When it comes to artisan polymer clay, sometimes only the best will do. Often, the copycat brands are made of inferior materials or arrive too dried out to rejuvenate.
Some brands, however, are the real deal and come very, very close to the name brands. We’ve done all the research for you and rated our top 9 best polymer clays in descending order of quality and customer satisfaction so you can save time and money, always with non-toxicity as the standard!
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If you are in a hurry, here’s my recommendation list of 9 best polymer clays
- Sculpy Clays << Highly Recommended
- Fimo Professional Clay Starter Pack of 6
- Polymer Clay, 57 Colors Shuttle Art
Introduction to Polymer Clays
Polymer clays are best when baked in an oven, although some brands can be dried with a hair dryer if the sculpture is less than 2 inches in height or boiled in water if the sculpture is 1/3 inch in size.
Because polymers are a variety of plastic, you should always vent the room and use a fan to blow any fumes out of your home as you bake it. Users should also wash their hands thoroughly before eating.
Even after baking, polymer clays are not safe for eating off of and should never be used for food and beverages.
Polymer clays must be kneaded often to keep them as pliable as possible. They are renowned for their vibrant colors that retain their hues after baking, holding their strength and in their ease of use.
My Reviews of the 9 Best Polymer Clays
1. Sculpey Clays << My recommendation
Sculpey Clays come in different varieties for amazing versatility and customization. We’re kind of blown away by Sculpey. Select the kind of Sculpey based on what you want to sculpt and how you want it to look.
Original Sculpey comes in larger sized blocks in white or terra-cotta color. It is soft and pliable and feels like ceramic clay with a courser texture than other Sculpey products.
Super Sculpey is formulated for doll makers with a semi-translucent beige color. It is strong, shatter and chip resistant when oven baked. It is medium-firm.
Sculpey Souffle is super strong and yet very light in weight, making it ideal for jewelry making. It is designed for advanced techniques like caning, bargello and mokume. It has a luxurious suede-like finish.
Sculpey Premo is soft yet firm making a very durable finished product when baked. It accepts mica and other pigments and powders for artistic variety and versatility. It is also available as Sculpey Premo Accents, which is a glittery clay perfect for creating faux semi-precious stones and sparkling sculptures. It is available in the following specialized colors:
- 7 pearlised colors
- 6 metallics containing tiny mica particles
- 2 translucent colors
- 1 granite containing element for faux-stone look
- 8 glitters
- 2 bright fluorescents
SculpeyIII is a little softer and is a bit easier to knead right out of the package. It stays very soft and has a nice matte finish once baked. It is available in individual colors as well as a variety of color sets.
Very highly rated by professional users, Sculpey is one of the premier polymer clays on the market and has been for decades. The clay comes in fairly large sizes and in smaller sized sets of multi-colors. Very strong after baking, it is ideal for jewelry making. The large variety of offerings is just amazing and unique to the Sculpey brand. It has loyal followers from amateur crafters to professional artisans.
It needs Sculpey brand glaze for varnishing, if you wish a glossy finish.
- 5.99 inches (H) x 5.04 inches (L) x 1.4 inches (W)
- Soft and pliable, it feels quite like earthen clay
- Once dry can be sanded, carved, drilled and painted with acrylic paint
- Conforms to ASTM D4236
- Available in single colors, specialized clay formulations and multicolor sets
- Recommended for children ages 8 and up and adults
- Will not crack during baking or afterward
- Versatile product
- Very highly rated
Our Rating: 100%
Made by the famous German Steadtler company, this manufacturer of professional drawing and drafting equipment has long been a leader in the polymer clay world. Fimo is on the hard side of polyclay and yet it is easily modeled. One of the original polymer clays, it stays at the head of the pack by many users.
- Each packet is 86 gr
- Doesn’t get soft too quickly
- Colors stay true once baked
- Very highly rated by professional users
- High price point
Our Rating: 98%
Shuttle Art is a reliable manufacturer of budget and student grade art supplies. This large polymer clay set has a whopping 57 colors with all the bells and whistles of tools and accessories of their competitors. Coming in at a higher price point, it is nevertheless very highly rated by users and adheres to non-toxic standards. These individual cakes are surprisingly large, coming in at 1.2 oz each, they are much larger than competitors in the budget price range. If you don’t want to settle in a beginner set, this is a great option.
- Strictly Conforms to the ASTM D-4236 Standards and Requirements for non-toxicity
- Huge variety of colors
- 3 Tier storage box
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- 1.2 size cakes- larger than most
- Useful tools
- Instruction manual
- Silicon mold of gem shapes
- Softer than average polymer clay
- Great starter set for beginners
Our Rating: 97%
4. Polymer Clay, Farielyn-X 60 Colors 1 oz Kit << Best value for beginners in a budget priced set
Farielyn Polymer Clay strictly complies with the ASTM D-4236 Standards and Requirements and is fairly highly rated by users. It comes with a two-tier storage box and a useful set of tools. The 60 color variety is vibrant and varied. This clay can be softened by placing each cake in a plastic bag and placing it in 50° degree water for 5 minutes. We are impressed with the many extras and larger than average size cakes in this kit that make a great introduction to having success with polymer clays.
- 1 0z size cakes are 2.36 in x 1.5 in x 0.5 inches in size
- 60 vibrant colors
- Gem silicon mold included
- Colors mix easily together
- Jewelry accessories
- Instruction booklet
- Two-tier storage box
- 19 useful tools
- Great price
Our Rating: 96%
The Ciara polymer starter kit is just that: a good kit for beginners. Price right with 36 colors, a two-tier stacking storage tub set, tools and a few accessories, this kit will help you decide if you want to invest in the pro-priced clays later.
- Complies with the ASTM D-4236 Standards
- Good replacement service if not satisfied
- Highly rated by users
Our Rating: 95%
The Ifergoo kit sets itself apart by the inclusion of 5 mica powders and other clever accessories like a bag of polymer chips, a roll of crystal string, brooch brackets, and more. Sculpting tools, 1 Rolling pin,
- Sculpting tools
- Rolling pin
- Storage box
- Follows ASTM D-4236 Standards and Requirements for non-toxicity
- Instruction booklet
- Useful color assortment
- .88 oz cakes
Our Rating: 95%
This set of clay is a good starting point for beginners to sample creating with polymer clay with an affordable price point. It is really hard at first, and requires a lot of hand kneading to make it pliable, which makes it initially inappropriate for kids unless a parent conditions the clay first. Then it works well.
- Odor free
- Storage box
- Box says non-toxic
- Each cake is 20g / 0.7oz
- Handy plastic tools included
- A few accessories included
- Well rated by users
- Some users report some of the clay was too hard and never softened after vigorous kneading
- Very good price point
Our Rating: 89%
Another introductory set of Polymer clay, the ASYSY set complies with CPSIA and ASTM for non-toxicity. There are a few accessories with this set, but no storage box. It does come packaged for gift giving in an attractive box.
- Non-toxic complies
- 0.7 oz sizes
- 100% refund or replacement guarantee
- Great color variety
- Book with examples included
- Hard plastic tools for sculpting
Our Rating: 87%
Strictly conform to CE and ASTM F963 standards for non-toxicity. Users report that it gets a little sticky as you manipulate it. Some users report it is too soft, some report it is too hard.
- 44 page color booklet with pictures and instructions for projects
- Set of plastic tools
- Accessories included
- Pastels shades
- Inconsistent quality and mixed reviews
- Plastic rolling pin
Our Rating: 82%
Features to look out for
Poly clay needs to be kneaded and stored in an airtight wrapping to keep it pliable and useable. I’ve had poly clay become too hard to knead into pliability, but there are some methods to rejuvenate the clay that can be tried! Please see our tutorials and videos section below.
Product arrives fresh and useable
Some brands are so poorly packaged and manufactured that they arrive dried out and unusable. We only reviewed poly clay brands that deliver a quality product or have a good guarantee of customer satisfaction.
Please be aware that some products may sit on retailers or distributor’s shelves for a fairly long time before selling to customers. Packaging may not be strong enough to keep the products from drying out too much.
A reliable company that stands by their product enough to give a guarantee is a big selling point in our book.
Blendable- not too stiff
Poly clays are typically stiffer than other clays and must be ‘conditioned’ after opening and before using. This is just the nature of the beast, not an indication of poor quality. A good brand will soften up fairly quickly with kneading and will re-soften during use if kneaded.
Great reviews by users
Many of the safe, non-toxic polymer clays are remarkably alike. We relied on user reviews to differentiate between the budget beginner brands. Although reviews can be skewed by trolling competitors, we looked for repeated comments both pro and con to make our rating, along with included accessories and cake sizes.
Good selection of colors
Color selection is really important if you are hoping to create specific items. For dolls and figurines, pastel colors are needed for flesh variations. For food items, less vibrant colors will be more lifelike and in addition, bright colors and hues may be the choice for miniature ornaments and baubles.
Color does not leach out onto the working surface
None of the clays we reviewed had problems with color bleed-out. We left those inferior products off our list entirely.
No toxic components
Here’s where you should be careful. Of course anything that you will be manipulating with your hands should be toxin-free. Some companies tout that their products are non-toxic, yet will not disclose their colorant or composition materials, OR they do not provide safety testing data. As no official entity is going to hold them responsible, it is buyer beware. We only reviewed polymer clays that claim to be non-toxic or state that they comply with safety standards.
Most poly clays are odor free. However, they ARE plastic based and it is a good idea to open a window for fresh air while baking.
In the case of safe poly clay, the higher the price, the better quality is the general rule. For beginners, our budget recommendations are a great way to start out before you make the leap to the professional crafting clays.
Tools and accessories
Poly clays are firmer than air dry clays and require some omph to slice into. This tool is a must-have!
The less strenuous way to get very thin clay, a pasta machine will save you hours of rolling by hand. If you don’t already have one in your kitchen, this budget priced roller is intended for clay:
Mini cookie cutter shapes will give your projects uniformity and a professional look. This set has all the basics.
Inspirations and tutorials
Book of techniques. Better value than an online class, this book will answer all your questions and show you techniques you’ll not likely learn online:
Create amazingly lifelike art dolls and figurines:
Intricate projects for beginner, intermediate and advanced with techniques and details for each tutorial:
Artistic and unusual techniques:
Advanced technique of millefiori in polymer clay:
Making earrings tutorial:
Tips and Tricks for polymer clay: