Polymer Clay Vs Plasticine – Similarities and differences compared

Clay is a material that is frequently introduced to youngsters as a first material. It allows them to experiment with a new material that bends and forms in whatever way they like.

Artists, animators and sculptors, utilise clay for creative purposes among adults. In arts and crafts, both polymer clay and modelling clay are useful, yet they function extremely differently. The project should determine whether to use polymer clay or modelling clay.

Is there a difference between clay and plasticine? Plasticine is a modelling clay brand.

How are polymer clay and plasticine made?

Polymer clay is a hardenable modelling clay made from polymer polyvinyl chloride. Polymer clay is commonly utilised in the arts and crafts industry, as well as in commercial applications for decorative elements. Polymer clay art is presently on display in major museums.

Polymer clay can be worked until it has been cured for 15 minutes per 14-inch of thickness at temperatures ranging from 265 F to -275 F. This is a far lower temperature than for mineral clays, and it can be achieved in a home oven.

When the clay is cured, it does not shrink. The long-term consequences of exposure to some phthalate plasticizers, which have been classed as endocrine disruptors, are a source of worry for polymer clay safety.

Plasticine is a modelling medium made of calcium salts, petroleum jelly, and aliphatic acids that resembles putty. In clay animation, plasticine and similar materials are frequently utilised.

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Animators like plasticine-like materials because they are easy to work with: they are moldable enough to create a character, flexible enough to allow that character to move in a variety of ways, dense enough to hold its shape when combined with a wire armature, and they do not melt under hot studio lighting.

Differences and similarities between plasticine and polymer clay

Although being somewhat similar there are also distinct differences between polymer clay and plasticine. Let’s have a look at the key differences.

Material and Color

Polymer clay is made of polyvinyl chloride, a plastic-based material, whereas modelling clay is made of oil.

Both materials come in a variety of colours, but polymer clay offers more false colour options, such as stone or transparent tones.

Modelling clay only comes in shades of colour, whereas polymer clay comes in glittery colours.

Drying Characteristics

There are two types of modelling clay: air-dry and no-dry. Modelling clay is made to be reused over and over again, never drying out.

Polymer clay hardens when cooked in an oven, but it tends to disintegrate if left out too long or if it becomes too old in its unbaked state.

For hardened clay, a specific chemical called clay softener is available at craft supply stores. The clay will soften again with a few drops of the addition. Modelling clay maintains its flexibility and pliability.


Modelling clay is frequently used by animators since it is reusable. Characters made of modelling clay can be easily moved and changed without fear of breaking them.

It is used by sculptors to conceptualise ideas and by artists as drawing assistance.

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Polymer clay is primarily utilised to create completed items. It’s used by jewellery designers to produce unusual beads for necklaces and earrings, while dollmakers utilise it to construct fairies and figures.


Polymer clay is a more lasting substance for finished projects than modelling clay, which is primarily utilised in non-drying applications.

When solidified, it becomes waterproof, making it an ideal material for buttons, fish tank embellishments, and jewellery. It can also be painted, unlike non-drying modelling clay.

Air-dry modelling clay is available, although it is primarily intended for children’s crafts and is, therefore, less durable than polymer clay. Polymer clay comes in a variety of forms, each tailored for a specific purpose. Take a look at the manufacturer’s recommendations on the type to utilise for your project.


Polymer clay does not melt or become runny like wax or oil. Polymer clay solidifies when heated.

Plasticine is a modelling clay composed of wax, fillers (such as kaolin), pigments, and a large amount of oil. At room temperature, it is the toughest and never solidifies.


Plasticine and other types of modelling clay cannot be baked. Different brands of polymer clay from the craft store can be baked at home according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Similarities between polymer clay and plasticine

  • Plasticine and similar chemicals come in a variety of commercial forms, but they all have the same basic characteristics.
  • Plasticine and clay are similar in that they both include very tiny mineral particles bound together by a binder and are used for modelling in additive sculpture.
  • Poly Plasticine is sulfur-free, non-hardening modelling clay. It has a smooth, solid consistency and is non-toxic and odourless. 
  • Both are fantastic for sculpting. Plasticine too can, which is probably what most people think of when they hear modelling clay. 
  • Both could be used for a variety of uses from clay modelling to clay animation. Plasticine is softer as compared and easily mouldable.
  • Plasticine is a clay brand in clay modelling.
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Differences between polymer clay and plasticine

  • The most fundamental distinction is that “clay” is held together by water, whereas plasticine is held together by a variety of oily chemicals. Plasticine’s mineral particles are typically calcium carbonate, whereas clay’s minerals might be any of a variety of phyllosilicates.
  • This results in the following differences in application: clay begins to dry when exposed to air, whereas plasticine will remain soft as long as it is kept warm enough.
  • Plasticine melts first and then burns when heated, whereas clay can be burned to become hard and insoluble in water.
  • Plasticine is almost always only an intermediate step in making a sculpture that will eventually be cast in metal, resin, or another medium.
  • Fired clay is often used as a permanent medium in art and craft applications, whereas plasticine is almost always only an intermediate step in making a sculpture that will eventually be cast in metal, resin, or another medium.

Polymer clay is a type of hardenable modelling clay made from polyvinyl chloride, a polymer (PVC). It usually doesn’t have any clay minerals, but like mineral clay, it’s made by mixing a liquid with dry particles until it has gel-like working qualities. Polymer clay is commonly utilised in the arts and crafts industry, as well as in commercial applications for decorative elements.

Plasticine is used as a modelling medium for more formal or permanent buildings, as well as for children’s play. It’s a popular stop-motion animation substance because of its non-drying properties.