What Is Polymer Clay and How Is It Used?

Whether you’re looking to decorate your home, craft a stunning pair of earrings or add creative accents to your scrapbook, polymer clay provides the ultimate way to unlock your artistic side. In addition to its range of uses, polymer clay is soft, flexible, fun and easy to use. 

You might have questions about this one-of-a-kind art medium if you’ve never used it before. Luckily, we have everything you need to know in this article.

Here’s your complete guide to polymer clay, including a basic rundown of the material, its physical properties and how to use polymer clay. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

What Is Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay is a synthetic modeling clay made from a plastic polymer base called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Before polymer clay is cured, it’s a highly malleable plastic that can be shaped and reshaped numerous times without deteriorating. 

Provided you store it away from direct sunlight and excessive heat, polymer clay can last years. Once the clay’s packaging has been opened, it’s best to store it in a bag or container made from polypropylene (PP) plastic in a cool, dry area like a closet or drawer. The best place for long-term storage is actually in a fridge or freezer.

Unlike ceramic and other clays, polymer clay doesn’t have to be fired in a high-temperature kiln, nor does it dry out in a room temperature setting. You can conveniently cure polymer clay from your conventional oven or toaster oven.

Physical Properties of Polymer Clay

Now that we’ve covered the basics of polymer clay, let’s explore some of its unique physical properties and benefits that make it a popular choice for arts and crafts.

1. Durability

A glowing benefit of polymer clay is its impressive strength and durability. When baked correctly, the material won’t shatter or weaken over time. 

When you use polymer clay for a project, you can count on it to retain its size and shape throughout the entire process since the material doesn’t expand or shrink. Rest easy knowing your creation will stay true to scale and look the same coming out of the oven as it did going in!

Additionally, polymer clay doesn’t burn easily, as long as you take the proper steps. While clay can burn — like anything else — if left in the oven for too long, burning is unlikely so long as you bake according to the package instructions and set your oven to the recommended temperature. We recommend using an oven thermometer to ensure temperature accuracy.

2. Vibrant Color

When baked correctly according to package instructions, polymer clay will stay the same color after it’s cured. Whether you opt for clay in cherry red, mint green, midnight blue or brilliant coral, you can confidently pop it in the oven, knowing it will maintain its lovely hue. Remember to keep your polymer clay out of direct sunlight to maintain its vibrant color and prevent fading.

Alternatively, you can use plain white polymer clay and paint it in your choice of color after baking. Water-based acrylic paints tend to work best for polymer clay crafts.

3. Malleability

Polymer clay integrates various components for softness, hue, texture and easy moldability, including:

  • Plasticizers for flexibility.
  • PVC resins for the base.
  • Texture-enhancing fillers.
  • Coloring agents for different hues.

How Is Polymer Clay Used?

With its high pliability, versatility and simplicity to work with, it’s no surprise that many crafters use polymer clay for a variety of projects and creations. Let’s explore some common uses for polymer clay below!

1. Holiday Ornaments

If you’re looking for a fun craft to ring in the holidays, you can use polymer clay to craft some charming Christmas ornaments — perfect to embellish your own tree or give as a homemade gift for a loved one. A holiday ornament is a perfect way to bring a smile to someone’s face and spread some extra joy during the holiday season.

2. Jewelry

It’s easy to create beautiful jewelry from polymer clay. You can have a colorful pair of earrings, bracelet, ring or necklace in hand in an hour or less! Try crafting jewelry to give as a gift or add to your own collection.

3. Keepsakes

Polymer clay allows you to cherish different memories, events, people and pets that bring you joy. Whether it’s your baby’s first footprint or handprint or a memorial pawprint of your beloved dog or cat, keepsake polymer clay allows you to keep those precious moments alive. Plus, they’re just as enjoyable to create as they are to look back on.

Polymer clay is non-toxic, making it completely safe and easy to use around pets and children to capture those precious paws, hands and feet.

4. Figurines

Easily one of the most fun and adorable ways to experiment with this material, you can use polymer clay to craft some adorable figurines. From plants to animals to dolls, the creative possibilities are unlimited. This is also a great solution if you’re looking for a craft to entertain the kids!

5. Home Decor

The opportunities to decorate your home with polymer clay truly are endless. Whether making some practical coasters or trays to accent your coffee table or decorating a pot for your favorite succulent or air plant, polymer clay adds both style and function to any piece of home décor!

6. Cards, Frames and Scrapbooks

With a wide variety of styles and colors to choose from, polymer clay makes a great embellishment for picture frames. It can also be used to craft stylish borders for homemade cards, planners, journals and scrapbooks.

7. Garden Decorations

If you’re looking for some creative ways to accent your backyard or garden, polymer clay makes for some lovely garden decorations. You can use it to create a planter, bird feeder, fairy house or even your own faux flowers and succulents! With just a few colorful and whimsical polymer clay decorations, you can seamlessly turn an ordinary garden into an enchanting backyard haven.

Contact Us for Top Polymer Clay!

With the many uses and benefits of polymer clay, crafting your next project will be simple, quick and fun. At Sculpey, we carry the highest quality polymer clay on the market and are committed to inspiring innovative projects and sparking creativity with our products. With proper care and storage, our oven-bake polymer clays can maintain their integrity for all of your future crafting plans.

Our extensive selection of polymer clay products comes in a multitude of sizes and fun colors. From children to adults, people of all ages can enjoy making new creations with our clay.

Unlock your full creative potential when you shop online at Sculpey. Reach out today for general inquiries about polymer clay or our products!

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