If someone on your gift list likes making miniature food, dolls or figures, or other hand modelled projects, they may appreciate items on the list below. The list is arranged in order of priority. Gifts or stash ideas for more experienced poly clay enthusiasts are closer to the bottom.
Uses - figures, animals, dollhouse food, miniature models,jewellery, scale building trims.
Best Choices - Brands differ in handling, strength, and availability. If you are starting someone off, check the Basics of Polymer Clay or the Comparison Between Brands of Polymer and Air Dry Clay to find the best brand for the planned work, and check locally for availability. It is always frustrating to have to wait for a mail shipment of a compatible material.
Where From? - Wide range of speciality brands and colors online, locally available from art, craft, and model shops. If dolls or figures are a primary interest, check out specialty doll clays like Puppenfimo, Cernit, or Prosculpt These are available in skin tones and are designed to make it easier to sculpt facial features and muscle definition.
Price - Depends on block size, the standard brands are $2 to $3 per 2 oz. block
Tip - Liquid Fimo and translucent or metallic clays are always appreciated.
Uses - Polymer clay needs to be worked and baked. Inexpensive porcelain tiles give you a dedicated work surface away from food that is easy to clean and one that can be put in an oven at the correct temperature.
Best Types - Choose 6 to eight inch square, smooth glazed tiles in plain white. Swimming pool tiles, with a non glossy, non skid surface are a good additional tool. If you use a toaster oven to bake clay, a small toaster oven pizza stone which will fit in your brand of toaster over is another good work and baking surface.Price - $0.50 for tiles (each) to $20 for a pizza stone. Check yard sales for pizza stones as well. Compare Prices
Long thin cutting blades or tissue blades are useful for making clean cuts across polymer clay canes, or wavy cuts for special effects and color blends.
Uses Great for slicing canes of clay, or cutting even sections for blending colors or building canes. There really are no good substitutes for a long thin blade.
Tip Some blades come with handles which are useful for keeping the blades straight and applying even pressure
Price $10 and under
Some polymer clays are designed for particular uses.
Pardo Jewellery clay comes in a range of translucent and partially translucent jewel toned colors and blends. It is a very strong clay with a beeswax base, good for canes and decorative projects.
ProSculpt Polymer Clay has been designed in a range of flesh tones especially for making dolls. Other doll clays are available from Fimo (puppenfimo) and Cernit.
It is important to keep work areas clean and dust free when working with polymer clay. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is useful in liquid form, or as disposable wipes.
Uses: Rubbing alcohol wiped or brushed gently onto clay before it is baked helps to remove fingerprints. Rubbing alcohol is also useful for cleaning clay residue from tools, baking tiles and hands, and can be used to clean persistent clay colors (red) from working surfaces. Compare Prices
Alternatives Mineral Oil (baby oil) will also work in a similar way, and can be used to make most clays softer. Test a small amount with your preferred clay before using this for a project. Compare PricesTip Use lint free wipes or cloth rags instead of paper towels.
Clear rolling cylinders are essential for working with polymer clay for anything beyond simple modelling.
Uses The roller can be used to condition the clay to prepare it for work, and a roller can also be used to make uniformly thick sheets of clay and color blends. Rollers can be cleaned with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol or alcohol wipes.
Tips In addition to a roller, uniform guides in various thicknesses to act as a depth measure for the clay are useful. These guides can be various widths of wood, including stir stick, anything which will go beside the clay and let the roller run along top of the guide.
Price Under $10 depending on size
Family and Friends in Polymer Clay by Maureen Carlson
This is an excellent reference for anyone who wants to make dolls or sculpt recognizable characters from polymer clay.
Encyclopedia of Polymer Clay Techniques by Sue Heaser
This comprehensive reference to all kinds of techniques and methods of working with polymer clay is suitable for all levels of interest, from beginner to an experienced clay artisan.
Miniature Food Masterclass by Angie Scarr
Making Miniature Food and Market Stalls by Angie Scarr. Angie Scarr's great references on making miniature foods.
Polymer Clay must be baked at accurate temperatures in order to prevent it from burning, yet allow it to cure to its maximum strength. A portable oven thermometer allows you to check the temperature of an oven more accurately than the built in oven thermostat.
Uses Essential for checking that your oven temperature is accurate for polymer clay curing. Extremely useful for less expensive toaster ovens which may not have accurate temperature settings.
Price From $8 - $25.Try your local hardware store for simple thermometers for ovens.
Subtle shadings on polymer clay miniatures are best created with colors that withstand the heat of baking and can be added in thin layers. Panpastels are a finely ground chalk artist's pastels in a complete range of colors, shades and tints. Unlike scrapbooking chalks, these artists colors are chosen for lightfastness and ability to mix and blend to create a wider range of colors.
Uses Allow you to add thin to heavy layers of blended color on polymer clay without the visible texture difference caused by paint. They are also great for other miniature projects, weathering, or coloring large backgrounds or landscapes.
Tip They can be set permanently using common artist's fixatives.
Price $4 - $6 per color, less expensive in sets.
You can see a miniature project done using these paints in this tutorial: