|for pottery which must be fired in a kiln, nor the same as "air dry" clays such as paper clay and many others which dry
Polymer clay is sold in many craft, hobby, and art stores (as well as online), and is used by fine artists, hobbyists,
children, and anyone interested.
It hardens or cures at temperatures created in a typical home oven (generally at 265-275 degrees, for 15 min. per
1/4" of thickness), and does not shrink or change texture during the process. When properly cured, most clays create
items which won't break if dropped or normally stressed.
Leading brands of polymer clay include Premo, FimoClassic & FimoSoft, Kato Polyclay, Sculpey (Sculpey, SuperSculpey,
Sculpey III), Cernit, Formello and Modello --some of which are available outside the U.S. It also comes in liquid versions
(translucent, opaque, colored), and in a several permanently flexible solid versions.
Few tools are essential for use with polymer clay (and can often be found around the house), but a pasta machine is
often used to create evenly flat sheets, mix colors, "condition" the clay (make it smoothly pliable), create patterned
Polymer clays come in a wide range of colors and also in special effect colors such as translucent, glow-in-the-dark,
mica-containing "metallics," "stone" colors, etc. --all of which can be mixed together to create new colors, gradient
blends, or other effects. Polymer clay can be colored with other media as well (throughout its body, or only on the
surface) with paints, inks, colored pencils, chalks, metallic (mica-containing) powders, metallic leaf and foils, glitters,
embossing powders, etc. Various "inclusions" can be mixed into clay (often into the "translucent" color) with materials
like metallic powders, spices/herbs, glitters. After baking, the clay surface can be left as is, or it can be sanded and
buffed (to a sheen or glossy shine), or liquid or wax finishes can be applied.
Polymer clay can be used in many ways, a number of which have been generalized from other art or craft techniques.
Some of the things which can be done with polymer clay include:
Sculpting (hand-shaped items can be any size from "miniatures" to quite large, and also be created bas relief; clay
clothing & accessories can be made for figures beads and jewelery of all kinds (pendants, earrings, barrettes, buttons,
etc.) "canes" are logs of clay with a pattern running through their entire length, from which identical slices can be cut
and used in various ways --patterns created in canes can be simple, complex, or anything in-between, and pictorial or
simply geometric; canes (and therefore their images) can be "reduced" so that the they become quite small, then
combined repeatedly if desired to make multiple images clay can be used to "cover" items made from materials such as
glass, metal, porous materials like cardboard and terra cotta, some plastics, etc. --including pens, eggshells, votive
candleholders, switchplates... larger items like tables can also be veneered vessels, large and small (jars, boxes, bowls,
container pendants) --created freestanding, over armatures, or over removable armatures textures, lines or images can
be impressed into raw clay with rubber or other stamps, texture sheets, sandpaper, needle tools, other common
tools/items molds can be made with clay and hardened, then raw clay can be used in them to create casts (to duplicate
textures, shapes, whole faces) --molds made from metal, glass, silicone, etc. can be used with clay as well
accepts "transfers" of b&w or color images from photographs, drawings, computer-created images/text, etc --or images
can be transferred onto freestanding liquid clay films/decals simulations/fauxs of many natural materials are possible
such as ivory, jade, turquoise, wood, granite, metal, leather, etc.... stained glass or cloisonne, etc., can also be simulated
It can be carved after baking (and backfilled, if desired), or drilled tiles or chips can be inlaid to create mosaics,
embellishments, etc. clay or other materials can be onlaid, & various kinds of collage are possible (a "clay gun" can also
be used to extrude uniform rope shapes) can be painted on in many ways, as well as antiqued or highlighted "paintings"
of various kinds can be made with polymer pastes, bas reliefs tech's, etc.
Many other items can be made (frames, games & game pieces, dioramas, toys, as well as mini-books, notebook or other
covers, greeting cards, postcards, etc.)
Other special techniques...e.g., "mokume gane" (shaving off thin slices from layered but distorted stacks of
clays/powders/inks/etc.), techniques involving the mica clays, etc.
Clay can also be used with many other media as well (wire, paper, beads, charms, stamps, fabric, etc.)
liquid clays can also be used in special ways
There are many online polymer clay groups (open to all), and also polymer "guilds" or clubs in the US and some