Polymer Glossary

 The following glossary was created with the help of "Webster's Dictionary", Seventh Edition,

"The New Clay",by Nan Roche, "Color Harmony", by Hideaki Chijiwa,

"PolyInformer" newsletter and conversation amongst polymer artists.

It is presented to help those unfamiliar with terms to understand information regarding polymer clay.



Colors without color, black and shades of gray.

Acrylic sheet

a flat sheet of acrylic, variable size or thickness, often used as a work surface.

Analogous Colors

colors next to each other on the color wheel.


applied on top of.


a skeletal framework used as a structural support.

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a small 2 oz unit of FIMO clay, or other polymer clay.


a roller tool that has a handle for leverage and increased pressure. Acrylic Brayers are suitable for work with FIMO because an artist can see the surface while rolling.


a large 13 oz. unit of FIMO®.

Buffing Wheel

a machine driven wheel that has a muslin or flannel disk used for buffing. Also available are drill pads with muslin bonnets which also work in shining polymer surfaces.

Bull’s Eye

a design of circles, increasing in diameter and graduating outward from the same midpoint.


a tool with a flat blunt wand used to smooth or shine an area using friction.

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a cylinder or length (any shape) of clay (or glass) wherein several rods or sheets of color have been placed together to form a design running lengthwise through the shape

Clay Extruder

a hand operated tool that presses clay through an opening to extrude the clay in a continuous shape.


the preparation of polymer clay before use. Polymer clay must be kneaded or made pliable before use to allow the molecules in the clay to align properly for stretching.

Convection Oven

an oven that heats with a continuous flow of air. This is particularly favorable when even and exact heating is desired.

Crimp Bead

a tiny metal bead that clamps flat to hold wire by pressure.

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Name brand of a silicate base glue, strong and water resistant.

Embossing Powder

powders used in stamping design and when heat treated will become a shiny solid and rise slightly above the surface.

Eye Pin

a long straight rigid metal wire with a loop at one end used in connecting beads or jewelry findings.

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FIMO® modeling material

polymer clay modeling material manufactured by Eberhard Faber, Gmbh, Germany.

components used in making jewelry usually referring to the mechanical apparatus.

Food Processor

a motorized chopper intended for food but also used to condition polymer clay.

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Glow in the Dark

fluorescent or colors glowing under a black light.

Gold Leaf

a extremely thin sheet of imitation metal similar to a foil. Leafing comes in several colors, gold, silver and variegated.

Graduated Beads

Beads that are increasing or decreasing in size in equal proportions.


coarseness of texture in sanding papers or powders.


a group or association of kindred pursuits or having a common interest.

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in color, an acetic arrangement of parts to form a pleasing whole.

Head Pin

a straight wire pin with a nail head used in connecting components of jewelry, usually an end unit that dangles.


the actual color.

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a decorative inlaid pattern.


an engraving depressed below the surface of the material so that an impression from the design yields an image in relief.

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the process of making by uniting superposed layers of one or more materials.


a surface coating that dries as a protectant film, gloss or mat, over an object.

Latex gloves

Commercial or medical thin stretchable gloves used to protect hands and to prevent fingerprints from imprinting on a piece.


a cane, long square shape that will eventually be sliced.


a cylindrical cane, or shape of clay.

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mixing of two or more colors of clay to produce a streaked or marbled effect resembling stone.


refers to a process developed by Venetian Glass makers where several rods of glass are fused together in a pattern (often star or floral). Pieces of the resulting designed cane were then applied to the surface of another piece of glass or used in lengths crosswise exposing the design. This application literally translated from Italian means “Thousand Flowers”.

Mokume Ganè

A Japanese metal smithing technique that is currently popular in applying to polymer clay. Layers of clay (and leaf) are altered by pushing up or sinking objects (or clay) into the layers to create positive/negative special relations. When the layers are then sliced horizontally, the “terrain”of the clay resembles rings or patterns as the artist had altered the layered clay.


Colors made from tints and shades of the same hue.

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The application of a piece of clay onto another piece of clay.


neither reflecting nor emitting light. Not transparent or translucent.

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Parchment Paper

Oven baking paper that is used when baking polymer clay to eliminate "shiny spots" on pieces.

Pasta Machine

A mechanical device intended to roll pasta but used in the polymer clay industry to condition, blend color, texturize and roll the clay into flat sheets of varying thickness.


Having a shimmering quality, clay that includes a filler that reflects microscopic bits of light, soft sparkling inside the clay, not metallic.


the chemical agent that enables softness, or initial consistency to polymer clay.

A chemical compound of high molecular weight consisting of many small molecules linked in a chain.

Polymer Clay

A modern modeling material composed primarily of PVC resin, plastizer and occasional filler material. A colorful clay like modeling compound that is cured at a temperature of 265°F, is permanent, and water resistant.

Polyvinyl Chloride

Commonly known as PVC, a polymerized vinyl chloride compound, thermoplastic resin.


micro metallic powder used to coat polymer clay with a metallic sheen.


Common term for polyvinyl chloride.

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the shrinking of a design pattern to a smaller scale. Usually refers to a cane that is created in a large scale and then reduced in proportion by various techniques.


the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation by comparative stress.

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a "Jelly Roll" design in a cane where sheets of clay are stacked and rolled to create a spiral design when sliced crossways.

Stone Clay

Common name for "LaDoll" mineral base, air dry clay from Japan.

Stone Fimo®

refers to the colors of a brand of FIMO® modeling material simulating stone.


trade, an event popular amongst Internet members where a large group of artists simultaneously exchange pieces of a particular theme.

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Tensil Strength

strength relating to capability of tension.


Lightness of a color, the amount of white mixed with the hue.

Tissue Blade
an extremely sharp smooth blade borrowed from the medical industry that has the ability to slice thin precise layers.

Toggle Clasp

A clasp that has a "T" shape inserted into an opening (round or otherwise) to catch and hold two strands.


shining or glowing through. Admitting and diffusing light so that objects beyond cannot be clearly distinguished. When referring to FIMO® - 00 Art Translucent, the sheerest clay which when used in thin layers or buffed, is almost clear.


having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies beyond are visible. When referring to FIMO® - it is similar to porcelain, having a soft depth but not clear.

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The degree of lightness or darkness in a color.


The coating, covering, or applied to an object - or protective surface material.

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Xerox Transfer

The transferring of an image printed on a Xerox copier and then applied to polymer clay in a technique that transfers the ink and subsequently the image to the clay.

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Disclaimer: information on this site is provided on an "as is" basis, with no guarantee of its veracity or accuracy. No liability is accepted for any damage caused by the use of this information. Do you have questions about polymer clay? Feel free to email Bryan Schaup, President Accent Import-Export, Inc.