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If you can't fire piece, can you leave it dry and then paint it. I  bought a sculpture made in the 1960s.  The piece was not packed correctly and the base and about 1/8th of the statue broke off.  Tried everything to fix it including drilling hole and putting metal rod in, glue, etc. Nothing worked, I had a 10 lb piece of clay around.  I decided to ram the statue into the piece of clay, making a base . I incorporated the broken legs of the statue so that they "sunk" in.  I carved out a 2 tier base and am letting it dry completely.  The sculpture is heavy and about 27" tall.  I tried to leave enough solid clay to hold it up.  I did not hollow out the base because it wouldn't be heavy enough to hold the sculpture . Once it is thoroughly dry, I intend to paint it.  Will it hold up?? Also what kind of paint? Acrylic or oil?? Help!!

Thanks in advance for your help.

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I guess, the question would be, "Will it hold up to what?"

Sitting somewhere, inside, where it is never touched or moved?  Yeah, it will be fine.  If it gets moved, odds are pieces of the unfired clay will chip off.  Bone dry clay is very fragile.  It has none of the flexibility that wetter stages have, and it doesn't have the strength that fired clay has.  

If it is something that is intended to go outside, then it will break down even faster.

In either case, paint will somewhat seal the clay, but that's not ideal.

Find another material to use for the base.  Concrete would be a good choice, plaster to a lesser extent, especially if it is going outside.  Both can be painted, and are heavy enough to use as a base.  

If you want something that is easily moldable, then perhaps an air dry clay.  

I would stay away from normal clay all together though, if it isn't going to be fired.

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It kind of sounds like you have already committed to this clay base. Can you still start over with concrete?

If you are stuck with the clay base, not moving it around or subjecting it to impact would be pretty key. My son made a model  "water clock" in clay, unfired, maybe twelve years ago, and it remains intact. (No water has touched it).

But I wouldn't let a kid or a golden retriever near it.

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