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Polymer Clay Tips and Techniques

Polymer clay is the perfect material for creating durable decorations, jewellery and models. The colours can be blended and combined into an endless variety of patterns and designs.

Modelling Clay can be used in a simple way, which makes it an ideal material for children to work with. It can also be used for making complex, detailed pieces as a popular and enjoyable craft for adults! Baker Ross Polymer Clay needs to be baked at 135°C to set it permanently hard. Bake the clay following the instructions on the packaging. Work on a large ceramic or glass tile or a baking sheet covered with parchment.

Acrylic rollers designed for polymer clay are smooth to use and easy to clean. There are lots of fun techniques to explore to make polymer clay patterns and surface patterns.


Polymer clay can be folded and rolled to make blended colour effects with subtle transitions where the different colours overlap.

To make a fade, roll out 2 or 3 different colours to about 5mm deep, cut out triangles or strips, arrange the pieces together with the edges slightly overlapping then roll and fold the clay until you get a blended effect. The fade will depend on the colours used, the shape of the pieces and how many times the clay is folded and rolled. Colours can be blended by hand with a roller or use a pasta machine for bigger quantities of polymer clay!

Marbled and Striped Pattern

Pieces of clay can be twisted and rolled together to make striped and marbled patterns. The more you twist the clay and re-roll it, the thinner the stripes will appear. Flatten the clay with a roller, rolling in the direction of the stripes. For a more wavy or distorted effect, roll across the stripes.

Acrylic rollers designed for polymer clay are smooth to use and easy to clean. There are lots of fun techniques to explore to make polymer clay patterns and surface patterns.

Marbling is a good way to use up left over clay. Press small pieces of mixed colours together into a ball, twist and roll the ball or cut it across the middle with a blade for an interesting effect.

To make more a precisely striped pattern, stack rolled pieces of clay together then slice through the clay sandwich with a blade. Experiment with thinner and thicker layers or arranging the sliced pieces in different directions.

Clay Canes

A cane pattern is made by rolling up layers of clay then cutting off thin slices from the end to make a pattern. A cane can be reduced in size by rolling it with your fingers to make a scaled down pattern. Small-scale cane work is ideal for jewellery or bead making. Larger-sized cane patterns work well for decorations, coasters or decorative tiles.

For the best results, cut canes with a blade designed for using with polymer clay to make clean slices. If you use a craft knife, always cut straight down through the clay in one movement so the blade doesn’t drag. Craft knifes with longer blades are easier for cutting canes.

Surface Textures and Shapes

Textures can be made in the surface of rolled polymer clay using embossing sheets or small objects with decorative surfaces. Try pressing pen tops, buttons, beads or leaves to make patterns. Shaped cutters and silicone moulds are an easy way to make shapes with polymer clay. Small confectionery cutters are useful for making shaped jewellery.

Baking Polymer Clay

If you work on a glazed tile, it can be transferred directly into the oven. This avoids lifting or moving finished clay pieces. Or, you can work on a piece of baking parchment, which can be placed onto a clean baking tray. Try not to distort the shapes, adjust the clay with a modelling tool if necessary. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for baking. A polymer clay thermometer is useful for checking the oven temperature. Baking should be supervised by an adult.

Top Tip

Keep your work area clean and wipe your hands regularly with wet wipes to remove any colour from your fingers. Once polymer clay has been hardened and cooled the surface can be varnished or painted with acrylics. Brush acrylic paint over a textured surface for an antique or distressed effect. Small details or writing can be added onto baked clay with a permanent pen. Hardened polymer clay can be smoothed with fine sandpaper. Save left over clay, even the smallest pieces can be re-used just store left over clay in a container with a lid!