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.
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.