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Polymer Clay 101: Conditioning, Rolling, and Marbleizing Clay

Learn the basics of preparing clay, mixing colors, and making shapes. 

Photography: Johnny Miller

Source: Martha Stewart



Polymer clays: unless otherwise specified, all polymer clays are by Sculpey (Premo, Sculpey III, and Studio by Sculpey) from

Pictured: Sculpey III polymer clay in Sunset and White. Premo polymer clay in Alizarin Crimson

Clay-conditioning machine, $25, by Sculpey,



  • Polymer clay

  • Clay-conditioning machine


  1. Conditioning: Polymer clay must be softened to prevent cracking and breakage. Knead it in your hands, and then run it through a conditioning maching (about $25 at craft stores). This tool makes the clay pliable, presses consistently flat sheets of various thicknesses, and blends colors. 

  2. To blend, form 2 or 3 rolls of clay and twist together (experiment with different sizes and color combinations). 

  3. Flatten roll by hand, and then run it through the conditioning machine. 

  4. Use flattened pieces for a stripy look, or roll it up and run it through the machine again for a marbleized effect. 

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