Ask Ginger: What is a texture sponge?

I’ve noticed that some artists use some sort of spongy sheet to make an abstract texture on their polymer clay. What is that and where can I get it? Melanie from Sussex, UK

Hi Melanie,

It sounds like you’re describing what’s often called a texture sponge. It’s a sheet of open cell foam that creates a subtle, random texture when pressed onto the surface of unbaked polymer clay. You can press the sheet onto the clay or you can roll the sheet onto your clay sheet with a roller or by going through the pasta machine.

earring and brooch back showing texture

This fine texture is a great way of disguising bubbles and other surface imperfections that are so common in our polymer clay creations. It’s especially nice for the backs of jewelry where you don’t necessarily want an obvious design, but still would like some texture. This texture also helps keep smooth pendants from sticking to the skin of your chest (yes, this is why pendants are textured on the back.)

These sponges are often available in a set with a variety of sponge pore sizes, allowing you to apply fine to coarse textures.

texture sponges from Nemravka

You can buy these texture sponges from a variety of suppliers around the world. Leila Bidler carries them in her Etsy shop. Penny Vingoe carries these texture sponges here. And the craft shop Nemravka in the Czech Republic has these textures, too. 

These sponges aren’t specially made for polymer clay. They’re filter material and if you can find a source of them, you can cut small sheets to make your own texture sponge. The issue, of course, is finding small enough quantities to make it worth your while. It’s often best to just buy a set from the sellers above.

You can sometimes find this filter material in aquarium supply shops, or as replacement filter for a window air conditioning unit. It’s sometimes sold as a spongy produce drawer liner for your refrigerator. Keep an eye open in dollar stores and pound shops.

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