Top 5 Tools for working with polymer clay

Posted by Becky McCutcheon on

So, you're interested in making polymer clay earrings? Wonderful! This blog post will outline 5 must have tools when getting started with polymer clay.

Polymer Clay Tools

  1. Clay Machine (A.K.A. pasta machine)

This is by FAR the most useful tool for me. The pasta machine rolls your clay at various thicknesses and helps to eliminate trapped air bubbles that may be present in your clay. Trapped air bubbles make for uneven and rough baked clay.
When I first started working with polymer clay, I purchased an inexpensive pasta machine off Amazon. They do the job, but you really do get what you pay for. I've gone through two Amazon pasta machines now, so I've decided to upgrade to a state-of-the-art clay machine.
The more expensive machines are not only better-quality BUT they are modified so that you can remove the blades and clean them. No more black clay transfer on your snow-white clay!  Depending on where you order them from, you can even opt to get a motor added (which I did) AND you can get them coated in an assortment of vibrant colours. Hello Pink!
If this is something you are interested in, please note that they may be backordered as I'm still waiting for mine to be completed and shipped.
For more information on these modified pasta machines visit 


Ed Street: https://www.edscolors.com/ (I purchased mine here)

Ed Street Clay Machines


Mona Kissel: https://www.monakissel.com/  

Mona Kissel Clay Machine
  1. Cutters
Polymer clay cutters are very similar to cookie cutters. They are usually 3D printed or made of metal. I prefer the 3D printed ones because they are sharper and have cleaner lines, which means cleaner cuts and less sanding.
They can be purchased off websites like Etsy. Alternatively, you can use household items like bottle caps. I like supporting local shops on Etsy. One piece of advice when purchasing cutters is to read the description and the size of them. Make sure you know exactly what you're buying.

 

  1. Clay Cutting Blade
Using a blade is helpful to lift your clay earrings off their surface without distorting their shape.  They are also useful for cutting and chopping clay when making slabs or colour recipes.

 

  1. Acrylic Roller 
The Acrylic roller is a MUST because you don't want to run everything through the pasta machine. Using the roller helps you to apply even pressure when applying textures. In addition, if you're making a delicate slab or want to blend different clays together just slightly then using the roller is the best option. The pasta machine can blend your colours too much!

 

  1. Clay Extruder

My clay extruder and I have a love- hate relationship. I love my clay extruder because I use it to make my rainbow earrings and other polymer clay earrings that require a great deal of uniformity. However, many extruders are made of brass, aluminum, or a combination of both. This means they don't last very long as they tend to strip and eventually become a weird looking paperweight 🤪.
With the clay extruder, you can also buy a drill attachment. This allows for faster extruder and also saves your hand! However, using the drill attachment can wear out your extruder MUCH quicker, due to higher wear and tear. I've been through 2 in the last year.


Luckily my husband works with someone who has very graciously fixed mine multiple times by retrofitting it with steel pieces. Let's just say he has FREE steeped teas for life! Thanks James! :).


If you don't have access to your very own metal man, I suggest not using the drill attachment and doing it by hand. I would also recommend not filling the extruder full of clay, but leaving an inch to create a bit of space.


In summary, there are multiple tools and gadgets on the market for polymer clay makers. It's important to know that you don't need to buy every tool or gadget out there. It can be overwhelming, so start small. I hope that this blog post has given you some guidance and has helped you determine which tools you should consider when working with polymer clay.
 

XO

B

 


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  • Such a well written article, makes me want to start working with clay even! Never thought of a pasta machine though 🤔, genius!!

    Aaron Palmer on

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