How to Use Clay Modeling Tools

Written by nicole carlin
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How to Use Clay Modeling Tools
Learning how to use clay modelling tools can help you achieve professional results. (clay pitcher image by Leonid Nyshko from

There are many tools artists use to shape and alter the look and feel of modelling clay. Modelling clay can be oil-based or polymer-based, and is pliable and soft to the touch when moist but hardens once you leave it to dry. Modelling clay is easy to work with, but achieving intricate shapes without using the proper tools can be tricky. Learning to use these tools is one way you can bring your clay models up to a professional standard, and you can play around with the tools to learn new techniques.

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  1. 1

    Use 5- and 6-inch wood-and-wire clay modelling tools to remove pieces or chunks of clay in order to achieve a specific shape. These tools have a wooden handle with an inset wire loop.The wire heads are available in various sizes and shapes, so you can use them to take precisely shaped pieces out of the clay.

  2. 2

    Use an 8-inch wood-and-wire tool to take large-sized chunks out of the clay. This tool is indispensable for modelling larger pottery pieces.

  3. 3

    Use a rubber-headed smoothing tool to press out unnecessary bumps and protuberances and create an even surface on your clay piece.

  4. 4

    Use a wooden scraper tool to create contours in your clay piece. You can also use the scraper to apply small bits of clay to your piece in areas that might be hard to reach otherwise. Use scraper tools to carve lines and designs in your piece, particularly if you are throwing on a wheel.

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