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Introduction to Polymer Clay

Always wanted to try crafting with polymer clay but didn't know how? Charlotte Stowell is here to teach you all about polymer clay and share some polymer clay ideas for you to make!

Purple and blue earrings on purple background.

Polymer clays is popping up everywhere and with The Great Pottery Throw Down hype getting everyone potting we thought we’d give you a guide to the easiest form of pottery – polymer clay! From Tik Tok to Etsy, polymer clay kits and projects are being enjoyed by crafters of all ages. Charlotte Stowell is a polymer clay expert so we’ve picked her brains in order to give you a complete guide.

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As well as explaining all the polymer clay supplies you’ll need there’s also a bunch of free polymer clay ideas at the end of this article so have you feeling inspired. Now over to you Charlotte!

What is polymer clay?

Polymer clay is a colourful and versatile modelling material. It’s a perfect way to create your own stunning designs using some fascinating techniques and effects. Polymer clay can be baked in an ordinary oven to set it permanently hard. Baked polymer clay is durable and strong which makes it an ideal material for creating handmade jewellery, decorations and models.

Working with polymer clay is a tactile, absorbing and uplifting process. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities and is easily adaptable into different styles. Polymer clay can be used in a simple way or, for more complex and advanced detailed work. The possibilities are endless for making your own exciting polymer clay creations!

How to use polymer clay

To get started:

Get started Polymer Clay

Use a large ceramic or glass tile or use a baking sheet to work on. Acrylic rollers designed for polymer clay are smooth to use and easy to clean.

Other useful tools and accessories:

There are lots of fun techniques to explore to make polymer clay patterns, including blending, marbling, multi-coloured surface effects. A pasta machine is a quick way to roll polymer clay!

Patterns polymer clay

Patterns and effects can be added to polymer clay. Try enhancing the surface with a texture sheet or use Metal Leaf for a flecked foil effect. Shaped cutters and silicone moulds are a quick and easy way to make multiple shapes.

polymer clay Shapes textures + foil

How to bake polymer clay  

Polymer clay needs to be baked at a very low temperature to set it permanently hard. Carefully lift models onto a baking tray or tile, or if it’s suitable, transfer the tile or tray you’ve been working on straight into the oven to avoid lifting your work.

Polymer Clay Thermometer

Amazon, £6.99

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for baking as there are slight variations on specific temperatures for the different clays. The temperature required is usually between 110oC – 130oC for around 30 minutes.  It’s useful to have a thermometer to check your oven temperature.

What kind of paint to use on polymer clay

polymer clay paints

Amazon, £14.68

 Once polymer clay has been hardened and cooled the surface can be varnished or painted with acrylics. For example, you can brush paint over a textured surface for an antique or distressed effect. Small details or writing can be added onto a baked model with permanent pens.

Where to buy polymer clay

You can buy polymer clay from most online and instore retailers. Everywhere from Amazon and Etsy to highstreet supermarkets and Wilkinson’s sell a version of polymer clay. Here’s three different polymer clay sets we’ve found online so no matter your country you can get ordering and have some polymer clay fun!

Arteza Polymer Clay Kit

Arteza Polymer Clay Kit

Amazon, £26.63

This polymer clay kit comes with everything you need to start crafting. We love how this set has loads of different colours for you to play with and a bunch of tools to experiment with.

DAS polymer clay set

polymer clay DAS

WHSmith, £14.99

DAS create hundreds of different air dry and oven-baked clay and this set of polymer clay is a great price. It comes with 12 great colours allowing you to experiment with rolling and combining colours.

Shuttle Art Store’s 60 colour polymer clay set

polymer clay amazon

Amazon, £34.99

If you’re after all the colours of the rainbow then this is the polymer clay kit for you. There’s everything from neons to pastels and they’re all contained in this handy box to keep thing neat and tidy.

12 polymer clay ideas

Now you’ve got all the goods to start making your polymer clay creations we thought we’d give you some inspiration! Here’s 12 polymer clay ideas you can make.

1

Mini polymer clay salt spoons

How to make clay salt spoons

These miniature polymer clay salt spoons are a super cute project to get you started. Head over to Teri Muncey’s clay salt spoons tutorial and make your own.

2

Polymer clay earrings

polymer clay ideas earrings

Polymer clay earrings are one of the most made projects and we totally see why! Craft your own funky earrings with Raising Noble’s tutorial then make a whole bunch for your friends.

3

Scandinavian Christmas star garland

diy christmas tree decorations step 4
5

Polymer clay trinket dish

clay trinket dish diy

Everyone needs somewhere to store their trinkets which is why this tropical polymer clay dish is the best! Use Emily Ashbourn’s tutorial and start shaping your leaf.

6

Polymer clay hair barrettes

polymer clay ideas hair clips

Polymer clay ideas for your hair now! Make these funky barrettes using Pretty Life of Girls free tutorial.

7

Terrazzo polymer clay coasters

making coasters terrazzo style

Mollie Makes have loads of polymer clay ideas here on Gathered and this one is especially lovely. Embrace the terrazzo trend with designer Sophie Gibbons free DIY coaster tutorial.

8

Polymer clay planter

polymer clay ideas planter

Give old plant pots a colourful polymer clay makeover with Life of Making’s free tutorial. It’s a great upcycling project because you can upgrade old pots, empty candle pots or glass jars into planters.

9

Polymer clay ring holder

polymer clay cactus holder

Keep your rings neat and tidy with A Little Craft in Your Day’s polymer clay tutorial. Her cool cactus ring holder is easy to make and will look so fab on your bedside table.

10

Polymer clay gift tags

polymer clay gift tag

These adorable clay gift tags are a great festive polymer clay project. Follow Movita Becoup’s free tag tutorial and whip up a bunch to add to your presents.

11

Polymer clay charm necklaces

polymer clay ideas necklaces

Polymer clay ideas don’t come cuter than Urban Rhino’s charm necklace. Head over to their blog for the free step by step tutorial.

12

Polymer clay rainbow mobile

polymer clay rainbow

Show off your polymer clay skills with Collective Gen’s adorable rainbow mobile tutorial. It looks super effective but it’s also super easy!

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We hope you’ve enjoyed our introduction to polymer clay and will try out some of these funky polymer clay ideas. For more fun craft projects head to our resin crafts and punch needle kits.