What is Polymer Clay?

Often, people ask me about polymer clay! Here’s a small write-up for those who are not familiar with this clay medium yet……

What is Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay is a very versatile art medium. It is an oven-bake clay, based on polymer Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Once the sculpting is done, every clay art piece needs to be cured in the oven at a specific temperature defined for that clay.

There are many brands of polymer clay and they all are a bit different from each other. Choosing the right clay for your project might be little tricky for the beginners. Each brand has its own pros and cons both in terms of their traits and availability, so it’s really difficult to say which one is the best clay. It’s worth to try all of them and then decide which one suits you.

Some of the various brands of Polymer clay shown in the image above. There are other brands like FIMO, Kato Polyclay , Pardo and some unnamed polymer clay available in the market as well.

Malleability : To make it malleable for use as an art medium for sculpting and other art projects, some amount of plasticizer is present in the clay material. When conditioned properly, it is extremely malleable as any other clay and can easily be molded and sculpted. Once cured, it hardens. (Check out Wikipedia for more information on its composition)

Durability : Polymer clay is very strong if baked correctly. If you use the right type of clay for your project and cure it at appropriate temperature it is hard to break. Very thin pieces if cured properly are slightly bendable, but won’t break easily. Under-baked clay is brittle and easy to break.

After curing, they need to be cooled down to room temperature to attain their hardness and strength.

Color : It is available in a range of colors for some brands while others may have limited choice of colors. These colors can be easily mixed to create blends and gradients. Some of the brands have sparkle effect, luminescence, metallic, faux pearl and stone imitations too.

Basic tools needed to start your clay journey

In my initial phase of this craft journey, I tried to gather quite a few tools from around the house. Here is a list of must-have tools for polymer clay beginners:

  • Clay
  • Rolling pin
  • Blade (Any ordinary blade or a craft X-acto knife)
  • Oven
  • A ceramic tile for baking

Yes! these are the quick must-five’s that should be handy to begin with.

Later as I moved forward with my craft, I started gathering other tools along the way. Some of the advanced level tools are:

  • Pasta machine
  • Oven Thermometer
  • Needle tool
  • Ball stylus tool
  • Some basic cookie cutters
  • Sandpaper
  • Liquid polymer clay

The list may go on….. Eventually it all depends on the project you are working on!

Some other things which you might want to be handy while working on your clay project are:

  • Wipes
  • Cornstarch
  • Ziploc bags
  • Paper towels
  • Aluminium foil etc

To learn more about some of the different claying techniques, please subscribe to my blog.

Happy claying!!!

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