If you’ve been bitten by the polymer clay bug and just aren’t sure where to start with your own projects, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll share with you 10 of the best polymer clays to choose from. We’ll also guide you in how to choose the best one for your situation, as well as which brands you can expect to see as you shop. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which brand of polymer clay you need for whatever you choose to create.
Unlike air dry clay, polymer clay cures in an oven. This modeling material is made from polymers, resins, coloring agents, and fillers that are available in a variety of colors.
Polymer clays can be great teaching tools for kids as they are non-toxic and won’t shrink when baked. There are many uses for polymer clay, including jewelry, home decoration, pottery, sculpting, and scrapbooking.
Are you ready to pick out the best polymer clay for your next project? Let’s get started.
Got no time to read? Here are our best picks and why we picked them.
|Polymer Clay Name||Why We Picked It|
|Sculpey III Vibrant Colors||Unbaked clay is soft and workable|
|Cernit Translucent White||Translucent to provide a base for creative finishing processes|
|FIMO Soft Polymer Clay 12 Assorted Colors||Able to be sanded and polished after baking|
|Sculpey Naturals Pack of 12||Matte, bisque-like finish when cured and can be painted|
|Original Sculpey in White||Non-toxic and won’t shrink when you bake it|
|FIMO Soft Starter Pack||Bakes at a cool 230 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Sculpey Premo Assorted Colors Set of 24||Works best for caning and mokume gane|
|Super Sculpey||Shatter- and chip-resistant|
|Sculpey Premo Mixed Effects||Can be marbled and mixed|
What to Consider When Buying Polymer Clay
Buying polymer clay may seem straightforward, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you shop. Here’s a quick list you can reference.
Investing in clay, much like any other hobby, can cost as much or as little as you’d like it. That said, working with polymer clay is a relatively inexpensive hobby you can share with your friends and family without worrying about going over budget.
Most clay packs come in well under $100, and with the right set of tools, you should only have to invest in additional clay as you create projects. In fact, most tools are pretty basic, and any other implements you might need can be sourced from what you’ve already got at home. Stamps can be an expense as well, but they can be used hundreds of times over.
Polymer Clay Brand
As you’ll find out, each of the best polymer clay brand names has its own set of features. We’ll talk more about the brands specifically in the next few sections, but the best polymer clay brand is the one that suits your project the best.
Polymer clay brands vary in price as well. Depending on the the best polymer clay brand you choose, you could be spending anywhere from less than $20 to around $100. While other brands of clay may be cheaper, it’s often better to choose a well-known polymer clay brand to ensure quality in your projects.
Working with clay doesn’t have to be a side hustle unless you want it to be. With that said, you’ll want to think about what you’re using the clay for before you buy it. That will not only tell you what colors you need (more on that in a minute), but also what type of clay to buy. Certain brands work well for particular types of projects, something we’ll discuss in a later section.
It might seem obvious, but color choice can be a big deal when you’re shopping for polymer clay. Besides choosing a palette that suits your projects, you’ll also want to consider one very important thing: will you mix up particular colors or buy them instead?
In some cases, it’s possible to simply buy a color close to what you need and then introduce a bit of another color to achieve what you want. However, there are some colors you’ll have to buy unless you want to experiment with various clays and other compounds and mix-ins. These include glitter clays, as well as those that mirror substances such as granite or terracotta.
As with many crafting materials, you’ll want to invest in bundle deals that give you the most clay for your money. Believe it or not, you may end up using colors you didn’t think you would on projects in the future.
Since polymer clay has to be baked in order to cure, you won’t have to worry about it drying out either. Plus, with more clay colors to choose from, mixing possibilities quadruple.
It might seem early to be thinking about how you’ll finish a project, but when you buy clay, it’s best to think about your end process(es). Because you’re buying polymer clay, you can depend on having to bake it. However, there are many opportunities for finishing processes before and after the baking happens.
For example, if you plan on antiquing your piece, you’ll probably want to use acrylic paint after it’s been baked. But achieving deep colors can be done with clay instead of paint. That said, planning out how you’ll finish your piece can be useful in purchasing the best polymer clay from the get-go.
Best Polymer Clay
Below is a list of some of the best polymer clay you’ll find on the market.
Sculpey III Vibrant Colors Pack of 30
Starting out your journey with the best polymer clay is easy with the Sculpey III Vibrant Colors collection. This particular set contains 30 different colors to offer you a wide variety of hues for your projects. Each of the 1 ounce bars are full of depth and can be mixed together to achieve the specific color you’re looking for.
Sculpey III polymer clay is non-toxic. With relatively little time required to condition the clay, Sculpey III stays soft and doesn’t air dry. It can be sanded, carved, drilled, and/or painted once baked in an oven. This particular polymer clay brand bakes at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for around 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of your piece.
Hot pink, sweet potato, spring lilac, and ballerina are just a few of the colors included in this set of 30 polymer clays. Made in the United States, they’re the perfect beginnings for a brand-new journey in clay.
- Variety of colors
- Unbaked clay is soft and workable
- Bakes right in your home oven
- Small amounts may not be enough for larger projects
Cernit Translucent White
Cernit is one of the more well-known companies in the polymer clay business, and this Translucent White clay block represents what the brand has to offer. From this 500 gram block of polymer clay, you can create a world of projects.
Cernit’s polymer clay is odorless. It bakes in your kitchen oven at 265 degrees for no more than 30 minutes and can be sanded, drilled, or filed after curing. You can also seal the translucent clay with paint or varnish as well.
While the Cernit brand of polymer clay is a bit stiffer and requires more conditioning, it does provide a strong base for projects that require durability.
- Can be painted, sanded, drilled, or filed after baking
- Translucent to provide a base for creative finishing processes
- Harder to condition than other types of polymer clay
FIMO Soft Polymer Clay 12 Assorted Colors
This dozen assorted colors from FIMO provide a strong basic palette for any artist, beginner to advanced. Baked in an oven at 230 degrees Fahrenheit, these clays can be mixed to achieve the perfect color for your next project.
With 25 grams per block of polymer clay, there’s plenty of variety here to create everything from small figurines to jewelry. After baking, thin pieces of FIMO clay stay flexible, while more solid pieces resist breakage. You can easily sand and polish your cured projects to finish them to your liking.
- Can be intermixed
- Able to be sanded and polished after baking
- Baked projects are not dishwasher safe
Sculpey III Set – Naturals Pack of 12
Sculpey III comes in variety packs of assorted colors, and we’ve chosen this Naturals Pack of 12 because it’s essential for many reasons. Floral designs and natural scenes draw from the colors included in this pack, from the vivid leaf green and emerald blocks to the deep turquoise blue.
One of the best things about Sculpey III is that you can mix it with itself, of course, but you can also blend it with Premo Sculpey to achieve the perfect tone. These 1 ounce blocks are ideal for beginners who want to get a taste of Sculpey without spending too much.
Sculpey III is non-toxic. It takes on a matte, bisque-like finish when cured and can be painted to your liking. It can also be sanded, drilled, or filed as well.
- Mixable with itself and Premo Sculpey
- Cures matte
- Thin projects can be fragile during/after baking
Original Sculpey in White
When it comes to working with polymer clay, sometimes starting out with the basics in white works best. That’s why we’ve chosen Original Sculpey in White. It’s an easy traditional polymer clay base to get started with that provides a clean palette for finishing however you prefer.
This 1.75 pound block of white Sculpey clay is non-toxic and won’t shrink when you bake it. Made in the USA, this polymer clay is smooth, non-sticky and won’t stain your work space. Sculpey recommends you bake this clay at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes per one-quarter inch of thickness.
Once you’ve baked Original Sculpey, you can sand, paint, carve, or re-bake it as you see fit.
- Made in the USA
- Non-sticky during conditioning
- Doesn’t shrink during baking
- Projects should be baked soon after modeling to prevent pliable clay from losing form
FIMO Soft Starter Pack 12 Count
Working polymer clay with your hands can be a difficult task for some, which is why we’ve chosen the FIMO Soft Starter Pack. This 12-count collection contains soft polymer clay that’s smooth and mixable.
Each of the dozen included polymer clay packages is divided into eight portions to easily mix them in ratio if necessary. Plus, the clay is baked at 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or less, depending on the thickness and size of your project. This temperature is a bit less than other types of polymer clay, which may be preferable for some.
- Divided into 8 sections for mixing
- Bakes at a cool 230 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mixable and smooth
- 12 colors are randomly chosen from the 24 pictured
Sculpey Premo Assorted Colors Set of 24
This primo set of assorted colors from Sculpey contains some of the basic pastels, as well as specifically formulated colors such as Gray Granite and Antique Gold. If you’re serious about your clay modeling, or just want to experiment, this collection holds plenty of opportunities.
Forest Green, Translucent, Pomegranate, and Cadmium Yellow are just a few of the colors that come in 1 ounce packages. This clay is firmer than the Sculpey III varieties we’ve discussed, but remains smooth and pliable to work with after conditioning.
In fact, Sculpey Premo works great for caning and techniques such as mokume gane. It can be mixed with Sculpey III if desired, or with itself.
- Variety of colors and textures
- Mixable with Premo and Sculpey III
- Works best for caning and mokume gane
- Firmer clay to work with
If you’re looking for a ceramic-like sculpting clay, Super Sculpey will do wonders for your figurine and fine detail work. This polymer clay is beige-pink in color and semi-translucent. Though it bakes in a kitchen oven, Super Sculpey can be carved, sanded, or drilled after baking to finish however you’d like it.
Super Sculpey comes in an 8 ounce package. It bakes for 15 minutes per one-quarter inch of thickness at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Once baked, it retains a shatter-resistant and chip-resistant finish that should last.
- Shatter- and chip-resistant
- Sandable, carvable, and drillable
- Easily painted to finish
- Some found Super Sculpey too soft to effectively sculpt fine features with
Sculpey Premo Mixed Effects Set of 12
We chose the Sculpey Premo Mixed Effects set of 12 polymer clay collection for the enhanced set of colors it provides sculpters. These clays are specially formulated to provide above average effects that mimic textures found in nature, such as glitter and gemstone.
Of the dozen 1 ounce blocks, nearly half of them are infused with glitter to bring depth to your projects. Useful to the beginner and the seasoned artist, Sculpey Premo polymer clays are mixable and can be used to create a marbling effect as well.
- Works well for fine details
- Variety of colors
- Can be marbled and mixed
- Harder clay to work with than some
Polymer Clay Brands
Knowing which polymer clay to buy starts with figuring out what brands are out there. Below are some of the most popular polymer clay brands you’ll come across in your shopping.
Sculpey is one of the best polymer clay brand names that’s well-known and sometimes referred to as Original Sculpey. There are plenty of off-shoot lines, such as Sculpey Premo, which we’ll discuss below. You’ll find plenty of Sculpey brands at your local craft stores.
The good thing about Sculpey clays is that they don’t require as much kneading and stretching before you begin modeling. That makes them great for teaching kids about tactile learning, since their small hands can manipulate the clay without too much effort. The Sculpey brands of polymer clay are also a great medium for shelved figurines and jewelry making.
Staedtler FIMO Polymer Clay
Though Sculpey may enjoy popularity, FIMO is one of the original brands of polymer clay. A great all-purpose brand of clay, FIMO mixes well. It’s sticky and chalky for some crafters when compared to other brands. However, many people use it for jewelry making, caning, and sculpting cartoon figurines.
Kato Polymer Clay
If your hands aren’t the strongest, you may have some trouble with Kato polymer clay. Hard and stiff at first, Kato clay works well for caning and mixing. Detailed sculptures, including cartoon figures, can easily be created with Kato. Many crafters like this waxy brand particularly because it’s less expensive than other brands.
Sculpey Premo Polymer Clay
An offshoot of Sculpey, Premo polymer clay is a solid all-purpose polymer clay that works well for mixing, jewelry making, and sculpting figures. Much of the other characteristics found in Original Sculpey can be found within this polymer clay as well.
Cernit Polymer Clay
Produced in Belgium, Cernit polymer clay is flexible and strong. An all-purpose polymer clay, Cernit works well for jewelry. Many doll makers also appreciate Cernit because of the skin tone colors featured by the brand. Plus, the clay itself bakes with a translucent finish.
Creating Unique Colors with Polymer Clay
As we mentioned above, there are different ways you can create colors with the best polymer clay. From painting to mixing clays before baking, the possibilities allow for plenty of unique approaches.
For example, you can create your own colors by mixing in powder, chalk, ink, glitter, colored pencils, powdered makeup, and paint. Experiment with materials to see what colors you can come up with.
While it is possible to mix different brands of clay, you’ll want to bake your finished piece at the highest temperature of the clays you used. It’s also recommended that you don’t mix brands if you plan on caning.
Caning Polymer Clay Technique
Creating canes is one of the most basic ways to mix clay. Clay canes are a design that runs the entire length of a log of clay, so that when you cut the end off, a shape is revealed.
Here’s a list of the most common canes:
Clay canes can also be used to form beads or square tiles. If you’re looking for a particular mosaic-like pattern, you can also use canes to cut out uniform pieces to layer.
Using mica powder can be a great way to add color to your polymer clay. Mica can be natural or artificial, and adds a shiny appearance to your work when included in your clay.
Mica powder won’t stick to baked clay, so you’ll have to mix it in before you bake it. Pearls and metallics are possible with mica powder, which can be applied through a silk screen or with a texture sheet that’s pressed into the clay for a crackle effect. Some mica powders are more translucent than others.
Mokume Gane Polymer Clay Technique
If you’ve never heard of the mokume gane technique, it’s definitely something you’ll want to look up on YouTube. This particular technique creates a mottled effect that stems from a 17th-century Japanese tradition that still looks good to this day.
Mokume gane is achieved by stacking layers and layers of different colored clay on top of one another. This stack is referred to as the “billet,” which can be spliced with gold, silver, and/or copper leaf if you prefer. Stiffer clays work best for this technique.
To create your own pattern, you’ll need various colors of polymer clay, as well as an acrylic roller, tissue blade, pasta machine, and any other necessary utensils. A pasta machine works well to thin out the layers as you create your billet.
After you’ve achieved the desired amount of layers, it’s time to add distortion. It’s this distorting effect that characterizes this technique. Distortions can be created by piercing the billet in random spots. Once you’ve added enough, it’s time to start cutting layers off the billet. These layers should begin to reveal the mokume gane design as you slice through the stack.
What is Conditioning
Many people think you can take clay out of the package and start modeling with it. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. Before you start any project, you’ll want to condition your clay to get it in working order.
Conditioning simply describes the process of warming up the clay before you use it. Most people use their hands to condition the clay, but you can also use a pasta machine if you’re working with a particularly stiff polymer clay.
While it’s impossible to over-condition your clay, sometimes it can get too soft to work with. In these cases, a bit of time in the fridge can help stiffen it. Alternatively, conditioning stiff clay can be improved by adding a few drops of mineral oil, clay softener, or even liquid clay.
Polymer clay will change in texture during conditioning. Many clays will take on a slight shine. Generally speaking, it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to condition your clay, but it all depends on what type of clay you’re using, how you condition your clay, the amount of clay you’re attempting to condition, and the temperature of both your work space as well as the clay itself.
Polymer Clay Tools
You’re sure to find sets of clay tools for sale. However, working with clay doesn’t require a whole lot of specific tooling. That’s what makes it a great hobby for kids as well as adults.
When it comes to your work surface, there are particular types you’ll want to invest in. These include marble, glass, or ceramic surfaces that work best when they can be popped right into the oven to bake. The less you move your project before you bake it, the better.
Many crafters use utensils found around the home. These include rolling pins, shaping tools, and cutting blades such as X-ACTO knives for cane work. Stamps are often a good tool for replicating patterns and imprinting color into light-colored polymer clays.
As you work with clay, you’ll find that there might be a select set of tools you go back to each time, while the rest of your tools may be used once or twice, depending on your project. That said, it’s also a good idea to experiment with different tools to see what textures or effects you can create.
Polymer Clay Finishing Processes
You may think that once you bake your polymer clay, the creative process is over. However, that’s not always the case. In many instances, there’s even more opportunity to express yourself after the clay is baked.
For instance, polymer clay can be buffed, sanded, glazed, and/or painted after it’s baked. As you work with polymer clay, you’ll begin to understand how you can finish your pieces. Following various tutorials will introduce you to finishing processes, but feel free to experiment with your own pieces to see what effects you can create.
We hope you’ve found this article on the best polymer clay useful in your search. From the most popular brands to the different types of finishing processes, there’s practically no limit to what you can create with polymer clay.