Will polymer clay fade in the sun?

Polymer clay has become a beloved medium for artists and crafters due to its versatility, vibrant colors, and ability to hold intricate details. When creating projects with polymer clay, it’s natural to wonder about the long-term effects of sunlight exposure on the colors and appearance of the clay. In this article, we’ll explore whether polymer clay is prone to fading in the sun and how to best protect your creations.

The Effects of Sunlight on Polymer Clay

Exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can potentially cause pigments and dyes in various materials, including polymer clay, to fade over time. UV radiation can break down the chemical bonds in colorants and cause them to lose their vibrancy or shift in hue. While polymer clay is more resistant to fading than some other materials, it is not completely immune to the effects of UV exposure.

Fading Factors

Several factors contribute to the potential fading of polymer clay in the sun:

  • Type of Pigments: The type of pigments used in the polymer clay formulation can influence its resistance to fading. Some pigments are more lightfast (resistant to fading) than others.
  • Intensity of Sunlight: The degree of fading depends on the intensity and duration of sunlight exposure. Prolonged exposure to strong sunlight, especially in areas with high UV levels, can accelerate fading.
  • Color Choice: Certain colors, particularly bright or intense shades, may be more prone to fading than others. Lighter colors and pastels may be less susceptible to fading than deep or dark tones.

Protecting Polymer Clay from Fading

While some fading may occur over time, there are steps you can take to minimize the effects of sunlight on your polymer clay creations:

  • Indoor Display: Whenever possible, display your polymer clay artworks indoors or in areas that are shielded from direct sunlight. This can significantly reduce the risk of fading.
  • Sealants and Finishes: Applying a clear sealant or varnish to your polymer clay creations can provide a protective barrier against UV radiation and help prevent fading. Make sure to choose a sealant that is compatible with polymer clay.
  • UV-Resistant Displays: If you wish to display your polymer clay creations outdoors, consider using UV-resistant display cases or containers to help shield them from direct sunlight.
  • Rotation: If you have a collection of polymer clay pieces on display, consider periodically rotating them to ensure even exposure to light and prevent uneven fading.


In conclusion, while polymer clay is relatively resistant to fading, it is not entirely immune to the effects of sunlight and UV radiation. Factors such as the type of pigments, intensity of sunlight, and color choice can influence the extent of fading. To preserve the vibrancy and longevity of your polymer clay creations, take proactive steps to protect them from direct sunlight, consider using sealants or finishes, and make informed choices about where and how you display your artworks. By exercising care and foresight, you can enjoy your polymer clay creations for years to come.

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