Office supplies


About Modelling Clays

Modelling clay is an umbrella term that covers a lot of different products that people use for sculpting and other types of craftwork. This is popular among students, kids, hobbyists and even professionals who want to create 3D models affordably.

There are other things apart from modelling clays that will let you create three-dimensional models. However, what defines a terracotta is that you can mould it using conventional tools that artisans use for sculpting and modelling. Also, some of these earth can get hardened and retain their shape for a really long time. There is the toy earth that does not harden at all and allows kids to mould it and remould it as many times as they want. So, if you are planning to try your hands at sculpting, get some good quality terracotta and start working. But read this article before you start shopping for them as it will allow you to make better choices when you buy.

Types of modelling clays for you or children

One of the many factors that make clays so versatile is that it is possible to find a terracotta that fits all your needs. Even if you are a beginner or a real expert, you can sculpt with earth. With the right type of pottery and a little practice, you can be the artist that you want to be. However, to decide which earth is the right fit for you, you need to know the features and physical properties of each of them. Despite the fact that there are dozens of different types of clay, here is a list of the four most popular types of them.

Oil-based clay

This type of clay is also called plasticine or plastilina. It has a slew of benefits over traditional potter clay that make it one of the favourite clays among sculptors. You can find this earth in a whole array of colours and shades. Furthermore, by mixing each colour in different proportions, you can come up with a shade of your taste. This allows a great deal of flexibility while creating shapes. And after you are done working with the oil-based mud, it is really easy to wash it off from your hands. It is not sticky like regular earth.

Polymer modelling clay

If you have ever seen kids playing with modelling pottery, the chances are that it is polymer mud. By altering the chemical structure and size of the polymer, manufacturers can finely control the physical properties of the clay. That way, it is possible to make polymer earth of wildly different properties. For that reason, you will find the polymer clays with varying degrees of softness, hardening temperatures, texture and colour. Also, when you bake this earth at a temperature above 130 degrees Celsius, about a quarter of an inch of this terracotta hardens.

Dough moulding clay

This is the mud that you will find in the play doughs that are intended for young kids. One benefit of this clay is that there are edible versions of it. So, even if kids happen to put it in their mouth, there is no harm. If you don’t want to buy dough clay, you can make it at your home with a little bit of work. And among dough earth, there are two different types: cooked mud and uncooked mud. Both of these are inexpensive and non-toxic. The major ingredient in it is cornstarch, oil, and water. All of which are things that you will find in your kitchen.

Pottery clay

Now, this mud is for people with a lot of experience in making clay mouldings. A most popular way of moulding using pottery earth is using a potter’s wheel. One requires both skill and knack to work with pottery clay. But that is only half the work. In order to make it into a solid, you should first air-dry it and then put it inside a furnace. The pottery earth itself looks brown. However, it is possible to add texture to the material using other additives. It is easier said than done, though. Creating textures requires thorough knowledge of different elements and the right combination to mix them with the mud.

Tips on how to buy Modelling Clay

Selecting clay might not seem like a hard thing at first. However, there are so many things that go into it. Depending on whether you want to create a temporary or a permanent model, the type of clay you should use is also different. On top of that, there are types of clay that are meant as a toy for kids. So, how do you find the right clay? Well, it is easy if you know what to look for. There are, in fact, more than a couple of factors. Here are a few tips that you can follow when you are shopping for clay.

  • Choose the type of clay – To find a clay that fits you the best is to figure out what type of clay works the best for you. So, how do you do that? Firstly, consider how good you are at clay modelling. If you are new to it, then you should use soft clay that is easy to work with and does not settle. That way, you can practice without wasting clay. If you are well experienced, then you can look for a more professional type of clay.
  • Colours – To create a realistic-looking model, it is not enough to just resemble the shape of something. You should also get the textures and colours right. The way you achieve it is different for different clays. When it comes to polymer clays, it is possible to buy the clay in different colours and mix them to create more colours. But that is not possible with pottery clay.
  • Volume – Before you purchase the clay, you need to decide how much of it you need for sculpting a model. While it is difficult to get it exactly right, you can figure out the approximate quantity. Also, keep in mind that it is pretty to use more than one type of clay or many colours for crafting one model. So, you need to buy each type of them accordingly.
  • Physical features – One thing that you should always look for in modelling clay is its physical properties. The density, malleability, settling time, and hardness varies a lot depending on the type and combination of the clay. Moreover, some clays require very high temperatures for settling. So, that might not be the one you want if you are looking for a pastime hobby.

In order to successfully mould shapes using clay, you need specialised tools and other inexpensive items. As you advance your expertise, you will need better tools to craft more complex and beautiful shapes. The good news is that you can find all of them here on our product search engine. Also, don’t forget to check out all the other amazing handicraft supplies from the office supplies category. You can find all kinds of art & crafts supplies using our retail search engine. It will also let you compare the prices and features of different products and pick the best one among them.

Question & Answer

Is modelling clay waterproof?

Not all modelling clays are waterproof. Some are waterproof before and after hardening, while others are waterproof after hardening. There are hardening and non-hardening clays. If you are looking for hardening clays that are also waterproof, then polymer clay is the best choice. This is because you can cure them using a home oven without the need for a kiln. The easiest way to figure out if the clay is waterproof or not is to check if it is oil-based or water-based. Oil-based clays do not absorb water, while water-based ones do. For top-quality varieties, consider the products of brands like Crayola, Staedler, Faber-Castell, Hasbro, and Daiso.

Are polymer clay and modelling clay the same?

There is a slight difference between these two terms. Polymer clay is modelling clay. However, the reverse is not true. There are modelling clays other than polymer clay. Polymer clay is just one of them. Apart from that, there is pottery clay, edible clay, porcelain clay, stoneware clay, and many more. That being said, there is a reason why polymer clay is the most popular one among all of these. Polymer clay is available in a wide variety of colours and textures and is really easy to work with. This makes it the best clay for people who are starting out in the field of sculpting.

How to soften hardened polymer modelling clay?

Polymer clay tends to harden when you keep it for a long time. But the great thing about polymer clay is that you don’t have to throw away stiff polymer clay. There are ways to restore its plasticity similar to its initial level. The easiest and cheapest method for home users is to use a hairdryer. The clay will soften within a few minutes of using a hairdryer it. The other option is to use additives that restore moisture in the clay. Even though this is pretty fast, you need to spend money on extra additives. Furthermore, if you are not careful, it is possible that the additives can completely alter the chemical and physical properties of the clay.