I’m right in the midst of a studio overhaul (update: overhaul is finished and you can take a peak at my studio here!) and I am re-evaluating how I have my most commonly used tools and materials arranged around my work station in my studio. I have long had a coffee mug that I use for pens and scissors and that has grown to include brushes, a toothbrush, and a palette knife. But I kept all my polymer clay tools in a 3-drawer unit above my desk. It held all my blades, my craft knife, needle tools, ball styluses, a micro-drill, and various other pokey things like dental tools.
But the drawer started to become a true hazard. Not only could I never find anything, but notice what all those things have in common. They’re sharp. So digging through that drawer became…challenging. I remembered a box of tools Polyform sent me last April. And sure enough, it included the Sculpey Tool Organizer. So I didn’t waste any time in putting it together and filling it with all my tools.
About the Sculpey Tool Organizer Rack
The rack is made from grey plastic and consists of a base, a support grid, and two chrome metal posts. The metal posts slide into the base and the grid slides onto the posts. Nothing snaps into place or is held together by glue, so you can easily take it apart if necessary.
The top grid is a bit flimsy, but it’s not designed to hold any weight. Rather it’s made to keep the tools upright. Notice the rack has a long compartment at the back, and then a grid of small squares, large squares, and then some rectangular holes. The base is roughly 8.5″ x 4.5″ (22cm x 11.4cm) and it’s 3.75″ (9.5cm) high.
I filled the rack with all sorts of things from my drawer. The pens, brushes, ball styluses, a knitting needle, and the blades fit particularly nicely in the rack, as you can see. And one of those big squares was perfect for my acrylic roller. There are a lot of compartments and you can actually fit quite a bit into this rack. But I was left with some holes that nothing really fit into, and tools that didn’t really have a place in the rack.
I will say that I was surprised that this tool rack held as much as it did. There are places for some of the most commonly used polymer clay tools such as a ball stylus, sculpting tools, and blades. Blades are kept upright in their little bay, separate from other tools (making it easier and safer to grab a blade). The base is stable and doesn’t flip over or wobble, but it does come apart if you try to lift it by the top rack. So it’s awkward to move. Scoot it, don’t lift it.
But the rack is really designed to hold Sculpey’s line of tools best. The little holes on the far left side are pretty useless for me (though my needle tools do fit in there, kind of wobbly-like). But they’re designed to hold the tips of their 5 in 1 Tool Kit. The long groove in the front is an awkward fit for my two hand drills, but its semi-circular design is made to hold the heads of their Texture Wheel. Over on the right are some slots that nothing fits into. Sure, I could find something to fit in there, perhaps Post-it notes. But it doesn’t fill a need for me. It’s wasted space. It is designed to hold their Technique Design Blocks. And the long slot at the back is designed to hold their texture sheets. But if you have the thicker rubber texture sheets, you won’t fit many into this slot. I did find that the slot itself did hold my acrylic square that I use for making lentil beads, though.
Two things that don’t fit very well in this rack are scissors and sharpies. I use a sharpie to mark so many things in my studio (though not to write on clay), but it only fits in the rack with the cap end up. To keep from drying out, markers should be stored either flat or cap end down. It’s also really awkward putting my craft knife into the rack because it has to stand pointy end down, which just feels wrong somehow. Also, I use a toothbrush and a palette knife a lot, and the large handles of those things don’t fit in the rack either. The top grid of the rack is also a bit too high to give good support for a pair of tweezers.
Is the Sculpey Tool Organizer Worth the Price?
If I hadn’t been given this tool rack for free, would this be something that would be worth it to purchase for myself? Well, I have to say this is kind of a gimmick. It does its job, I certainly can’t fault that. And if you are a Sculpey Fan Girl and have every one of their tools, then perhaps it would be really neat to have it all together in one nice little rack. But it’s not going to hold all your tools. You’re still going to have to come up with a solution for your tiny tools, short tools, and anything with a thick handle. And the long bay in the front isn’t long enough to hold pens.
Update: It’s two years later and you know what? I’m still using this as my main tool rack. I don’t like the fact that certain slots don’t have a use and that things fall down the back sometimes. But I don’t dislike it enough to find another rack. It works better than what I was using before. So there you have it. I like it well enough and I’m still using it!
What Are Some Alternatives to the Sculpey Tool Rack?
Well…we polymer clay artists are a creative bunch. We are known for being innovative. At the very simplest, you could easily just have three or four coffee mugs, each with a different type of tool. Or you could use tin cans. I know you can well imagine how you could easily use polymer clay to create a custom-made tool organization center that’s perfect for the exact way that you need to organize your tools. Below are several tool organizers that Wendy Jorre de St. Jorre made with polymer clay.
Of course, if you’re thrifty, you might find a desk organizer and pencil holder at a garage sale or thrift store. My mother found this revolving pencil and supply holder for a mere quarter. (Have you thought about outfitting your studio with thrifted items? I wrote a whole article about it.)
So if you’re in the mood to splurge, the Sculpey Tool Organizer does what it says it does. But if you’re feeling a bit more energetic, you’ll save some money and probably get a more useful organizer if you make your own.
Thank You Polyform
I received this Sculpey Tool Organizer from Polyform as part of a package of tools they sent to polymer clay artists in the spring of 2014 when they launched their new line of tools and of course, their excellent Souffle clay. Thank you Polyform! But I want you to know that whether I receive a product from a supplier or have to buy them myself (which is by far most common scenario), I will always try my best to give you the most impartial and most “real” advice that I can.
Email is the best way
to get updates
You will LOVE getting this email, which is packed full of polymer clay goodness. About once a week.
16 thoughts on “Sculpey Tool Organizer Review”
I use a couple of these for my tools with a piece of cardboard on the bottom. http://www.encorebabyregistry.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Bottle-Dishwasher-Rack.jpg
It holds all my sculpting and carving tools perfectly and keeps them upright and visible. It doesnt hold my larger tools or blades but a mug works perfect for those. I got mine in a thrift store for a few pennies each. They are meant to hold small items in a dishwasher.
I have yearned after one of these Sculpey organisers for some time but it’s so very expensive, I think last time I looked it was something like 30 quid. That’s a heck of a lot!
I looked at your picture and see that you have a ‘normal’ acrylic roller. Well I don’t, I have an icing one with 2 pairs of rubber bands for height guides, it’s not the see-through clear acrylic most of them are and I have a suspicion that mine is also a lot fatter. So now I’m not sure it would fit in the organiser.
I have about 4 actual Sculpey tools, and they are the blades. The rest are random tools from Pergamo (2 ball tools) to more Icing tools (ranging from ball tools to tools we used to have for china clay, only in plastic, not wood) I have the wooden clay tools too, plus art tools: paintbrushes, palette knives, rubber smoothing tools, various odd diameters of pipe from plastic tubing to deconstructed pens and lots more like that, plus all my pliers, tweezers and scissors.
It’s a nightmare trying to find anything. At the moment I use an old plastic box that held the liquitab capsules for washing your clothes, and a quite tall tin with no lid – like some biscuits used to come in and lots and lots of old plastic soups containers, and some things are in old curry dinner containers.
Some things just have nowhere to go at all, and they lie higgledy-piggledy any old where.
Frankly it’s a total mess and either me or one or more of the tools is going to get damaged.
This situation makes me very interested in any more organised way of storing tools, but I’m beginning to think I need to make one… I’m just not sure how.
Thanks for the review, your views and explanations have certainly helped me in my thinking about this.
See, this is my big problem with the rack. It’s really a great rack in a lot of ways. But it’s not a comprehensive solution if you have a lot of different types of things you’ve collected. And that’s a lot of money for something that doesn’t solve very much of my problem. The hole for the acrylic roller is 28mm square, if that helps. I know just the liquitab box that you mean…I was just wishing for one the other day. We don’t have them here like that. I would say that to make a holder, just collect all sorts of bits that are the right size, wire or tape them together as needed, and go from there. If they’re metal containers, like soup tins, then you can just cover them with polymer and decorate as you wish.
I received a desktop organizer for Christmas. A white wooden framed lazy susan from Michaels. Im liking it, other than it clutters too easily… or is that just me? LOL
I think I’d lean towards more what Wendy did… THAT is spectatcular. I’ve seen the Sculpey one, and I am a sucker for desktop organizers, not that mine is organized, but more for the fact that I’m constantly in search of the perfect one. Since my hobbies have spanned rubberstamping and papercrafts I’ve seen a lot of them, had a few, but not impressed by many and still go back to cans, mugs and currently something called FÖRHÖJA from IKEA. The Sculpey one seems like it’s a viable option in theory but a bit too proprietary for all my random non-brand tools and gadgets. 😀
You had me at IKEA. We just got one near here finally (near…it’s 3 hours away), and I’m reveling in all the wonderful stuffs I can spend my money on. Now if they only made a clay tool organizer…kismet!
I bought this for full price and I wouldn’t want to swap it and get my money back, so that’s a good sign. I’d like it to be more generous (I can only fit my Makins texture sheets in the back and my acrylic block is too fat). I’d also like the top bit to be deeper, so that it was more of a guide to dropping the tools into the correct holes in the base – at the moment getting it righ feels a bit like a game show, or a fairground side show “Three tools for a pound! Get them into the right holes first time and win a Teddy!”. I’m FAR too fussy to just let them fall as they land. I have my acrylic roller in one of the fat squares (a tight fit) but I’ve got my Makins clay extruder in the other one and the disks in one of the little slots (front right) which is exceptionally pleasing. The little round holes on the left are a bit useless but I did put toothpicks in one. I still have other holders but I really love that I can identify my wax carving tools and ball tools so easily now. I’d give it 8/10.
Ah! The Extruder! I never thought of that! Yes, you could put the disks in the little holes. Brilliant! I’m with you about dropping the tools into the holes…it’s a bit fussy. I felt the same way. Your assessment makes me think I should let it stick around a while longer. Maybe it’ll grow on me.
Hmm. I didn’t really think about the extruder either. Right now I have both big slots used… One with roller and one with hexagon shaped measurer (I can’t remember what it’s called), but I could put the extruder in one of my coffee cups and store the disks in the organizer.
Ah yes, the Marxit is the tool you mean. I’m glad to know that it fits.
Ginger, I appreciate your friendly and seasoned honesty, along with your other knowledgable tips, tricks and tutorials!
I’m a newbie to your newsletter. (Due to an aversion to junk mail.) I expect your posts will rate a special folder
Aw, thanks Tami. Glad to have you on board!
Ginger, first off, I wanted to tell you that when I clicked on the link in my email it took me to a previous post, not this one.
I think your evaluation is a good one. I did recently buy this organizer … Mainly because I am a tool junkie and I had a 40% off coupon. I previously had about 5 coffee cups which held my tools. I reorganized and stored away my duplicate tools. Now I have this organizer and 2 coffee cups which are holding my odd size tools and my less frequently used tools.
I was concerned about the organizer being hard to move since you can’t pick it up by the top without risking it falling apart. But after using it I found that sliding it works fine for me. Another thing I was concerned about was it seemed a little hard putting tools Into it, but I got used to it.
So, for me I decided it works well. The advantages are it fits my blades, I can see both ends of my double ended tools, fits my roller and ruler. And I agree with what you said about it holding a lot. Right now I am in mode of figuring out which tools I use the most and moving them to the new organizer.
I’m SO sorry about the bad link. Grr. I hate making mistakes. But I’m glad you got to the right place. I will likely keep using this organizer because just as you said, it does hold some things very well, like the blades and roller. And I’ll grab another mug for the rest of my tools. (I have several cobalt blue ones, funny that.) And I also had the same thought about lifting it up. But once your table’s all set, you don’t typically move your tool holders.
Loved this Ginger. And your honesty. By far my best storage things have come from our local tip. (?dump in the US) The best ever are two revolving things that I just made some smaller compartments in and folks in classes told me they were for remote controls. My goodness some people must have a lot of remote controls. Anyway, I have one for my polymer stuff and another for pliers and they are just wonderful. Wendy’s caddy there is sumptuous isn’t it? She is amazing! Thanks very much for this!
Yes, we call it the dump. Not that they have them anymore. I haven’t seen one in years (but oh…my childhood)! I know just the holder that you mean. I will have to keep an eye open for one of those. Sounds like a great idea.
Comments are closed.