Your Soapstone Carving Kit will arrive precut to the basic shape of the animal, but with a lot of additional shaping and detail to be done by the student. Your child will work with a small file, sandpaper, and water to shape and smooth the surfaces of the soapstone.
A Few Helpful Tips:
The process first involves wetting the stone repeatedly and working with the file to complete the shaping of the animal. The work is fairly detailed around some parts of the animal, which is why this kit is recommended for ages eight and older. Once your child has finished shaping the animal, they will use two grits of wet sandpaper to smooth the entire surface of the figure. Finally, they will warm the stone with a hair dryer and apply wax to the entire surface, and buff it with a clean cloth.
Complete instructions are included in your kit.
1. To avoid stone dust as you carve, keep your stone wet. If you cannot keep the stone wet, you may be more comfortable wearing a dust mask, as soapstone consists mostly of talc.
2. Artists suggest spending extra time making your animal round. A few additional minutes rounding the body makes a huge difference in the appearance at the end. If you have a child impatient to push on, he can always do some more detailed work and then go back to rounding the body before moving on to sanding the sculpture.
3. When your student waxes his carving, be sure to get the excess wax off before it dries. To get the highest gloss possible, let the waxed stone cool completely before buffing. If your child is in a hurry to complete his project, you can place the carving in the refrigerator for a few moments, then buff to an attractive sheen.