If you love to craft beautiful miniatures, sculptures and clay creations, you need the tools to do it. When you have the right utensils in your corner, you can create even more detailed and intricate creations you can be proud to display around your home. Many new clayers don't know where to start when looking for tools, since there are so many different choices.
Knowing the options available to clayers will help you be aware of the best modeling and sculpting accessories for your next project. Below, you can find the top tools for clayerslooking to create sculptures and miniatures.
1. Dental Tools
When you're working with cured polymer clay for your creations, dental tools are particularly helpful at carving fine detail lines on miniature models. Dental tools have small enough hooks on them to help you craft miniatures and sculptures with intricate designs and precise features.
2. Mini Ribbon or Loop Tools
Loop tools or mini ribbons consist of narrow loops of metal attached to handles. Craftspeople often use them with clay to pull out smaller parts of the material, craft patterns and textures and smooth out curves and corners. When used for miniatures and sculptures, they're great at leveling material across a particular area. You can use the tool to draw in extra clay and fill in lower gaps, while the blade rests on the raised areas of the material.
3. Clay Modeling Tools
Clay modeling tools are wooden and plastic and come in different shapes for particular uses. Clayers use them to craft curves or smooth edges on the material they're planning on modeling. You'll find they provide you with a great deal of control as you form the curve on your miniature. Since many of these tools come with sharp points, you can use them to cut lines and other designs into the clay you're working with.
4. Clay Knives
These tools feature curved knives attached to them and can also be handy when working on clay miniatures and sculptures. Clayers can use them to cut, shape and indent the material.
5. Clay Extruding Guns
You load clay extruding guns with — you guessed it — clay. After loading, the device then pushes out long strings or various shapes of clay. They're very similar to cookie pressers in how they work, and they're usually inexpensive.
Clay extruding guns will work better with softer types of clay, as the gun will need to reshape the material. If you use harder clay with a clay extruding gun, you should use some softener to help the device shape the material and not get stuck. For miniature work, clay extruding guns aren't ideal, as they're too large. However, they can help shape canes and other similar designs.
6. Acrylic Rolling Pins
A rolling pin is a simple tool that assists with rolling out clay, modeling material and polymer clay into thin layers. An acrylic rolling pin is one of the cleanest and easiest types of rolling pins to use. They're usually small and have an even shape. These rollers are also clear, allowing you to see the surface underneath while you roll.
7. Rubber Stamps
You can dust rubber stamps with talcum powder to serve as a release. Once you do this, you can press the stamps into clay to add designs and textures to your miniature. Some brands of polymer clay will also accept embossing ink and standard ink onto them.
8. Oven Thermometer
Many ovens don't accurately maintain the temperature shown on the display. For this reason, you should have an oven thermometer to use when baking your polymer clay. This device will ensure your oven reaches the right temperature and bakes your clay correctly. While you're outfitting your oven with a thermometer, you can also add an oven-safe work mat, which you can craft and bake your miniature or sculpture on, placing it in the oven without any fear of damage.
9. Color Shaping Tools
Often used to help miniaturists control the shape of materials like clay, color shaping tools are valuable for most crafters. You can use them to move thin epoxy paste and moistened clay on a surface to fill in any smaller gaps formed in the creation or repair process of miniatures or sculptures.
If you moisten the tip of the tool, it can burnish clay. The variety of these tools makes them excellent for crafters who have unique needs. The color shaping tools you can select come in different sizes, firmness and tip styles. They can even have hard or soft tips, or sharp or rounded edges.
10. Texturing Sheets
One of the easiest and best ways you can detail sculptures, clay models and miniatures is by applying textured sheets to your clay. These sheets will have a variety of designs to customize your miniature with and create seamless patterns across an entire clay creation. Those looking to significantly personalize their miniatures or sculptures often love using texturing sheets.
Besides adding details to your creation, texturing sheets can hide imperfections in polymer clay creations. Fingernail marks, fingerprints and small air bubbles can often show up on the surface of clay. Texture sheets let you hide these potential flaws by providing a more polished and finished surface, covering over imperfections. In effect, texturing sheets create more intricate surfaces and attractive surfaces on clay creations, while also camouflaging any unwanted markings.
11. Flexible Blade Knife
Flexible blade knives, also known as tissue blades or polymer clay blades, have a design that allows them to slice into the canes of polymer clay. If you use a lot of polymer clay for miniatures and sculptures, you may want to invest in a blade that has removable handles. This setup will allow you to press down on the blade more evenly.
Find Modeling Tools for Miniaturists, Sculptors and Clayers From Sculpey
If you're looking for tools for clay miniaturists and sculptors, you'll love the products Sculpey provides. Miniaturists and clayers from coast to coast trust our polymer oven-bake clay to produce detailed, long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing creations. No matter your age or skill level, we have modeling tools and clay you'll love.