Kor Rollers, a Review

Learn about Kor Rollers, a fantastic way to make texture on polymer clay. Read the review on The Blue Bottle Tree.Polymer clay is incredibly versatile and one of the reasons is because you can shape it and impress things into it, giving you an endless variety of ways to manipulate the clay. You can use textures to hide blemishes, to create a mood, make a pretty background, or even to construct interesting details on a sculpture. When you work with polymer clay, it becomes somewhat of a game and a challenge to find new, fun textures in all kinds of places. Borrowing from the scrapbooking world, polymer clayers have enjoyed using rubber (and silicone) stamps and sheets for quite some time. But that’s not the only kind of commercially available textures. Kor Tools is a company that makes interesting little rollers with designs on them. The rollers are then rolled over the surface of clay to create a texture. They’ve been on the market a couple of years now, but I only recently had a chance to get some of my own thanks to Poly-Tools. So here’s my review and impression (ha…get it!) of the Kor Rollers.

What Are KOR Rollers?

In the world of ceramic and earthenware clay, they use wooden tools to shape, texture, and stamp the raw clay body. And there’s a neat line of tools by a company called MKM Pottery Tools. They have some wonderful wooden “clay handrollers” that you’ll want to look at, and I’ve included them in this review as well. But a couple of years ago the company branched off to form another tool company called Kor Tools. Instead of being made from wood, Kor Tools are made from a black acrylic plastic and are specifically designed to be used as textures for polymer clay and precious metal clay. There are several types of Kor Tools; they make stamps, small rolling wheels, and the wildly popular Kor Rollers.

Kor Rollers are made from a fairly thin 10mm (just over 3/8″) diameter acrylic rod that’s been machine-cut with a high-precision design on the outside of the rod. The Kor Rollers come in two lengths, the KTR rollers are 5cm (2″) long and the newer KPcR rollers are 7.5cm (3″) long. There are no differences between the two types except the length of the roller. When I first saw the Kor Rollers, I was very surprised to find how small they are. But they pack a lot of design into a small space. In fact, the small roller means that the scale of the design is very appropriate for working with polymer clay. As you may have found, textures designed for other craft industries can sometimes be too large for the small projects that are more typical for polymer clayers.

Kor rollers in hand

The designs that are cut into the Kor rollers are continuous around the rod, so there is no stop or start point to the design. You just roll the roller onto a sheet of clay and the design continues until you run out of clay. A neat little feature is that the design number is cut into the end of the roller.

The design number is etched into the end of the Kor rollers and MKM handrollers

Because the designs are cut into the rollers with a special cutting machine, they’re very precise and crisp. The Kor rollers are more crisp than the wooden MKM rollers, but even so, the designs in both lines are deep, precise, and clear. They’re also beveled so that the resulting clay design has appropriately sloped sides on the motifs. The bevelling is also necessary as it help keep the design from lifting and getting caught in the roller.

Kor rollers leave very deep and clear impressions in polymer clay.
These impressions were made with the acrylic Kor Rollers. Note how deep and clear they are.
MKM handrollers are wooden texture rollers and here they're used on polymer clay.
These sheets were impressed with the wooden MKM handrollers. As you can see, the impressions aren’t as crisp as those made by the Kor Rollers.

How to Use Texture Rollers

At their simplest, these texture rollers are just rolled onto a sheet of polymer clay like a rolling pin. Just roll it across the surface of the clay and you get a design. But while they’re simple in concept, there are still a few things to learn.

Please Release Me

Anytime you use a texture tool with polymer clay, you run the risk of the clay sticking to the tool. And that’s certainly the case for these MKM and Kor rollers. Make sure that you do use a mold release of some sort. The most commonly used releases are water, leather protectant spray (such as Armor-All), or cornstarch. I like to use water because it doesn’t add anything to the clay and interfere with future steps in the project. But water isn’t the best release to use for Fimo, Cernit, and Pardo because those clays absorb water and can get sticky. If you do use water as a release, blot gently with a Kleenex immediately afterward.

I always keep a small spray bottle of water on my workbench. To use water as a release, just spritz a sheet of clay with a fine mist of water.

Cleaning the Rollers

If you DO get clay stuck into the crevices of a Kor roller, you can usually get it back out by just using more clay (in the same way you use a wad of gum to get stuck gum off of something). But if that doesn’t work, try using a baby wipe. You can pick the bits out of the crevices with a needle tool if necessary. Do not use alcohol, hand sanitizer, or window cleaner. Try using the “juice” from a fresh baby wipe and a toothbrush to remove all bits of clay. Cleaning the wooden MKM rollers is just the same.

Making an Impression

First, make a sheet of polymer clay. If you want really deep impressions, use a thicker sheet. Thin sheets will not impress very deeply. Apply your favorite release. Now if you try to roll the Kor roller with your hand, it can be very difficult. You will notice that the roller immediately becomes bogged down in the clay and won’t roll well. Plus the hard edges of the roller hurts your hand, making it difficult to press hard enough. Is there another way?

Turns out, yes. Just get a large rubber stamp mounted on a wooden block. The one I use is 3″x5″ (75mm x 125mm). The wood gives a flat, stable surface that’s easy to grip and the rubber underneath acts as a non-skid surface that pushes and rolls the Kor roller along as it rolls down the clay sheet. You have to be careful to press evenly and to roll firmly but smoothly. It will likely take some practice to get the hang of it. It’s really easy to roll a sheet that’s deep on one side and shallow on the other. But keep trying. The great thing about polymer clay is that you can always wad it up and start over…and over. That’s another reason I like to use water as a mold release…it doesn’t affect the clay.

Examples of Kor Rollers on Polymer Clay

Once you create the textures with your Kor Rollers, you can use them in the same way you’d use any texture sheet of polymer clay. Here’s what it looks like when you add mica powder.

You can use mica powder to highlight the textures create in polymer clay with the Kor rollers.
One the left the entire surface was covered with Pearl-Ex mica powder, and on the right I used my finger to add the Pearl-Ex to the “highlights” of the texture.

I like to dust the sheet with various colors of crushed chalk pastels or Pan Pastels, too. You can use multiple colors of chalk and even use metallic Pan Pastels, too. Fun!

This brooch was created from polymer clay using Kor rollers to create the various textures.

Polymer clay earrings made with Kor roller texture rollers.

You can even texture the back of a your work with a Kor roller. Here’s the back of the earrings.

Polymer clay earrings made with the backs texture by Kor rollers.This polymer clay bracelet, made in a Maggie Maggio workshop, features textures created by using Kor rollers.

Last summer I took a class with Maggie Maggio and learned her wonderful colorwashing technique to create subtle texture in the colorwashed veneers, many of us used Kor rollers. You can see in this flattened bracelet how each one features a texture that has been flattened and stretched, creating a ghostly image in the clay. You’ll notice that the leaves in the blue and darker green pieces both use the same Kor roller that’s pictured at the top of this article and shown below in mica shift.

The very crisp and deep nature of the Kor roller textures make them a natural for the mica shift technique. Aren’t these great? I made these with Cernit as part of my Cernit review article.

Whether using a deep stamp and shaving or using a shallow stamp and sanding after baking, Cernit polymer clay produces a great mica shift effect.

The Kor roller textures are particularly well suited for use with a faux ceramic technique because the designs are raised, allowing you to use chalk pastels to accentuate the high and low areas. See what I mean?

Faux ceramic pendant made with polymer clay using Kor rollers.

But you don’t have to be limited to flat objects. You can also use the Kor rollers to create texture that can be used in 3D as well. This set of beads from Angela Guertel uses Kor rollers (plus her own textures). I love the way she used thinned white clay to “backfill” over the designs. (Click the photo to be taken to Angela’s photostream on Flickr for another view.)

Kor-2 rev

Kor Rollers vs Texture Stamps

Aside from the obvious difference in form, what are the difference between the Kor rollers and using stamps or texture sheets?

  • The designs of Kor rollers are mostly “outies” that will give you a design that is raised above the flat sheet of your clay. This is perfect for mica shift (just shave the bumps off), faux ceramic, and using powders like Pearl-Ex and Pan Pastels.
  • The designs are endless, and can go on as long as your sheet of clay is. While you’re limited in width to the length of the roller, you can make long strips of textures, such as for making borders on bowls or long bracelets. That’s not possible with rubber texture sheets.
  • The designs are very clean and crisp, with much sharper textures than is possible with rubber or silicone stamps.
  • Kor roller designs tend to be repeated patterns rather than one specific motif, perfect for making wallpaper-like backgrounds for your designs. They also make great backs for your pendants.
  • Most of the Kor roller designs are fairly neutral in “flavor”. They don’t have an obvious stylistic feel as stamps so often do. If you’re not into “cute”, you’ll find the Kor designs refreshing.
  • The scale of the designs is smaller and perfect for the smaller scale that clayers often work in.

Where Can you Buy Kor Rollers?

You can find Kor rollers from Poly Clay Play in the US, Clayaround in the UK and EU, Happy Things in the EU, and 2Wards Polymer Clay in Australia. You can also order them directly from Kor Tools. For the wooden MKM Handrollers, you can order them from Clayraound or directly from MKM Pottery Tools.

Want More Polymer Clay Reviews?

I love sharing and teaching about polymer clay and that includes giving you the low-down on the various polymer clay products and tools that I test and use. I promise to always give you a clear, honest, and unbiased review to help you make the best buying decisions you can. Click the button to see the rest of the reviews.

See More Reviews

30 thoughts on “Kor Rollers, a Review”

  1. Pingback: 101 façons de texturer l’argile polymère – Creacodile

  2. Pingback: 101 manieren om textuur aan te brengen op polymeerklei – Creacodile

  3. I just bought some from Clayaround, with some similar themed Helen Breil silkscreens. You can see where I’m going with this…..and with Lumiere paints. I’m really into making innie and outie impressions from leaves at the mo, and I’ll be making innie and outie texture mats with my Kor rollers too.
    inspired tip with the rubber background stamp. I was beginning to imagine the cramp setting in on my fingers! Thank you as ever for inspiration and ever more clever & fab tips and tricks.

  4. Thank you all for your great comments. Your support keeps me energized and thinking about new things to write about. It’s really wonderful to know that my articles are helpful and that it helps make things easier for everyone to be creating and having fun.

  5. I have found that the design, though identical in shape, is slightly larger on the 7.5 cm vs. the 5 cm roller and I can’t say I was happy about that.

    1. I asked Rick, the owner of Kor Tools, about that and he did confirm that this was the case for a couple of designs. But he also said that he’s heard us that we like the smaller design density and will try to stick with that in the future, at least when it’s possible.

  6. Marion Dhermain

    Thank you for all your very interesting reviews. But there is one I can’t understand, it is about the Kor rollers, in the paragraph “making an impression”. I don’t understand what you do with the second roller. Could I have a photo? Excuse me for my poor English !!!

  7. I found the rollers a while back and they have been on my wish list for a while Ginger 🙂
    Like so many things I am waiting on money 🙂 story of my life 🙂
    I love the way the rollers work and as you say an endless array of ideas to go with them too 🙂
    It was great to see what you had to say about them and was really happy that what I had thought of them you have confirmed for me 🙂
    I have seen some that actuall go onto a brayer handle now I will have to hunt that one down again when I do will send you the link 🙂 but from memory I think these rollers were made from aluminium 🙂 i know I bookmarked the site just have to find the link within my bookmarks 🙂
    Thank you again for a great report 🙂 I love the fact good or bad you tell it as it is 🙂
    Have a great day 🙂 Angela

  8. Dixie Ann Scott

    Hi Ginger, I love the depth of the pattern these rollers create. I actually purchased about 23 of them right after Cindy Leitz did a review on them sometime ago. I was so impressed with them I order some stamps too. I love your articles, they always have something new in them and the tip about using the rubber stamp with a wood block for rolling was terrific. Needless to say I will be trying that for sure. Thanks so much Ginger.

    1. Yes, Cindy did a product demo with them. Sounds like it was convincing…23! Wow, that’s a lot! But I know you’ll put them to good use. You sure have fun with your clay, that’s for sure!

  9. Annie Jacobi Jewelry

    Even though I’ve owned many of these rollers for a few months, I have not found time to experiment until I was satisfied with the results. Thank you for doing that for me so that I can concentrate on making beautiful jewelry!
    I often refer to your wonderful reviews and can depend on your impressions and results.
    You are an invaluable tool in my “resource center!”

    1. *did she just call me a tool??* Ha ha! Thanks Annie, I’m so glad the information is helpful. And I’m happy to be your “tool” if it leads to more good claying results. 🙂

  10. Excellent tip on using a rubber stamp. If I understand it right, I’d position the roller at the edge of a clay sheet, place one edge of the stamp part of a big rubber stamp on the roller, and push the stamp to roll the impression out over the clay sheet? It’ll probably make more sense when I try it, but I want to understand it right.
    Also, I really like the layered chalk pastel piece. I’ve been wanting to try that sort of stacked style for a while, makes complex looking focals.

  11. Kor Rollers are also carried by Creative Journey Studios, a wonderful resource for Atlanta metro clayers (and they do mail order but don’t yet have an online store).

    1. I wish they did have a website. I would be able to refer people to them more easily. It’s awkward and there’s always a delay when I have to contact them to know what they carry.

  12. Great, helpful article. Thanks so much. I purchased these a while ago, but haven’t used them yet. Your article was not only helpful, but inspirational!

Share your experience and thoughts:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top

Secret Subscriber Stuff!

There's more by Email.

More tips, more information, more interesting stuff that will help your polymer journey. No fluff. Plus, it’s free.

The website uses (electronic and non-edible) cookies to allow items to stay in your shopping cart, to eliminate banners you've already closed, to allow the social media share buttons to work, to allow you to log in and access your account, and anonymously to analyze traffic. Only anonymous data is shared with other services. You consent to these cookies if you continue to use this website. Thanks!