Modeling Clays & Materials

Choosing Modeling Clays & Materials for Your Art Projects

Modeling clay can be used for a variety of projects such as sculpting, decorative purposes, and even random play projects with your kids. Here is a guide to selecting modeling clay and materials for your art projects.

Does the kind of clay I use make a difference?

The type of clay you need will largely depend on the type of art project you have. The two basic types of clay are hardening and non-hardening. Non-hardening clay is for projects that need continual adjustments, such as claymation. The same piece of clay can be shaped and re-shaped infinitely.

Besides polymer and self-hardening clay, you can also find modeling tools such as mold putty kits. These let you make your own mold. Multipacks are useful, too, if you're not set on any one kind of modeling clay. A multipack lets you experiment, allowing you to make a decision on your preferences later on.

What's the difference between self-hardening and oven-baked clay?

For hardening clays, you have self-hardening (air dry) and clays that require heat to fully harden. Polymer clay, which is oven-baked clay, will harden at room temperature, but for it to be durable, you must bake it in an oven. The advantage of oven-baked clay is that once it is baked, you have a hand-created piece that you can keep for years.

Air-dry clay will dry out by itself when left exposed to air. This is a good option if you don't want to deal with the hassle of baking your clay in the oven. Air-dry clay is also an excellent choice for sculptures and for kids wishing to make clay art projects.

What color clay is available?

Clay, in its natural form, comes in different colors, such as Stoneware White or Terra Cotta Red. Most air-dry clay is limited to a few colors. Polymer clay, which does not actually have clay minerals, comes in a wide variety. You'll also find specialty polymer clays that have glitter or give a translucent quality. Some choices on eBay include:

  • White
  • Orange
  • Black
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Beige
  • Green
Are there specific brands to consider?

Different brands of clay tend to have different qualities. Further, each brand has a variety of specialty lines that are designed for certain uses. With firmer clays, you can make finer details, such as dimples in doll cheeks. Softer clays will blend more easily, which may be preferred for jewelry making.

If looking for polymer clay, you might consider FIMO, Sculpey, or Bake Shop. You'll find self-hardening clay from brands like Crayola, DAS, and Daiso.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by FIMO, Sculpey, Bake Shop, Crayola, DAS, or Daiso.