I’m right in the midst of a studio overhaul 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. This rack retails for $19.99, but can be found for a reduced price at Poly Clay Play.
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.