Polymer Clay has been around, in one form or another, since the late 1930s. A German doll maker Fifi Rehbinder, was having trouble finding her usual supplies, due to the political upheaval of the time.
Born out of necessity, she developed a plastic clay she called “Fifi Mosaik”, which she used for sculpting doll heads. In 1964 she sold the formula to the manufacturer Eberhard Faber who developed the formula into the Fimo brand of polymer clay and sold it in toy stores in Europe. By the 1970’s the medium had found its way to the United States. Concurrently in the US n the 1950s, clay illustrator Gordon Swenarton used a vinyl dough he obtained through his father, who was a chemist. And in the 1960s, Zenith Products Company in the United States “accidentally” created its own variety of polymer clay. By the 1990s, polymer clay’s popularity was obvious, and other manufacturers took notice and released that there was demand for a higher-quality man-made clay.
Now days there are many propriety brands of polymer clay on the market or you can even make it yourself!
Polymer clay is a generic term for man-made clay, essentially PVC, polyvinyl chloride. It is plastic, but until it is cured, it is a very malleable plastic. It can be shaped and reshaped a multitude of times without deterioration. Not a natural clay, it is man-made and is oven baked.
Polymer Clay is an art medium that is known for its versatility, pliability and simplicity to work with.
Unlike earthen clay, it doesn’t have to be fired in a kiln, nor will it dry out at room temperature, like other clays will do. Polymer clay cures at significantly lower temperatures than earthen clays, so it can be easily hardened in a home oven or toaster oven
Polymer clay is used by artists and hobbyists of all levels of skills. It stays continually soft and pliable until baked, retaining its color and size. The creative possibilities with this medium are endless and are only limited by your imagination. The tools that go with this clay are often found around the house and often start with a pasta machine. It is available in many colors, including metallics, glow-in-the-dark and “stone.” It can be used to simulate many materials: stone, semi-precious stones, porcelain, wood, and glass.