10 Must-Have Polymer Clay Tools for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Clay Roller or Pasta Machine
  2. Clay Blades
  3. Clay Cutters
  4. Texture Sheets
  5. Needle Tools
  6. Clay Extruder
  7. Silicone-Tipped Tools
  8. Baking Tray and Oven Thermometer
  9. Work Surface
  10. Polymer Clay Varnish

Diving into the world of polymer clay artistry is a thrilling journey filled with color, creativity, and boundless potential. But, just as a painter needs brushes or a carpenter needs a hammer, those new to the craft will need a set of reliable poly clay tools to transform their vision into reality. In this blog, we'll explore the top 10 must-have tools for beginners in the realm of polymer clay. Worry not, we'll walk through each tool, explaining its purpose and how it can help you shape your clay creations.

Clay Roller or Pasta Machine

The first tool that you should consider adding to your poly clay tools set is a clay roller or a pasta machine. Yes, you read that right, a pasta machine! Before you get confused, let me explain. Polymer clay needs to be conditioned—this means warming it up and making it pliable—before you can start crafting. You could use your hands, but it's a tiresome process, especially if you're working with a larger quantity of clay.

A clay roller or pasta machine makes the conditioning process a breeze. Simply feed your clay through the machine, and it comes out the other side perfectly flat and ready for work. It's like magic! Plus, these tools offer you the option to adjust the thickness, enabling you to get the perfect consistency for your project. You'll find that a good quality machine will not only save you time but also give you smooth, even sheets of clay to work with—no more lumpy or uneven clay!

Remember, whether you opt for a clay roller or pasta machine, make sure to clean it regularly. Polymer clay tends to leave residues that can mix with other clay colors. So, a quick wipe down after use will keep your tools in top shape and your colors pure.

With a clay roller or pasta machine as your first poly clay tool, you're off to a great start in your polymer clay journey. Stay tuned as we uncover the rest of the must-have tools for beginners.

Clay Blades

Next up on our must-have list of poly clay tools are clay blades, also known as tissue blades. These are not your average kitchen knives. Clay blades are incredibly sharp and perfect for slicing through polymer clay with precision.

Clay blades come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific purpose. For example, a straight blade is excellent for making clean cuts and slicing through large blocks of clay. On the other hand, a wavy blade can create interesting patterns and textures in your clay, adding an element of fun to your creations.

Using these blades, you can easily cut your clay into desired shapes, trim excess clay off your projects, and even create intricate patterns. Just be careful while handling them—remember, they are super sharp!

One pro-tip for using clay blades: keep them clean. Clay can stick to the blades, making them less effective. A quick wipe after each use can keep them sharp and ready for your next project. With clay blades in your poly clay tools arsenal, you'll be able to handle any cutting task with ease and precision.

Clay Cutters

When it comes to shaping your polymer clay, clay cutters are the real deal. They're like cookie cutters, but for clay! And just like cookie cutters, they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes—stars, hearts, squares, circles—you name it!

Clay cutters are designed to make your life easier. You can simply press them into the clay to get your desired shape. They're a great tool for beginners and can help you create consistent shapes every time. So, if you're having trouble shaping your clay by hand, clay cutters can be your best friend.

But, remember, clay cutters are more than just shape makers. You can use them to add depth and dimension to your creations, layering different shapes on top of each other. Or, use them to create holes or windows in your clay pieces—imagine a clay pendant with a star-shaped window! How cool would that be?

Using clay cutters as part of your poly clay tools set can really take your clay projects to the next level. The possibilities are endless!

Texture Sheets

Texture Sheets are another must-have in your poly clay tools collection. You know how sometimes the clay looks a bit too smooth and you wish you could add some, well, texture? This is where texture sheets come to the rescue.

Texture sheets are like magic wands for your clay projects. They can transform your flat, smooth clay into a textured masterpiece in a matter of seconds. Think of it as adding a new outfit to your clay. It could be a nice, bumpy texture, a fun polka-dotted one, or maybe a cool, wavy pattern. The choice is yours!

Using texture sheets is super easy. Just press them onto your clay and voila! You've got texture. But don't stop there. To make the texture really pop, try lightly brushing a darker color of clay or paint over the textured area. This will bring out the details and make your clay project look even more fantastic.

So, are you ready to add some serious style to your clay projects? Then make sure to add texture sheets to your poly clay tools arsenal. They're a game-changer!

Needle Tools

Needle tools are the unsung heroes of poly clay tools. They might not look like much, but they pack a punch when it comes to detail work. You know those intricate designs you see on clay projects and wonder how they did it? Well, needle tools are often the secret.

These tools come with a sharp, pointed end that's perfect for making tiny details or creating unique designs on your clay. You can use needle tools to write words, draw pictures, or even make tiny holes for things like jewelry.

Another great use for needle tools is to smooth out any rough edges or fix any mistakes. Simply glide the needle tool over the area you want to smooth out, and you're good to go. This can be a real lifesaver when you're working on a project that requires a lot of precision.

So, don't underestimate the power of needle tools. They might be small, but they can make a big difference in your clay projects. Start using them and you'll soon wonder how you ever got by without them in your poly clay tools set.

Clay Extruder

Let's talk about another member of the poly clay tools family that you'll definitely want to make friends with: the clay extruder. This tool might sound a bit like it belongs in a science lab rather than your crafting table, but it's actually super handy for a whole range of clay projects.

Imagine you're working on a project that requires a lot of similar shapes, like circles or squares. Without a clay extruder, you'd have to shape each one by hand, which can be time-consuming and might not give you the uniformity you're after. But with a clay extruder, you can simply load your clay into the tube, choose your desired shape disc, and push the clay through. Just like that, you've got perfectly shaped clay pieces every time.

But the magic of the clay extruder doesn't stop there. You can even mix different colors of clay together in the extruder to create unique, marbled effects. So not only does it save you time and effort, it also opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities.

Remember, the best poly clay tools are the ones that make your crafting experience easier and more enjoyable, and the clay extruder definitely fits the bill. So why not give it a try on your next clay project?

Silicone-Tipped Tools

Next on our list of poly clay tools to explore are silicone-tipped tools. If you're wondering what's so special about these, let me tell you, they're pretty amazing. They're basically your best friends when it comes to adding details to your clay creations.

Picture this: You're sculpting a cute little clay puppy, but you're struggling to get the fur texture just right. Enter silicone-tipped tools. With their flexible, pointed tips, they're perfect for creating fine lines and textures — like fur on a clay puppy!

But that's not all these multitaskers can do. They're also great for smoothing out rough edges and removing fingerprints from your work. Plus, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can choose the right one for whatever job you're tackling.

So whether you're creating a miniature masterpiece or a simple pendant, silicone-tipped tools can make your work look like it was done by a pro. Remember, having the right poly clay tools at your disposal can make a world of difference to your creations!

Baking Tray and Oven Thermometer

Now, let's chat about two more poly clay tools that are often overlooked but are absolutely vital: the baking tray and oven thermometer. You might be wondering, "Wait, aren't these just regular kitchen items?" Well, yes and no.

When it comes to baking your clay creations, a baking tray specifically dedicated to your crafty pursuits is a good idea. You wouldn't want lingering smells from last night's lasagna to seep into your adorable clay figurines, would you?

As for the oven thermometer, it's actually a superhero in disguise. Polymer clay is a bit picky when it comes to baking. Too hot, and it might burn. Too cold, and it won't harden properly. That's where an oven thermometer comes to the rescue. It helps you ensure that the temperature is just right, every time.

So, even though they might seem like mundane kitchen tools, a dedicated baking tray and an oven thermometer can make a big difference in your clay crafting. Remember, when it comes to poly clay tools, it's not just about the fancy stuff. Even the most basic tools can be game-changers!

Work Surface

Alright, let's step away from the oven for a moment and take a look at another important part of your poly clay toolkit: the work surface. Yes, you heard right. It's not just about the tools you hold in your hands—it's also about the surface you're working on.

Think of it this way: you wouldn't paint a masterpiece on a bumpy canvas, would you? Similarly, when you're molding and shaping your polymer clay, you need a smooth, clean, and non-stick surface to work on. This could be a glass or ceramic tile, a silicone mat, or even a piece of marble if you're feeling fancy.

What's important is that your work surface is easy to clean, doesn't absorb colors or odors from the clay, and—most importantly—doesn't stick to your clay. Trust me, there's nothing more frustrating than creating a beautiful piece, only to have it stick to your work surface.

So, when you're gathering your poly clay tools, don't forget to consider your work surface. It might seem like a small thing, but the right work surface can make your clay crafting experience a whole lot smoother—literally!

Polymer Clay Varnish

Now, we've come to the last item on our list of must-have poly clay tools: polymer clay varnish. You may wonder, "Why varnish? I thought we were done once the clay is baked." Well, not quite.

While baking does solidify your creation, varnish adds that extra touch of protection and shine. It's like icing on a cake—sure, the cake is good on its own, but the icing makes it even better. Varnish can give your clay pieces a glossy finish, enhancing their colors and adding a professional-looking sheen.

But it's not just about aesthetics. Varnish also protects your work, extending its lifespan. It can help shield against scratches, chips, and even moisture damage. That's right—varnish can make your clay creations more durable, so you can enjoy them for longer.

So, as you're assembling your collection of poly clay tools, don't forget to add a good-quality polymer clay varnish. It's the finishing touch that can really make your work shine—both figuratively and literally!

If you're excited about starting your journey with polymer clay and want to learn even more, check out Meghan Yarnell's workshop, 'Pottery Basics: Everything You Need To Know.' While this workshop focuses on pottery, many of the tools and techniques discussed can also be applied to working with polymer clay. Dive in and expand your knowledge of the creative possibilities in the world of clay!