Polymer clay tools – Start up!

I have been crafting for over four years now. I developed my passion through watching many YouTube videos. Watching videos has helped me evolve into doing what I do, which, at the moment, is working with polymer clay. I’m not going to claim to be an expert by far, but I really do love the craft. So once I decided it would be my next addiction, I needed to know what basic polymer clay tools I would need to get started.

Typically, once I decide on my next crafting idea, it becomes my addiction, and I go all in. So off to the craft store I went. There I stood pondering over all the advanced and basic polymer clay tools. And all that clay! Such a variety of color. But how to narrow it down? After all, I didn’t really want to spend a fortune on something I’ve not really done. In the event I find out I’m not a very gifted sculptor. So I was forced to choose. And what I left the store with was as follows:

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  • Clay (obviously) – I made sure to have black and white along with some other bright colors.
  • Cutting blades – To help create clean design lines and edges.
  • Acrylic clay roller/rod – An acrylic roller is less likely to react with the clay.
  • Clay cutters – since my focus is on jewelry, I thought clay cutters would be a good idea to help shape the clay.
  • Cookie sheet
  • Tin foil
  • Ceramic/glass tile
  • Pasta Machine – (Optional)

Those items are just the very basic tools to get started. For conditioning the clay you can do it by hand, although having a pasta roller is an excellent conditioning tool to consider.

I don’t do a lot of sculpting but if that’s your intention you may consider some sculpting tools. There are many options available.  

Where to hone my craft

So what’s next? Now I am ready to dive in and work with the clay. But where to do this. What’s the best work surface when working with the clay. First, be sure to protect your furniture and the floor. A non-porous surface is best such as a baking sheet, tin foil, or ceramic or glass tile. You could also use a plastic place mat. I use a TV tray, one I got at a local department store for under $10. I work the clay directly on this tray. But I also will often use a ceramic tile. I also use an acrylic table grid for easy measuring.

Baking the clay

  • Convection/toaster oven or
  • Conventional Oven

Once you have created your clay design, you will want to bake the clay. You want to bake the clay to harden it. Always check the package for manufacturers baking instructions for the right temperature and length of time for curing the clay. To do this you will want to use an oven or a toaster oven to cure/bake the clay. I use a cookie/baking sheet with a piece of tin foil over it to place my clay projects on while baking. You can even bake right on your ceramic tile if you wish. Again, make sure to check the clay package baking instructions.

Finishing your polymer clay masterpiece

  • Wet/dry Sandpaper – 150 grit to 8000 grit and beyond
  • Acetone (nail polish remover)
  • Polishing paper

Acetone will clean any dust, lint, or anything on the surface of your piece.

Without getting too in depth, since this is a basic polymer clay tools article, sandpaper would be my number one tool to have when finishing my masterpiece. The polishing paper is a bonus. With a little elbow grease you can really give your piece a nice shine.   If you want to see how I complete my pendants see my post titled How to finish polymer clay pendants using UV resin.

Now go and have some fun!

So there you have it!  I’ve shown you what you can use to get started creating with polymer clay, and what you will need to complete your projects.   I suppose all you really need is some clay, a pair of hands, and an oven. But with the other basic polymer clay tools you are on your way to creating some beautiful masterpieces!  If you enjoyed this article let me know by leaving a comment below.

Fun Fact!

The baking section in craft stores have some great tools that can also be used to mold your polymer clay.  Such as fondant cutters, cookie cutters, texture rollers or sheets, and modeling tools.

 

6 thoughts on “Polymer clay tools – Start up!”

  1. Hey Teresa,

    This is a really insightful article. During this current time of being in lock down, people are looking for new things to do. My niece would love to get stuck in and create using polymer clay, she would absolutely love this.

    I have forwarded your article on to her and her parents, as I think they would have a lot of fun with this. I’ve advised them to comment and if they have any questions then they should get in touch with you.

    Thanks for sharing this article, and keep up the amazing work on your site.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
    • Tom, thank you so much for your very kind words. And thank you for passing along my site for your family.
      I would be happy to help in any way I can.
      Take care and stay safe,
      Teresa

      Reply
  2. I don’t have much experience working with clay, but I am so impressed with the things you have done with it! Making jewelry and other fun items seems like a great use of time and skill. I thought your list of materials was quite interesting as well. There are things I just haven’t thought about, but I now better understand the importance of, like the acrylic clay roller. I also didn’t know that you finish off with sandpaper. I have officially learned something new today, thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Oh my, thank you so much. We sure can learn something new every day can’t we. I’m really glad you enjoyed my site.
      Thank you again for sharing in my journey!

      Reply
  3. Yes you are crafty. The lewelry you make is beautiful. Your site is a joyjourney. I truly enjoy your site and the aspects of your personality come through in a wonderment. Awesome ideas and results. You are truly an interesting artist. Thank you. CQ

    Reply
    • Thank you very much for your kind remarks. I love that, JoyJourney, that is exactly what this feels like for me.
      Thank you for peeking in on my joyjourney.

      Reply

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