Standard pottery techniques and polymer clay

Standard Pottery Techniques and Polymer Clay

It’s easy to get excited about all the artistic possibilities at your fingertips after your first introduction to clay. However, it's helpful to know the differences between two of the most popular types of clay — standard pottery clay and polymer clay. That way, you’ll be able to choose the right type of clay for your next project.

Polymer Clay vs. Pottery Clay — A Peek at What Makes Each Clay Type Unique

Let’s start with polymer clay like you’ll find with Sculpey®. Polymer clay is a non-toxic, premium clay compound created for easy molding. Since polymer clay is a human invention, it can be modified easily. That's why Sculpey® polymer clay comes in so many different colors and application types. Polymer clay cures in a standard oven and can remain pliable after curing.

Pottery clay has an earth-based foundation. It's the kind of clay that people have used for millennia to create everything from drinking vessels to vases. Pottery clay hardens after being exposed to high heat in a specialized oven known as a kiln. It doesn’t come in vibrant colors. Instead, colorful glazes are applied to the shaped pottery before and after it’s been in the kiln.

Insider Tips on When to Use Polymer Clay vs. Pottery Clay

Polymer clay and pottery clay are both fun to work with, though you shouldn't confuse how you approach them. For instance, many people wonder if you can throw polymer clay on a wheel — the answer is no. Polymer clay is meant for molding by hand or with simple tools. If you plan on throwing clay on a wheel, you need both a professional wheel and pottery clay.

Check out these other hints for when to use polymer clay vs. pottery clay:

  • Making jewelry: When you want to make jewelry from clay, reach for polymer clay. It offers the ideal base for everything from pendants to bracelets.
  • Kitchen items: When you want to construct clay items that you can use in the kitchen, take an art class and use pottery clay. Polymer clay isn’t the right clay for cookware, cups, bowls, etc.
  • First-time crafters: When you’re just getting started with clay, polymer clay makes a terrific investment. Polymer clay is easy to work with and doesn’t require as much of a specific handling technique as standard pottery clay.
become a clay master

Ready to become a confident master clayer? You can begin today by putting some Sculpey® polymer clay products in your shopping cart. Let your imagination run wild with the help of some high-quality polymer clay!