Best Modelling Clay – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

Modelling clay is a fascinating thing. It can produce wonderful, artistic projects that astound people. If you like the sound of modelling clay and want to know more about it, read ahead. Here, we will find out the different types of clay and my picks for the best modelling clay you can buy.   

Finding the right clay to use is essential. Before parting with your hard-earned cash, you need something that will do what you need. There are four main types of clay, that you should become familiar with.

Oil-based

Otherwise known as plasticine, oil-based clay is different from pottery clay in that it stays soft and workable. It doesn’t stick to your hands, which is extremely useful. However, it cannot be fired.

  • Perfect for modelling clay in stop animation. For sculptures that need to be changed and re-molded again and again.

Polymer

This clay has various degrees of softness at room temperature and can be mixed; adding stiff clay to soft, to toughen it up. You finish projects with polymer clay by placing them in the oven to fire. You can buy polymer clay in the color you wish. Or, you can paint the finished product whatever colors you want.

  • Polymer clay is perfect for crafters making jewelry.

Dough

Everyone will have heard of this by the branded name, PlayDoh! Used by millions of children around the world, dough modelling clay is a soft clay that can be reused. It can be colored by food dye, or colored in after its been cooked. Only negative of dough clay is its tendency to crack when it dries.

  • You can buy edible dough clay; awesome when small children are using it

Firing Clay

Used for pottery and stoneware, firing clay is worked by hand on a potter’s wheel. It is designed to be fired in a kiln, then glazed once done.

  • Kneading makes a huge difference when using firing clay!

Now you know the different types of modelling clay, here are my picks for the best ones you can buy!

Best Modelling Clay

Aurora

Aurora clay is an extremely pliable clay that can be used for modelling and molding. It is widely used professionally for special effects in movies. This water-based clay is smooth, soft and safe for children to use.

This set comes with 5lb of clay. This is air dry clay, so be aware of the various types of drying techniques you can use with modelling and sculpting. This clay is not made to be fired in a kiln. It comes in the color gray. This modelling clay is especially useful for creating casts and masks with special tools. This is also a cheap clay for the amount you get; great for those on a budget.

Aurora Sculpting and Molding Air Dry Clay - 5lb
  • Extremely pliable sculpture clay used for modeling and molding professionally in special effects (FX) sets and the motion picture studios
  • Water based art clay and childrens modeling clay is smooth, soft, slow drying and safe for kids to play with
  • Multipurpose crafting clay has modeling compounds similar to WED (Walter E Disney) clay code EM-217
  • Effective for casting masks with wax or clay sculpting tools
  • Color is Gray

Sculpey

Sculpey is a huge brand. You will not get into clay modelling, without coming across some product by Sculpey. You will get a high quality clay, but will have to pay the price.

This 8oz set is an oven bake clay and comes in 44 different colors. This is oven bake clay, so anyone can get to grips with ‘firing’ after modelling. It won’t dry out, even when exposed to air for a time. Sculpey is soft and pliable, extremely easy to use, even for beginners.

Polyform Sculpey III Polymer Clay 8 Oz: White
  • Available in 44 vibrant colors
  • Perfect for jewelry, home dcor, mixed media, seasonal items and more!
  • Bakes hard and takes on a matte, bisque type finish.
  • Shape, bake and once cool can be sanded, drilled, carved and finished with sculpey brand glaze
  • Sculpey III is soft and pliable, works and feels like ceramic clay but will not dry out when exposed to air

Activa

For the active professionals or crafters, the Activa is the modelling clay to go for. This set comes with 25lbs of white clay. This is a special blend of several clays, made for optimum usage. This can be glazed and fired in a kiln at lower temperatures.

Activa has produced a modelling clay that is suitable for a wide range of abilities. If it’s your first time on the potter’s wheel, or a full out professional spinner; this clay is ideal.

ACTIVA Blackjack Low Fire Clay, 25 pounds White
  • ACTIVA Blackjack Clay is a special blend of several natural clays resulting a silky smooth consistency specially formulated for optimum workability
  • Ideal for craft projects, wheel throwing, sculpture and modeling, the perfect consistency for a wide range of clay projects
  • Excellent for all skill levels from beginner to professional, this competition quality clay will bring consistently superior results
  • Blackjack clay can be fired at a low temperature in a kiln from -06 to 04
  • Dries white and can be glazed

Play-Doh

I feel sorry for kids in the world who haven’t had the joy of playing with Play-Doh. I also feel sorry for the parents of the kids who have used it. Play-Doh is fun, easy to use and safe for kids to play with. Unfortunately, it does tend to get everywhere; little fingers tend to spray the room with bits of dough.

This 10-pack has a rainbow assortment of colors. Each can has 2oz in, just enough for kids to have fun modelling and sculpting with. This is for ages 2 and up though, younger kids tend to put everything in their mouths. This is non-toxic, but i’d still suggest it isn’t edible.

Play-Doh Modeling Compound 10 Pack Case of Colors, Non-Toxic, Assorted Colors, 2 Oz Cans, Ages 2 & Up, (Amazon Exclusive), Multicolor
  • 10 cans of creative fun kids can get creative with just the right colors They need in this Play Doh 10 pack of 2 ounce cans
  • Just the right colors to start shape, squish, mix, and make it all. Great for lots of uses like Play Doh refills, as a Play Doh starter set, or as an add on to any Play Doh toy (sold separately)
  • Shape your imagination squishy, bright, non toxic Play Doh compound sparks imaginations For kids 2 and up who love arts and crafts like Modeling clay
  • Easy open, recyclable package ships in simple recyclable packaging that's easy to open and frustration free, and the Play Doh cans and lids are also recyclable to help build a more sustainable world
  • Notice to parents: contains wheat

Sargent Art

This plasticine clay is in a 5lb block. It comes in gray and would be tough to paint or glaze. It is a special mineral-based clay, made specifically not to dry out or harden. You can use this for flower arrangements, stop motion animation, science projects and more.

Sargent Art is a specialist type of modelling clay, used only by those who know exactly what projects they will be undertaking. I wouldn’t suggest this for pure beginners.

Sargent Art Plastilina Modeling Clay, 5-Pound, Gray
  • Mineral based non-hardening clay
  • Use for flower arrangements, science projects and more!
  • Never hardens or dries out
  • Non-Toxic; Conforms to ASTM D 4236
  • Suitable for all ages

What Should I Buy?

What type of modelling clay you buy completely depends on what you are using it for. Is your kid annoying you to help with their creativity? You can’t go wrong with Play-Doh. Are you a crafty person needing a clay for several projects? Go and buy the Activa.

Overall, my pick for the best modelling clay is the Aurora. It’s pliable, easy to use and comes at a great price. The best part? Beginners can use it with ease, along with professionals. Highly versatile.

 

Image Credits:

Featured Image Source: Jody McIntyre / CC BY-SA 2.0