these objects were assembled using our hands. My first clay project was making an ashtray.

In the advanced grades we were allowed to chip our designs from soap, wood, or any other soft material which could be chipped using assorted types of special knife blades. My project was called “chip art”. The chipping was done on a wooden jewelry box.

The serious sculptor art student experiences cutting figures from trees, ice, and other selected medium with a power saw or they may choose to weld metal pieces together to create an art or a functional piece.

A person may specialize in one outlet or take on multiple outlets. It is a matter of adjusting or having a preference for different types of mediums. Start with small projects and experiment before deciding to sculpt a major piece of work.

Clay Figurines

These adorable figurines are made with clay and shaped by artistic hands.
These adorable figurines are made with clay and shaped by artistic hands. | Source

1. Sculpting Clay

All school children have experienced molding clay in school or in the home. With our hands we start working the clay until it feels just right to be molded or cut. Some of us will start with a round ball of modeler’s clay and cut away unwanted areas or add additional clay pieces depending on the creation.

Example: A round face is the head of a person. We then cut away or indent the clay where necessary or add pieces of shaped clay to bring detailed features to the head. When completed we then paint our artwork and place it in the kiln for a permanent finish.

Others may roll the clay in the same way we roll out pastry dough, and then cut the pieces which will be needed. The cut pieces are then connected by pinching or pressing the clay pieces together.


We can create stick figures of gingerbread men or other favorite cartoon or animated characters with different shapes of cut clay. A cookie cutter or a sculptor's knife may be used to cut desired shapes. Additional pieces of clay may be applied by pressing the pieces together with our fingers or using a flat blade tool.

Starting on a small project is affordable. However, should you decide to make larger pieces, like pottery, additional accessories and a kiln will be required? You may wish to take classes and be exposed to the tool necessities before investing in more complex clay projects.

Wood Sculpture of Heart

A carved wooden heart highlighted with a kissing couple.
A carved wooden heart highlighted with a kissing couple. | Source

2. Wood Carving

This art-form has been with us since the dawning of man. Wood carving made eating utensils, bowls, vases, statues, jewelry, religious articles, canoes, decorated woodwork in and on buildings and boats, visual art, and other art decor.

Unfortunately, wood is easily destroyed by water, insects, mold and mildew, and fire. For longer lasting items artists and craftsmen prefer carving stone and marble. However; the warmth and beauty of wood is very popular and favored by many.

Draw the design before beginning the carving process. The sketch is our pattern guide for cutting away unwanted wood to create the finished product.

Carving will require special tools and deciding on the type of wood to be used. It can become a very expensive hobby. If you are not sure if this is going to be your hobby of choice; start with a small object. A pen knife and a bar of soap is a very inexpensive beginning to help determine if carving is suitable for your talents and skills.

Carving tools:

  1. A pocket knife or an assortment of wood carving knives
  2. Hand chisels for detailed work
  3. Gouges, spoon shaped or straight, for chipping away
  4. V-tool for relief carving
  5. The type of wood and the project determines which tools are to be used

Ice Sculpture Of An Angel

Ice sculptures require speed when working because of the cold temperatures. The life length depends on the temperature of the environment.
Ice sculptures require speed when working because of the cold temperatures. The life length depends on the temperature of the environment. | Source

3. Ice and Snow Sculpture

Ice sculpture is beautiful but lasts for hours or perhaps a few months depending on the environmental temperature. The question is …”Are you able to live with creating an object which will disappear in a short period of time?” Ice carving and building a sand castle on the beach are beautiful but short lived. Some people do not mind repeating building the same object over and over; are you one of them?

Ice sculpture is no different than the other sculptures in that it can be carved into realistic figures or abstract art. The ice must be kept at freezing temperatures. A more permanent ice-like medium would be glass or crystals.

Sculptured ice figures may be seen in the great winter outdoors, on grand buffet tables’ at large conventions, weddings, and other special gatherings, and at ice festivals which feature these works.

The figure is carved from blocks of ice which has been removed from frozen rivers, lake, and ponds. The size of the block will determine if hand tools or a power saw is to be used. An individual or a machine may do the carving depending on the size of the ice block. A quicker method is to place water into a mold, freeze, remove, and refine the details. Colored ice is created with dyes.

An alternative to ice carving is snow sculpture. Every child enjoys making a snow man. Adult creators like to take it a step further by creating many other figurines and objects. Snow sculpture is similar to sand sculpture.

Both art-forms are created on the spot with available medium. The creation is done by one or many while onlookers enjoy watching. Hands or hand tools may be used. The snow sculptures are accomplished by packing the snow very tightly or from snow blocks which froze hard overnight.

The technique for packing the snow tight is the same technique used in sand creations.

Sculpting A Female Head in Clay. Sculpting Tutorial and Demo.

Tactile Art

Do you enjoy sculpting?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • what material is clay composed of?

    Clay is earth mixed with a variety of minerals and rocks. Natural clay is available in red, yellow, and terracotta or brownish color. Most of us find it more convenient to purchase clay at an arts and crafts store.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      4 months ago

      I am a sculptor i have making woodern and rock sculpture so my life for art

    • profile image

      Tricia Deed 

      13 months ago


      I took a tour online to check out stone carving in Kenya. It this is the type of work you sculpture; it is beautiful. It appears to me that the natural stone in your area offers the opportunity to sculpt any object to create unusual and different stone grain patterns in finished pieces.

      The photos of the sculptured pieces which I saw online are stunning.

    • profile image

      Gerard Motondi 

      13 months ago

      Grew up in a stone carving community in Western Kenya. I enjoy sculpting any type of stone. Garden sculpture is decorative, records history, and commemorate events. it is also therapeutic

    • Tricia Deed profile imageAUTHOR

      Tricia Deed 

      2 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Deborah, click into Wiki How on the Internet. They have an article on oil based clay with illustrations to help you make this clay.

    • Tricia Deed profile imageAUTHOR

      Tricia Deed 

      2 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Deborah, I found an article by WikiHow describing how to make an oil based clay. The article includes step by step instructions with pictures. Check out their website for this information.

    • profile image

      Deborah Atwood 

      2 years ago

      I have been searching for hours, for Homemade Oil based clay.

      And only able to find 1. The guy doesn't give out the Recipe.

      Is there anyone out here that has a recipe they don't mind sharing with me?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)