Kemper Wipe Out Tool

The Kemper Wipe Out Tool is a perfect tool for doing what your fingers are too big to do when working with polymer clay.I have fat fingers. Or big hands, if you prefer a more flattering term. But that means that it’s really hard for me to use my fingers to sculpt clay without it looking like something I might have done in kindergarten. Sure, I have lots of fingers, in a whole array of sizes. But each one comes with a hard little edge, called a fingernail, that always seems to poke and gouge my clay creations. And on the other side of each finger there’s thing handy texture stamp called a fingerprint. Hmm. Not the best sculpting tools, are they? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have tool that is kind of like a finger, but with even better features? I recently found a new tool that I already love so much I just had to share it with you. It’s called the Kemper Wipe Out Tool.

I learn a lot from joining the various polymer clay groups on Facebook, and one day Tracy Boland mentioned the Kemper Wipe Out Tool and how she’d never give hers up. I’m always eager to learn about people’s must-have tools, so I didn’t waste any time ordering one for myself. I found it on Amazon here. There is also a cheaper “generic” version on Amazon here, but there’s so little difference in price that I went for the name brand product. I like the Kemper tools that I have used in the past. (Kemper makes those lovely little brass Klay Kutters with the plunger. They’re another must-have tool, by the way.) And if you’re also shopping for clay and other supplies, don’t forget to check out Poly Clay Play and Linda’s Art Spot.  And if you’re in Canada…head over to Shades of Clay. Wendy has them there. And, this just in…Penny has the in the UK at Clayaround.

The Kemper Wipe Out Tool is a double-ended tool featuring soft rubber tips that are helpful with your polymer clay creations.

What is the Kemper Wipe Out Tool?

From tip to tip, the Kemper Wipe Out Tool is 6.25″ (160mm) long. It features a wooden handle, stained and varnished, that is smooth and doesn’t have any irritating splinters or roughness. The wood handle is a bit thicker than a pencil and is easy to hold. Each end has a rubber tip that’s held in place by a brass ferrule that seems to be tightly fastened to the wood. The rubber tips themselves seem to be made from regular brick-colored rubber, though I’m not sure if they’re a sort of soft plastic instead. They don’t have the typical rubber smell that rubber stamps have. The rubber (or plastic) is soft but not squishy.

The Kemper Wipe Out Tool features a pointed end, perfect for creating or refining fine details in polymer clay.

One end features a round cone shape that comes to a fine point. It does have a raised seam that you can, indeed, feel. I’m not sure if it will be a problem or not. You might be able to remove it by gently sanding with a high grit sandpaper. I’m thinking 800 or higher. I’ve not tried it, however.

The other end features an angled chisel tip that is both angled and wedge-shaped. It comes to a fine point and the chisel shaped wedge itself creates straight line. The seam on this tip runs along the line of the wedge, so it actually works as a plus, because it makes the edge very fine.

The Kemper Wipe Out Tool features an angled end that acts as a squeegee to wipe errant materials off your polymer clay.

Why the Kemper Wipe Out Tool?

So you already have toothpicks, needle tools, dental tools, and a whole array of sculpting tools, why in the world would you need another tool? And why this one?

Sculpting

I’m not a sculptor, so I can’t tell you with certainty what’s the best sculpting tools. But I can say that the Kemper Wipe Out Tool does things that metal tools can’t do. It doesn’t carve the polymer clay. Rather, it pushes it. Just like your fingertip, but without the fingerprints and the “fat finger syndrome”. When you use a metal tool to remove clay, it tends to create little bits of excess clay that always end up making things look messy. Just like when you use your finger, though, this wipe out tool smooths the clay, rather than removing it. So there’s no lump or little bit that you have to remove. It just smooths the clay down, in the way that you want.

Also, when you use your finger to smooth an area of polymer clay, you always run the risk of creating more damage because your fingernail gets in there and pokes things it shouldn’t. You know what I mean! With this wipe out tool, you can get in close and be very precise.

Smoothing

Even if you don’t sculpt, you still have to smooth out seams and clean up your work. When adding a clay bail to a pendant, how do you smooth the clay right up next to the bail? Your finger’s too thick to fit in there. The Kemper Wipe Out Tool comes to the rescue. I’ve tried using sculpting tools for this and it’s never very smooth. Using the angled tip of the wipe out tool is like a little squeegee for clay….it just smooths it right out.

What if you want to have a nice clean edge on an inside angle, like when a floor meets a wall? Fingers aren’t shaped like that! Well that angled tip of the wipe out tool is like a little trowel that creates a smooth, straight line and cleans up the edges too.

And when your fingernails make a ding in the clay, how can you clean it up? Just give it a swipe with the wipe out tool. Easy peasy.

Cleaning up Edges

When I use a cutter on my clay, there is always a bit of excess clay around the edge. This tool is great for cleaning it off.

Painting

I once knew a guy who was so good at painting houses that he never used masking tape or even a drop cloth, because he never made a mess. Well, that’s not me. I’m a fairly careful person and I STILL make messes. Paint is always spilling over where I won’t want it to go. You guessed it, the Kemper Wipe Out Tool is magic for wiping up errant paint and sealer, and far more precise than a Q-Tip.

Other Crafts

The Kemper Wipe Out Tool is wonderful for polymer clay, but you’ll use it in your other crafts too. The Kemper company itself makes tools for ceramic clays, so if you happen to do ceramic work, this will obviously work well. But it would also work nicely for removing areas of oil paint or acrylic paint. Or scratching details into paint. I’ve also read that the wipe out tool works nicely to blend areas of pastel chalk in a pastel painting.

Similar Tools

You might have tried the Colour Shapers that are a similar product. Usually sold to fine artists, these tools are a rubber tip attached to a handle and appear very much like standard artist’s paintbrushes. For one thing, they’re ghastly expensive! Typically only single-tipped, they come in a range of sizes and shapes just like artist’s brushes. They also come with tips that are soft or firm. I bought one of these a few years ago and never use it for my clay because the tip is too soft to move the clay around. A firm tool might work better. I’m sure there are generic versions of these tools on the market, too, so perhaps they’re worth looking into if you do a lot of fine sculpting. Update: This set of Rubber Tipped Sculpting Tools looks promising and the price is right.

If you like the Kemper Wipe Out Tool and do a lot of sculpting work, you might be interested in this line of double-ended clay shapers. One end is a rubber tip and the other is a metal ribbon shaper. But again, even the smallest of these tools is far more expensive than the Kemper tool.

I also like these inexpensive tools with a ball stylus (dotting tool) on one end and a variety of shapers on the other. You can get them here on Amazon, but the same set seems be available on ebay or inexpensive sites like AliExpress and Wish, too.

Nail dotting tool or ball stylus on one end and silicone shaper on the other, perfect for sculpting polymer clay.

So…do you have the Kemper Wipe Out Tool? What do you think of it? And what’s your favorite way to use it? I’m truly curious, and of course we can all learn from each other! Share your experiences in the comments.

How I Use the Wipe Out Tool

I use my wipe out tool when making Rustic Bead Components. It’s perfect for making sure the clay is snugged up around the wire when making connectors and headpins. Haven’t seen the Rustic Bead Tutorial yet? Go check it out here!

Rustic Beads Tutorial for Polymer Clay by Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree

Buy the Rustic Beads Tutorial

Note: There are a few affiliate links in this article. That means that Amazon gives me a little of cash if you buy something after clicking on the link. You still pay the same price. Btw, I don’t recommend things I don’t actually like. 🙂

31 thoughts on “Kemper Wipe Out Tool”

  1. I have tools similar to this and they’re very handy. I started out with one that also had the side seam similar to the Kemper Wipe Out Tool. I loved the tool but found the seam to be a problem, always trying to hold the tool just right to keep the seam from making marks in my clay when I just wanted to smooth or even something. I ended up finding similar tools with multiple head shapes and no side seams. Much more to my liking!

  2. Dixie Ann Scott

    Wish I would of heard about this before I purchased all those expensive sculpting tools! Thanks for the review Ginger.

  3. This is an interesting article. I have some tools for painting that look like this, but maybe they aren’t as good for clay as the Kemper tool. I’ll have to check it out. Did you know that as we age our fingerprints lose definition? I had to get a background check to teach school and the police officer had trouble getting clear fingerprints. He was very apologetic when he told me that it was my age that made the fingerprints harder to get. So are fingers get smoother as we age! Too bad that doesn’t happen to our faces!

  4. For all you people allergic to latex, this tool is made from “Silicone Rubber” which is a misnomer. Despite the name, silicone rubber contains no natural latex rubber. “Silicone rubber” primarily contains silicone, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and may contain some fillers.

  5. HI Ginger,
    Thanks for sharing. I actually had a wipe out tool on my list. My concern is seams.There’s one on the Metal Clay Supply website which I plan to purchase. It is $9.30 and is double ended without seams.

  6. I have a couple sets of the color shaper tools. I don’t use them much. I’m tempted to buy this one, but maybe I need to try the ones I have again! Mine might be softer than the kemper tool. I like making clay figures so I would be interested in using them for sculpting.

    1. I think it does things the other tools can’t do. That angled edge is so sharp and nice. Like a wiper blade. The color shapers seem to be more like little pokers and pushers.

      1. I went to Michaels today looking for one, but they didn’t have them. I ordered one online. I’m anxious to see how it works.

        1. I’ve never seen them at the usual stores, sadly. You’re gonna love it. I used mine all weekend at a workshop and was thrilled with how well it worked.

  7. I have had one of the Wipe Out tools you reviewed for years, but found it too chunky to use on clay and a bit too hard. I have three sets of the more expensive color shaping tools and they work wonderfully well for me both sculpting and smoothing clay, but the handles are thinner and the shapes seem to work better for me. I have small and hot hands, so anything I can use where I don’t have to touch the clay is better for me. I think for me it really is the handle size that is the problem, not the tool itself. Thanks for the review.

    1. Jeanne, there’s nothing quite so nice as knowing what works for you. And it’s amazing how personal these things are. It’s wonderful that we have so many options and choices.

  8. Thanks for the review, Ginger. I’m going to look for this at Michael’s. I wonder if a very, very sharp exacto knife blade couldn’t shear the seam to make it level.

  9. Ginger, excellent blog. Good laugh too. Seinfeld episode “Man Hands?” Hee hee. Fear not, inherited the same….rofl. Love these tools. Cannot live without them! All best, and fondly, Jocelyn

  10. Michele Dickey

    I am a potter and work with ceramics. These tools come in many many shapes and sizes. I have a bunch of them and they are diferent brands but all work the same. We use hem for putting texture back into things we pour with molds etc etc. I hadent even thought of using these with my polymer clay. I don’t do sculpting but I’m sure they will come in very handy. Thanks for the review!!

  11. I have a generic 5 tool set that looks just like the one Tami pointed out. I hadn’t really tried to use them for anything until I read this article. I dug them up and used the wedge shaped one all through the weekend and loved it! I used it primarily to smooth out fingerprints and rub out the seams between cane slices on beads. I can’t even begin to explain what a difference it made for the second one. I have been using knitting needles so far (thanks to another useful tip from Ginger) which work great for initial application. But I end up creating a needle shaped depression or flat spot when I try to remove the faintest of lines at the edge of the cane slices. This tool works beautifully for smoothing that out without smearing or creating any marks. Thank you for the great suggestion Ginger!

  12. Azureth Draconia

    I have used these types of tools for years. The Color Shaper tools are my favorite… I think I have *most* of the sizes and shapes. They do come in three different firmness levels. I can’t use the softest ones (which are white I think) because they are too soft for poly clay. However, the grey and the black ones (mid firm, and full firm) work very well for poly clay. I have the wipe out tool as well, and I end up grabbing the color shapers more than i do the wipe out tool. I guess it does just come down to personal preference! 🙂

  13. I purchased the cheaper one on Amazon and haven’t liked this tool because I have to wet it to use it, but having learned about my clay problems, maybe I’ll give it a 2nd chance. I do love my set of #2 silicone brushes (I use 4 of the 5) and yesterday found the #0 mini round tip sold separately and ordering it. I can’t find these silicon brushes in the stores either.

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