Types Of Modelling Materials

Confused about all the different types of modelling materials available? Find out more with this handy guide that explores the most common types available.

Learn how to make salt dough and make some great decorations for your home.

Keep the kids occupied with my easy to make, no mess play dough recipe.

Make gorgeous jewelry with polymer clay beads like those in the photo. 

Click on one of the images below to take you directly down the page to that type of modelling material or scroll down to find out a bit more about each one before you decide. There's a button under each entry to bring you back here to the quick links menu.

Mia's Craft Ideas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Types Of Modelling Materials


Plasticine is a trade name for a plastic like modelling material, it is inexpensive and great fun to play with.

There are many other similar products available and they are usually sold in packs of several flat strips.

It comes in lots of bright colors as it's usually bought for children to play with.

It retains it's shape well and the colors can be mixed to get lots of different shades.
It lasts for a very long time and does not go moldy, though it can go very hard if left in a cold place.
It can be re-used over and over again as it cannot be set or baked. 

Play Dough

Play dough is another type of modelling material.

It comes in bright colors and is usually sold as a child's toy.

The most popular being sold under the trade name Play Doh.

It is softer than plasticine and there are a whole range of different tools, cutters and extruders that can be used with it.

The colors mix well and it can be used over and over again. If stored well in an air tight container it will last for a long time and does not go really hard like Plasticine. You cannot set or bake your models made with play dough but they will last a long time if you look after them.

It's really easy to make your own play dough at home, it can be made with basic ingredients that you will usually have your cupboard. The main ingredients are flour, salt and baking powder.

Home made play dough does not last as long as the shop bought type. It will soon go moldy if not stored well. If you keep it an airtight container in the fridge it will last for a few weeks. It is very easy and cheap to make so if it goes off you can just make a new batch.

Making it is almost as much fun as playing with the finished product.  You can find out how to make play dough by clicking on the photo above.

Polymer Clay

Polymer clay is a popular modelling material that is great for using at home.

It is contains polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and a plasticizer but does not actually have any clay minerals.

It keeps it shape very well and does not melt when heated in an oven, though you must follow the manufacturer's directions for baking.

It cannot be fired in a kiln as the high temperatures may cause the  release of harmful chemicals and you will probably ruin your work. You can buy paints and varnishes that will give your polymer clay the glazed look of real clay.

There are many different types of polymer clay and each one has it's own baking instructions. There are also many different tools, paints and varnishes available.

Fimo is a trade name of polymer clay, Sculpey is another well known one.

There are lots of different types and they all have their own baking instructions.

They come in wide range of colors and there are a lot of tools, cutters and extractors that you can use with them.

The clay can be rolled, cut and modeled in similar ways to real clay. Check out my polymer clay tutorials for more information.

Air Dry Modelling clay

There are a lot of different types of air dry modelling clay.

The clay looks and feels similar to Fimo and can be used in the same way.

It does not require baking and can just be left out to dry.

Unused clay should be wrapped in it's original packaging in an air tight container or it will harden.

Some types will become pliable again by adding water. I have found that air dried clay is more brittle than oven baked clay and is more likely to break if not handled with care.

Papier Mache

Papier Mache is a fantastic modelling medium.

It can be used to create almost anything from jewelry to furniture.

At it's simplest form you can just apply layer of paper strips around a mold and recreate the original mold shape in paper.

You can build up from that mold adding paper pulp create a completely different shape.

The main ingredient for paper mache is newspaper so it's an environmentally friendly craft.

Paper mache pulp is lovely to work with and has a consistency similar to clay. Once dried it can be drilled, carved, sanded and painted.
If you would like to have a go click on the photo above to see how to make a papier mache bowl.

Milliput Putty

Milliput is the trade name of an epoxy putty that is extremely durable and waterproof.

It will actually set under water and is often used to make decorations for fish tanks.

It comes in a box with two rolls of putty which you mix together in equal amounts.

Milliput can take a few hours to dry but once it does it becomes rock solid. It's very sticky when mixed and can be used to bond many surfaces together.
The putty can be smoothed down with water before it's set to get a nice smooth surface.

Salt Dough

Salt dough is a fantastic modelling material.

It's cheap to make as you only need flour, salt and water for the basic recipe. 

You won't need to buy any fancy tools or equipment.

You can bake it in a regular oven and it can be shaped with pastry cutters or a knife.   

It's lovely to work with and if baked properly will last for ages.

What would you like to do now?

Return to top of Modelling Materials where you can choose one of Mia’s craft ideas from the navigation bar on the left.

Visit Mia’s Craft Ideas home page to find out more about our website.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.