Using Wet/Dry Sandpaper For Sanding Polymer Clay

Sanding By Hand - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #768: Done properly, this finishing technique will make your smooth-surface polymer clay pieces, feel like silk.

There is nothing more lovely than a beautifully sanded polymer clay piece. Sanding makes the colors on smooth polymer surfaces look richer… the mica particles sparkle… and the whole piece look finished and more professional. Plus it feels amazing to the touch!

So why don’t more people sand their polymer clay projects? I think it is because they are using the wrong materials and wrong techniques.

It isn’t hard, nor expensive. It just takes the right type of sandpaper and the right grits. Plus a little water, dish soap and some time.

In this video I will show you how!

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Betty D, 15 February, 2017

    Hi Cindy I love your videos but I have a silly question when I sand my polymer clay pieces there seems to be a residue left on them. Am I not sanding them right or do I need to do something else. Help

  2. Cindy Lietz, 20 February, 2017

    Yeah it sounds like you haven’t used a small enough grit or are using really worn out sandpaper. If you get some new paper in the grits I suggested and use the method show, you shouldn’t end up having a residue on your clay.

  3. Jennifer Stevenson, 12 March, 2017

    I love your videos. I’ve learned so much. I just started using clay to make cabochons.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 14 March, 2017

    Thank you Jennifer! Polymer clay is an excellent material for making cabochons! Glad you are enjoying the videos!

  5. Jennifer Stevenson, 14 March, 2017

    Cindy I love all your videos. I’m so excited I stumbled across your them. Thank you so much. I’ve watched many and yours are by far the best! You do amazing work.

    I just started this new adventure with polymer clay. I love making wire jewelry, soldering jewelry, and anything else jewelry. Finding beads/cabochons that I like isn’t easy. I have the 3 major craft stores near, but none sell cabochons, and the beads are just ok.


  6. Linda Gissing-Olson, 16 March, 2017

    I am not having success in the finishing process. I’ve used the 220, 320 400 1000 1500 2000 grit paper followed by the Renaissance Wax Polish. The Faux Fordite made (from your tutorial) is very dull. Did I under bake it? I know I am sanding it as new layers are being seen. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    PS I would like to have finished a piece for my sister’s birthday celebration on March 19.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 16 March, 2017

    Hi Linda, I have a few questions for you… What brand of clay are you using? How long did you bake? Can you see any visible scratches? Did you use a power buffer or did you buff by hand? Are you using a thick coat of Ren Wax or a thin one? All of these things could be making the difference.

  8. Michael Pheneger, 02 June, 2017

    I have 2 questions. #1 Is it possible to buff and polish polymer clay with a bench lathe that is used primarily for fine precious metals and #2 Can I start in with your tutorials at any tutorial or must I start from the beginning? I am one of those impatient guys that hardly ever reads instructions before putting a piece of furniture, etc., resulting in frayed nerves, although I am getting somewhat better. If I have to start from the beginning then I guess that is what I have to do.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 02 June, 2017

    Hi Michaels, yes it is possible to use a bench grinder to polish and buff your beads if you use the 3M bristle brushes 400g/15micron/1micron and a jewelry quality soft muslin or cotton buff. You’ll have to play with speeds and pressure but you can do a pretty nice job with that.

    With my tutorials you do not need to start at the beginning. Though if you are new to working with polymer clay you will probably want to start with my Beginner’s Course so you don’t have to go through such a big learning curve. My tutorials are designed to teach you everything you need to know, even if you are a newbie, and to be open ended and allow for your own style if you are an intermediate or an advanced clayer. I totally get not reading instructions… I do that too. I usually have a pretty good sense of how something goes together and if I hit a road block I go back to the instructions! Since I think that way, I try and tell you the roadblock before you get there, so I think you may like the way my tutorials go.

    If you go up to the bar at the top there you will see links to the Basics Course and my other tutorials, so go take a look around and see if there is a fit for you.

    Thanks for commenting!

  10. Binky Melnik, 08 June, 2017

    Hi, Cindy:

    I use a bench grinder, and have a muslin wheel and a cotton wheel. I was startled to see your mention of brushes. Would they be used In place of sanding with low-grit paper? What I do is to sand my stuff with 324, then 400 (using 220 first if a piece is especially bumpy), and then I use the muslin wheel followed by the cotton. Help me understand why I might need brushes, please? If there’s an easier way to sand and buff, I’m always looking to find it! Thanks!


  11. Cindy Lietz, 08 June, 2017

    Yes those brushes can be used instead of sandpaper. Here is our Amazon Affiliate link for the type of brushes I am referring to.

  12. Angela Herd, 17 November, 2017

    Hi Cindy,

    Any tips for sanding in very small crevices, corners or spaces? With hand sanding I find this very difficult (trying to get my too big fingers into the crevice with the sandpaper).

  13. Cindy Lietz, 22 October, 2019

    Hi Angela, chances are you won’t see this answer since your question was asked 2 years ago and I some how missed seeing it, but since I am here, I will answer it anyway…

    When sanding into crevices and small spaces, it can be quite useful to make a little sanding stick. You just wrap a little strip of sandpaper around a skewer or a Popsicle stick or anything that is a similar shape to what you need to sand and the size that will fit.I have even wrapped some sandpaper around a gift card or just folded or rolled a piece, to fit inside the tiniest of places.

    Hope that helps and sorry for the extremely late reply!

  14. Christine Calvin, 22 October, 2019

    Hi there! I am fairly new to the polymer clay party and am learning a lot! I am making small beads for lanyards (I’m a teacher :) ) and I am having trouble sanding them properly. I am using Sculpey III clay and wet/dry sandpaper (400 and 800) and doing it in water. I am finding that is leaving a white finish on the beads and I cannot seam to get it off. Will this come off if I buff the bead afterwards? I’m afraid it’s discoloring my beads. Am I not baking them long enough? Could this be the brand of clay that I’m using? So many questions! I find your videos SO helpful but my sanding doesn’t turn out as nice as yours does. Any insight is wonderful! Thank you!!

  15. Cindy Lietz, 22 October, 2019

    Hi Christine, The reason you are getting white powder on your beads is that the fine sanding powder from sanding the clay, is getting stuck in the tiny scratches, caused by sanding. By using a higher grit sandpaper, you will essentially be removing those scratches, with finer scratches, until eventually you won’t be trapping the light powder anymore. I suggest you use 400g, 600g, 800g, 1200g and 2000g and then buff, and this problem will go away. Also, don’t use SculpeyIII. It is an inferior brand. Use Premo, Souffle, Cernit or Fimo instead. Also, since small round beads are a bit of a pain to sand anyway, you may enjoy working with a brand that has a more matte finish like Souffle that doesn’t require much sanding. And save the clays that benefit from sanding, like Premo, Cernit or Fimo for the larger, flatter easier sand projects like pendants and such. Thanks for your kind words!

  16. Patricia Jorgenson, 23 October, 2019

    cannot find todays newsletter Hope you are ok Patty

  17. Cindy Lietz, 23 October, 2019

    I’m fine Patty. No need to worry. And… there actually is not newsletter today… they are sent out via email on Fridays. It is Wednesday today :)

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