Clay modelling is riding a new wave of popularity around New Zealand. Whether it’s being done for therapeutic purposes, thanks to the mental health benefits of arts and crafts, or for the creation of one-off pieces for the home, we are noticing more demand for our clay modelling products.
As a beginner perusing our extensive product range for the first time you might feel a little overwhelmed at all the options. For example, what sort of clay should you buy? When it comes to clay, there are two major types: polymer and air-dry. Here’s what makes them different, and the advantages each one delivers.
- Polymer clay is one you bake in the oven to harden. One of its biggest advantages is that it stays soft at room temperature until it is baked, making it a very easy medium to adjust and re-adjust until you get everything just right. Its softness also makes it ideal for kids to play around with. Polymer clay, like our world-famous Sculpey brand, is also known for its wide range of special effects e.g. mother pearl, granite and metallics, as well as colours, from pastel to bright, which gives you an almost endless array of options as you create.
- Air-dry clay is a more practical choice for many beginners simply because it hardens without requiring an oven. As you’d expect, it will take longer to harden than oven-baked polymer clay - just how long depends on room temperature, and the thickness and size of your project. It’s an easy clay to handle, making it suitable for all experience levels and ages and you get a professional-looking finish from a very affordable clay. However, air-dry clay may shrink considerably once it has dried and any cracks will need to be patched up.
Clay modelling tools is another area where you are spoilt for choice. There are glazes, moulds, cutters, specialised modelling tools, sandpapers, and all sorts of kits containing all sorts of tools and other accessories. So, where do you start and what do you buy if you’re new to clay modelling? Our advice is...seek our advice! Instead of rushing in and buying every single tool and accessory, with the likelihood that many of them won’t be used, ask us what would be the best choices while you’re starting out. Polymer clay requires special products if you have glueing or surface finishing in mind, while air-dry clay won’t. This is just one example of how confusing it can be to know exactly what to buy, especially if you’re new to clay modelling, and that’s why we encourage you to seek our input.
Ask yourself why you’re getting into clay modelling, what you want to create, and how serious you want to be about it all. Is it just for fun for you or the kids, or to make pieces for the home, or do you want to exhibit and sell your work one day? Once you have worked out what you want to do as you get into your modelling, it will be easier to whittle down your product search to fewer items. You don’t have to do this alone. Our product knowledge is unrivalled, so you’re welcome to contact us, tell us what you want to do, and we’ll help you select the most suitable clays and accessories.