Whether you’ve been thinking about getting into clay crafting or you’ve been doing this unique hobby for a little bit now, you may still be learning about different tools and clays and coming up with new projects to try.

There are all kinds of clay out there, and you’ll probably give most of them a try sooner or later. Two common types of clay are polymer and air dry, each with their own unique properties. Below, we’ll discuss the differences between each type and some of the advantages of choosing one over the other.

What Is Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay works great for all kinds of people and projects. It’s a favorite among many crafters because of its versatility.

This type of clay is easy to use. With just a little bit of time working the clay, it will become soft and malleable in your hands. You need to bake the clay once you’re done shaping it, but you don’t need to take it to a professional kiln to set it — you can use your own oven right at home.

Lastly, one of the main advantages of polymer clay is that you can leave it out and it will stay the same — no drying out. If you like taking breaks during your work, or if you have forgetful kids, you don’t have to worry about the clay. Sculpey® III is an excellent choice among polymer clays for these reasons and more.

What Makes Air Dry Clay Different?

Air dry clay has different properties because it has a slightly different composition than polymer clay. Like polymer clay, air dry clay can be used for a variety of projects and is very common for young beginners’ craft projects.

You don’t need an oven to harden the clay. Depending on the size of the project, air dry clay will fully set in one or two days. After it dries, the clay has an almost porous, spongy feel. If you’re looking for a great air dry clay, choose Model Air® for fun and exciting projects!

Benefits of Polymer Clay

Its ability to stay workable is one of the main advantages of polymer clay. If you’re a schoolteacher or have children of your own, this clay is a great choice. Kids can get distracted and may walk away from their project without finishing it. With polymer clay, you don’t have to worry about needing to toss out ruined product.

Polymer clay also comes in a wider variety of colors and maintains its shape better over time than air dry clay. The type of detail you can create with polymer clay is much more exact and distinguished than with air dry clay.

Benefits of Air Dry Clay

Even though both types are relatively easy to handle, air dry clay is a little bit easier to manipulate because of its spongy composition. This makes it especially suitable for kids whose hands are not as strong. 

Air dry clay is also great for environments where children could be crafting. Elementary schools and daycare centers can utilize air dry clay without the need for an oven. Similarly, large clay projects that may not fit into the dimensions of an oven can be left out to dry and set.

Sculpey® carries an excellent variety of air dry and polymer clay, as well as many other types. Whatever your skill level, and no matter what types of projects you’re planning, you can find the perfect clay with Sculpey®!