Are you looking for a polymer clay extruder? Do you want to be able to form more intricate and detailed clay objects with the push of a lever, well now you can. I know I’ve said it before and I will say it again, just when you think you’ve accumulated every tool in the box then along comes something else that will become yet again another big boon in your sculpting arsenal.
Look no further than this tool…which is also known as a clay gun, (it’s not that different from a caulking gun, appearance-wise.) this indispensable device will come in handy time and time again to produce unique skinny strands, ropes, coils and even cute cutouts like hearts or stars, all perfectly shaped with as little time as needed.
Some people also have found success with a cookie or garlic press, which is an inexpensive option that can help you to get finely formed shapes. That’s a good option too (more on that shortly…) if you spend some time browsing through culinary supplies – just be aware that you’ll have to dedicate it to your clay work exclusively and not use it for food. If you would prefer to have a tool that can not only push out finely formed shapes plus the addition of interchangeable cutout shape discs, all of them having different shapes, I’ve got you covered!
So whether you want to crank out some kinky curls for a doll or decorative ropes to adorn a pretty planter, you may want to keep reading.
While not all clay guns are equally as well made or as good, I want to introduce you to the top contenders so you can make an informed decision easily, and be on your way to more fun with your clay endeavors! So let’s take a look at that now.
Kemper Klay Gun
We’ll start with the first one, the Kemper Klay Gun. This tool is recommended by Donna Kato of Polyclay fame. This handy tool comes with 19 different shaped discs that will enable you to create thin or multi-layered ropes, strips, or whimsical shapes that you could slice off and use to embellish with after extraction.
At the time of writing, I saw it on Blick Art Materials for a few dollars less than the stated price on Amazon, as well as the option to purchase replacement discs, so it’s worth taking a look.
It has favorable reviews for it, but its overall rating seemed slightly below average: upon closer inspection I noticed that those who were not pleased with its performance, mentioned that they got it to use for fondant cake decorating. Even though the label indicates that it can work with this, it’s much better as a clay tool, so it should be used as such.
Wooden Clay Extruder with Crank Handle
The nest runner up is this gun tool by Walnut Hollow. the price is a tad higher than the Kemper , but it’s got the added feature of a crank handle, which you can turn instead, this would be great if you suffer from arthritis or another condition that affects your hands or wrists. It’s well made but a few people said they had trouble with the o-rings. A few extra replacement o-rings are included, and you also get 20 interchangeable dies. You will want to be sure you keep it clean after using. as buildup can hinder its performance.
The Makins Clay Gun
Lastly I want to introduce you to the Makins clay gun – Makins is a good brand in the clay world and lots of people report satisfactory performance overall with products.
It’s in a pretty green color (there are others that come in it but they didn’t have names that stood out) it has a special storage box that is included and also houses other parts including the 20 different dies.
A few people had trouble opening the box, so perhaps its design could be improved, good option nonetheless.
Garlic Presses as Clay Extruders
Another handy kitchen implement I’ve heard clay artists refer to for this purpose is the garlic press – and yes, it can be very useful (can’t beat these dual purpose objects, huh?) A good quality one made from stainless steel is close to the price on one of the tools above.
Only drawback as I see it, you may be limited to skinny strands, since these obviously don’t come with interchangeable shape discs. Maybe that’s not a problem for you, it depends on your goals. But it will serve you well if you’re trying to make hair for figurines, thin ropes for accent pieces, and the like.
So now you know the best options for a clay extruder to streamline all of your projects in need of small and delicate detail. Now minute objects like hair, twisted ropes and heart-shaped inserts are well within your grasp!
Also, if you have you tried any of these tools, and if so, I’d love to hear your experiences, comment below if you’d like to add your thoughts!