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What is Polymer Clay? A Crafter’s Guide to this Material

Polymer clay is widely popular right now in the crafting community, but those who are new to it are asking “what is Polymer Clay”?

Polymer clay is a crafting material made up of polymer, dyes, stabilizers and fibres and these fuse under temperature. It’s a hardening modelling clay used for arts and crafts projects, like jewellery making. Once baked it’s a vinyl plastic (PVC).

Sounds fun right? Read on for more information about including crafting tips, how-tos and facts to get you started…

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What is polymer clay?

Polymer clay is made up of a range of materials, that fuse under the right baking conditions, according to the baking instructions on the packaging.

The basis of Polymer Clay’s composition is PVC resin and a liquid plasticizer, categorising it as a plastisol/plastigel.

Fun Fact: The first Polymer Clay brand on the market was FIMO – which also happens to be my favourite brand for jewellery crafting!

Buy FIMO Clay here

What is Polymer Clay Used for?

Polymer clay is widely used for crafting projects, from decorations, jewellery making and miniature model making, and even art in museums.

It is so easy to use for beginners because it’s versatile when moulding, comes in loads of great colours, can be firmed up or softened depending on the project, doesn’t dry out, is water proof and can be stored for a long time unbaked because it doesn’t air dry! Wow!

This is why it’s so great for jewellery making around the home, as you can set up a small business (How to Sell Polymer Clay Earrings on Etsy) from a nook in your space, without the need for a professional set up, overly complicated storage solutions and a premium-grade industrial kiln or oven.

Make your jewellery from the comfort of your kitchen, and make some serious money selling it online – wonderful!

Polymer clay is non-toxic, making it safe to use around children and pets, as it has been tested and certified. It only becomes toxic when baked at extremely high temperatures, for prolonged periods of time. If baked according to the packaging instructions, it’s perfectly safe.

Related Questions

Is Polymer clay safe?

It’s perfectly safe, as it’s made from non-toxic materials.

Polymer Clay doesn’t produce toxic fumes when oven baked; it’s designed to be baked at home for ease of use, which makes it a wonderful and versatile crafting material. It’s safe to cook in the same oven you cook food in (microwave and toaster ovens too!), but please make sure you switch out your baking trays between food and clay, and don’t cook both at the same time.

It is also safe to use around pets, and the fumes from oven baking are safe too; but if you’re concerned a properly ventilated kitchen should elimitate any worry. It shouldn’t be ingested by pets, if this happens please contact your vet.

Can polymer clay be painted?

Can you paint polymer clay? You can paint polymer clay easily with acrylic paint, for best results.

Yes, it’s cheap, simple and fun to do so, and painting your designs can save you loads of time with tricky little details or more intricate patterns.

Why it’s a great idea:

⦁ Adding paint to your creations can totally change your designs for the better, with more unique and interesting patterns!

⦁ Not only will your amazing earrings be handmade but hand painted too! Double the wow-factor.

⦁ Plus, with hand painting it’s hard to replicate the EXACT same pattern each time, which only adds to the magic; each design will be slightly different which provides yet another compelling creative touch to your pieces.

What do I paint my Polymer Clay with?

You should be painting your designs with acrylic paint, because it’s:

⦁ Wonderfully cheap
⦁ Versatile
⦁ Non-toxic
⦁ Comes in all the colours you can think of
⦁ It’s very easy to use for beginners and pros alike

Polymer Clay earrings are taking the jewellery world by storm, and many crafty people want to get involved making them; but which is the best polymer clay for making earrings and other jewellery?


⦁ 1. Fimo – best all rounder
⦁ 2. Sculpey III –
good for simple designs and beginners
⦁ 3. Pardo Jewellery Clay/Art Clay
– great for more advanced crafters

For more info on painting polymer clay, check out:

How long should I bake polymer clay?

Here’s an A-Z baking guide for individual brands according to their packaging instructions:

Cernit: 30 minutes between 110 and 130°C (230-266°F)
Fimo: Maximum of 30 minutes at 110°C (230°F)
Kato Polyclay: 10-30 minutes at 150°C (300°F)
Original Sculpey: 15 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
Pardo Art Clay: Min 30 minutes at 120 decrees (248 F)
Pardo Translucent Jewellery clay: Min 30 minutes at 120°C (248°F)
Premo: 30 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness. If thicker, initially bake for 15 minutes and then add another 5 minutes, another 5, and so on until done.
PVClay: 15-20 minutes at 130°C (275°F)
Sculpey III: 15 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
Sculpey Souffle: 30 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)

For more info on how to properly bake polymer clay read: How Long does Polymer Clay Take to Bake? – Quick Guide


I hope my ‘What is Polymer Clay?’ article was helpful for you and you now feel at ease to head to your craft table and bake your chosen brand of clay!

Good luck with your creations, with your new knowledge of which brand is best for your project.

My goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to understand the world of crafting, so you can go into your new hobby or small business venture with estimates, tips and facts under your belt for a smooth and rewarding start in this craft.

I also provide articles on: a How-to Guide for beginners, a Sales Guide for selling polymer clay earrings on Etsy, a comprehensive Cost Guide, and a bumper list of earring Design Ideas, so you’re never stumped by clay-makers block!