Professional sculptors know that you want the clays for sculpting. Consistency and type of clay can have a great impact on your finished product and finding the clay is crucial to creating quality sculpted pieces.
We’ve found the sculpting clays available and assessed them for consistency, bake or no-bake, white clay or plastilina, among other things and we help you determine which factors are most important to you when choosing the modeling clay.
Best Clay for Sculpting:
1. Super Sculpey Firm Gray
This bake-to-cure clay is some of the clay for figure sculpting for both kids and adults. This neutral-colored clay can be sculpted and baked into any shape and then painted for ultimate customization.
For an affordable price point, you get one pound of professional quality bake-to-cure sculpting clay. This is an excellent and affordable option for people just starting out with sculpting.
People love the texture of this clay and say that it is easy to mold. They love how easy it is to bake the clay into its hardened shape.
- For an affordable price, you get one pound of premium quality clay.
- This package only comes in one color. If you plan to create multi-colored pieces you may want to consider a different option.
2. Sargent Art Plastilina Modeling Clay
This premium-grade, smooth, oil-based modeling clay never hardens, even when exposed to air. This is the clay for figurines. Sargent Art Plastilina is sulfur-free and all-natural with a neutral odor. This clay stays malleable and does not harden in the air or a kiln.
If you want to try out an oil-based clay, Sargent Plastilina is a great place to start. Customers like this clay for practicing sculptures before committing to a kiln. They appreciate the value of this clay.
- This clay will not harden, even when fired in an oven or kiln.
- The consistency of this clay is great for figurines.
- Because this clay will not harden it is not a good investment if you are looking to make permanent sculptures.
3. Monster Clay Premium Grade Modeling Clay (4.5lb)
Monster Clay is one of the clays for sculpting small figures. Because of the consistency of Monster Clay, it holds small details well for sculpting even the smallest figurines.
The oil-and-wax-based clay has high plasticity and the brown color can be painted after it dries. The five-pound oven-safe container gives you plenty of clay to work with for small and big sculptures alike.
For small, detailed work, Monster Clay is exactly what you need!
- Clay holds its shape and can be painted after it dries.
- Sulfur-free ingredients mean that you won’t have to deal with unpleasant odors.
- A five-pound box may be difficult to store and the product may dry out before you use it all.
4. AMACO AMA46317P Air Dry Clay
The clay for sculpting at home is by Amaco. This gray, 25-pound block of clay can be carefully sculpted and air-dried to preserve your works of art for years to come.
Amaco offers standard build and dry clay that works perfectly for traditional pottery and sculpting. People say that this clay is perfect for teachers because of the volume that it comes in and the price can’t be beaten.
- This clay is hard and great for sculpting fine details.
- Because this clay is air dry you can sculpt without owning a kiln.
- Because this is such a large quantity of clay it is more expensive than other clays on our list.
5. AMACO Darice STONEX Clay 5 LB AIR Dry White
Amaco self-hardening clay is the modeling clay for sculpture. Water can be added while working this clay to slow it drying out. This five-pound box of clay dries white and can be sanded, drilled, or carved before being painted.
This type of clay hardens to a soft white color and can be sculpted further with clay sculpting tools. It is sandable and drillable and can be carved before being painted. This clean white air-drying clay is perfect for beginner sculptors who want a professional look without having to invest in a kiln.
Those who use this clay say that it is the air-drying clay that they have ever worked with and that it is a great value for the price.
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- Self-hardening and air-drying clay means that you don’t have to have a kiln to sculpt.
- Excellent value at five pounds for under $25.
- This clay will harden prematurely if not kept damp while working.
6. WED Sculpting and Molding Air Dry Clay – 5lb
Aurora Sculpting and Molding clay for sculpting figures is a dark gray clay that can be used to create sculptures, pottery, and more. This non-toxic clay is safe for children to use but is high-quality enough to be used by professional sculptors as well.
This is a great value clay for beginners and professionals and the five-pound bag is a manageable amount of clay to work with. Customers say that this five-pound bag is a great deal for under $20 and they appreciate the fact that this clay can be air-dried or oven-dried.
- This sculpting clay can dry in the air or be baked in an oven to harden it.
- Five pounds of quality clay is a great deal for just over $15.
- This clay comes in a bag only so there is no box to store this clay in once it is opened.
7. Laguna Modeling Clay
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Aurora Sculpting and Molding clay to use for sculpting figures is a dark gray clay that can be used to create sculptures, pottery, and more. This non-toxic clay is safe for children to use but is high-quality enough to be used by professional sculptors as well.
This is a great value clay for beginners and professionals and the ten-pound bag is a manageable amount of clay to work with. Customers say that this ten-pound bag is a great deal for under $25 and they appreciate the fact that this clay can be air-dried or oven-dried.
- This sculpting clay can dry in the air or be baked in an oven to harden it.
- Ten pounds of quality clay is a great deal for under $25.
- Because this is a large quantity of clay it can dry out before you use it all.
8. Sago Brothers Air Dry Clay 24 Colors
While this is air-dry clay, it can also be stored and reused if not left out to air-dry. This non-toxic clay comes in 24 different colors for kids to play with for hours. Along with the clay you get sculpting tools and a tutorial book for all ages to teach you how to make various objects and animals.
If you are looking for a way to nurture your children’s creativity while keeping them occupied, this kit will be perfect for you. People say that this kit is a great and affordable set for kids and adults alike.
- This kit comes with 24 colors and various accessories for just around $25.
- If these clays are left out, they will harden. This is fine if you want to make your sculpture permanent.
Factors to Consider
When looking for sculpting clay there are a few factors you want to be sure to take into consideration. Here are a few things to consider when you are shopping for clay:
Types of Sculpting Clay:
The clay sculpture uses a moldable substance to create shapes and designs that will dry or be baked to last a lifetime.
Sculpting clay can be made from minerals or polymers. Each substance has a different feel and will dry into a different style.
You may want to experiment with different types of clay and decide which you like best.
Clay Types for Art:
Any type of clay can be used for sculpture art, it is simply a matter of personal preference.
Consider what your purpose is for using sculpting clay and decide whether you want reusable clay or self-drying clay.
These decisions will help you narrow down our list to find the perfect clay for your needs.
Making the Decision
The clay for sculpting can mean different things to different people. If you are new to the craft and are wondering what a good clay to start with is, try the five-pound bag of Aurora Sculpting and Molding Air Dry Clay. If you are an art teacher hoping to make a bulk order try the Rocky Mountain Clay, Pottery Clay.
If you want to get your children into sculpting to enhance their creativity, the best option is the Sago Brothers Air Dry Modeling Clay for Kids. This colorful set of clay comes with everything you need to start sculpting. It isn’t just for kids though, adults have found this kit to be a useful creative tool as well.
Regardless of which clay you choose, this list and subsequent information provide all the information you need to make an informed decision about which clay is right for you.