Monday, December 10, 2012

Tutorial: How to Build a Green Stuff Oven

This month I've been feverishly sculpting everything from Hordes conversions to original sculpts for production.  In the spirit of all this sculpting I think it's only fitting to take a closer look at a tool that I've been using to help speed up the cure time on my sculpting projects.  This week I'm going to show you a really simple way to make your own green stuff oven.

Let's run down a list of supplies we're going to need:

1. Large-size coffee can (approximately 7 inches tall & 6 inches in circumference)
2. Magic marker (Sharpie for me)
3. Scissors

Now that we've got all the things listed above, keep one thing in mind: BE CAREFUL!  Cut aluminum is a death trap for unwary fingers.  Then again, my good friend Kent Plumb is fond of saying, "the project's not done until you've bled on it."  In making my own green stuff oven I certainly did.

Let's get started.

Flip your coffee can over so that the bottom faces up. Drive a pilot hole near the bottom's edge with your hammer and nail.

We're going to repeat this process a few times, until we've made a hold big enough for our garden shears to fit in.

For me, about 5-6 holes did the trick.

Now that we can get the shears in, cut around the bottom edge.  At a certain point the curve of the cut is going to make it hard to continue.  Stop and go back to your pilot hole.

Make a perpendicular cut towards the center of the can's bottom, about halfway across. 

Now we can give ourselves more room to work and continue the cut along the edge of the can.  Bend the bottom up so it forms a triangle pointing to the ceiling.

Cut the triangle at its base away from the bottom of the can to remove the excess and get it out of the way.

Continue cutting around the edge until you reach across to the opposite side of your pilot.  Finish the perpendicular cut across the bottom and remove the excess aluminum.

It's looking a bit worse for wear with the jagged edges along the border, but don't worry, we'll take care of that before we finish.

Okay, we've removed the bottom and we're making good progress, but the edge is really rough.  Here's where the hammer comes in again.  Take your can to a place you don't mind banging on, and beat the jagged aluminum flush with the can's interior.

Great, now that's cleaned up we're ready to install the light.  Pick up your duct tape and tape around the outside of the can, 1/2 on 1/2 hanging off like its pictured below.  

Fold the duct tape down into the interior of the can.

This is going to be the bottom of our oven, flip over the can and we'll prep the top to hold the light fixture.

Open up your box and set a portion of it flat on your work surface.  Take the top of the can (the end that doesn't have any tape on it) and trace the can's mouth on the cardboard.

Cut around the line giving yourself about 1cm leeway on the outside of the line.  See below.

This piece is where the light fixture is going to rest on.  We need room for it to sit on top of the can and for the fixture to rest on it.  At this point you should have a cardboard circle that overhangs the edge of the can by about 1cm all around its top edge.

Next we need to cut a hole in the circle so the light fixture can heat the interior of the can.  Cut a conservative sized hole, one that will give plenty of room for the fixture to rest on.  Place your light fixture on top to help guide where you want to cut.  If the fixture falls through because you made the hole too big, no worries, just go back a step and cut out another cardboard circle, taking care to make an interior cut that will give room for the fixture to rest.

With the cardboard cut, we need to secure it to the can.  Get out your duct tape again and tape around the border.  Place the tape flush with the can then smooth it up under the cardboard before folding it over on top.  The smoother this is the better it will hold!

We're almost done and ready to use our oven!  Grab the light fixture you bought at your local friendly hardware store (mine is ACE Hardware) and remove the clamp if it has one.  Mine unscrewed by turning a butterfly nut.

Put a 40 watt bulb in your fixture and get ready to cook some green stuff!  Actually you don't want to "cook" it.  When I made my first oven I used 100 watt bulbs... the green stuff came out brown and crispy.  So watch your oven and make sure you aren't baking your model past a slight hardening.  This shouldn't take but a couple of minutes.

There you have it, your very own green stuff oven.  I hope you've found this helpful and hopefully it makes your next green stuff project a little more hassle free.

Come back next time to see some of the projects I've been putting mine to use on!


  1. you can use a can opener for smoother edges lol

    1. Alas, I did not have a can opener that was big enough! Plus, nothing makes a project like the promise of almost certain bodily harm.

  2. Every proper project ought to include the use of a hammer, after all!

    Good stuff man - love the use of common items for obscure hobby purposes. I like it!

  3. I've also added a dimmer switch and some extra vents to my version.

    1. The vents seem like a good idea, though with a 40 watt bulb I thought it might be good to trap as much heat as possible. What watt bulb are you using?

    2. True. I work with a 60 watt bulb because with the dimmer I fine tune the heat. Typically I will run the oven at full for a few minutes then lower the power to just maintain the heat.

  4. hi , what is the maximum temperature of this oven , thank you .

  5. Thanks for writing, I used a couple of kitchen thermometers and they read just shy of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Hope this helps!


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