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.
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!