Keep Polymer Clay From Sticking to Work Surfaces (Easy Tips)

Polymer clay is sometimes frustrating to work with because it has a tendency to stick to surfaces as it warms up. Trying to pry off a sculpture or bead from your work surface has the potential to ruin the entire thing!

All polymer clay will become softer and stickier as it warms up in your hands as you condition it and continue to work with the clay. You can minimize this by choosing firmer brands, working in a cooler room and on cool surfaces, avoiding wooden tools, and using a protective barrier on your work surface.

What does polymer clay stick to?

Polymer clay cay can stick to virtually anything if it’s gotten warm and soft enough. That can cause a great deal of frustration. 

Generally speaking, to avoid that, you should stay away from textured surfaces (unless, of course, texture is a part of your project). 

Polymer clay has an affinity for sticking to metal, wood, polystyrene and polycarbonate plastic. So keep your pieces away from such materials.

What surface can I roll out clay on without it sticking?

Aim for the smoothest and coldest surface possible. Not only this way your clay won’t stick, but it will also be smoother and easier to sculpt. 

A marble tile is a great but more expensive choice. Ceramic and terracotta tiles are more affordable and easier to find — they will do the job just fine. You can even put them in the oven with your piece. 

A glass or a Plexiglass sheet is also a good alternative. Make sure the sharp corners and edges are buffed smooth, though. You don’t want to risk hurting yourself. 

There are some glass household objects you can use as well: microwave trays or refrigerator shelves make great surfaces. Just use the smooth side. 

A self-healing cutting mat is also usable as a surface. Acrylic plastic is the only type of plastic suitable for polymer clay, so you could use an acrylic board as well.

How do you prevent polymer clay from getting stuck inside cutters?

There are a handful of things you can do to prevent polymer clay from getting stuck inside your cutters. First of all, make sure their blades are sharp enough. 

Check if the clay you want to cut is in the proper condition. It shouldn’t be too warm, for it will stick more. Cool it down and cut it afterwards. 

Try dipping the cutter in cold water for a few seconds or in something powdery like cornstarch or talc to create a thin film on the blade. You can also wipe it with a sponge soaked in Diluent-Softener or Vaseline.  

The clay you’ll be cutting should be stuck down properly to its surface. You can put a sheet of plastic wrap over it to press it down further.

If you’re cutting out shapes from a sheet, make all the cuts you’re planning to first and then peel off the excess clay, not the shapes themselves. This will prevent ruining them. 

How do you stop polymer clay from sticking to your fingers?

To keep polymer clay from sticking to your fingers, check the temperature and humidity of the room you’re working in. If it’s too hot the clay will soften up and get stickier. 

Research your material. Some brands like Sculpey III, Fimo Soft, Michael’s branded, and Souffle (usually the brands that are aimed at beginners) will always be very sticky no matter what you do. While others, like Premo, Kato Polyclay, or Fimo Professional won’t stick at all. 

Put a little bit of baby powder on your hands when sculpting. Wash them often to get rid of any bits that have stuck. Dry them well afterwards, for water can make the clay stick even more. 

Touch the clay as lightly as possible. The harder you press down on it, the harder it will be to get it away. If it’s necessary to press if firmly, use a wax sheet between your hand and the clay.

How do you stop polymer clay from sticking to wooden rolling pins?

Wooden rolling pins, as any other wood work surfaces or tools, are essentially a terrible idea when it comes to polymer clay. Wood absorbs oils from the clay making it extremely sticky and hard to get rid of.

If you have to use a wooden rolling pin, coat it with plastic wrap so the polymer won’t stick to it. This way you also won’t have to go through the really time consuming and annoying process of cleaning the rolling pin when you’re done. 

Keep in mind that this works only for smooth rolling pins. To prevent clay from embedding in a patterned one, try spraying it with a little bit of mineral oil.  Wash it with mild soap after. 

Does polymer clay stick to parchment paper?

If you’re working with very thin sheets of polymer or your piece is really detailed, work on parchment paper. The clay won’t stick to it at all and you can lift it effortlessly. 

Can you bake polymer clay on foil without it sticking?

Aluminum foil is really effective for creating a protective layer for your clay piece so it doesn’t burn or stick to the surface you’re baking it on. You can place the clay directly on foil or use a foil pan to cover it. 

Placing a sheet of foil on top of a tray or a pan and putting it in the oven prevents the clay from sticking on the base. But you’ll get the most out of foil if you use a 

foil pan to protect your piece from overheating.

How do you keep polymer clay from sticking to the table?

It’s best to keep polymer clay away from tabletops or counters. The plasticizers in it will damage most wood surfaces and a big portion of plastic ones. 

If you don’t have another option available, put some sort of paper on the table. Make sure to tape it down properly so it won’t move while you’re sculpting. 

You can use regular printer paper, parchment or wax paper, plastic wrap or deli sheets. Keep in mind not to leave raw polymer clay on them for long. The plasticizers will start leaching and leave an oily stain both on the paper and on the surface below it. I personally like to use an index card so I can rotate my piece around as I work.

Can you bake polymer clay on cardboard?

You can bake your clay pieces on cardboard. It just has to be completely dry. 

Cardboard is one of the most often used materials for partial and full covering. It makes an excellent base for your piece because it’s hard and at the same time the clay sticks relatively easy on it if you want it to. 

How do you stop polymer clay from sticking to a glass work surface?

To prevent clay from sticking to your glass work surface, simply put a thin layer of baby powder, cornstarch or baking soda on it. You can dust it off or rinse your piece from it when it’s already cured. This will also keep your piece from burning. 

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