sculpey for beginners

Sculpey polymer clay is fun to use and extremely versatile. Anyone can work with polymer clay and make something special, whether they are beginners or professional artists. There’s no limit to what you can make with polymer clay, and there’s always something new to learn. It’s a perfect medium for beginners who want to explore their creative side and use their hands to craft amazing treasures they can keep.

If you’re ready to call up your best buddies, throw on your favorite tunes and get lost in the magic of polymer clay, we’re here to help you get started. Here’s an overview of polymer clay and what you need to begin marking the colorful clay creations of your dreams.

What Is Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay is a soft, non-toxic clay made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is a plastic polymer and is one of the most commonly used plastics in the world.

PVC and other ingredients give polymer clay its unique malleability and brilliant color. Polymer clay will not dry out like other clays, and it retains its shape once it’s baked. So, you can make a pair of ice cream cone earrings for your sweetest friend, and they won’t melt!

What Types of Polymer Clay Are There?

Sculpey polymer clay is available for all levels of experience. Generally, beginners will want to start with the softest type of polymer clay so they can easily knead and shape clay with their hands. Once you develop your crafting abilities, you might want to experiment with more complex projects and other types of polymer clay. Here are the different types to help you choose the right polymer clay for you.

types of polymer clay for four groups of people

1. For Beginners

If you’re new to the world of polymer clay, it won’t be long before you realize how fun and easy it is to make treasures you love. Polymer clay is a beginner-friendly medium, and you can choose from a range of clays for your first project. Here are polymer clay types to consider as a beginner:

  • -Sculpey Bake Shop: Sculpey Bake Shop is super soft and won’t dry out until you bake it in the oven. Bake Shop is fun to mix with other colors for endless possibilities. It’s an excellent choice for kids, beginners or even experienced clayers. You can use Sculpey Bake Shop to make holiday decorations, adorable figurines, colorful keychains and so much more.
  • -Sculpey Pluffy: Sculpey Pluffy is an exciting option for kids because it’s fluffy, squishy and makes crafting an unforgettable experience. Pluffy is so lightweight, it floats! Kids can create bath toys like mermaids, ducks, ships or whatever they want to turn bath time into an aquatic adventure.
  • -Sculpey III: Sculpey III is soft and easy to knead, roll and shape, and it also holds fine details well. Sculpey III can help you build your claying skills and explore the possibilities. It’s available in a vast array of colors, from cheerful rainbow colors to earthy muted hues. Sculpey III is also available in metallics so you can create dazzling jewelry and embellishments.
  • -Original Sculpey: Original Sculpey looks and feels like ceramic clay and can be painted after baking to add designs, patterns and splashes of color. It’s available in white, gray or terra cotta. Anyone can craft with Original Sculpey and make objects like catchall dishes, decorative bowls and keepsake ornaments.
  • -Liquid Sculpey: Liquid Sculpey allows crafters to draw designs or woods on polymer clay creations. They can also use Liquid Sculpey to make window clings, fill in pieces or even as tile grout. It’s another versatile product that expands the imagination.

2. For Frequent Clayers

Experienced clayers might choose polymer clay that’s suitable for advanced techniques, such as:

  • -Premo Sculpey: Premo Sculpey holds the most delicate details and is the go-to choice for jewelry-making techniques like caning and mokume gane. It’s available in a range of colors as well as metallics, glitters, stones and opal. With Premo Sculpey, crafters can make stunning jewelry pieces that resemble real gemstones.
  • -Sculpey Souffle: Sculpey Souffle has an attractive suede finish, holds minute details well and won’t crack when used to make large masterpieces. Crafters might choose Sculpey Souffle to create one-of-a-kind home decor items.
  • -Sculpey UltraLight: Available in white, Sculpey UltraLight is a great choice for making armatures or filler for large beads. Frequent clayers enjoy the lightweight versatility of Sculpey Ultralight. It’s also an excellent choice for making keepsake handprints, mixed media projects or large jewelry pieces.

3. For Model Makers

Do you aspire to make original movie props or realistic sculptures of fantastical creatures? Professional sculptors and animators use Super Sculpey to create realistic and highly detailed masks, models, figures and more. You can bring your most extraordinary visions to life with Super Sculpey. 

4. For Doll Artists

Doll artists and professional sculptors use Super Sculpey Living Doll to create lifelike dolls with realistic skin tones. Super Sculpey is easy to blend to make a smooth, easy-to-paint surface, and it’s available in three different fleshy hues. Imagine the rosy-cheeked dolls and figures you can create with Super Sculpey Living Doll!

What Can I Create With Polymer Clay?

You can create just about anything you can think of with polymer clay. It’s such a flexible, user-friendly medium that you could spend a lifetime making unique items and never run out of ideas. For example, you can stamp polymer clay or add it to already-made objects like wooden jewelry boxes or picture frames. You can wrap it around metal materials or decorate glass jars. With polymer clay, you can go wherever your imagination leads you. Here are a few examples of what you might make.

what to create with polymer clay

1. Jewelry

Have you ever dreamt up a jewelry idea but weren’t sure how to make it real? Or maybe you thought of a unique jewelry gift for a friend, but couldn’t find it in stores. Polymer clay gives you the freedom to create custom jewelry in any style. Crafters love to use polymer clay to make jewelry such as:

  • -Earrings
  • -Necklaces
  • -Bangles
  • -Pendants
  • -Handmade beads
  • -Headband decorations
  • -Cuff bracelets
  • -Faux gemstone rings

You do not have to be a professional crafter to make a piece of beautiful polymer clay jewelry. You can easily make heartfelt jewelry gifts for friends or family members, or wear your own creations to express your style.

2. Decor

With polymer clay, you can create home decor you can’t find anywhere. For example, you can use polymer clay to make decorations for a specific character-themed birthday party. Or you might use polymer clay to add a personal touch to baby shower decorations. Here are other decor items you can make:

  • -Vases
  • -Jewelry dishes
  • -Figurines
  • -Light switch covers
  • -Treasure boxes
  • -Keepsake ornaments
  • -Picture frames
  • -Decorative jars
  • -Wall art
  • -Terrariums
  • -Fantasy art

With polymer clay, you can make decorations for your own enjoyment or as thoughtful personalized gifts for birthdays, holidays or any celebration. Your friends are sure to cherish a handmade gift made especially for them.

3. Toys

Kids can let their imaginations soar with polymer clay. They can enjoy the process of making their own toys or work with a parent to construct the toys of their dreams. It’s fun to make objects from castles and pirate ships to characters from other planets or favorite books. Kids can play with their creations when they’re done and look forward to making more. Children, under parent supervision, can also enjoy an afternoon of claying with friends and collect and trade their creations. A few toy ideas include:

  • -Cute figurines like animals, monsters or insects
  • -Pencil toppers
  • -Photo holders
  • -Backpack charms
  • -Keychains
  • -Magnets
  • -Magic wands
  • -Bookmarks
  • -Decorated pens
  • -Doll accessories
  • -Costume accessories
  • -Princess crowns
  • -Robots
  • -Gnomes
  • -Unicorn horns
  • -Dinosaurs
  • -Fossils

Sometimes, it’s fun to play with polymer clay and make objects on the spot. You never know what you might come up with until you try!

4. Miniatures

Polymer clay is the perfect medium for creating miniatures. There is no limit to what you can make and add to a dollhouse, diorama or shadow box. You can also turn miniatures into jewelry charms, or glue them to objects like boxes or phone cases. Kids might want to make realistic-looking miniatures for their dolls. Put miniatures on display to add color and joy to your home as well! Here are a few miniature ideas to inspire you:

  • -Realistic food miniatures like cupcakes, fruit, vegetables or donuts
  • -Miniature decorative items like planters, flowers, baskets or books
  • -Miniature kitchenware like plates, cups and utensils
  • -Miniature cats, dogs, fish or other animals

5. Anything Else You Can Dream Of

Look around your room. Do you see objects that could use a touch of color or uniqueness? Maybe you have a favorite journal you like to record your thoughts and dreams in. Did you know you can decorate the cover with polymer clay however you wish? You can make journaling a new magical experience.

Or maybe you have a coin jar that you’re using to save for a trip. You can decorate the jar with polymer clay and boost your motivation to toss your coins in the money jar.

Crafters love polymer clay for its versatility. You’re bound to enjoy tapping into your limitless imagination with polymer clay.

What Polymer Clay Tools Do I Need?

Another great characteristic of polymer clay is it does not require many tools to get started. Beginners only need their hands to knead, roll and shape clay into their desired objects. Anyone who works with polymer clay also needs the following:

  • -A clean, smooth work surface
  • -An oven to bake the creations
  • -Wax paper or aluminum foil to cover and protect work areas and baking sheets
  • -A baking sheet for curing creations
  • -Tightly sealed plastic bags or plastic containers for storing clay
use tools to enhance your creative experience with clay

You might use basic tools to create the look you want and add details through etching, rolling or cutting. You can find many tools you need throughout your home, or you can shop our selection of tools which are easy to use and specially designed for polymer clay. Here are some tools you can use to enhance your creative experience whether you’re a beginner or claying pro:

  • -Stamps
  • -Cookie cutters
  • -Toothpicks
  • -Rolling pin
  • -Bakeable molds

Beginners can skip the tool gathering process altogether and try our Sculpey Clay Tool Starter Set instead. This set includes three double-ended tools to add details, punch holes, shape clay and more.

Once you’re ready to move onto more advanced claying techniques, you might want to work with Premo Sculpey or Sculpey Souffle. It helps to have a clay conditioning machine to turn blocks of clay into smooth, pliable sheets before crafting. You can also use a pasta machine to condition clay and get it ready.

How Do I Bake Clay?

Baking your clay creation is the most important step in using polymer clay. When you bake your masterpiece, you harden it so you can keep it forever. You’ll want to bake your creation properly to know your product is durable and made to last.

To make sure you bake your creation right, always follow the temperature and timing instructions on the package. You can bake polymer clay in your oven or toaster oven. Wait until your oven is preheated to start baking, and check the oven temperature with a separate thermometer to verify it’s set correctly. All you’ll need to do to bake clay creations is line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or wax paper and bake your objects according to the instructions. Times vary depending on the type of clay you use. To give you an idea of what to expect, many kinds of Sculpey polymer clays bake at 275° F for 15 to 30 minutes.

Two rules to remember are do not bake creations in the microwave and do not use a higher heat than the recommendation. As long as you carefully follow the package instructions and ensure your oven is at the right temperature, your creations should bake evenly and look just as bright and beautiful as they did before baking.

Where Can I Find Clay Inspiration?

follow the sculpey design squad for clay inspiration

You can easily find tons of polymer clay project ideas online or on our site to inspire your projects. For example, you can check out our blog and follow the Sculpey Design Squad for project tips, techniques and creative ways to use clay. You can also visit our Create page for step-by-step instructions for creating a wide range of projects. If you’re a beginner, you might want to try getting lost in play and the creative process.

Learn to Make Polymer Clay Jewelry

If you’re interested in making polymer clay jewelry, find your inspiration through our Sculpey community’s jewelry and fashion creations! Shop our online store now to buy all the supplies you need – you’ll be claying in no time!