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Best Polymer Clays for Earrings and Jewelry

5 Best Polymer Clays for Earrings and JewelryIf you are a novice new to making jewelry from polymer clay or an experienced craftsman not completely satisfied with the results they are getting, this article is for you.

One of the hottest crafting trends around right now is creating jewelry from polymer clay. It is fairly easy to learn but, with practice, can be elevated to true art. Polymer clays are relatively inexpensive to use, require no kiln for firing, and can be customized with readably available paints.

With all the various brands and different types of polymer clay on the market, though, it can be a little confusing. That is where this piece comes in.

Here we will explore the best polymer clays for making earrings and jewelry, what you should look for when picking a clay, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear.

Got no time to read? Here are our best picks and why we picked them.

Product Name Why We Chose It
Sculpey Premo Holds detail reasonably well, is widely available, reasonably priced
Sculpey Souffle Much softer clay than Premo but still holds details reasonably well
Fimo Professional Comes in a wide variety of colors, including true primary colors that can be blended
Kato Polyclay Fine grain allows you to create small pieces with amazing details
Cernit Excels in creating multi-media pieces

Best Polymer Clay for Earrings and Jewelry

As you may have figured out, there is no best polymer clay for jewelry and earrings. The category is simply too large, and people’s taste varies too much to pick one and say it is the best. You also have to consider that the skill level of the person sculpting the jewelry will affect what delivers the best results.

Because of these factors, we will make our recommendations based on where you find yourself in your jewelry-making journey.

Best Polymer Clay By Skill Level

shaping clay small flower design

When you first start making jewelry, you want a clay that is easy to work with. This will help you avoid becoming frustrated and build confidence faster. As your skills develop, you will naturally want a more versatile clay that allows you to add more detail. These are going to be firmer clays that are more difficult to work with. They will, however, deliver superior results. Lastly, once you master level jewelry making, you will be ready for specialty clays. This category allows you to create effects that other clays can’t match.

Best Jewelry Polymer Clay for Novices

Our top clays for beginner-level jewelry makers are Premo and Souffle. Both from Sculpey.

1. Sculpey Premo – Sculpey Premo is a medium-firm clay. This allows those new to working with clay to get a feel for the media without straying too far afield. It holds details reasonably well, is widely available, reasonably priced, and works well for most types of jewelry.

View on Blick

Premo is, in our opinion, one of the most versatile polymer clays you can buy. Beyond being suitable for most jewelry projects, it can be used to create a wide variety of other projects. Another plus is that it comes in an array of colors as well as metallic, glitter, granite, pearl, and translucent finishes.

2. Sculpey Souffle – If you have issues with hand strength, then Sculpey Souffle may be a better choice for you. It is a much softer clay than Premo but still holds details reasonably well. It comes in many different colors, but the primary colors aren’t available. One thing many people like and others detest about Sculpey Souffle is that it cures to a matte, read that as sued type, finish.

View on Blick

Best Polymer Clay for Intermediate Jewelry Makers

Once you have advanced in jewelry making, you may find yourself wanting a clay that gives you a little more freedom. After all, self-expression is one of the great things about working with clay. At this point, we recommend Fimo Professional and Kato Polyclay. Both are considered artist-quality clays.

They will allow you to use advanced techniques and achieve effects that are difficult with lesser clays. Be warned, though, that they are both rather stiff.

3. Fimo Professional – Fimo Professional, is manufactured to the highest scientific standards. It comes in a wide variety of colors, including true primary colors that can be blended to create over 175 different shades. Fimo Professional is also blendable with the entire line of other Fimo Clay offerings making it possible to create custom textures and finishes.

View on Blick

4. Kato Polyclay – Manufactured by Van Aken, one of the oldest names in clay, Kato Polyclay is considered by many to be the strongest polymer clay on the market. You can use it for large pieces or without worrying about sagging. At the same time, its fine grain allows you to create small pieces with amazing details.

Van Aken International Kato Polyclay 4-Color Set, Multicolor

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Advanced Polymer Clays for Jewelry and Earring Creations

We Only have one recommendation to make in this category. That is Cernit.

If you haven’t heard of it, we are not surprised. Cernit was developed by professional artists for professional artists. It can be difficult to find in many areas and is not cheap when you find it.

5. Cernit – Cernit comes in 34 mixable colors, making it easy to create exactly the shade you are looking for. It is widely considered the strongest polymer clay on the market other than Kato. When baked, it has a porcelain-like finish and can be sanded, sawn, carved, and painted with almost any paints you care to use. Cernit also excels in creating multi-media pieces.

Cernit 1-Piece Clay N1 56 G Grey, Grey

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Quick Summary

There are a huge number of polymer clays on the market, but not all of them are suitable for making jewelry. Even among the top brands like Sculpey, Staedtler Fimo, and Cosclay, there are some clays that work better than others.

By the same token, the best clay for a small pair of earrings might not be ideal for a large bracelet. These are very different projects. One last thing to consider is that all artists are different.

You may prefer a firmer clay than someone else. The tools you like to use may be different. Your taste in design may be outlandish to another crafter. Remember, when it comes to working with clay, there are no perfect answers or solutions. Every creation is as unique as the artist that creates it.

mixing clay pressing by hand

Because of this, use our recommendations as a general guide rather than a gospel. You may love some of our recommendations and despise others. That is OK. Our purpose here is not to convert you to our favorites but guide you to finding what works best for you.

What to Consider When Buying Polymer Clay for Jewelry and Earrings

In this section, we will look at what we consider to be the most important factors to consider when you start looking at polymer clays for a project. There are only four primary areas that you need to be concerned with.

  • Workability
  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Finish

Workability

Workability is a balancing act when it comes to clay. You want one that is soft enough to be easily formed and molded with your hands. At the same time, polymer clays that are too soft can be sticky, easily pick up fingerprints, and may not hold form as well as stiffer clays. Firm clays are wonderful for holding fine details and are more carvable. They are, however, more difficult to condition, press into molds, and form into complex shapes.

Flexibility

making thin clay earrings

Many jewelry items and almost all earrings are going to be thin. Because of this, you will want a polymer clay that remains flexible after it is cured. As an example, Sculpey III is a wonderful clay for larger items but can be brittle when baked into wafer-thin pieces. It can be heartbreaking to spend hours on a new design to see it shatter the first time it gets dropped or tossed on a table. Flexibility should always be a concern.

Strength

Strength determines the durability of your jewelry creations.  It is how many times it can be pulled and tugged on, bumped with a hairbrush, or tapped on a table before it becomes scuffed and ragged looking. Most of the better Polymer clays are reasonably durable but think how many times a bracelet clicks during a meal or walking down the street.

Finish

various clay shapes and sizes

The finish of clay is more a concern for advanced crafters but is something to pay attention to as your progress in learning. Different polymer clays appear different after they have been baked. Some come out with an almost polished look. Others have larger grain sizes and give more of a matt look. Of course, how well you smooth a piece also comes into play, but the nature of the clay used plays a large role.

FAQ

Is cosclay a good polymer clay?

Cosclay is an excellent clay for its intended purposes. It was developed for people wanting to create sculptors and models. However, it is too flimsy for making jewelry or decorated items for the home.

What is the best air-dry polymer clay to use?

Air-dry and polymer clays are two entirely different things. Polymer clays are, in reality, not clay at all. They are plastic compounds. These must be baked in order to cure them. Air-dry clays are natural water-based clays. They harden through the process of evaporation.

If you are looking for an air-dry clay to experiment with, we recommend Activa Hearty Clay. It is lightweight, easy to work with, and generally dries within 24 hours.

What is the best thickness for polymer clay earrings?

To achieve a good balance between strength and flexibility, most crafters make their earings about 2 millimeters thick.

How to make polymer clay earrings shiny?

Polymer clay is not shiny when baked. To make your earrings or other polymer jewelry projects glossy, you will need to coat them with an acrylic or polyurethane finish. These are available in matt, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes.

Can I use clear nail polish on polymer clay?

No, nail polish, spray paint, and other solvent-based products will erode polymer clay and cause it to be sticky. This is one of the most often seen beginner errors.

Can I use water to soften polymer clay?

You should not wet polymer clay with water. Most brands, if moistened with water, will be brittle after they are baked.

Can I soften Sculpey polymer clays with olive oil?

Sculpey polymer clays are oil-based and can be softened with olive oil or other cooking oils and some lotions. You should do this carefully, just adding a tiny bit at a time. It is very easy to go too far and end up with slimy clay.