Any member of the crafting world will have a drawer filled with gadgets bought over the years. One such gadget that crops up is the clay extruder.
What a lot of crafters don’t know is the variety of designs and tasks they can do.
In this article, we’ll discover some pretty cool ideas on how to use them and show you some of the best clay extruders out there.
At a Glance: Our Pick of the Best Clay Extruders on the Market Today
Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.
What is a Clay Extruder?
Imagine a boring ball of clay. You want to make something using the best clay for sculpting you can get your hands on, but struggle to create anything by rolling the clay with your fingers. This is where one of these little helpers come in.
You place the clay inside the extruder, then place a small disc with the desired design (small holes, thin rectangle, star shape, etc.), onto the cap, and screw it into place. As you twist the handle, the clay comes out in the desired shape. This is the best way to get consistently sized shapes.
With one of these little devices, you can create all sorts of patterns that would be impossible (or very time consuming, at least) by hand. Things like rope, braids, clovers, bricks, tubes, grass (even hair!), and other decorative shapes.
If you’ve just started out making pottery, its definitely worth getting one.
Buyer’s Guide – Key Considerations
So what should you be looking out for? They can differ in several ways:
Some products are designed for any type of clay, others are purely for polymer clay (the all-rounders can work with pastry, bread dough, even sugar paste!). Be sure to check which type you can use before you hit the buy button. It doesn’t stop at clay either – you can use with,
Have a think about the type of projects you’ll be working on before you jump to buy any of these products. Also, consider how easy disassembly will be. When they get clogged up (it’s going to happen) you want something that can be disassembled into parts relatively easily (so you can clean with soap and water).
The material used for the construction of the extruder makes a big difference. The higher-end products use stainless steel, which generally works better with clay (sticks less). Budget extruders use cheaper materials such as aluminum alloy that doesn’t work as well with the clay.
The crank handle used on each extruder may work differently depending on its design. Some are easier to twist having ergonomic handles.
The number of discs you get in a pack makes a difference. The small metal discs each have a design on them in which you extrude the clay. Different packs will have any number of designs.
Best Clay Extruder – Product Round-up & Reviews
The Vorcool is a simple clay extruder made with aluminum for durability. This does rank as one of the smaller clay extruders, measuring in at roughly 6″ x 3″ inches. You aren’t able to put in as much clay as you would on other devices, but it does the job for smaller projects. It’s great for the beginner crafter or someone whose projects rely on consistency rather than quantity.
The handle is a crank design that you twist to extrude the clay. It feels ok but not as easy or as smooth as others. But, because of its size, you don’t necessarily need the comfort factor.
This pack comes with 20 interchangeable discs, a great amount for any crafter wishing to try out several designs. The Pixnor can also be separated into three parts for easy cleaning with soap and water. This is a nice little gadget for any beginner or occasional crafter to try out.
- Budget option – good for beginners and kids
- Use with any type of clay
- 20 interchangeable discs for creating many different shapes
Makin are an extremely popular brand in the crafting market. For good reason too. With this product, they have made a very affordable, durable clay extruder that does the job well. The material is commercial grade stainless steel, so you know you will be getting something easy to clean and use.
The L shaped handle has been designed with the user in mind. As it is bigger than the Vorcool, you do need a little more oomph to extrude the clay. The Makin’s measures up to just over 9 x 5″ inches, so you can fit in a lot more clay than others on this list.
You get a dizzying amount of extras in this pack, the price is a bit higher, but you get your money’s worth. 15 discs, 3 adaptors, two extra rings all come with the set, along with a handy carry case.
Lucy Clay Czextruder Set
If you want the absolute best in the field, you’ll struggle hard to beat this one. Built the best polymer clay extruder on our list by a country mile. So what sets is apart? Well, the sheer quality of its construction (made from stainless steel) is notable better than any of the other products here – and quality usually means improved longevity (i.e. is should last you much longer). The upper part is made from brass with a rod of blackened steel.
Measuring it a 7.87″ x .9″ x .9″. makes it compatible with most other clay extruder extensions.
The price tag will scare many people off, but if you’re looking for the ultimate in quality, this is for you.
- High-quality stainless steel build
- Use only with polymer clay
- The best money can buy!
Along with product from Makin, the Walnut Hollow is another popular item for crafters to purchase. This is one of my favorites purely because of its design. It looks especially different than the others on this list with its black casing and smooth, easy to turn crank.
The crank handle on this set deserves special attention for its ease of use. The Walnut Hollow is the perfect tool for younger crafters, the elderly, or those with wrist problems. Handles on extruders can be difficult for some, but the Walnut Hollow can put those worries at ease.
This set comes with 20 discs, a case, and extra rubber O rings. These rings can wear out after several uses, so having extras is a small bonus.
- Perfect for beginners and children
- Good for people with wrist issues
- Use with any type of clay
The best option if you’re shopping on a budget, or an absolute beginner who wants something cheap to get you started (or to use with kids) is the Vorcool. It’s won’t last a lifetime, but you’ll get some fun out of it without breaking the bank.
If you want to step up a bit in terms of quality, go with the Makin. For the price, you get a much better-constructed extruder than the Vorcool.
If you anticipate having an issue with the twisting, go with the Walnut.
If you want something that’s going to give you a lifetime of satisfaction, pay that bit extra and get the Lucy. If you can afford it, you won’t need to replace it any time soon.