Clay Art for beginners : Know Your Clay

This week’s article showcases a deeper insight into clay art for beginners. As a child, many of us have probably been exposed to play-doh or clay art while growing up. These are probably closer childhood mediums that we associate with, when we first think of clay or clay art.

As we grow older, we tend to outgrow these childhood nostalgia. Nowadays, the things that we find more suitable for our age groups that require the art of moulding include polymer clay and air dry clay.

Table of Contents:

Types of Clay Used in Clay Art For Beginners:

Polymer Clay – Some of the more popular brands include Sculpey, Fimo, Premo and Nara. These brands are renowned for their quality and durability of their clay.
Polymer clay is generally more expensive as you will need to purchase the multiple colours of clay to breathe life to your sculptures. However, the cost is definitely justified upon seeing your clay art masterpieces come to life.

Sculpey Brand Clay
Sculpey Brand Clay

At the moment, Celine is using the ones from Sculpey. According to Artist Celine Chia, it is very easy to knead and doesn’t crack as easily. It is odourless and does not get your hands oily. One can consider getting this brand to start off his or her artistic journey with clay.

Pinkish Purple Polymer Clay Earrings made by Artist Celine Chia
Pinkish Purple Polymer Clay Earrings made by Artist Celine Chia

After baking the clay, there is a distinct and authentic clay effect instead of rubbery effect, and the colour does not change after baking.

Brandless‘ Clay – Artist Celine Chia does not recommend one to get those clay without any brands. It might stain your hands and the colour might run while kneading. As your hand emits body heat, this makes the clay sticky and uncomfortable to the human touch. During the baking process, the clay may have an unpleasant smell which can be harmful to the human body. As such, it is not advisable to purchase ‘brandless’ products.

Air Dry Clay – The more common brands that are of decent quality include Crayola, Das, Jovi and Nara clay. Air dry clay is generally more affordable as compared to polymer clay. It is also more beginner friendly.
During the kneading process, you will need to use water to soften and remove the cracks, while moulding the clay.

Air Dry Clay Used for Crafting Christmas Ornaments by Artist Celine Chia in Singapore
Air Dry Clay Used for Crafting Christmas Ornaments

After you get to your desired shape and size, you will need to leave it on a clean dry surface for about a day. After it dries, you can then paint over the clay to decorate the sculpture.

Air Dry Clay art Christmas Ornaments After Painting by Artist Celine Chia in Singapore
Christmas Ornaments After Painting

Differences between Polymer Clay and Air Dry Clay :

Polymer ClayAir Dry Clay
ApplicationsAccessories, DIYsPractice, Making simple ornaments (usually for kids)
ColoursWide array of colours (even has shiny and glow-in-the-dark ones)Usually white or terracotta coloured
CracksLittle to no cracksCracks occur easily during moulding
DurabilityWaterproof and more durable after bakingDissolve in heat or water
HardeningRequires BakingAir Dry naturally
PriceMore expensive (about $3.50 / 50g)More affordable (about $7 per 1000g)
Soften (during sculpting)Clay ConditionerWater
Table showcasing differences between Polymer Clay and Air Dry Clay

We wrote this article on Clay Art For Beginners to help guide and educate beginners who just ventured into the field of the arts. It is in our hopes that we help do our part by providing resources readily available to help people who are starting off exploring and finding their passion.
At ccmonstersart, we take pride in the quality of the products that we use during our clay art workshops. Sign up for our polymer clay workshops today or follow us on our socials !

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