12 Polymer Clay Hacks, Tips and Tricks for Newbies

polymer clay tips trick and hacks

Isn't polymer clay the coolest?

The bright colors, the squishiness, oh the possibilities.

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows if you don't know these hacks, tips and tricks to using polymer clay. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I earn a  small commission if you purchase anything through these Amazon links. But don't worry this doesn't cost you anything! To learn more click here

1. This might seem obvious but wash your hands before working with polymer clay

Any dirt or grime on your hands will end up in your polymer clay. Also make sure your hands are clean between switching colors, especially if you're working with white.

2. If you do get dirt or anything else gross in your polymer clay, you can clean it 

Use rubbing alcohol (75% and higher) or nail polish remover to wipe away grime. Just dip a Q-Tip or cotton makeup remover pad in the liquid and gently wipe your clay. Note that this needs to be done before baking.

3. Before baking you can remove finger prints from your creations

Also with rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip or cotton cosmetic pad 

4. Wondering what's the best work surface?

A smooth, white ceramic floor tile will work perfectly. But I've also used glass from a picture frame as a work surface before, and it did the trick. 

5. You don't need to go out and buy a bunch of fancy tools to work with polymer clay.

Look around your house for these items:

  • Razor Blade (Can be used to cut or slit polymer clay)
  • Knitting Needles (Smooth seams, make holes, draw designs with tip)
  • Straws (Create circles in your clay, also good for making necklace holes)
  • Old Hair Comb, Tooth Brush or Dish Scrubber (Add texture to your polymer clay)
  • Used up Gift Cards (Cut up pieces of clay, or flatten small balls of clay) 
  • Tweezers (Pinch clay, hold pieces, pokey tool, and good for hair removal)
  • And more! Look around your home for the perfect improv tools

6. Mix your polymer clay to create custom colors!

 Mix it up! Create your own, unique colors. Check out the mixing guide below. 

7. Is your clay too hard? Try this trick

Add a small amount of baby oil or mineral oil you can also use Liquid Sculpey. It'll make it softer and easier to work with.

8. It's important to properly store your polymer clay

Use re-sealable plastic baggies to keep dirt, hair, and other airborne particles away from your clay. Also keep it out of sunlight and away from extreme heat

You can also use a fishing tackle box to store polymer clay, this method also makes it easy to sort and organize your clay.

9. Other useful tools include:

10. If you're making larger figurines use aluminum foil to create the core

After you have a shape then cover it in polymer clay. This saves you polymer clay and if the polymer clay on your figurine is too thick it wont baked properly, so win-win!

11. I'm totally guilty of this - But don't use nail polish or Mod Podge to create a glossy coat on your creations. 

It seems like a good idea, but over time the nail polish will eat away at the polymer clay and will cause it to becomes a gooey, sticky mess. Use this product that was designed for that or some polymer clay artist swear by floor wax, I know it sounds weird but learn more here.

12. Time and Temperature - Important Baking Factors

It's important to bake your polymer clay properly the two important factors are obviously temperature and time. Use a separate thermometer inside your oven to insure the proper temperature. And always follow the directions on the package of your polymer clay.

I hope you've learned a thing or two from my blog post! 

The best way to learn how to use polymer clay is to just do it! Sure you'll make some mistakes along the way but that's what learning is all about

If you're ready to dive into the world of polymer clay creation check out this studio kit from Sculpey on Amazon. It has most of the things you'll need to get started.