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Polymer clay is a well-liked and versatile crafting hobby. Many create wonderful clay items as a hobby and for gifts, but you can also sell your polymer clay products as there are so many ideas you can use. This is why we have created this article, to help you discover all the amazing and easy polymer clay ideas.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Polymer Clay?
- 2 Best Polymer Clay
- 3 The Benefits of Using Polymer Clay
- 4 Polymer Clay Ideas
- 5 More Challenging DIY Polymer Clay Projects
- 6 An Easy Tutorial on Marbling Polymer Clay
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Polymer Clay?
Polymer clay is a form of clay that can be molded into shapes. Instead of natural clay materials, polymer clay is made from polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC), resins, coloring agents, and fillers. The clay is easy to use by both the beginner and professional to make an array of cute clay art. The polymer clay will remain soft and will only harden once baked in the oven.
The polymer clay also comes in a variety of colors that can be used in many polymer clay projects from jewelry, sculptures, to pottery, and simple home decorations. You can use similar techniques in creating these polymer clay ideas as you would with ceramics and other sculpting methods. Not only can you use the clay to create different forms, but you can also cover items that will not burn in the oven, for example, pens. Even though you get different colors, you can also color the polymer clay with ink, paint, powders, glitter, or chalk. Once you have baked the clay, you can then sand and buff it, as well as paint or apply a glaze. There are quite a few polymer brands to choose from, and many have various options available.
- Fimo (Staedtler)
You can usually purchase single clay products, but you can also get polymer clay kits that contain a variety of clay colors and come with a few tools to help you work with the clay. Polymer clay needs to be baked to harden, which takes fairly quickly at 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the project and brand.
You can use your home oven, but if you frequently bake polymer clay, it might be set to get a separate toaster oven.
Best Polymer Clay
Many of the different polymer clay products vary in price and purpose. Some are better for using with jewelry, while others are best for sculpting. In most cases, it is a matter of preference and availability.
Most Popular Polymer Clay Brand: SCULPEY Polymer Clay
Sculpey clay is a popular and well-known brand that is used all around the world. The clay will remain soft so you can work till your heart’s content before you bake it. Easy to work with, and can be baked in your home oven for convenience. A great tool for using at school to explore the kids’ imaginations and improve various skills. This makes a great gift idea for both less young and old and comes in 30 vibrant colors.
The Benefits of Using Polymer Clay
There are different advantages and disadvantages when using polymer clay and comparing it to other forms of clay. One of the major differences when compared to air-dry clay, is that polymer clay needs to be oven-baked to harden. Even if left for days without baking, it will not go hard. This means you have a fair amount of time to work with the clay and you do not have to worry about any time limits. There are also problems when it comes to using polymer clay. Many find that the clay is not soft and pliable enough to work with unless you condition it first. This means you have to knead and cut and knead together again until it becomes more pliable. If you skip this process, it could lead to your clay item cracking once you have baked it. Here are the pros and cons of using polymer clay.
Polymer Clay Ideas
There are many different things to make with polymer clay, you can even blend colors to create more customized colors. Many tools can be used to create textures and to sculpt with. The clay is affordable, and you can easily purchase it at your local craft shop, or you can also have a look online. Even though there is the equipment you can use to help you work with polymer clay, all you really need is the clay, your hands, and an oven.
When working with DIY polymer clay, there are so many modeling clay ideas. Because polymer clay is so versatile, it makes it an extremely popular choice when creating jewelry and other decorative clay items. You can start with easy polymer clay ideas like beads for a necklace and then work your way up to more functional polymer clay projects like coasters. You can even create cute clay art animals and other life-like figurines. You can purchase a polymer clay kit, which comes with proper sculpting tools. To start, there are some basic tools you can use, some you might even find lying around in the house.
- Cutting knife or blade
- Rolling pin
- Pins, toothpicks, knitting needles, or skewers
- Shape or cookie cutters (solely for use with polymer clay)
- Create texture with combs or toothbrushes
Once you have your polymer clay, tools, and a good place to work, you can begin working on your modeling clay ideas. To get good results, the clay you work with should be of high quality, any of the brands already mentioned should be good. Always remember to store left-over clay in an airtight container.
Let us now discover some simple Sculpey clay ideas.
Easy Polymer Clay Ideas for Beads and Jewelry
This is a great way to get started with using polymer clay as you do not need any special tools. You can easily create any size and shape, be it flat or rounded beads for various purposes. You can use these beads to create some amazing jewelry pieces from pendants to a beaded necklace or bracelet. You can also make various shapes and size earrings, as well as hair barrettes, cellphone charms, and key chains.
Jewelry pieces do not have to be perfect pieces of art. You can be imaginative and make something that is original and maybe even quirky. There are also different shape cutters available, so you do not have to cut out your basic shape by hand. These shapes or clay cutters can be anything from teardrop or oval-shaped to rectangular, heart, or star-shaped. There are also various stamps, embossing texture mats, and stencils you can purchase. It is also really easy to simply use molds, which are usually silicone for polymer clay.
Polymer Clay Bookmarks
Do know somebody who reads a lot, or would like to create something for yourself? Handmade bookmarks are another great gifting idea. You can add nice textures, stamps, or words to a piece of polymer clay.
You can also attach a cute polymer clay creation to a paper clip or bookmark base for charms.
Polymer Clay Magnets
There are many cute polymer clay ideas you can use to create magnets. Again, you can use cutters and molds, which you can purchase, or you can sculpt your creation from scratch. How about some alphabet clay magnets for the fridge or stamp words into the clay?
A simple idea is to use multiple color clay and roll these out and press them together to form a rainbow. Once baked, you can then use some good-quality superglue to attach your magnet to the clay rainbow. There are endless ideas for this type of polymer clay idea.
- Emoji magnets
- Mini food items
- Various shapes like hearts
This is a great gift idea and super easy to make. If you know somebody who loves gardening, surprise them with some clay garden markers. This will help keep all your vegetables and herbs organized and easy to identify when gardening. You can make a stick shape clay form with words displaying the name of the plant or vegetable on it. You can also make smaller clay shapes with names and attach these to a stick you place into the ground.
To make these last longer, paint with a clear, weather-proof coat once you have baked it.
Some love to use incense in the home to bring some wonderful fragrance into a living space. There are a lot of designs for polymer clay and creating holders for incense sticks. A bowl with a round ball that has a hole for the incense stick is a simple idea. How about draping a rectangular polymer clay piece with a small hole in the center over a bottle to form a rounded item that can stand with the incense stick. Instead of an incense stick, you can create a tea light or candle holder.
Covered Clay Pens
This is one of the more unique Sculpey clay ideas and is also an excellent gifting idea. The method is fairly straightforward, all you need to do is cover a pen with the polymer clay. You can also blend colors to create more interesting and unique colors. Remember to remove the ink well before you bake.
Do a couple of these with different colors and add a notepad to give as a gift.
The most common polymer clay ring holder is the cone-shaped holder that is very simple to make. Take some polymer clay and shape it into a cone shape, you can then add texture and paint it if you wish, and then bake. You can then place your rings onto the cone. There are also many other shapes of ring holders, for example, cactus ting holder, cattail holder, or a mermaid tail. You can also make easy polymer clay bowls to place your rings in.
Many of the polymer clay wall hangings consist of many different shapes that have been brought together with string or wire. Again, you can use texture mats and shape cutters for precision shapes. You can try to make a single-line wall hanging or use different shapes in a row.
This is one of the more creative modeling clay ideas, so use your imagination.
There are many things to make with polymer clay for Christmas. From something simple like a candy cane and other tree decorations to cute clay art décor items, you can place around the home. There are plenty of ideas from Father Christmas to snowmen, stockings, and Christmas trees. Polymer clay projects can also include other holidays like Easter. You can make beautiful eggs with polymer clay or cute little mini rabbits. Halloween is another popular holiday where you can make some amazing polymer clay items. Think pumpkins, black cats, and ghosts for starters, again there are many ideas you can use.
Personalized Clay Tags
These are great for weddings and other events as name tags or favors or using as a unique tag for a gift. These are made by forming a flat round or other shape and then stamping words or letters onto the clay. These can be names or initials of people for a customized effect.
These creations can also be used as pendants or charms.
Other Easy Polymer Clay Ideas
The list can go on and on when it comes to easy polymer clay ideas, here are a few more for inspiration. All of these ideas can be easy or more ambitious, depending on what your vision is for the project.
- Cake toppers: Baking cakes is popular, and many children, as well as adults today, have a special themed cake made for their birthday. Then there are weddings and other events that can do with cake toppers. Consider using a food-safe base for the topper.
- Decorate mugs with clay pieces: You can add polymer clay pieces to mugs and vases to create a new and better design.
- Clay Knobs: Why not customize and make your own door and cupboard knobs.
- Paper Weights: anything you make with polymer clay can act as a paperweight as long as it is not too small.
- Trivet or spoon stand: This is a small stand that can hold a hot dish or something you can lay your spoon on when cooking.
More Challenging DIY Polymer Clay Projects
Some of the cute polymer clay ideas do not require much skill to make, however, there are more challenging things to make with polymer clay. These will require some skill and knowledge of various techniques, but once you have gained some experience, these should be a breeze to make.
Clay Board Game Ideas
You might not think that polymer clay can be used for this, but there are some fun ideas you may want to try. A simple board game you can create with polymer clay is tic-tac-toe. All you need is a small board with at least nine square divisions and pieces to move around.
You can attempt creating a more challenging game like checkers or even chess.
Cute Polymer Clay Figurines
Some of the more cute polymer clay ideas are figurines and mini items. You can create anything you can imagine from mini food items to various animals, flowers, dragons, gnomes, mushrooms, baby Yoda, or fake mini succulents. These figurines can also be used in many of the previously mentioned ideas. Polymer clay is best used to create smaller items and is not the best clay for larger sculpting ideas.
Polymer Clay Coasters
Coasters are always a popular gift and are fairly simple to make with polymer clay. They are not difficult to make but can be more challenging if you include some clay techniques. One of the more popular ideas is to create a marble effect with the clay, which can be quite effective and a lot cheaper than using real marble. You can also create a metallic look by using colored polymer clay, or you can use gold leaf, various mica powders, acrylic paint, and pastes to achieve this.
When using a gold leaf, you may want to consider including a thin sealant layer.
Clay Pots and Containers
You can create any number of pots and containers for various purposes as jewelry dishes or wall planters. One of the popular ideas is a pot for succulents, which can be of various sizes and designs. The easiest method is to form your polymer clay around an oven-safe bowl or container, which helps form the bowl shape. You can also pinch the clay into shape for smaller ideas.
Why not create a polymer clay cover that you can place over your journal or sketchbook. This would also make a wonderful and unique gift to someone you know who journals or sketches. The final effect is a three-dimensional type of image that is quite mesmerizing.
It is like you are opening one of those ancient tomes.
The wall hangings are easy to make with polymer clay, but why not step it up and create some polymer clay art pieces. These can easily be framed to place on the wall. Find something you wish to sculpt like a figurine, and then have it framed as a three-dimensional art piece. While we are on the subject of framing, you can also cover and decorate a frame with polymer clay.
Personalizing phone covers seems to be a trend and there are many different amazing covers available to purchase. However, you can personalize your own phone using polymer clay. You can create some cute polymer clay ideas that literally pop out at you.
An Easy Tutorial on Marbling Polymer Clay
Since this technique and effect is so popular, we thought we should provide you with a short tutorial on how to do this technique. Once you have mastered this technique, it can then be used for various polymer clay ideas from jewelry to coasters and more. There are other methods, but this is a simple, yet effective way to start. Marbling is fundamentally combining two colors of clay, which then forms a marble-type effect that is similar to the natural rock. You can begin by choosing your clay colors, a natural look would include something like black and white.
- Begin by combining a small piece of white clay with a tiny piece of black clay to create a light gray once you have mixed them. Then separately, condition equal amounts of white clay and translucent clay, which helps with the marbling effect.
- Shape all three pieces of clay into a sausage form and place them next to each other. On top of these, place tiny amounts of the gray and black clay here and there. Now you can roll and blend all the clay pieces.
- Knead all the pieces and again roll out into a sausage form that is long and thin. Fold and then twist and blend. Follow this process again and then roll into a ball and roll out again. You can also break it into pieces and then roll it out. Continue until you see the clay forming stripes and shapes.
- Roll a piece into a ball and check to see if it produces a marbled effect that you are happy with. If you are not pleased with what you have done yet, you can then follow the same process of rolling, twisting, and blending. You can also add in mot of a certain color to change the tone or consider adding something like small pieces of gold leaf for added effect. Once you are satisfied, you can then create your polymer clay item.
Coming up with things to make with polymer clay can be fun and a way to relieve stress. All your DIY polymer clay ideas can either be simply for show, or you can make something that is more functional. Whatever polymer clay projects you decide on, we hope we have provided enough ideas to inspire.
View our Modeling Clay Ideas web story here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Brands of Polymer Clay Are Best to Use?
There are many brands you can choose that are good to use. However, the Sculpey clay tends to be the more popular choice for many. Other brands include Fimo and Kato, and Cernit, which produces translucent clay. You also get the Arteza brand, which has a great polymer clay kit, which you can get online.
How Should You Store Polymer Clay?
The best way to store polymer clay is in its original packaging and in a cool, dark place that is out of the sun and away from any heat. If you are taking some clay along with you in the car, never leave it inside on a hot day. You can also keep the clay in an airtight container or some wax paper. Do not place the clay in plastic containers you are going to be using for food again.
Why Must You Condition Polymer Clay?
Condition clay means that you are warming it up and softening it by kneading it. This prepares the clay so you can easily use and shape it. Condition polymer clay also helps to prevent any breakage from occurring. Some clays take longer than others, so be aware of this when purchasing. Some people who have gained more experience with using polymer clay use a pasta machine or clay press to condition the clay. This speeds up the process and is more effective than doing it with your hands. Simply feed the clay through the machine a couple of times.
Must You Bake Polymer Clay?
Yes, to get a more durable clay item, you will need to bake the polymer clay in an oven. Baking the clay can easily be done in your home oven and a kiln is not necessary. Many of the clay products can differ in baking times, so it is best to read the directions provided. The times for baking can be anything from 10 to 30 minutes.
Can You Paint Polymer Clay?
Yes, polymer clay can be painted, although there are many different colors you can choose from. You can use acrylic paint or mica powders to colors the polymer clay before you bake it, or you can bake the clay and then paint it with several thin layers of acrylic paint. You can then also apply a sealing coat or glaze.