Tips and Tutorials

Creating a Wire Armature

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Photo 1 - Wire Pieces
Cut three pieces of 16 gauge wire (available at most hardware stores). 



Photo 2 - Body Wire Twisted
Twist the two longer pieces of wire together from the center for approximately 8 cm (3 1/2")


Photo 3 - Head Wire Twisted
Fold the shorter piece of wire in half and twist it to from the head.


Photo 4 - Joining the head wire to the body
Lay the shorter piece that you twisted to form a loop on top of the body pieces


Photo 5 - Attaching the head wire
Fold the longer "arms" from the head over the "arms" from the body portion and twist them together. Only twist them as far as the end of the "shoulders". Then fold them down to mee the centre wire at the junction of the legs.


Photo 6 - Shoulder Joint and Torso
This is a close up showing one side of the arm/shoulder joint completed. The opposite side still needs to be twisted together.




Photo 7 - Head and Body are now together

Photo 8 - The completed wire "skeleton".
The aluminum foil will be folded and wrapped over the wire frame to "flesh" out the figure. The bulkiness of the aluminum foil determines the curves (or lack of) in the final figure.

Photo 9 - Folding the aluminum foil
It is easier to create normal arm and leg proportions if you use the "trifold" method for wrapping the aluminum foil. Take a piece of foil approx. 10 inches long (and the full width of the roll) and turn it so that the short side is facing you. Fold the foil in one quarter. i.e. fold the bottom edge as far as the middle of the sheet.


Photo 10 - The Second Fold
Take the part that you have already folded and fold it again. You should now have a piece of foil with three layers of foil over half of the piece and a single layer of foil on the other half.

Photo 11 - Foil Folding Arm
Place the thicker part of the folded foil at the shoulder and wrap the arm tightly, continuing down toward the hand. You should have enough to wrap all the way to the hand. If you run out, it should be "below the elbow" and you can simply wrap another piece of single thickness foil, starting where you left off. It's important for the wrapping be tight and solid.

Photo 12 - Foil Wrapped arms
This shows the completed foil wrapped arms. Secure the foil with masking tape.


Photo 13 - Threaded Rod
If you are making a standing figure, you will need to determine what kind of base it will be standing on. If you are anchoring it to a rock, cement or other solid surface, you should attach a threaded metal rod to the figure's leg. The threaded rod is then inserted into a hole drilled into the base and a screw secures the rod from the bottom.

Photo 14 - Support Rod attached to leg
Attach the support rod to one of the figures legs and wrap with foil. Secure with tape. Make sure you cut the support rod long enough to cover more than half the length of the figure's leg. Otherwise the weight of the completed figure will cause it to bend over at that point.

Photo 15 - Wooden Support Rod for Indoor Use
If the figure is to be used indoors, a wooden dowel can be used, but must be varnished or covered with Powertex medium when complete.





Photo 16 - Support rod and legs wrapped.
Continue wrapping the legs, including the support rod, using the "trifold method" of folding the aluminum foil. For the legs you will need a slightly larger piece of foil than you used for the arms.


Photo 17 - Building up the Chest
If you are making a female figure, you will have to create a bosom. Roll the foil into two equal sized balls and secure them to the breast area using masking tape.


Photo 18 - Chest and Head Built Up
This is a side view of the breast and head areas after they have been built up and covered with foil.







Photo 19 - Chest and Head front fiew
This shows the head and chest area from the front. Don't forget to leave a neck on your figure.


Photo 20 - Hips built up.
Give your figure some hips and a rear end. Have fun and exaggerate the size if you want. Your finished figure will actually appear to be smaller than the exaggerated proportions you gave her.


Photo 21 - Figure Bent into Postion
Once you have finished "fleshing out" your figure, secure the foil with masking tape. Tap the foil with a small hammer to pack the foil tightly. The tighter and firmer that the foil is packed, the stronger your completed figure will be. Now you are ready to pose your creation. Gently bend the arms and legs into whatever whimsical position you want.
Remember that the support rod must be straight down to contact the base. If you are making a seated figure, make sure you give the bottom a wide enough platform to contact the base securely.

Photo 2 - Body Wire Twisted
Photo 1 - Wire Pieces
Photo 3 - Head Wire Twisted
Photo 7 - Head and Body are now together
Photo 8 - The completed wire skeleton
Photo 9 - Folding the aluminum foil
Photo 10 - The Second Fold
Photo 11 - Foil Folding Arm
Photo 13 - Threaded Rod
Photo 18 - Chest and Head Built Up
Photo 20 - Hips built up.
Photo 19 - Chest and Head front fiew
Photo 21 - Figure Bent into Postion
For a figure  50 cm tall (approx. 22 inches) you will need two pieces of 60 cm wire (28 inches) and one piece of 40 cm wire (18 inches). But don't be stuck on these measurements. The ratio is roughly two long pieces and a short piece that is approx. two thirds the length of the longer ones.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo 5 - Attaching the head wire
Photo 4 - Joining the head wire to the body
Photo 6 - Shoulder Joint and Torso
Photo 12 - Foil Wrapped arms
Photo 14 - Support Rod attached to leg
Photo 15 - Wooden dowel support attached to leg
Photo 16 - Support rod and legs wrapped.
Photo 17 - Building up the Chest