Polymer Clay for Beginners

Hello crafting community! I am so glad you are here reading about polymer clay for beginners. I am excited to show you the versatility of polymer clay and the beautiful objects that can be created with it. Below are a few facts you should understand about this medium.

 

Polymer Clay Cuff

 

What is Polymer Clay?

Blocks of Polymer Clay
Blocks of Polymer Clay

First, a little info on the fabulous medium, polymer clay. Polymer clay is actually made from a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mixed with a liquid plasticizer, not a natural clay.  It is baked in your oven to cure at a low temperature. It holds it shape when heated and does not shrink while baking. When cured properly, polymer clay is flexible and strong. It does not degrade if used for outdoor decor, although some colors may fade.

 

The color variations are endless. You can mix the clay like paint, meaning you can create custom colors, tints and shades. Polymer clay comes in a wide array of colors.  these can be blended into gradients. There are also many special effects colors. These include stone, metallic, pearl, translucent, and fluorescent.

How do you use Polymer Clay?

The basic techniques are easy to learn and are only limited to your imagination. It can be rolled, molded, layered, mixed, and sculpted. Polymer clay must be conditioned before use. This simply means kneading it to mix up the plasticizers in the clay.  It will become pliable and soft until left alone for a while.  Most people use a pasta machine for conditioning. Some brands of clay are easier to condition than others. You can learn about the process of conditioning here. After conditioning the clay you can use all kinds of techniques to create beautiful things.

Is Polymer Clay Safe?

Polymer clay is non-toxic BUT it not recommended for food use. The tools you use for polymer clay you use should not be used for cooking food. I have a whole set of kitchen tools that I use polymer clay and they are labeled “clay only”. Even most of the sealers we use on clay are not considered food safe, so just use polymer clay for crafts, decor, jewelry and non-food related gifts.

What tools do I need for Polymer Clay?

There are basic tools needed for most polymer clay tutorials for beginners. You can click here for a list of tools. Some can be found around the house. A lot of tools are found in the kitchen. Remember, if you use them for  polymer clay, don’t take them back to the kitchen. Some can be purchased on the cheap online or locally. To see a list of tools for beginners, click here.

How Do I Bake Polymer Clay?

Baking polymer clay can sometimes be a little tricky. Most polymer clay artists will say to bake polymer clay for an hour as opposed to the 30 minutes suggested on the package (of most clay brands). I do this as well. It insures the clay is completely cured so it is flexible and strong. Follow the recommended temperature on the package. For an in depth lesson on baking, read this article.

Polymer Clay Tutorials

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Have a awesome day!

10 thoughts on “Polymer Clay for Beginners

  1. Demi

    This is exactly what I was looking for. I have been watching polymer clay tutorial on youtube but wasn’t able find basic details on how to use it. Thanks for sharing this. Very helpful for beginners like me!

    1. Leslie Shimasaki

      Thanks Demi, I know what you mean. I kept trying to make things and they just weren’t turning out how I wanted them to. You have to start with the basics. Have a great day!
      Leslie

  2. Vee

    Wow! The bracelet in the first photo is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve seen some beautiful work come out of this type of clay, but I’d really like to be able to make something like *THAT!

    1. Leslie Shimasaki

      Thanks Vee! They are fun and easy to make once you understand the properties of polymer clay. Check out the tutorials to learn basic skills and you will be on your way! Happy claying!
      Leslie

  3. brad

    How interesting. Living on Vancouver Island, Canada, there are many artisans here that create jewelry like this and sell them at various fairs and markets across the Island. After having seen many of these myself, it’s pretty cool now to have an understanding of what the jewelry is made from, and the processes involved to create!!

    1. Leslie Shimasaki

      Hi Brad! Yes, polymer clay is pretty cool. It takes a little practice as does everything but It pretty easy to work with. I’m glad you find it interesting! Cheers!
      Leslie

  4. Steve D'Agostino

    What an interesting post. I’ve never used polymer clay before, but it sounds like it would be fun to work with – like it would feel really cool in your hands! Might just have to have a family night and play with this stuff! 🙂

    1. Leslie Shimasaki

      Hi Steve! Yes it is fun. And you don’t have to make just jewelry, how about making some custom game pieces for family night? Everyone can make their own and use them. Sounds like a great time and very creative! Have a great day!
      Leslie

  5. Handres

    This looks like a very nice hobby to have. I didn’t know about Polymer Clay until now. I know a couple of people that like to learn things like this, including myself. So I guess that eventually, I will give it a try.
    Thank you very much.
    Namaste

    1. Leslie Shimasaki

      It is a fun and relaxing hobby. You don’t need a ton of knowledge either. Thanks for your comment!
      Leslie

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