Different Types of Clay and Their Uses

Clay modeling is a fun and enjoyable hobby for many. Kneading, squashing and shaping the soft clay into different shapes and forms is quite easy. It comes as ready to use and you can make almost anything you wish with this malleable and putty like substance. In fact, it must be about the most versatile and handy to use art material!

But when you shop for clay in the market, you will find yourself feeling inundated by the various types of clay that are on offer. The shopkeeper will most likely ask you if you want oil based clay, water based clay, polymer clay or dough clay.

Updating yourself with the different types of clay will enable you to choose the right one to suit your specific purpose. Let’s take a look:

Dough clay -This is a simple, safe, cheap and reusable. It is non toxic and therefore, considered safe to use even by children. In fact, PlayDoh is extremely popular with kids and can be easily made at home as well. However, it tends to dry quickly and should be stored in air tight containers after use. The craftwork will crack after some time and is not long lasting.

Water based clay -This is the versatile that is very popular in animatronics. It is smooth, flexible, but will dry slowly as the water evaporates when exposed to air. Sculptors often favor water based clays but they need to keep it moist during use.

Polymer modeling clay – This is also soft It should be baked in an oven for proper curing and finishing.

Ceramic clay – This material comes in various types and is commonly regular by potters for making pots, stoneware and other glazed items.

Oil based clay -This type of material is made by mixing certain oils or waxes with clay. It is non-drying and will never harden or crack even after being exposed to the air. It can even be reused many times by heating. In fact, heating and cooling enables the artist to control the pliability of the clay.

This is why oil material can suit almost any application and are particularly appropriate for clay modeling and casting works. It is commonly used as a mold making material for mask making, special effects, and resin or metal casts.Some variants are used for making automobile prototypes and even as a backing material for testing body armor.

Also known as Plasticine clay, Roma, Chavant and DeMilano are the popular brands of oil based clay available in the market. However, you need to keep in mind that the sulfur content of this clay can inhibit the setting of some silicone mold rubbers. It is better to use sulfur free plasticine is such situations.

In sum, while there are various types of clay, oil based ones are most popular and useful for clay modeling!