Exploring Wire and Polymer Clay: Basic Techniques and Creative Possibilities

Wire is hard, and polymer clay is soft, yet, they work together beautifully. Wire can strengthen, beautify, and add flair to your clay creations. Here are the basics, I’ll leave it to you to explore the endless creative options.

There are several ways that you can use wire with polymer clay, but they fall into three main categories. The first is structural, we use wire as an armature or a form to support polymer clay. You can bulk out the wire with crumpled aluminum foil, then cover with floral tape. This gives a nice base for adding polymer clay.

Polymer gets soft in the oven and only hardens after cooling. So, thinner areas like arms, legs and tails need to be supported. In these photos, you can see the stages of a wire armature I created to support my dragon sculpture.

Steampunk dragon from my class on Etsy

Another way that wire is combined with polymer clay is often used in making jewelry. This is to create hanging loops. If you simply stick a straight eye pin into a piece of polymer clay, then bake it, you can expect that it will pull right out of the clay after baking.

Instead, what you need to do is embed a loop, or even just a messy squiggle, of wire into the clay. Then, when the clay hardens around the wire, it will not pull out.

Of course, you need to add at least a small piece of clay over the wire so it’s embedded. A textured backing over the whole piece looks even nicer.

Finally, you can use wire in a purely decorative manner on polymer clay. You can create spirals, coils, loops, or whatever you like with wire, they can be partially embedded or pressed into the surface of the clay. If the wire is not embedded, it may pop out after baking, but then you can glue it in place if you like.

A stronger way to use wire as decoration on clay pieces is to have clay embellishments that embed the wire onto the clay, such as the flowers in this necklace pendant.

Integrating wire with polymer clay opens up a world of creative possibilities. Whether you’re adding structural support to sculptures, crafting intricate jewelry pieces, or embellishing with decorative accents, mastering these basic techniques will enhance your clay creations. So, pick up your tools, and get claying!

I hope you found these ideas helpful. Please share your best tips and tricks for working with wire and polymer clay.

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