Oh boy, do I love polymer clay tools. And I also love a bargain. So, I’ve been pretty happy to find this source of cheap polymer clay tools. I think it started with the Kemper Wipe-Out Tool that I wrote about earlier this year. I ordered it from Amazon, and from then on, Amazon showed me lots of neat sculpture tools in the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section. That introduced me to a wide range of tools that I might not have looked for otherwise. I have bought several tool sets now, and I have been very pleasantly surprised with the speed, service, and believe it or not, the quality of the tools.
To be honest, they’re not polymer clay tools. Many of them are fondant tools, for working with gumpaste and fondant that are used in cake decorating. Others are used for painting nails and doing manicures. But we use the same tools! So feel free to use “fondant” or “nail tools” as a search term and bring up a whole new line of results. Cake making is a far more popular hobby than polymer clay, so there’s a whole industry that’s sprung up to support it. I’m not above taking advantage of it. Here are some examples of these cheap polymer clay tools. (Oh, and btw, some of the links to Amazon are affiliate links. That means I get a few coins tossed my way if you end up buying something from them.)
These robust steel cutters are fairly sharp and are created to cut holes in leather. But they also make great polymer clay cutters. There is no overlapping seam, and they cut cleanly through thick layers. There are 39 of them and they come in a really nice plastic box with a latch that stays shut. You won’t use all of the shapes, but the price is low enough that it’s worthwhile.
Lace Doily Stamps
These little stamps are perfect for use with polymer clay. They’re deep, they are very nicely detailed, and they work great. This set was really inexpensive on Amazon. I actually bought two of these stamp sets so that I could use them to make double-sided beads. The rubber seems to be soft enough, the glue is holding well, and they make a good impression. Some of the lines are very thin and it’s easy for clay to get stuck, but if you use a mold release such as water or Armor-All, you’ll be just fine.
Leather Stamping Tools
I have seen this exact assortment of 20 leather stamping tools being sold for over $50, but the set can be purchased from several sellers on Amazon for around $17. These are cheaply made chrome plated stamps and probably wouldn’t hold up very well for the serious leather-worker. But for making cool patterns in polymer clay? Oh baby, these are the bomb. Look at all those neat ways you can texture a bezel, stamp some accents, or texture the back of a pendant! Several of these stamps can be used over and over in a pattern to create an abstract background texture, too.
Flower and Leaf Cutters
This is just a small assortment of what I have of these cutters. Several are plunger cutters, in nesting sizes. There are three leaves in small medium and large, there are also several cutters in cool shapes like that star flower in the front. Yes, the plastic is a bit cheap. And yes, the handle of one of mine sort of falls off a lot. But they work. I bought this particular assortment from a friend in a Swap group on Facebook. But you can get a HUGE set of this type of cutter here on Amazon. They aren’t particularly sharp cutters, but they make great templates when lightly pressed into the clay. You can then draw over them with a ball stylus tool.
Ball Stylus Tools
This set of 4 ball styluses was a great deal. They’re also called dotting tools. They shipped from China, so it took a couple of weeks for them to arrive. They’re not the highest quality tools in the world, but they’re good enough. One of the tools is only single-ended, and three of the ball ends are the same size, so you’re not getting 8 different sized balls, but for that price I’m not complaining. One of the metal ends is inserted into the wooden handle at an angle, so the set wouldn’t pass quality control if I were in charge, but that doesn’t affect the use. They work great. They’re just what I needed. I spent twice this amount on a single ball stylus at Hobby Lobby last year. I use my ball styluses for making rows of dots in clay, adding a dot of paint, smoothing out an edge in an area that my finger can’t get to, drawing designs on clay, and even picking up and gently placing tiny pieces of clay.
The set doesn’t come with a decorated handle, though. I covered one of them with a clay veneer as a demo for my review on the Czextruder earlier this year. You can do the same, making this a really fun set to have.
Large Ball Tools
I use these all the time for making large divots or for shaping the mouth of small vessels. They’re heavy solid steel, chrome plated, and the center part is covered with a plastic tube for a handle. Several of the ball heads screw onto the handle, and the smaller sizes are molded on. Some of the chrome plating is sort of irregular and flakes off a bit, making me think these will have a breaking-in time while all of that flakes off. If you remove the blue plastic part, this set of ball tools is bakeable. So I keep thinking there must be uses where you can create something on the end of the ball and then pop it off after baking. Again you can get these on Amazon, so there’s not much cost. They’d be perfect for sculpting flowers.
Large Sculpting Tools
Well, you can’t win them all. This particular sculpting set doesn’t do much for me. I do like that fan-shaped one on the middle right, though. However, if these shapes work for you then great! They DO make good textures and they’re great for poking holes into a mokume gane stack. I got them here. These tools are hard plastic and have a seam on each of the white ends. You can, however, sand the seam off with 400 grit sandpaper. If you don’t have any tools and do a lot of sculpting, these are better than your fingers. At that price it’s kind of a “why not?” kind of deal.
**Edit** Staci Louise Smith says that several of these make absolutely great textures on her large beads. Just poke ’em in. Here’s an example on Facebook.
You can also get an assortment of several of these tool sets together in a larger set. Here’s an example.
Shipping and Other Thoughts
I’m in the US, so I ordered most of these from Amazon. COM. Also, I have Amazon Prime, which costs $99 a year and gives me free 2-day shipping for many (if not most) items on Amazon. That also comes with instant movies and some other neat benefits, so it’s a good decision for our family. But even if you don’t have Prime, you can usually get free shipping with orders of $35 or more.
If you’re outside the US, don’t try to order from the US version of Amazon, as the shipping is going to be expensive in some cases. Your own country will very likely have these cheap tools being sold locally. Many countries have their own Amazon. If not, check out your country’s version of Ebay.
Many of these items, and other cheap polymer clay tools can be found on import websites that specialize in delivery direct from China, such as Aliexpress. You can even order these types of things in large wholesale lots from sites like Alibaba. Need 500 cutter sets anyone? 🙂
How to Find More Cheap Polymer Clay Tools
Sometimes the key to finding what you’re looking for is finding the right search terms. Try doing searches for “fondant tools”, “plunger fondant cutters”, and “wooden stamp sets”. There are also lots of texture sheets, stamps, silicone molds, edging cutters, and stencils. Try looking in the tool sections for other crafts, such as sculpture and leather working.
As you might have noticed, I am a big fan of finding a less expensive way of outfitting our studios and tool chests. Have a look at this article of Free and Cheap Polymer Clay Tools from Around the House. And if you want to improve your studio, make sure you read this article on Thrifting in Your Polymer Clay Studio. It’s part of a 4-part series I did with Kater’s Acres on Making the Most of your Polymer Clay Studio.
Looking for a New Project?
I really do wear this necklace and earring set that I made with beads from my Organic Beads and Rustic Beads Tutorials. I wear it a lot, in fact. And it always gets comments from people wanting to know what the beads are made of. See…they kind of look like bone or shell. But not really. So it’s a bit intriguing. The focal bead was made with my Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial. And all those varied and intriguing other beads were made with my Organic Beads Tutorial. Not only do the beads work well together in jewelry, but the tutorials work well together, too. Together they bring you two very different ways to make beads and two very different ways to color them. But you can mix and match the techniques for even more versatility and fun. Check them out!
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25 thoughts on “Cheap Polymer Clay Tools”
Thanks for the info on tools! I LOVE tools…
You might also want to suggest dental tools. There are cheap sets online, although I got mine from my dentist.
Yes, indeed. Dental tools are a great find. And yes, my dentist was happy to help me out with that. See here.
Hey a lot of those can be found on Wish also, both wish.com and the app. What’s great is sometimes get them and only have to pay shipping, or the item is like $1 and $2 shipping. Everything mentioned here is on there, I bought a lot of it recently. You can also find rubber shaping tools and foam pads that are great for making petals.
Not the most efficient place to buy beads and findings (usually) but the tools were all cheaper than anywhere else I checked online and in stores. Also a great variety of silicone molds available.
One thing though: check around on wish. It’s a plethora of shops selling this stuff, so sometimes you find the exact same item listed at different prices (or different shipping prices). I like to add several of the same thing to the checkout to see which one actually totals up to be less.
More things to add to my wishlist!
I found these just before Synergy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXHQZU0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1, a combination of ball styluses and shaper tools for $7.99. My only complaint has been when I got some clay on the handle and didn’t take it off immediately, removing it later took off some of the blue paint. Otherwise, the styluses are solid and the shapers are soft, but good for blending.
Wow, Ginger! Thanks for this article – I just placed an order! I’m a tool junky, too!
Christmas came early!!! A present at my door today – one of the orders I made for tools because of this article you wrote! I didn’t know what to do first! I have so many new toys to play with now! Where will I keep them? I have no idea but that’s ok!
I love all these tips !! this is great..Thanks..
Here’s the stamper set for $13.99 on Amazon
Oh wow, it just keeps getting cheaper. Amazing. Thanks for the link.
This suggestion is probably better placed with the thrifting article, but thought I’d mention it here. I love getting storage containers and other things from the dollar store. There’s similar Japanese store called Daiso that I adore! Most things are $1.50 here and they have all sorts of cool stuff. I’ve bought several kitchen tools that I use for claying: nested cutter sets, baking trays, silicone sheets, rollers, mandolin slicers, graters, tons of silicone molds for resin and so many more that I don’t remember. They also have storage containers and organizers in every shape and size imaginable and an assortment of wire cutters and some basic pliers. They have their own air dry clay as well, makes a decent base to cover with polymer clay for large pieces that need to be lighter. Definitely worth a visit if there’s one nearby!
One of my favorite places to find clay tools is in my husband’s shop. I found a broken drill bit the other day and was about to toss it when it occurred to me what a neat texture it could make, or as a finger drill for thin pieces a power dremel could possibly break. Keys, other odd tools. I found one today that has a flat end and thread on the other (about eight inches long) I have no clue what it is used for, but I know what I’ll use it for…if hubby doesn’t confiscate it. lol I want some of the ones you shared too now!
Even better for small balk tools are the ones for nail art, I think they call this doting tools. 5 tool all double ended, all different sizes and they were about 5 dollars on amazon or a beauty supply store.
Thank you! Ihave been looking for the large ball tools. I have Amazon prime so they’ll be here tomorrow.
Yep! Yep! Yep! I bought that same cutter style set back at the beginning of the year. It was a HUGE bargain. A few of the heart ones didn’t work but the price of the whole caboodle was still less than buying them 3pc pkg at a time and I was able to buy a heart set anyhow. I always glean the big box craft stores in the cake supply aisles. Hobby Lobby is really good about getting stock in on a regular basis. If you have a Tuesday Morning nearby- they have a lot of good craft items too. It’s hit or miss, but always fun to look around. 😀
ball tools area REALLY handy. i believe i bought the sculpey set from amazon. so, there are fewer ball sizes than what you have pictured here. instead of using glue to attached clay to findings (ie. heart pins a la ron lehocky, barrettes) i use scraps of clay. the ball tool is perfect to “mush” the scrap into the finding and into the back of the clay piece. i also used the ball to texture the back of the pins i made so that the piece of clay used to attach the finding blends in with the back of the pin. as a result, the pin (or any piece using a finding) is finished once baked – so it saves the glue step – which saves time and the glue mess.
Amy thanks for the really good ideas of using clay instead of glue.
Ginger…how great! how motivational! I am blessed with living in a town with a multitude of charity thrift stores, and constantly find great things for clay use. I’ve used eBay occasionally, with dubious success unfortunately, but will now try Amazon. I must comment, not to be negative, but to hope for some sympathy…being a long time crafter…heirloom baby clothes from vintage embroideries, blank greeting cards with bits of ethnic textiles, chunky bead and treasure necklaces from the 80’s, hand made, hand painted wood “nichos” in the Santa Fe style, etc…I have never encountered a craft requiring so many varied tools and supplies as claying! I feel in the past year of experimenting with polymer clay (and experimenting is the key word here) most of my time and effort has been spent in “hunting and gathering” – a bit frustrating, but worth it.
Again, thank you for your generosity in providing so much incredibly useful information.
So much to learn, so much to create…so little time!
Love your ideas. I think it is the excitement of recycling a new idea from the original. I walked into Wal-Mart the last week, and a cart of discounted items was by the front door. It was full of scrapbooking paper for $1 per pad. As I looked deeper, everything was a $1. I found an awesome fondant kit from the Cake Boss (originally $19.88) for $1.00. It had round cutters, flower cutters, but best of all it had 3 sizes of Gerbera Daisy PLUNGE cutters with 2 sizes of PLUNGE cutter leaves, and they were very detailed. What a bargain. The Cake Boss probably wouldn’t be as happy as I was for the deal.
Thank you so much for posting this information. Like you, I am always on the lookout for cheap PC tools. I have so many now, but there is always room for more. You are so generous with your ideas. I’m going to purchase some of these tools and use them with your Rustic Beads Tutorial (bought some time ago–I haven’t used it because I broke my arm in two places in January.) I’m getting so excited. You always instil inspiration in me. Again, thank you for your generosity.
I have a lot of those exact same things, from Amazon, in my polymer clay tool collection. I got the lacy stamps to use with your rustic beads tutorial but then forgot where I put them for a while. Happens surprisingly often. I also got a “deluxe” set of fondant cutters and tools last year (46 pieces for $15), that includes those yellow handled tools. Which I haven’t played with yet. Thanks for sharing the tip from Staci Louise about those. I also get texture sheets from the fondant and cake decorating supplies section. And a book on how to make fondant flowers. Which I figure will translate pretty well to polymer clay. Oh, and I have a collection of candy molds, like the kind for making lollipops and chocolates. Polymer clay tools are everywhere: scrapbook section, cake decorating isle, hardware store …
I do a lot of Amazon searches and have purchased quite a few of the cheaper china tools and been very pleased with them. I’ve not before seen the lace stamps and looked everywhere for something like those. Great find Ginger! Thank you for this post and share.
I just recently purchased that exact set of lace stamps on ebay for $2.19 and shipping was free! I also got several of the other tools mentioned above on ebay for super low prices and all had free shipping. Ebay has been a treasure trove for my cheap crafting supplies, lol.
Hi! I’ve been using the blue ball tools for about 2 years…no flaking, yet! They are a great weight, and have found their way into my “everyday jar” (my most beloved, well-used tools that I keep within arm’s reach). Just thought I’d share that I was impressed with the quality… 🙂
Hi Ginger ! I was very surprised to see these tools here in India. Normally, I read your blog and search manically for the recommended items near home. These tools , excluding the leather tools , are the only ones available where I live.I kept searching for the brass cutters , had to buy these plunger cutters instead.Their tops do fall of a lot though.Oh and I made a rustic necklace with the doily stamps 🙂
Ebay is a great place for fondant tools if you don’t mind ordering from overseas.
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