Below, we look at whether Dremel rotary tools can be used for polymer clay, and what they might be used for.
We also consider what the best Dremel for polymer clay might be.
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Firstly, What Is Polymer Clay?
Polymer clay is a type modelling clay/putty made of PVC
It’s used by hobbyists, artists, and makers, to make a range of different types of items, such as jewellery (like earrings and pendants), beads, models/figurines, and other handmade items
Once it’s been molded/shaped into a desired object, it is then heated/baked, and it hardens up and cures
Can A Dremel Be Used For Polymer Clay?
A Dremel rotary tool might be used on polymer clay once it’s hardened
Other softer plastic materials and items might melt easily from the friction of a spinning rotary tool bit
But, properly hardened/cured polymer clay might not face the same issue
Additionally, polymer clay that has been baked/heated for long enough (the time/duration for heating is usually provided by the clay manufacturer) should be hard enough to use a rotary tool on, without it being brittle enough to fall apart or crack
One of the benefits of using a rotary tool like a Dremel is that because it’s powered, it can take some of the hard work out of manually hand finishing the clay item (although, some may still choose this option for different reasons)
But, you might keep in mind some of the following points:
– Checking with the clay manufacturer/supplier about the best ways to finish the clay when it’s hardened (and checking to see that a Dremel is suitable)
– Using a Dremel with a low enough RPM speed/setting to minimise friction. Higher RPM speeds may increase the chances of damaging the clay with more friction
– Using bits/accessories on the Dremel that aren’t too coarse
– Using drill bits that are thinner where necessary. Thicker/bigger drill bits may crack the clay
What Can A Dremel Be Used For On Polymer Clay?
A Dremel rotary tool might be used on hardened polymer clay in a number of ways to finish or modify the clay.
Some of those ways might include:
– Sanding (for smoothing surfaces)
– Grinding (especially grinding edges to shape the clay object, and smoothen edges)
– Polishing and buffing
– Drilling (for earrings, necklaces, beads, and other items that need holes)
– Engraving and carving (for designs on the surface of the clay)
How To Use A Dremel On Polymer Clay
There’s a range of videos online of people using Dremels on different hardened polymer clay items. It might be worth checking out these videos to see how these people use Dremels.
Additionally, websites that have some good information on working with polymer clay when using a Dremel, include thebluebottletree.com, and jessamatutorials.com
Best Dremel For Polymer Clay
Some of the best Dremel rotary tools to use for working with polymer clay might be:
Small & Specialized Dremel Rotary Tools
Dremel has two small and specialised rotary tools that are designed for light duty and detail orientated type work, like arts and crafts, and potentially working with polymer clay.
– Dremel Stylo+
A corded rotary tool designed specifically for crafting, and detail orientated works.
It’s smaller, and lighter than Dremel’s 4000 and 8000 series rotary tools, and can be held and controlled in a similar way to a pen.
– Dremel Lite 7760
A cordless rotary tool designed specifically for light duty crafting and DIY type work.
It’s smaller, and lighter than Dremel’s 4000 and 8000 series rotary tools.
Larger, More Versatile Dremel Rotary Tools
These tools below might allow the user to work on polymer clay, but, also use a Dremel tool for other types of work too.
– Dremel 4000 Series
The 4000 series currently have Dremel’s highest performance and most versatile corded Dremel models.
The 4000 series models are larger than the small/specialized Dremel rotary tools, but they allow the user more versatility to do tasks and activities outside of specialty activities like crafting for example.
The 4300 and 4250 models are currently the highest performance models:
Dremel 4250 Rotary Tool – Currently, there’s no US Amazon link available to buy this tool. We will update this link when the product is available. Buying options for the 4250 might currently be available from the Dremel site, or, the tool might be available for sale directly from some sellers
– Dremel 3000
The 3000 model is still a reasonably versatile corded tool, but, it’s an older and lower spec’d model than the 4000 series models.
You can view the 3000 here – Dremel 3000 Rotary Tool (on Amazon)
– Dremel 8000 Series
The 8000 series currently have Dremel’s highest performance cordless Dremel models.
Like the 4000 series models, the 8000 series models are larger than the small/specialized Dremel rotary tools, but they allow the user more versatility to do tasks and activities outside of specialty activities like crafting for example.
The 8260 and 8250 are currently the most advanced models:
Dremel 8260 Rotary Tool – Currently, there’s no US Amazon link available to buy this tool. We will update this link when the product is available. Buying options for the 8260 might currently be available from the Dremel site, or, the tool might be available for sale directly from some sellers
– Dremel Flex Shaft Attachment
Dremel also has a lightweight attachment that attaches to most of the popular Dremel rotary tools
It is designed for precision and detail orientated work (which might be useful for working on polymer clay), and you can hold it like a pen.
That attachment is the Dremel Flex Shaft Attachment (on Amazon)
– Dremel Drill Press Workstation
Specifically for drilling with a Dremel rotary tool, Dremel offers the Dremel Drill Press Rotary Tool Workstation (on Amazon)
This workstation is compatible with most of Dremel’s most popular rotary tools.
It holds the tool, and allows the user to drill holes with it.
This workstation (equipped with a Dremel rotary tool) might be suitable for drilling into polymer clay.
Dremel Bits/Accessories, & Attachments For Polymer Clay
It depends on what type of activity you are wanting to perform with the Dremel as to what bit/accessory you use.
But, some bits that might be useful to use might be:
– Sanding bands and drums, or sanding discs
– Grinding stones, or grinding discs
– Polishing/buffing wheels
– Drill bits
– Carving and engraving bits
Above, we mentioned the Flex Shaft Attachment, and the Drill Press Workstation as potentially suitable attachments for polymer clay
Other Ways To Finish & Work On Polymer Clay
Using a Dremel isn’t the only way to finish and work on polymer clay once it’s been baked/cured.
There’s various other ways, such as:
– Filling in cracks with putty
– Sanding it with sand paper (wet or dry)
– Using a rubbing alcohol to remove surface imperfections
– Glazing, sealing or varnishing it with different chemicals or substances
– Polishing it with a polishing pad/cloth
– Plus other ways
Some websites that contain a range of information about working on polymer clay include:
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