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 an extruder can do. Or that there are a variety of clay extruders out there with different pros and cons. In this article we will discover some pretty cool ideas on how to use an extractor and some of the best polymer clay extruder you can find out there.
So… what is a polymer clay extruder?
Imagine a boring ball of clay. You want to make some awesome projects using clay but struggle to create anything by rolling the clay with your fingers. This is where extruders come in.
You place the clay inside the extruder. Then place a small disc with the desired design (small holes, thin rectangle, star shape), onto the cap and screw it into place. As you twist the handle, the clay comes out in the desired shape. A great way of getting consistently sized shapes. If you dabble in the crafts, it is worth getting one – it’s a pretty nifty way of extruding clay into different designs.
Are they all the same? Short answer: no.
A simple metal extruder; surely they’re all the same? Like all gadgets, they can differ in several ways.
- The material used for the actual extruder makes a big difference. A cheaper material can affect the clay after several uses. You might get dried out or cracked clay.
- The crank handle used on each extruder may work differently depending on its design. Some are easier to twist having ergonomic handles.
- Amount of discs you get in a pack. The small metal discs each have a design on them in which you extrude the clay. Different packs will have any number of designs in.
Top tip: keep your extruder clean
You’re using clay. That simple sentence should tell you cleaning will take part in whatever activity you’re up to. Clay is messy, 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. This 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.
Best Polymer Clay Extruder
The Pixnor is a simple clay extruder made with aluminium 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. The Pixnor is for the beginner crafter or someone whose projects rely on consistency rather than quantity.
The handle is a crank design which you twist in order 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.
- Color: Green. Material: Aluminium alloy.
- Size: Length: 6.5 inch / 16.5 cm, Width: 3.9 inch / 10 cm (at the widest part), Bottom Outer Diameter: 0.78 inch / 2cm, Bottom Inner Diameter: 0.55 inch / 1.4cm
- A miniature hand-held clay extruder.
- Used for many craft projects such as polymer clay, ceramic clay, pastry, bread dough, sugar paste and so on.
- Come with 20 interchangeable discs for creating many different shapes.
Makin are an extremely popular brand in the crafting market. For good reason too. Makin have made a durable and convenient clay extruder which 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 Pixnor, you do need a little more oomph in order to actually 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.
- Use this great tool set when working with clay
- Commercial grade stainless steel extruder
- Convenient 9x5-1/2 inch plastic storage case
Along with Makin’s, 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 needs to be highlighted 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.
- Features a smooth, easy to turn crank-type handle with 20 unique disc designs
- Makes clay extruding easy for both the young and the old
- The reusable storage case prevents the loss of discs or spare O rings
- Suitable for use with most types of clays! Not suitable for Precious Metal Clays as it may cause streaking
- Includes a reusable storage case
This sturdy little number is a very user friendly tool. Coming again with 20 interchangeable discs, the Comiart is one for those wishing for an easy, simple to grab and go gadget. Made with aluminium alloy, this extruder is very lightweight. The perfect tool for the portable crafter. Need an item to work with at home, the shed, your neighbor’s house? Simply throw this in your bag and you’re off.
Its rotary design allows for easier handling. Like the Pixnor, the grip is simple and easy but not as smooth or wrist easy as the Makin’s and Walnut. The Comiart extruder can be used with polymer clay, but is also suitable for sugarpaste and marzipan. Multiple uses abound!
The Comiart is a good gadget for the price; but isn’t as reliable or effective as others on the list. A great item for someone wanting to try out clay without breaking the bank.
- Multifunctional - Used for many craft projects such as polymer clay, ceramic clay, pastry, bread dough, sugar paste,fondant cake,icing cookies and more.
- Surprisingly - The gun extruder set includes 20 unique design stainless steel disc ,create many different embellishments for your art projects
- User Friendly - Rotary design, very labor-saving ,easy to use and clean. can be disassembled into three parts for easy clean with soap and water
- Sturdy and Durable Material - Made by high-quality aluminium alloy to be lightweight and easy to carry with you anywhere you want.
- Delicate Appearance Design - An ideal helper for artist, baker,handmade hobier . An nice festival and birthday gift also
I always like to have a budget item on any list; so here is my budget clay extruder. The Forti is a no nonsense, stainless steel extruder. At 17cm it is a decent size and this pack comes with 20 discs. The handle design is very similar to the others, making it easy to twist and complete the job.
The quality of the piece isn’t going to be magnificent. However, you will get a good enough extrusion to make any beginner crafter happy. A bit hard to get the clay through unless it is warm and really pliable, You may have to upgrade if you like the designs and technique of polymer clay extruding. But, for the price, you can’t complain.
- Material: Stainless Steel?
- Size: 17cm Weight: 102g
- Great for Clay, Paint, Foam Crafts, Wood Models, Art Projects