Week 3: Material Choices


As much as character design or sculpting, material choice can be a huge influence on the final piece.

Vinyl, resin, and cast plastics are popular in the art toy world.  But these are not typical materials we work with at ITP.  We’re going to look at some ITP friendly and non-traditional material choices for art toys.

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11月4日からの自宅ギャラリーでの個展の準備も大詰め。朝4時から工房に入っているけど、もう少し早くしないと厳しいくなってきっました。あせって失敗しないように集中していこう。 From November 4, you can purchase works at the gallery in Nakano city, Nagano. As there is a high possibility of selling out on the first day, please come as soon as possible. #木 #工芸 #美術 #木のおもちゃ #art #craft #woodwork #woodcarving#woodentoy #handmade #ロボット #robot#arttoy #toyart #sculpture #designertoys#artist #artwork #artstagram #arte#toyartistry #interior #interiors#woodsculpture #artcollective #instaart#artoftheday #kogei #interiordesign#creation

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Display Our Work

Take a few minutes to display this weeks assignment.

Artists to watch

Lou Lou’s Woodshop
Sad Salesman (Eric Althin)
Ed Mironiuk
Chika Toys

LaGuardia Studio

Provides advanced digital media services to NYU faculty, students of the arts, and visiting artists. Services include 3D printing, 3D scanning, and project design consultation.


Material can add meaning to your piece.  Is it high end?  Delicate?  Exotic?  Polished?  Crude?  Juxtaposed (wooden robot)?

Typically, art toys are made mostly from vinyl or resin.  But we have a different list of ITP friendly materials.

Choosing the right material is only half of it.  What material technique or process do you plan to use to work with the material?

Keep in mind, your final pieces can be made up of one or many different types of material, as well as being made with one or many different material techniques.

Natural Wood


Wood shouldn’t be too foreign for us.  Wood comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and species.  Picking out a species of wood can add a lot to a piece.

Traditional wood working techniques are cutting, carving, sanding, drilling, routing, filing, Dremeling.

David Week’s Studio makes quite a few wooden designer toys.

what-did-i-eat-ephunt – Amanda Visell

Wooden elephant toy sculpture



At ITP we have a few specialty wood working tools.  These machines require more experience or training to use.

Wood Turning (using the lathe)

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CNC Milling: 4 Axis mill, 3 axis mill

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Walnut blue lion head #voltron #makingtoys

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Milling almost done #waterbear

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Laser Cutting and Engraving

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Be warned, it is difficult to “elevate” a wooden laser cut project.  Design, technique, and finish can aid in this.



We use a lot of acrylic, delrin, sheet vinyl, PLA, and styrene around here.

Milled Acrylic Inlay (not laser cut acrylic)

Acrylic Inlay

3D Prints


Be warned, it is difficult to “elevate” a plastic 3D print.  Design, technique, and finish can aid in this.

Vacuum Forming

Cut Vinyl
Heavy Eyes Diver and Shark

CNC Milling: 4 Axis mill, 3 axis mill

4 axis milled foosball players
Designed and milled by David Rios


Most likely aluminum or brass if you are working with it in our shop.  You can mill it, turn it, roll it, punch it, and nibble it.  It can even be 3D printed (Shapeways or Metal infused filament).

3 axis milled aluminum

Turned aluminum toy body

Flat aluminum parts rolled into rounded parts

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Spider Bots are done #robotrecipes

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You can make plush pieces.


Acrylic felt can be laser cut.

Horrible Adorables

Needle Felting


Leather can be cut, embossed, laser etched, wet formed, milled, and or dyed.  It adds a high end element to a toy.

Circuit board material FR4 Printed Circuit Board Material
Def Con Badges

K7 – Pedro Galvão Cesar de Oliveira


Mini Sam – more images

Mini Sam circuit board


I don’t expect most of you to try these materials, but I haven’t seen a lot of art toys made from these materials.  Possible to be one of a few working with these materials.

Cast Concrete




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‘모란위의 척’ Chuck on the Peony They Came from Planet Rainbow Sparkles (뉴욕 전시) – They Came from Planet Rainbow Sparkles 2: Glitter in Your Eye – at the Clutter Gallery in Beacon, New York. Saturday, September 8th, 2018 – October 5th, 2018. (as part of Beacon's Second Saturday art walk) website : cluttergallery.com. @cluttermagazine – http://www.cluttermagazine.com/about/gallery-preview-list 위 링크에 이메일을 등록하시면 They came from planet rainbow sparkles 2 : glitter in your eye 판매글과 전시에 대한 정보를 빠르게 받아보실 수 있어요! – #Babystar #Tyrrano #exhibition #ceramics #arttoy #TOiNZ #planetrainbowsparkles2 #cluttergallery

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In the Fungus Among Us class, we found that mushrooms can be molded into forms with pretty good results.

Mushroom molded into a toy boat form

Home Fabrication Friendly Materials

Resin Casting

Epoxy Clay: Milliput

Styrene and styrene weld builds

In Class Demo

Acrylic Inlay

Slip Roll

Vectorworks Demo


Pick your material(s), pick your process, and get going.  I want to see a sculpt that is close to the finished product.  Think of it as the first run piece from your 4 piece line.  Don’t worry about finish yet (unless you want to).

You should pick material that is fitting for your piece.  Pick a technique you enjoy or want to learn.

Related Reading/Viewing

Filablend – uniquely colored 3D printer filament


Building Beautiful Boards with Star Simpson


Successful Experiments in Multicolor Circuit Boards

All Natural Robots

Darth Vader Vinyl Cape Replacement

Wooden Race Car Toy Made on a 4 Axis CNC

Milled Acrylic Inlay

Knife Handle Material

Molding Toy Parts Stack Ups, Part 2, Part 3