From ceramics to sculpture, clay serves many different purposes. Nowadays, however, this material can be found in different forms for different creative purposes. Air-dry clay, for instance, allows an artist to create artwork that will harden if left alone. On the other hand, modeling clay provides an artist with many different opportunities, including practice, model-making, and, in some instances, as the material for finished artwork.
Typically, modeling clay is oil-based or wax-based—making it extremely malleable and easy to reshape time and time again. In other instances, however, it can be a type of air-dry clay, meaning that if left alone for a period of time, the clay can completely harden. Your need will determine which kind of clay you require. Fortunately, we've narrowed down the options to make choosing the right one much easier.
See our selection of the 10 best modeling clays, below.
Want to refine your sculpting skills? We've selected the 10 best modeling clays available.
Aves Apoxie Sculpt
If you want a modeling clay that will harden when you're done, then Aves's Apoxie Clay is ideal. This product combines sculpting clay with the adhesive power of epoxy, making it great for not only sculpting but also bonding and embellishing. It also self-hardens within 24 hours when left alone.
Van Aken Plastalina Modeling Clay
Available in a variety of colors, Van Aken's Plastalina Modeling Clay is favored among professional sculptors, model makers, animators, as well as children. It is oil-based—so it won't harden over time—and it provides a smooth consistency, which is great for many types of sculptures.
DAS Idea Mix
If you want to take your modeling clay up a notch, then this product by Das is ideal. The Idea Mix gives you the opportunity to make striking marble-pattered creations. When you're done sculpting, all you need to do is set your work aside, and it will air-dry with time.
Chavant Prima Plastilina Clay
Prima Plastilina is a professional-grade modeling clay that is oil-based, meaning that it never hardens with air exposure or over time. Plus, it is sulfur-free and has no odor.
Chavant Roma Plastilina Modeling Clay
Similar to the Prima Plastilina, Chavant's Roma Plastilina comes in three different consistencies: soft, medium, and firm. All of these variations are permanently pliable.
The Monster Makers Monster Clay
This clay by The Monster Makers is a sulfur-free, non-drying clay that can be reshaped numerous times without hardening. It is available in different variations of firmness and features an ultra-smooth texture that is ideal for fine detail and intricate work.
Das Modeling Clay
Das provides a high-quality modeling clay that, while malleable with usage, will become completely dry in 24 hours if left untouched, so no baking is required. Afterward, you can decorate your art with paint, markers, or varnish.
Chavant Jolly King Plasteline
Chavant's Jolly King Plasteline offers high-quality clay at an economical price. It is made of a wax base and provides a smooth, pliable, non-hardening modeling material.
Sargent Art Professional Sculpture Clay
This oil-based sculpting clay by Sargent Art is ideal for mold-making, prototyping, and refining other sculpting techniques. After finishing a work of art, it can be repurposed and reshaped again and again.
Van Aken Claytoon Modeling Clay
Claytoon is known for its smooth consistency and brilliant colors. Often used in claymation, it remains soft and pliable even if left out for weeks and is also safe for children.
Books About Modeling Clay
Want more ideas on how to use modeling clay or learn new techniques? Check out some of these books. (Making a purchase via Bookshop helps support independent bookstores.)