Best Polymer Clay

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Polymer clay has been around for generations, but since we’ve been spending a lot more time indoors of late, it’s had quite the comeback. Whether it’s earrings, pin badges or other funky accessories, everybody is trying their hand at this craft!

However, there’s also a lot of folks who are giving it a try and abandoning ship immediately, because it’s gone wrong. And that’s usually because they’ve failed to follow the instructions… or bought unsuitable clay, which can destroy a project.

Best Polymer Clay

If you’re looking to try it out but worried about setbacks from poor quality sculpting materials, don’t worry. We’ve picked out some perfect packs of polymer just for you, so you can focus on crafting your next masterpiece.

OUR TOP PICK

Sculpey III 10 Classic Colors of Polymer Oven-Bake Clay, Non Toxic 1.25 lbs., great for modeling, sculpting, holiday, DIY & school projects. Great for Kids, beginners and artists!

Offering you a chance to road test ten of their classic and most beloved colors, this pack of two-ounce bars of Sculpey clay is the perfect introduction to polymer crafting.

Affordable value, direct from a reputable manufacturer you can definitely trust!

Taking on a matte, bisque style finish once baked, it also dries hard and durable, to make dependable and durable creations you will be proud of.

Easy enough to shape and bake, it’s a soft and pliable clay that feels like ceramic but won’t dry out.

Not only is it fantastic to use pre-baking, once set and cool you’ll find it can be easily sanded, drilled, and carved in whatever way you like, as well as finished with a glaze, though manufacturers recommend sticking to Sculpey brand for best results.

Safe for ages eight and above to use, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon making things with the kids, and you don’t have to worry about mess.

Great for beginners, kids, AND moms, thanks to its soft and pliable texture, it’s the perfect family activity.

You’ll receive ten totally different colors: Black, White, Chocolate, Emerald, Yellow, Just Orange, Beige, Red, Purple and Blue - this is a veritable rainbow, and opens up your world to make pretty much whatever you like!

Pros

  • Quick curing time of only 20 minutes - convenient and great for impatient kids!
  • Stays soft before baked, so long as you care for it appropriately
  • Ten two-ounce bricks in a range of colors - a fantastic starter set that makes a great gift for art lovers
  • Extra clay can be stored and reused for later projects (in a sealed container)

Cons

  • Reviews indicate brighter colors may stain fingertips after prolonged usage, so be sure to keep washing your hands!

EDITORS CHOICE

Fimo Soft Starter Pack 12 x 56g Multicolour Blocks by Steadtler

Staedtler’s brand of polymer is another beloved option and this fantastic budget-friendly bumper pack is offering twelve of the best Fimo Soft clays. In a range of colors, it’s a soft modeling experience that will suit the whole family!

Being softer than average, you’ll find it makes a great all-purpose crafting tool that’s great no matter how small or large your hands are. Easy to work with and oven hardened in under thirty minutes, it’s great for impatient little artists who can’t wait!

Blending is incredibly easy, as each block has been divided into 8 portions, a practical solution that makes life even easier for kids and beginners. Unfortunately, you can’t choose which colors you get, but a range will be provided.

Able to hold its shape well and stay strong after baking, as well as being super simple to manipulate, it’s a really great option for the whole family. Plus, provided you store them correctly, they’ll last for years and won’t dry out until baked.

It’s worth pointing out that Fimo Soft will shrink a tiny bit once it has been baked. This is literally a fraction of an inch, so nothing to worry about - it won’t be seriously noticeable. You should know this in advance to avoid surprises, though!

Pros

  • Hardened in 30 minutes or less for convenience and preventing impatience!
  • Plenty of colors - a great starter kit or gift
  • Ideal for any skill level, from beginner to professional 
  • Conveniently divided into 8 portions per block to make sharing/blending easier

Cons

  • Can’t choose the colors you’re given - you’ll receive 12 at random, chosen from a selection of 24

BEST VALUE

Staedtler FIMO Soft Polymer Clay - -Oven Bake Clay for Jewelry, Sculpting, Crafting, Caramel 8020-7

Looking for a singular block of polymer clay? This is a great option, with twenty four colors available to choose from.

You can make your own professional quality crafts without ANY specialist equipment, in under thirty minutes, using Fimo soft!

Staying perfectly pliable right until it is baked, and easy to carve post-baking - with greater resistance to breakage - it’s great for last-minute alterations.

Plus, you can mix ALL oven-hardening Fimo clays to create your own color palette.

Whether at home with the kids, or in a serious environment, it’s a perfectly suitable clay medium for any age or skill level.

It’ll stay soft no matter HOW much you work it, and even if you accidentally leave it out for a couple of days - practically kid-proof!

Choose from such gorgeous shades as Caramel, Cognac, Lavender, Light Flesh, Windsor Blue and Apple Green. They’re incredibly vibrant colors that won’t lose their brightness over time and certainly don’t become dull once baked. 

Once hardened, any FIMO clay can be baked multiple times if your project requires several spells in the oven, so don’t worry about having to put it back under the heat. Unlike humans, it won’t crumble under pressure!

Pros

  • Vivid, gorgeous colors to choose from in a variety of shades
  • Will remain soft and pliable even after hours of use until you’re ready to bake it
  • Can be painted or varnished with appropriate FIMO paints and pens
  • Easily reattached with superglue should anything break once hardened

Cons

  • Some more advanced modelers might prefer a firmer clay formula

RUNNER UP

Sculpey Super Sculpturing Compound 1 lb. box, Beige

With its unique formula loved by artists, doll makers and animators globally, Super Sculpey is a fantastic clay for beginners just getting started with polymer or professionals with decades of experience. 

Allowing for fine tooling and detailing which won’t ‘fill in’ once tooled or hardened, it stays totally soft whilst you’re working with it. Sculpey never air dries and will remain as pliable as you need until you bake it.

When baked at 275 degrees Fahrenheit, Sculpey is perfectly solid in just fifteen minutes (for six-millimeter thicknesses - any more and you should increase the bake time) making it great if you have a lot of work to do in a short time.

Don’t throw away any extra clay! It can be stored and reused, without drying out over time. This block is Beige, so it can be easily painted to suit your colors of choice, but it also captures the tone of skin perfectly after baking.

Once nice and solid, you can carve, sand or drill your creation in any way you like, and it’s also suitable to paint using water-based acrylics (this is important as other paints will not work as well and could dull down during the curing process).

Pros

  • Never air dries - all the time in the world to perfect the small details
  • Preserves tiny tooling marks that won’t fill in over time
  • Good even consistency - not too hard, not too soft
  • Far less likely to crack than air dried clay/competing products

Cons

  • Comes in beige - though also available in white - and so will need to be painted for vibrant colorful creations

RUNNER UP

Magicfly Polymer Clay Starter Kit, 45 Colors Oven Bake Clay with 5 Modeling Tools and 40 Jewelry Accessories, Safe and Nontoxic DIY Baking Clay Blocks

We were reluctant to feature an unbranded clay, as they have a tendency to be of poorer quality. However, this set from Magicfly has such good reviews that we figured it was worth sharing with you.

Not only will you receive FORTY-FIVE vivid, vibrant colors from across the rainbow spectrum - each in a small thirty-gram block - it’s IDEAL for beginners, as it won’t cost the Earth but it will give them access to a variety of shades. 

Made using non-toxic and environmentally friendly polymer clay, it’s a soft and easily pliable formula that won’t stick to your hands and stays super stretchy until you’re ready to bake the final product. No frustrating air-drying!

Coming in a beautiful storage/carry case with over forty modeling tools and accessories to craft to your heart’s content, this makes a brilliant gift for anyone looking to try their hand at crafting with polymer clay.

Featuring such shades as Lemon Yellow, Sky Blue, Raw Umber, Bubblegum Pink and Midnight Purple, you’ll have a whale of a time experimenting with the kids. Baked to perfection in between 15 and 30 minutes, there’s no painful waiting times.

Pros

  • Forty-five clays in a huge variety of colors, all in a handy carry case 
  • Comes with all the tools you need to get started and more - save money
  • Great intro to clay for small hands (not expensive either)
  • Enough clay for multiple projects with every color

Cons

  • Not from a reputable or world-renowned brand - less of a risk moneywise, but might not have the same level of quality

Best Polymer Clay Buying Guide

What Makes A Good Clay?

The Fresher The Better

Whilst polymer clay has no expiration date, you’re always going to be best using it as soon after it has been purchased as possible; remember - it could have been on the shelves at the store for months before you get to it!

In the past, the shelf life of clay was vastly superior, but since the removal of phthalate plasticizers in 2008, it tends to lose its elasticity much quicker. This is for the best, of course, as phthalates are toxic, but it means freshness is important.

Old clay becomes crumbly and difficult to work with (unless you use one of our hacks to fix it… more on that in a sec!) which also reduces the chances that your curing will be successful. It could all fall apart before your eyes - so stick to new clay!

One way you can cheat the system is to check on the side or bottom of the clay package for a manufacturing date (which is usually in reverse, given as year, month, date, then time) which might give you an indication of how long it’s been around.

Tools Of The Trade - What You Need Next

Of course, nothing is stopping you from diving right in there and making sculptures with your hands, but for more precise projects, you’re going to need some basic tools to get you started. Don’t worry, you probably already have most of them!

Solid Work Surface - this is the easiest to obtain! Just find yourself a flat, completely smooth place to work. Many find that a small ceramic tile doubles perfectly as a working area AND a baking tray, as a great two for one!

Straight Edged Ruler - unless you’re a whizz at getting a straight edge freehand, we’d highly recommend equipping yourself with this simplistic yet ingenious tool.

Acrylic Roller - a regular rolling pin will work in a pinch, but as these specialist tools are made from acrylic you’ll have much less difficulty with clay getting stuck as you roll out.

Craft/X-acto Knife - straightforward enough, this will simply help you cut out precise shapes with a lot more ease - they’re incredibly sharp though, so do be careful, especially if you’re crafting with tiny hands around, too.

Tissue Blades -  these very thin (hence the name) and highly precise blades aren’t a necessity by any means, but you’ll be glad you picked up a set. They usually come in multiple shapes and sizes so you can pick the best one for the job!

Oven - no, you can’t cure your clay in the microwave! It doesn’t have to be a kiln; your household oven will be absolutely fine, but to ensure that your clay creations last for years to come, baking them is a very important step.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best polymer clay for making earrings and jewelry?

It doesn’t matter! That being said, when you’re making jewelry, you want the clay you use to have certain properties. First, it should be easy to work with, but you also want a certain level of firmness so it holds onto any smaller details.

Once it’s been cured, you want it to retain its shape and stay durable enough for regular wearing; it should also be more flexible in thinner areas of the design, as those that tend to end up brittle are far more likely to break under duress.

When you’re making jewelry to sell, you want your clientele to have the best possible result, so you should aim for a high-quality, more expensive clay. Brands like Sculpey and Fimo are good, especially so if you aim for their Premo or Professional lines.

Which is better, Fimo or Sculpey?

Both are excellent options for crafting, but neither is superior to the other. It’s more about what you intend to do with the clay, and whether or not the brand you choose will be able to accommodate your needs.

For instance, where Fimo Classic clays tend to be on the firmer side and fantastic for etching in those smaller details, Sculpy Premo can be better suited for those who prefer softer and more malleable clay. Personal preference is key!

What is polymer clay made of?

As a form of modeling clay that can be hardened, its formula is based on that of PVC (polymer polyvinyl chlorine) so you’ll usually find that it actually doesn’t contain any clay minerals! First, you add liquid plasticizer to a PVC resin, to create a plastisol.

That’s just a fancy word to mean it’s a suspension of polymer particles in liquid, which can flow and then be poured into a mold. This base can be amended in different ways, in order to create a different effect. For instance…

Mineral oil, mineral spirits, or lecithin are added to dial down the clay’s viscosity (how resistant it is to flowing like a liquid) or change the way it is worked with. Other additions, like zinc oxide, for example, can increase opacity or compression strength.

If left to harden, it will become the flexible, manipulated polymer clay we all know and love, though of course, this isn’t really a process recommended for replication at home. Just buy some from the store, it’s a whole lot easier than making your own!

What is the difference between Sculpey and Super Sculpey?

Where the regular Sculpey polymer clay is available in a great deal more colors, Super Sculpey is a new and improved formula. Tougher and able to withstand hotter temperatures, it can be baked multiple times, so it’s great for complex projects!

You’ll also find that Super Sculpey clay is less crumbly and likely to harden over time - this also means that once baked, it will be stronger and more durable than regular Sculpey, and less likely to turn brittle or gain cracks during the baking process.