Polymer clay is an extremely versatile medium that offers many unique benefits. There are different types of polymer clay for different applications, and the type you use will affect how your project turns out. This guide will help explain the different types of polymer clay so you can choose the best material for your project every time.
8 Reasons to Use Polymer Clay
Polymer clay is a blend of non-toxic material with unique benefits. Here's why crafters, art teachers, professional artists and jewelry-makers choose polymer clay over other types of clay:
- Maintains color: When you bake your polymer clay creations correctly, they will come out looking just as vibrant as they went in.
- Doesn't dry out: Polymer clay stays soft and pliable until you cure it in the oven, so you can take as long as you want to perfect your creation.
- Lasts for years: Raw polymer clay will last for years in a cool, dry storage space out of direct sunlight.
- Doesn't shrink or expand: Polymer clay maintains its size during baking, so it comes out looking how you made it.
- Hardens in the oven: Unlike natural clay that has to be fired in an extremely hot kiln, polymer clay cures in a home oven or toaster oven at a low temp of 275 F.
- Comes in many colors: Polymer clay comes in dozens of colors and finishes, so you can achieve the look you want without glazes or paints.
- Cures strong and durable: Polymer clay maintains some flexibility after curing, making it exceptionally strong.
- Easy to clean up: Clean up after working with polymer clay is quick and easy. Simply wash your hands, tools and work space with a mild soap and water or baby wipes — just be mindful that you work with clay on an appropriate surface protectant to avoid any staining.
How to Choose Polymer Clay
One of the benefits of polymer clay is that it comes in many different colors, textures and consistencies for different applications. With so much versatility, you have endless options to choose from for whatever project you're working on. Here are important factors to consider to help you navigate the clay aisle:
There are usually several different brands of polymer clay to choose from at the craft store. However, not all brands of polymer clay are created equal. You can count on Sculpey for high-quality polymer clay products. We carry a range of options for any project you can imagine.
Polymer clay comes in many different colors and finishes, including metallic, glitter and stone. Some types of polymer clay are available in more colors than others. If you don't find the exact color you want, you can also paint and varnish your creation after you've baked it.
The consistency of polymer clay ranges from super pliable to more dense, depending on the formula. Look for a polymer clay with a firmness that fits your needs. For example, choose a soft consistency for children so it's easier for their small hands to mix and shape the clay. If your project calls for a denser clay, consider conditioning it before use to make it easier to handle — you can do this by working it in your hands or with a conditioner machine or pasta roller.
Polymer clay is available in different formulas that harden to various levels of strength and durability. For example, Sculpey Soufflé™ is still flexible after baking, while Sculpey III® is more rigid.
Some types of clay are easier to mold and manipulate than others. When you're choosing a polymer clay, think about the skill level of the person using it and the project they plan to make.
Different types of clay are sold in various quantities. Choose a product that's sold in the quantity that you need. Remember, it's better to have too much than to end up halfway through your project and run out. For large or batch projects, it may be more affordable to purchase a polymer clay available in bulk packages.
What You'll Learn in This Guide
If you're a passionate clayer, this guide will help expand your knowledge of polymer clay and how to choose the best medium for your creations. We'll review the different Sculpey products with project ideas and bonus tips for working with polymer clay. This guide is an excellent resource for beginner to advanced crafters who want to learn more about polymer clay and explore new project ideas.