Modeling with Sculpt It Air Dry Clay - How it Compares
Playdough and Clay Sculpture

Modeling with Sculpt It Air Dry Clay

Modeling with Sculpt It Air Dry Clay - How it Compares

Hello, my friends. It’s been a while. Yet again.

I dislike prefacing all my posts with apologies for my absence, but I’m still getting my act together. (I hope. Trying anyway…)

Every time I sit down at the computer to write, I find myself out in the garden, barefoot, planting and weeding, mulching and thinking. Or curled up on the sofa reading stories with my kiddos while it rains outside (it’s been raining a LOT).

I’d like to say we’ve been doing loads of art, but besides chalkboard drawings and some clay modeling, the art making has been rather sparse lately as well.

So today, while a 10-year-old friend is baking with the kids in the kitchen, I thought I’d write about an air dry clay we tried, oh, a couple months ago.

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 01

But it’s good stuff! I’ve been to write about it for the last two months. :)

The white clay is called Sculpt-It and it is easy to model with, dries well, and doesn’t break as some air dry clays do. Plus it takes paint well. I bought ours from Discount School Supply for $10 but it might be available in arts and crafts stores as well.

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 03

Daphne mostly poked things into her chunk of Sculpt It clay. Such as toothpicks…

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 10

…and beads.

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 16

She really enjoyed working with the clay!

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 12

Maia, and a friend of hers from school, rolled and shaped the air dry clay.

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 15

Maia made a rose.

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 19

Both 7 year olds created small containers with decorated lids (that’s another rose on top of this one).

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 22

Daphne was inspired by the big kids and wanted to make a little box, too. So, long after Maia and her friend had moved on to other things, Daphne stayed at the table and worked carefully on shaping a box. So much for the three year old attention span.

Here she’s making a pinch pot out of the clay (with some guidance from me) for the bottom part.

Sculpt It Air Dry Clay 27

She then made a lid and added another little bowl on top, decorated it with beads, and then filled it with even more beads.

Air Dry Clay 1

Once the clay sculptures had dried, the kids painted them with acrylic paint. I think tempera or another paint would work okay as well but am not sure.

Air Dry Clay 5

I had bought the Sculpt-It air dry clay just to experiment. I didn’t have big expectations but wanted to give it a try. I knew how much we loved regular clay (which we let air dry) and Model Magic (even though it breaks too easily after it dries).

Modeling with Air Dry Clay -- Sculpt It!

But this air dry clay worked really well! It was easy to work with—not too stiff. It dried well. The finished sculptures were sturdy. And the dried surface took paint easily. I will definitely buy this again.

Air dry clay we’ve tried so far

Have you worked with air dry clay before? Do you have a favorite brand?

This post contains affiliate links.


  • Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    This is really good to know! Isaac has been expressing an interest in clay lately, and I’ve been to swamped to have time to research good air-dry clay! So glad to see your posts whenever you are able, Jean. No apology necessary.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I’m an elementary art teacher and I inherited a tub of Sculpt-It clay when I moved to a new school last year. I like it better than Crayola Air-Dry clay and Crayola Model Magic. I felt Crayola Air-Dry clay was a little bit fragile, kind of like real clay is when it dries but is not fired in a kiln. Sculpt-It seems stronger. Also, my students painted their Sculpt-It sculptures with tempera paint and it worked well. Although some old Prang brand tempera paint did crackle when it dried. Tempera paint won’t be shiny and waterproof when it dries though unless you seal it with mod podge or something similar.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    My daughter has used air-dry clay to make little dishes, bowls and plates for the fairies in her fairy garden. It’s great to paint afterwards. I really love your blog – good to see you again!

  • Reply
    Rachelle | Tinkerlab
    July 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    We recently tried Sculpt It, and I love it! It’s easy to use and it dries beautifully…not crumbly and the texture is smooth. Enjoy your summer and know that we’re here waiting on your every word!

  • Reply
    Mel Brammer
    July 17, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Good to see you again, I love your blog. I’ve been itching to try out some air-dry clay for a while now, and have got some Galt Toys (4lb for £4.99) in my Amazon basket at the moment. Can’t wait to let the little ones get their hands on it (and me!).

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Thanks, Kari! The Sculpt It stuff is really good. Although if he’s interested in clay, I’d definitely let him play around with the real thing. We just air dry ours and then paint it with acrylic paint — it’s been working well. But you don’t need to dry it. You can just model/play/build with it and then store it in an airtight container to use again and again. The tactile experience can’t be beat.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Good to know about the differences between the Sculpt It clay and the Crayola air dry clay. Thanks, Emily!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Oh, what a great idea!! Maia has been very into fairies and a fairy house she built in the garden. She would probably love to make things for them with the air dry clay!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Yes! It’s one of our favorites! We love all Miyazaki’s films!! (Although the kids haven’t watched them all yet…)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I completely agree with your assessment of the Sculpt It clay, Rachelle! It’s good to hear from you! Hope you are doing well!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Hi Mel – I haven’t heard of that brand, but look forward to hearing how it works out for you. Will you let me know if you think of it? Thanks!

  • Reply
    July 18, 2013 at 3:53 am

    I agree with the Crayola Air Dry clay. My daughter just created a few pieces recently and they dried a bit fragile and crumbly. I also noticed it didn’t keep as well in the tub for the portions we didn’t use (started drying out once tub was opened). I’ll have to try the Sculpt-It. Thanks!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Yes! I’ve tried the Crayola Air Dry Clay- and its not that great. I had high hopes as it is crayola, but it breaks even after 7 days of drying. So my advise is its great for any objects you don’t plan on handling often at all… I can’t wait to try sculpt it though!

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