What Is the Difference Between Modeling Clay and Polymer Clay?
One of the Sculpey® lines of modeling clays, Sculpey Non-Dry™ has many characteristics that set it apart from other types of clay. Both modeling clay and polymer clay have their uses in arts and crafts, but the way they perform differs significantly.
Sculpey non hardening clay was designed for reusability — you can use it time and time again without it drying out.
Polymer clay, on the other hand, hardens when baked in an oven.
Color and Material
While modeling clay varieties such as Sculpey Non-Dry™ clay are oil-based, polymer clay uses polyvinyl chloride, a plastic-based material.
Both modeling clay and polymer clay come in a wide variety of colors. The difference is that modeling clay comes in distinct hues, while polymer clay features a wide array of colors and finishes glitter, metallics, translucents and even granite.
Because Sculpey Non-Dry™ clays are designed explicitly for non-drying applications, they are less durable than polymer clay.
Baked polymer clay is waterproof, making it ideal for jewelry, buttons or home decor accents.
The reusability of modeling clay determines its uses. Sculptors and animators use modeling clay because they can easily rearrange and move characters without worrying about breaking or damaging their creations. Artists use modeling clay to visualize their ideas or as a sketching aid.
Clayers use polymer clay for finished projects. For example, doll makers work with it to form figurines, and jewelry makers use it to craft beautiful beads for earrings and necklaces.
Art teachers, daycare workers, camp counselors, parents and others can use non-drying clay for kids in and out of the classroom. Non-drying modeling clay is a fun way for children to explore new material and express their creativity. The soft, reusable clay responds well to small hands, making it a great activity to pass the time over and over again.
Non-Dry Modeling Clay Project Ideas
Whether you're a beginner or experienced clayer, there are many fun projects you can complete with non-drying clay. This flexible modeling clay is perfect for all kinds of creative projects, whether they move or involve special effects. Here are a few activities and projects you can work on yourself or with a group:
Non-drying clay is a great medium for making molds to cast jewelry pieces, decorations and more. You can use the clay to build mold walls and boxes, seal edges using the clay as caulk and add small impressions to align two-part mold pieces.
After you finish with the mold, you can reuse the clay to make a new mold or creation.
If you're interested in combining two passions — clay and film — claymation is an excellent project to have on your list. Non-drying modeling clay is the best way to make claymation successful because you can make your figurines moveable.
Claymation is a unique film technique involving stop-motion animation and relying on tangible props. Using clay figurines adds an authentic look for physical animation you can't get from digital mediums, and the clay props are often easier to use while filming than creating and animating the objects digitally.
You can also use non-drying clay to make special effects. An oil-based, non-drying clay can help you craft interesting prosthetics with costumes or other projects. Since this clay is so easy to work, the special effects you can create are endless!
Non-dry clay is very malleable and fantastic for realistic sculpting. You can work the clay into fine details to give your sculptures all the details they need to look natural. Non-drying clay is a great material for this purpose, whether you're sculpting a face with wrinkles or making an intricately patterned piece.
An additional benefit of using non-drying clay is taking your time working on projects. The clay never dries out, so you can work on your sculpture whenever you have time.
If you're more into abstract art, non-drying clay is also great for freehand sculpting. You can add fine details to make your art stand out and continue to make adjustments or add new features whenever inspiration strikes.
The reusability of non-drying clay makes it perfect for practicing all of your clay projects or different techniques before using hardening clay. You can experiment with new styles or work on perfecting a specific design before you take on a more permanent medium. And once you complete practice for one project, you can reuse the clay for another one!