Last Updated: Apr 5, 2023 @ 11:12 am.

What is the best polymer clay for craft projects? We asked our parent readers for their favorites. Then we tried out a dozen brands of clay ourselves. Which was best for kids? For jewelry projects? Here are the ones we think are best.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Best For Painting

Made in the USA
We loved this paintable clay for all sorts of craft projects—super soft and workable. Kids love this one.

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Best For Painting: Original Sclupey White Non Toxic, Polymer clay

Let’s talk polymer clay!

The best clay depends on your project, of course. When we interviewed our parent readers for their favorite clay brands, we quickly learned that the right clay for jewelry, for example, may not be the best for a painting project. 

As such, a clay like this one by Sculpey is a better bet (and a reader favorite). Yes, that’s partly because it is white . . . but also because it doesn’t air dry. It has to be baked to set. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Kids love it!

• Workable and easy to use.

• Makes great beads for art projects.

What Needs Work

• A bit pricey.

• Too soft for some projects.

• Can become sticky. best polymer clay

Best For Jewelry

Excellent starter kit
Loved the variety of colors, even if each block is on the small side. Also nice: three included tools are helpful.

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Best For Jewelry: CiaraQ 24 Colors Small Block Polymer Clay Starter Kit

When it comes to jewelry projects, we prefer clay in a variety of colors. After looking at several sets recommended by our readers, we think this one by CiaraQ is the best bet for most folks. Excellent quality and easy to mold.

What We Liked

 Good for beginners.

• Easy to handle.

• Variety of colors.

• Excellent to make beads for jewelry projects.

• Can be baked or dried with hair dryer or by boiling in water.

What Needs Work

• Small quantities. Yes, each color is just .39 ounces of clay—and that isn’t much of any particular color.

• A bit sticky. best polymer clay

Best Color Variety

Easy to work woth
Perfect for figurines or jewelry, this set has 30 colors in one-ounce bars. Also nice: each bar is individually wrapped.

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Best Color Variety: Sculpey III 30 Vibrant Colors of Polymer Oven-Bake Clay

When it comes to kids’ art projects, one lesson we learned early as a parent is this—you can never have too many colors. That’s why we researched a half dozen clay sets that had a variety of colors. After trying out a few and getting feedback from our readers, we think this set by Sculpey is the best bet for most kid projects. There are an impressive 30 colors in this set . . . and the quality is excellent.

What We Liked

• Easy to work with.

• Great starter kit.

• Soft texture.

• Oven-baked clay sets after 15-30 minutes in an oven at 275 degrees.

What Needs Work

• A bit pricey. best polymer clay

Best For Kids

Great for rainy day
We liked the beautiful colors in this kit. Tip: don't overwork this clay, as it can get sticky.

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Best For Kids: Arteza Kids Air-Dry Clay

This set was a top reader favorite when we asked our parent readers for their favorite clay kits for kids. And we agree: it is very good quality and super fun for a rainy day.

What We Liked

• Beautiful colors.

• Easy to use.

• Great for kids’ art projects.

• Doesn’t fade after baking.

What Needs Work

• Can stain hands. best polymer clay

About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

best polymer clay

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

best polymer clay

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

best polymer clay

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