Things to Make With Clay

Things to Make With Clay – Simple Things to Make With Clay

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If you think that using a stress ball helps you relax, you should try to make some easy things with clay! Touching and molding clay can be just as relaxing as using a stress ball, or it can be even better as you get to make things with the clay. There is a certain satisfaction in creating something from a lump of clay. Thankfully, there are many simple things to make with clay, and we have gathered a list so you do not have to go looking for ideas. Check out our various ideas using different types of clay suited for beginners!



Types of Clay

When considering things to make out of clay, you might be wondering what clay to use. You might feel intimidated if you see those clay artists sitting at a pottery wheel, creating these amazing clay items. You can also get into pottery, which uses different types of clay, which then need to be fired in a kiln. These include your earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain clays. However, if you are looking for something that is more affordable and does not require all that equipment, you can try other types of clay. This includes air dry clay and polymer clay, which are inexpensive and do not need a kiln to set.

There are also many easy things to make with clay like this, that do not require any special skills. Let us take a quick look at these types of clay.


Air-Dry Clay

Air-dry clay is perfect if you are looking for a type of clay that does not require heat to cure. These types of clay are extremely affordable, non-toxic, and easy to work with, even the kids can get in on the action. Air-dry clay is water-based and is made from a mixture of materials, such as glue and natural paper fibers.

The air-dry clay feels and looks similar to the more traditional clay, but there is no kiln needed as the clay naturally hardens over time. You can mold, cut, roll, emboss, or apply texture to the surface of the clay.

Simple and Fun Things to Make With Clay

Most air-dry clay products come in white, but you can also get clay that comes in a terra-cotta color. Once dry, you can also sand and paint it to suit your needs. The air-dry clay is not waterproof, so you will need to apply a seal as a final step. Some of the more well-known brands available include the following.

  • Das
  • Crayola air-dry clay
  • Sculpey
  • Activa plus natural self-hardening clay

There are also oil-based clays, which contain natural minerals, waxes, and oils. These are not the same as the water-based air dry clay or polymer clays. The oil-based modeling clay cannot be heated or fired in a kiln and does not harden over time when exposed to air. This means you can reuse it over and over again, making it perfect for modeling prototypes or creating molds.

It is also safe to use with kids and does not leave any residue or stick to the skin.


Polymer Clay

The polymer clay is made from a type of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) that hardens when heated. However, you do not need a kiln, and a simple oven will get the job done. One advantage of polymer clay is that it comes in a variety of colors as well as finishes, and once hard, it is water-resistant and quite durable. Polymer clay also does not lose its color and there is no mess when working with it. However, it can be tricky to bake properly and does not take details too well. Some of the more popular brands include the following.

  • Fimo
  • Sculpey
  • Kato

Easy Things to Make With Clay


Tools and Materials

Working with clay, you might need a few tools and materials, which can help make things easier as you create your clay items. There are a few items that might differ between air-dry clay and polymer clay, but mostly you can use many of the tools for both. When working with air-dry clay, you need the following.

  • Spray bottle: You need to keep the clay moist as you work, but not too much as this will weaken the clay.
  • Storage containers: The air-dry clay needs to be wrapped in some cling film or placed in a zip-lock bag and then kept in an airtight container.
  • Small sponge: A slightly damp sponge can help to smooth the clay when needed.
  • Sandpaper: You may need to smooth out the edges once the clay has dried to create a smoother finish.
  • Acrylic paints: If you want to decorate your clay items, you will need some good acrylic paints and brushes.
  • Sealer: To protect and provide a nice gloss finish, you need a sealer, such as mod podge or a clear varnish.

Cool Things to Make Out of Clay for Kids

You do not need any of the above for polymer clay, but most of the tools we mention next can be used when dealing with air-dry clay. So, let us now have a look at some of the basic materials and tools needed to begin working with polymer clay.

  • Work surface: This can be a ceramic tile, glass, or marble surface that is smooth.
  • Roller: You can use an acrylic roller, which is smooth to roll out any type of clay.
  • Cutters and molds: These items help to create the different shapes you want.
  • Craft Knife: A craft knife can help if you want to cut the clay in a straight line or remove unwanted pieces.
  • Texture tools: Stamps and texture mats can be used to create designs in clay.
  • Gloves: This is not necessary for air-dry clay, but it helps with polymer clay, as you leave no fingerprints behind.
  • Q-tips and rubbing alcohol: These items are used on polymer clay to remove imperfections as you work.



Things to Make With Clay

Now we can get to the interesting part; discovering things to make with clay. Many of the cool things to make out of clay can often be done with both types of clay. However, you might need to experiment with a few different ones to find the clay you enjoy working with the most, and it also relies on what you wish to do with the clay. Many of the things you make with clay can be used as gifts, or you might even want to try selling your creations.

Wondering what to do with clay? Read on to discover some amazing ideas.


Things to Make With Air-Dry Clay

If you are looking to start with a more affordable option, then air-dry clay is a great idea. You can use air-dry clay to make a variety of interesting items, and best of all, it is child friendly. The clay is also easy to purchase, as most craft stores or even some general stores sell the products. Let us now discover a few interesting ideas on what to do with clay.

Things to Make Out of Clay


Air-Dry Clay Gift Tags

Clay gift tags are easy to make and can be made to add a little something extra to a gift. You can create various shapes and use stamps or textures to create a pattern. There are also clay alphabet stamps, where you can create words in clay. Once the clay is dry, you can also decoupage paper onto the surface, or you can simply paint the clay. Just remember to make a small hole near the top to thread through some twine or ribbon.

You can also create slightly larger shapes to make into ornaments you can hang up.


Air-Dry Clay Bowls

When it comes to simple things to make with clay, bowls are another great idea. These are usually small, shallow bowls you can use to keep your keys or jewelry in. There are many ways you can decorate the clay, for example, using stamps or texture mats to create patterns. You can also paint or stencil onto the clay surface. You can easily use the outside of a small bowl to shape the clay or try creating a pinch bowl.

Simple and Easy Things to Make With Clay


Air-Dry Clay Planters

In a similar fashion to the bowls, you can use various sizes and shape containers to shape the clay. Just remember to place something like cling film around the container so that the clay does not stick to it. Once you have the general shape, you can then keep it simple, or add other elements, for example, create cat ears and paws. Once dry, you can then add faces or colors to the planter.

To make the planter a little more durable, you can seal the clay planters.


Air-Dry Clay Diffusers

Air-dry clay is best for creating clay diffusers as the dry clay remains porous. Once you have made your diffuser, you simply place a few drops of fragrance or essential oil onto the surface. There are various ideas you can try for this type of passive diffuser method. You can use various shapes, but whatever you choose, should not be too big, think pendant size. However, you can also make clay beads that you can use as a diffuser. These clay diffusers can be used in many ways, including some of the following.

  • Keyrings
  • Pendants
  • Bracelets
  • Car diffuser


Air-Dry Clay Pencil Holder

One of the cool things to make out of clay is pencil holders, and with this, you can get the kids involved. There are different styles you choose from, all of them simple to do. You can create a container similar to that when doing the planters or you can shape a form of solid clay and place strategic holes in the clay. These holes are where your pencil will fit. For example, shape the clay to represent a porcupine, and place holes in the back, which will then look like quills.

You can also just keep it simple by shaping a fair size square and placing holes in it for the pencils.


Air-Dry Clay Wall Mobile

You can create a single strand of clay shapes connected with string or make multiple strands that you place next to each other and connect to a stick. The clay items can be any small or medium shape you can then decorate.


Air-Dry Clay Candles or Incense Holders

Again, there are various designs you can try for clay candle holders. If you have a long candle, a simple idea is to create a shape with the clay, and then make a hole or section where the candle can fit snugly. There are also larger clay containers that can hold candles. You can use a similar idea for the incense stick, by creating a simple ball of clay with one flattened end.

Add a small hole where the incense stick can stand upright, and there you go.


Air-Dry Clay Napkin Rings

Creating polymer napkin rings can add that little extra extravagant touch to your dining set. These are fairly easy to make, simply roll out some clay to your desired thickness and cut out some wide strips that can fit around a toilet paper roll. You can leave the clay around the toilet roll until it has hardened, and then remove the paper roll. Before doing this, you can decorate by painting or embossing the clay with a design.

What to do With Clay


Things to Make With Polymer Clay

Polymer clay will not shrink as it bakes like air-dry clay can when it dries. Polymer clay also has a few more advantages, such as it is more durable than air dry clay, and it does not need to be sealed as once it is cured, it is waterproof.

Let us have a look at some popular ideas you can do with polymer clay.


Polymer Clay Jewelry

Polymer clay jewelry seems to be one of the more popular things to make out of clay. There are many ideas for clay jewelry, from earrings, pendants, and bracelets to hair clips. To make things easier, there are specially shaped cutters that help you to create pendants and earrings. You can even create polymer clay rings.


Garden or Plant Markers

These can also be made from air-dry clay, but polymer clay is so much more durable, and if the plant markers are to be outside, then you need something waterproof. These are very easy to make, as you just need to shape the clay into strips that are pointed at one end.

You can then stamp the plant name into the clay, or simply use different colors to indicate the various plants.


Polymer Clay Ring Holders

Since you can get such a variety of polymer clay, it might be a preferable option to air-dry clay. You can use the easy cone shape for the rings or be more creative and sculpt a plant like a cactus or an animal shape with a tail as the ring holder.


Polymer Clay Spoons

Polymer clay can be used to add something extra to the handles of utensils or serving spoons. The clay can be rolled and made into strips, which can then be coiled around the utensil handle. Another method is to flatten the clay and then wrap it around the handle lengthwise.

Finally, place it in the oven to cure.


Polymer Clay Cake Toppers

Looking to add something special to a birthday cake? Why not try your hand at creating polymer clay cake toppers? These are especially popular for wedding cakes; however, you will need to learn how to make figurines and other types of sculptures. Polymer clay is safe for this idea, but it is not edible, so removing it before serving up the cake might be a good idea.

Simple Things to Make With Clay


Polymer Clay Fridge Magnets

Fridge magnets are fun to make and can also be great gifts to give away. You can use your imagination for this, as there are loads of ideas you can try. Consider making emojis, little models of various food items, cute little animal shapes, or clay letters to form the alphabet.


Polymer Clay Mushrooms

There seems to be a thing about creating cute mushrooms from clay. The reason most probably is that it is so easy to do. You can make the mushrooms into a necklace pendant or use them as a garden ornament, depending on the size you make.


Polymer Clay Cellphone Holders

There are various ways you can create a cellphone stand with clay. Some are easier, such as the scroll shape holder, but you can also go more elaborate by creating animal characters or designs that fit the phone.

Besides phone holders, you can also create some amazing phone grips with polymer clay.



Scrapbooking has been around for years, and it remains a popular hobby all over the world. It is an easy and fun way to express your creativity and celebrate cherished memories. Scrapbookers use all kinds of embellishments to add to their pages. What better way than to custom-make your own polymer clay embellishments? All kinds of ideas can help to make your scrapbook more interesting and personalized.

Cool Things to Make Out of Clay


Polymer Clay Molds

The best type of mold you can use for polymer clay is a silicone mold. There are numerous molds available, with a variety of patterns and ideas you can use. You can even use shallow fondant silicone molds for polymer clay.

The clay items from the molds can then be used to create embellishments, jewelry, or anything else you can think of.



Clay Tips for Beginners

If it is your first time using clay, you might be wondering what to do with clay and you might also feel a bit nervous. However, once you get the basics down, you will find that both air dry and polymer clay are quite versatile and fun to work with. You might want to practice a few times before attempting any project, just to get the feel of the clay and how it responds. You can also take a look at these clay tips below.

  • Always prepare your work surface, as there is nothing more frustrating than getting dirt or hair onto wet clay and trying to remove it.
  • To make the clay easier to handle and to remove air bubbles, you should always condition and soften the clay first.
  • To avoid the clay from sticking to your surface, use a tile or silicone mat.
  • Consider getting roller pin guide rings, which will help to create an even clay surface that has a consistent thickness.
  • Do not roll the air-dry clay out too thin as this could cause it to crack or curl.
  • Never mix air-dry clay with polymer clay. The air dry clay does not heat to set, and it will just make the polymer clay less effective.
  • Keep polymer clay away from water, as the moisture can cause the clay to become less malleable and brittle.
  • Always add holes to things like earrings or gift tags before the clay dries or before placing it in the oven.
  • When baking the polymer clay, always follow the instructions and be patient. Only use an oven to cure the polymer clay, never use a microwave.

What to do With Clay in the Holidays


When looking for things to make with clay, the ideas are endless. We have only mentioned a few of the more popular ideas you can experiment with, but that should be enough to get you started. Working with clay is fun and a wonderful way to express yourself, and there are so many practical and useful items you can make!




Frequently Asked Questions


Does Air-Dry Clay Take Long to Dry?

When working with air-dry clay, you have to consider the weather, as it will take longer to dry in cold and wet conditions. You also need to consider the thickness of the clay, as the thicker it is, the longer it will take to dry. In general, air-dry clay takes between 24 hours and 72 hours to dry.


How Long Must Polymer Clay Bake in the Oven?

Generally, it can take about 15 to 30 minutes per quarter inch of clay to cure in the oven. This will be at 275 degrees Fahrenheit (135 degrees Celsius). However, you should always follow the instructions provided on the clay packaging for more accurate instructions.


Is Polymer Clay Safe to Use With Food?

No, polymer clay is not food-safe and should not be used to make mugs or anything that will come into contact with food. You can use polymer clay to decorate a mug or utensil, but not in any part that touches food. Air-dry clay is also not suitable to use with food or drinks. Stoneware or porcelain clay are better suited to come into contact with food or drinks.

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