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
- Walnut Hollow Clay Extruder with Easy Crank Handle (Best Overall)
- Lucy Clay Czextruder Set (Best Premium Choice)
- COMIART Clay Gun Extruder (Best Budget Choice)
- Makin’s USA 35055 Ultimate Clay Extruder
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.
Best Clay Extruder – Product Round-up & Reviews
Walnut Hollow Clay Extruder with Easy Crank Handle
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Handles on extruders tend to be difficult for many users – namely kids, the elderly, and those with wrist problems (often caused by rheumatoid arthritis) – the Walnut Hollow’s easy crank style handle makes extruding clay much easier.
This set comes with 20 discs, a case, and extra rubber O rings which wear out after several uses, so having extras is a small bonus.
- Smooth, easy to turn crank handle
- Perfect for both the young and the old (as well as people with wrist issues)
- Suitable for most types of clays
- Affordable price
COMIART Clay Gun Extruder
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Now for the budget option. This is a simple clay extruder made from aluminum and can be used for a variety of craft projects, including polymer clay, ceramic clay, pastry, bread dough, sugar paste, fondant cake, icing cookies, and more.
It’s rather small, measuring in at roughly 6″ x 3″ inches, meaning you can’t cram it full of clay, but it does the job for smaller projects.
The handle is a crank design that you twist to extrude the clay. It feels ok but it’s not as easy or as smooth as others (for the price, you can’t expect more).
It ships with twenty interchangeable discs which is plenty to get started with, and is great for the beginner crafter.
- Budget option, good for beginners and kids
- Use with any type of clay
- Twenty interchangeable discs
Lucy Clay Czextruder Set
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If you want the absolute best in the field, you’ll struggle hard to beat this one, this is the best polymer clay extruder by a country mile.
The sheer quality of its stainless steel construction is notably better than any of the other products here – and quality usually means it will last you longer.
The upper part is made from brass with a rod of blackened steel. Measuring in at 7.87″ x .9″ x .9″. makes it compatible with most other clay extruder extensions too.
The price tag may scare you 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
- Pretty much the best out there
Makin’s USA 35055 Ultimate Clay Extruder
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Makin’s USA are a superb brand in the crafting market and for good reason, they make quality products. This clay extruder is another fine example that can be used for all types of clay.
With the included twenty disc set you can create many different embellishments for your projects.
The round discs are perfect for vines, stems, borders, and letters. The screen discs for great for hair, grass, and floral stamens. The flat slot discs work great for weaving baskets, lattice, ribbons, and bows, while the square, triangle, and half-round discs for bricks make wonderful logs and borders, or can be cut and used for beads. You also get a teardrop, clover, and hexagon disc.
The extruder is made of aluminum, and measures in at 6-1/2″ x 3/4″.
- Includes extruder, washer, and twenty discs of varying shapes
- Quality build for the price
- Superb value for money
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.
A word of warning. Clay is messy and the extruder can get messy as a result. You should always clean your extruder (following manufacturer’s guidelines), as not doing so can result in leftover bits that can ruin your next creation. You don’t want to be making a pink star shape, only to find tiny bits of blue clay clinging on from your last project. They can be fiddly to clean but it’s a job worth doing.
So, Which Should I Buy?
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 COMIART Clay Gun Extruder. It’s won’t last a lifetime, but you’ll get some fun out of it without breaking the bank.
If you work with polymer clay and want something that’s going to give you a lifetime of satisfaction, pay that bit extra and get the Lucy Clay Czextruder Set. If you can afford it, you won’t need to replace it any time soon.
Our pick of the bunch goes the Walnut Hollow with its crank handle that makes turning that clay into weird and wacky easy peasy.