What’s the difference between modeling clay and polymer clay?

Modeling clay and polymer clay are both versatile materials used for artistic and creative projects, but they have distinct characteristics and properties that set them apart.


Modeling Clay:

  • Typically oil-based and non-drying.
  • Contains ingredients such as mineral oil, waxes, and clay minerals.
  • Remains pliable and can be reused.

Polymer Clay:

  • Primarily made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) particles and a liquid plasticizer.
  • Hardens through a chemical reaction (polymerization) when baked at the correct temperature.
  • Becomes durable, solid, and permanent after baking.

Hardening Process

Modeling clay remains soft and doesn’t harden on its own. It can be reused and reshaped multiple times.

Polymer clay hardens permanently when baked at the appropriate temperature, becoming strong and durable. It retains its shape and can be carved, sanded, and polished after baking.


Modeling clay is often used for creating sculptures, maquettes, and prototypes that don’t require a permanent hardened form.

Polymer clay is popular for making jewelry, figurines, beads, and various decorative and functional items that need to be sturdy and long-lasting.


Modeling clay doesn’t require firing and remains pliable.

Polymer clay requires baking in an oven to achieve its final hardened state.

Understanding these differences can help you choose the most appropriate clay for your specific creative projects.

Rate article
Add a comment