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Fantasy Art Tutorials in the FARP Section

Tinfoil Magic - Making scuptures from tinfoil

By :-) Eleonora Bruk


Tinfoil...what this material reminds you of? Chocolate (of course), roasted chicken, meat in general? Of course, this is household material for preservation of food. But have you ever, ever considered it a material for making - sculptures? Of course not; when talking of sculpting materials, we think of such materials as stone, clay, marmor, but not tinfoil. Neither did I, to be honest, until I found a little, torn up book in the dark recesses of my school library at hte age of 9. I was absolutely bedazzled by this book, but didn`t make notes about the author, since I was a kid and it didn`t matter to me anyway. You can`t imagine how much I regret this now!...but it`s too late, I suppose. That school library doesn`t even exist anymore...only thing I remember about this book is that the author was a German, and that`s the only clue I`ve got. But, since I learnt almost everything that was in the book, I`ll present with what I know, so you won`t feel at a loss ;o))) To be honest, 90% of the book contained only basics, and the rest I was self-taught (I regret that 10%, anyway).

Now, onto the tinfoil magic!

To start, you need tinfoil, of course. Just tear off a nice quadratic piece, like in this pic. Any generic tinfoil roll product will do.

Now that you have a quadratic piece of tinfoil sheet, the next step is to squash it with your hands. Do this gently, though - don`t tear the sheet in process! When you do this, slowly straighten the sheet back to its original size. The purpose of this step was to create the basis for further twiching and twisting of your foil sheet. (Doesn`t this shape remind you of Australian continent??)

Now onto the rolling! This is easy and quick - you just have to roll the sheet like you would roll, for instance, a cigarette. Sorry, non-smokers, I can`t think of any other compararison at the moment :o&

When you`ve rolled the sheet, twist it in the middle. It does not have to be the perfect middle, and twist shouldn`t be too long. The twist is going to be the body of our mysterious figurine ;o))) and you can shrink it by pressuring it later, but don`t overdo it because the longer the body, the harder is to shrink it!

When you`re done with body twistin`, flatten both sides of the sheet. Just for reference, the white arrow marks the place of the main twist.

Here comes the *real* job. Split the both sides (or ends) in three equal portions. Be careful how you do this - though it seems easy enough, the foil may break off! It`s OK if it`s a leaf or two, but if a whole portion breaks off, your sculpture will lose an extremity and become an invalid before it`s even made (poor thing!) !!! I`m just kidding, heh, what I meant is that you`ll have to throw the sheet in the trash can and start the whole process all over, which isn`t such a bad thing for learning the technique, but your Mom is definitively going to be pissed off for throwing away unused tinfoil, and I wouldn`t recommend that! If she DOES get pissed off, don`t blame me :op

Are you ready for some more twisting and rolling?? Do I hear you say YES??? Onto the job, then! White arrow marks the place of twist, of course. Remember me mentioning the extremities in the previous step? Well, now you`ll be doing them.

Right now we are doing hing legs + tail (tail is the middle portion) . I am doing left hind leg, but can do right if you feel like it, the order doesn`t matter. I suggest, though, that you first do the legs, and then the tail. When you roll each leg, leave it straight and stiff like it is. We`ll get back to that later.

(I apologize for this pic being so blurry and all, but my camera is even wackier than me) Roll front legs in the same fashion as the hind ones. If you did everything OK, you should have something like...this. As much as I love and respect Dali`s art, we won`t leave this creature looking nadrealistic like it is ;o)))

Now start rolling head portion as you would the legs, but stop when you reach the approximate size of a neck. Separate out two leaves (marked with blue arrows) - they will be ears. Continue rolling the head like marked with white arrow and sculpt it to resemble the dog`s snout (so much for 'mysterious' sculpture ;o))). When you`re done, sculpt those two leaves in two long, falling ears like those of an Irish setter or Spanish cocker.

Leave the tail as it is, shrink the body if necessary (if it`s too long), and shape the legs. Lift the end of each leg for 90° to create a paw, twist the back legs backwards to create joints, and do some other small adjustments if you wish...

Voila! You very first tinfoil figurine! A cute Irish setter-bastard-or-somesuch ;o))) this is only a simple dog figurine, but you realize that this is the basic construction for everything else - humanoids too! I`ve presented you the basics, and everything else (you do) is pure art! Experiment, add or ...the most important thing to remember when sculpting foil is that you first do strong, basic body with little or no detail, and then add the fancy things like horns, antlers, wings, multiple tails, barbs, eyes...one more thing - if you`re going to do wings (on dragon, for example), first make some basic extremities above arms because wings have to hold on to something!

Remember, it took me several months to make Thordar, and I`ve been making foil figurines for years! Don`t expect marvelous results at once and don`t quit easily! When you learn your way around tinfoil, you`ll have loads of fun discovering how to make complicated fantasy creatures or nude models (like I do ;o))) and play with colored tinfoil leaves (from chocolate boxes) on your sculptures. Please, I would very much like you to send me your figurine pics when you learn the basics. I`ll be happy to see your progress! My e-mail is in my gallery for your future reference. Maybe in future I`ll make some more tutorials on such specific matters as making wings, working with color and other stuff, but only if you wish it ;o)))

FARP Article Guestbook

20 Nov 201245 Anon.
this is helpfull
4 Dec 201245 Addi
it is not usefull
13 Jan 201345 Amy
r u sad tring to make foil things
28 Jan 201345 Anon.
I have a sausage dog!
23 Mar 201345 Anon.
Im trying to make a tin foil chalice
13 Oct 201345 Anon.
Thank you for sharing your technique with this expressive sensitive creative material!
15 Feb 201445 Anon.
can u melt the tin and then shape it?
13 Mar 201445 Anon.
I think we need to start a tinfoil society
2 May 201445 Alicia
7 Jun 201445 Anon.
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