20.1.22

Insights From A Sculptor: Top 5 Polymer Clay Sculpting Tools

From A Sculptor: My Top 5 Claying Tools

I keep telling myself, if I have to hoard, HOARD TOOLS. Two reasons; they do not expire and there is only so many tools I can buy. That is what I told myself after I had bought 3 tool boxes worth of tool-sets for every craft I dabbled with over the years. Haha!


My craft of choice is of course, sculpting. I needed tools to manipulate clay, especially for small details. Out of the multiple types and sets of claying tools I purchased, I found myself only using a handful of them. So to save you time and maybe some extra $$$ (especially if you have similar craft shopping tendencies to me)…

Here are my TOP 5 most helpful tools I have in my arsenal (along with keyword search options for Lazada and Shopee to help you look for them):

1. Stylus (or Ball-tool)


Stylus (or Ball-tool) are metal rods with a small ball end. It's a versatile tool and one of my favorites. You can use them as a dotting tool, to make textures, as an extended finger to pick clay, blend clay and more. 

You can find these in arts & craft stores or online in a set of different sizes. Some sets are even dual-ended with silicone bits on the other end. There are plastic ones but overall, metal ones are more sturdy especially when you need to apply force on the clay.

Lazada / Shopee keyword search for tools: “pottery tools” “bakery tools” “stylus tools” “dot tools” “mandala tool” “pottery tools”

2. Silicone Tools


Silicone tools come in many shapes and sizes. I use them to smooth clay joints, blend clay, soften clay details and shape small clay parts I can’t reach with my fingers.  When you are looking for them, make sure it fulfills what you need to sculpt. For instance, I needed smaller silicone tools to help me make tiny fingernails, so I looked specifically for flat and smaller tips. 

Lazada / Shopee keyword search for tools: “nail art tools” “silicone clay tools” “soft pottery clay tools”


3. Skewers


Skewers (or needle tool) i
s a tool with a sharp point like a needle. You can use them as a pick tool, to make holes for earrings before baking or add textures (fur, bark, feathers, and more!). It’s a useful tool and a must-have in my tool box.

The needle tool is metal and usually can be bought in a set with other clay tools. I have found individual ones (though they are expensive!). Alternatively, you can use a wooden skewer stick (or Satay Sticks in Malaysia), which you can sharpen to your liking. Toothpicks and needles work too.

The skewer is a multipurpose tool, handy for all sorts of craft making.

Lazada / Shopee keyword search for tools: “clay tools” “needle tool” “skewer stick”


4. Toothbrushes


Toothbrushes are used to add and soften clay textures. Really useful especially in more realistic sculptures. When I bought my first set of clay tools, there was a tool that looked like a brush.  I thought it was to clean my tools. My clay sculpts were toon-like in the beginning so it didn’t occur to me what that brush was used for. 

When I delved into semi-realistic sculptures, I found out that it was used to soften the rough texture lines of skin, fur or hair. It worked wonders! Personally I prefer the soft and conditioned bristles of used toothbrushes (thoroughly cleaned and sterilized first of course).


5. Dental/Wax Carving Tools


Dental/Wax Carving Tools are a great addition for small projects. Their angled heads make them more ergonomic to hold and they act as a second finger to fold, pick and blend clay together. Very helpful for small clay joints. These are usually found in sets. I have found stores selling individual ones which are rather expensive. I much recommend getting full sets as they are so much more cost effective.

Lazada / Shopee keyword search for tools:  “dental tools” “wax carving tool” “metal clay tools”


These 5 tools are just about the all you need when you are starting out with claying/sculpting. Of course, the tools I use varies from project to project, but with these 5, I am set up for most of them. 


These tools are easy to find on shopping platforms and not costly at all. You just need to know how to navigate these platforms, especially with the keywords to search- they are not limited to “polymer clay tools”. I also visit hardware stores, cake supply shops and any other DIY shops I can find for unique tools that can help me with my sculpts. And if I can’t, I make them myself! Though the key takeaway here is to know what you need for the project you are doing. Better to DYOR so you do not waste money on the unnecessary.




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