"In his first five years, Jack Johnston, professional marketer turned dollmaker, rose from an unknown to one of the industries’ brightest stars, astonishing doll artists and collectors worldwide with his nearly instantaneous success. His talent and artistic ability transcend every aspect of dollmaking. Jack also posseses the unique ability to pass on to others completely and successfully that which he has mastered."
-Scott Advertising and Publishing
Mr. Johnston said, “over the past two and one half decades I have learned many things to do when making artdolls, I’ve also learned many things not to do. I’ve learned how to correct the things you shouldn’t have done in the first place, but they just happen anyway.” I’ve shared some of those Q&A’s with you.
Q. At what temperature should I cure ProSculpt and for how long?
A. Cure ProSculpt at 275F (135C) for 10-15 minutes. Read the instructions on the back of the package. For best results use a house-hold oven and a portable oven thermometer. I also recommend using Prop-it-up, a silicon blanket that lays in the oven between your sculpture and the racks. This blanket keeps the sculpture from burning and from shifting while it is curing. You may purchase the Prop Blanket at www.artdolls.com.
Q. What happens if I over cure ProSculpt?
A. First it will get light brown in color, then dark tan, then black, then if you leave it at a high temperature long enough it will catch fire. The fumes are very bad for you, so do not over cure polymer clay. Follow the instructions on the back of the package. Do not cure for longer than 15 minutes and never go over 275 degrees without monitoring the oven. Use a thermometer with every curing.
Q. Are there any good things that come from curing the clay at a slightly higher temperature, like 300 degrees?
A. Yes, the clay will get harder. I call this hyper curing, it is only to be done while closely watching the sculpture while it is hyper curing. At some point it becomes almost unbreakable, put it will turn darker in the process. Keep in mind that if you go over the suggested temp it will turn dark. The only time I recommend hyper curing the clay at a temp higher than 275 degrees is when you want it very hard and you are willing to paint the surface after it is cured.
Q. How do I fix a crack?
A. First, I would try to avoid all cracks by curing the clay at the proper temperature for the correct length of time. Do not make the clay too thick or too thin. It should not exceed 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure you fill in all seams before you put the clay in the oven. This will help eliminate cracks. Do not use porcelain as an armature, do not use wood as an armature, do not use styrofoam as an armature. You may use aluminum foil or pre-made heads made of nylon or resin. You may see them in the catalog section of this web site.
If you do have a crack you may fix it. Drill a 1/16 inch hole at each end of the crack. Fill the holes and the crack with Super Glue, after that dries put a very thin layer of clay over the repaired area and then put it back in the oven at 275F for about four minutes. When it is matte in color it is cured and you should not be able to see the crack again. You may also heat the surface to cure the new clay over the crack with a hair dryer or a heat gun. You will know it is cured when you see it turn matte. Remember, a heat gun or hair dryer can reach temperatures of 400-500F, so be careful. You should experiment with junk clay before you turn the heat gun on your finished sculpture.
Q. Can I paint my cured doll parts with Acrylic paint? How about Oil paint?
A. Yes, you may use Acrylic paint, Oil paint, Genisis paint, stain, or even chalk. When you paint the surface of the clay with any of the paints it is best to put the paint on in very thin washes. Allow the first coat to dry before putting on the second coat.
Q. What is the shelf life of ProSculpt clay?
A. If you keep ProSculpt in its original package and never let it go above 75 degrees it should last for at least indefinitly. We have some clay that is now 20 years old and still very usable.
Q. What caused my clay to go firm?
A. Once ProSculpt clay is exposed to temperature over 80 degrees it starts to cure. If you put it in the trunk of your car in the heat of the summer after you pick it up at the post office it will be hard by the time you get home. If your clay was delivered to you via truck in the middle of the summer or on a hot day that will cure it in the truck. It is best to purchase your clay in the winter, spring, or fall months. Avoid purchasing polymer clay in the months of July and August. If you live in a hot climate asked the shipper to insulate the package to assure it stays at room temperature.
Q. If my clay is too firm to sculpt can it be revived?
A. Yes, if you can push your fingernail into the clay it is still good. You may knead it to a soft consistency by adding smoothing oil to the clay as you knead it. Even better and easier is to mix your old firm clay with fresh soft clay. This will make the soft clay a little firmer and will make the firm clay much softer. The only time ProSculpt clay is unusable is when it is so hard that you can’t put your fingernail into the surface.
Q. May I call Johnston Original Artdolls for technical advice?
A. Yes, If you are sculpting with ProSculpt clay we are pleased to help you anytime during business hours, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Mountain Standard Time. Jack will be honored to help you. You may reach him at 801-510-3006. If you have a long winded question write him a message by going to Contact Us page.
Q. If my clay is too soft is there anything I can do?
A. Yes, you may leach the clay. To leach the clay cut the bar into ten thin cubes of clay. Put the cubes on a piece of white paper towel. Put another white paper towel over the top of the clay and then put an old book on the towels to smash the clay down and leach out the oil. It will leach the oil out of the clay in a few days. You may have to change the white towel every day or so as it will be full of oil. Check it every day until it is just as you want it to be. It can take up to several days to leach all of the oil out. It will be much more firm. Of course it will leach out naturally over time if you just leave it in its factory wrapping and leave it on the self. Generally it will be perfect in about 60 days from the day it is made.
Q. If I choose to sell one of my sculptures how much should I charge for it?
A. I use the following formula to price dolls.
Wage + cost of supplies + overhead + advertising = wholesale
wholesale + 100% mark up = retail For this price to work for you keep the wage cost down and the other expenses shared with all of the dolls you can make in one month. If you have questions please call Jack.
Q. Where can I show my dolls and sell them?
A. The best shows in the USA are the major shows like IDEX, EXPO, International Doll Show and others. The best shows are generally on the East Coast, and West Coast. You may find more information about these shows by getting their address from Google.com. In addition to major shows online sales through eBay and other online stores have proven to be very effective.
Q. I’ve heard I can cure my clay for 1-2 hours in the oven if it is at 250F, it that true?
A. No, curing polymer clay for longer than 10-15 minutes will cause it to go dark. Do not listen to chat on the Internet! Read the instructions on the back of the package or call Mr. Johnston for free technical advice at 801-510-3006.
You may contact Jack Johnston via Contact form.
You may also call and talk with him personally, Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM(MST) at 801-510-3006. Jack is very approachable, he is willing to share ideas and concepts without charge. He also gives free technical dollmaking advice and marketing help to artists using his products.