Perfect Curing / Strengthening
You’ve finished your sculpture and now it’s ready to cure. Curing is strengthening. The longer you cure the stronger the finished piece. 28 days curing as described below will give you the strongest piece possible. A cure time of 5 days will still provide 80% of the possible strength if your piece is not needed to be as robust as possible. We always cure for the full month where possible - we like our pieces to be STRONG.
DAY 1 - the day you have finished working on your sculpture.
Wrap your sculpture tightly in plastic (shopping bags or ziploc bags are perfect for this) so the water in it doesn't evaporate.
DAY 2 - 24 hours later
The second day your sculpture will be the consistency of a soft wood and you may continue to sculpt or carve on your work if you decide to. When wrapping it on up on the second day, place wet towels on it and then recover with plastic. The water is what makes your sculpture strong.
If on day 1 you know you have finished your sculpture then wrap just in plastic and the next day (day 2) you can simply submerge fully in cold water. Leave it there for 5 days and it will be ready to be painted/go outdoors. Leave for 28 days for a full and strongest possible cure.
For small pieces this is all you need to do. You can move onto painting or leave your piece. A fully cured and dried sculpture will dry to a light stone grey color.
On the third day, your sculpture will be the consistency of hard wood and can still be worked as such. When you’re done wrap back up again with wet towels and plastic.
On the 4th day it feels like stone and may still be 'just' carve-able. However, be warned you will need power tools to work into it any further because it will be very hard!
For the very best, strongest, hardest cure, keep the wet towels and plastic on for 28 days.
80% of your ultimate strength will come in the first 5 days, but if you are making outdoor statuary (especially any that will be climbed on) and want the best possible longevity? Go the whole month!
Please note: on BIG sculptures that will be completed over time we usually cover these in heavy-duty waterproof cloth/tarpaulin. On Day 2 onwards we make sure it is kept wet, you can hose it down and cover with wet bed sheets and wrap it back up and continue to work on it going forward.
This "Get Started Curing" YouTube video includes curing instructions and shows you how to best cure / strengthening your piece.