Makins vs. Walnut Hollow Polymer Clay Extruders

Walnut Hollow vs Makins Polymer Clay ExtrudersVideo #519: The biggest difference between these two clay extruder brands is how the crank handle is designed and how it works.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • A comparison between the Makins Professional Polymer Clay Extruder and the Walnut Hollow Clay Extruder.
  • I have owned the Makins Professional Extruder for several years now, and I just purchased my Walnut Hollow tool.
  • These tools can be used to extrude polymer clay for all kinds of projects.
  • Examples of tutorials I used an extruder are the Snowy Tree Pointillist Cane Tutorial, Gingham Cane Tutorial, Extruded Flower Cane Tutorial, Micro Mosaic Pins Tutorial (see resource links just below today’ video).
  • Both of these extruder tool brands come in hard plastic cases.
  • Both come with 20 stainless steel dies (these metal disks in both sets are identical as far as I can tell).
  • The round dies are the same size for each brand and are interchangeable.
  • The Makins barrel is longer and holds more clay than the Walnut Hollow Extruder.
  • Both are made of aluminum, though I think the threads on the Walnut Hollow machine may be steel.
  • The crank handles are quite different. The Walnut Hollow handle design is much nicer to grip with your whole hand, and therefore easier to use, especially if you are using a vise to hold the extruder.
  • However, you can back out the plunger from the Makins Extruder barrel much faster, because of how you can quck spin the handle rod with just your finger.
  • The Walnut Hollow barrel has a nice rubber coating for easier gripping.
  • The plunger end looks stronger on the Walnut Hollow Extruder than the one on the Makins.
  • When using either of these brands, make sure that your clay is well conditioned and soft, place die in the end of the extruder, and crank the handle slowly. Don’t force it.
  • Dry clay will crackle on edges… which can be used to your advantage in my Jupiter Bead Tutorial (resource link included below).
  • Extruders are the perfect tool for making fine threads for hair or filigree.
  • Walnut Hollow makes a large die adapter that does fit on the Makins Extruder as well. This is an optional accessory.
  • In the future I will show you some other dies and extruder products in follow up videos.

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. Freda K, 08 May, 2014

    I have a Makins extruder but about a year ago I saw the extra set of discs from Walnut Hollow and bought it. The first one I tried was the butterfly which is the one for which I bought the set. The disc buckled in the Makins so I called Walnut Hollow. The woman I talked to was very gracious and explained they had been having trouble with them but thought they had the problem fixed. A couple of days later a new set arrived and I’ve had no trouble with it at all. Walnut Hollow is a good company to deal with.

  2. Julia G, 08 May, 2014

    Cindy,

    Just wanted to say a big thank you for the extruder comparison. I hope to be replacing my ” thumb buster” from long ago, and now know exactly what I want! Also it was so nice to see your face (and crocus lariat) properly again. I have been watching ALL of your back issues (WONDERFUL) and I’ve really just been seeing your hands lately! You have already helped me so much and when I finally get going again it will be because of you! Thank you!

    Julia

  3. Marlene G, 09 May, 2014

    Great video. I am glad I bought the walnut but also glad to know of the additional maken pieces fit the walnut hallow.
    Thanks

  4. elaine faulks, 09 May, 2014

    Me too, Marlene,
    but never knew Makin made a clay adapter for larger dies, but I think, thanks to Cindy, I will look online, ( too far to go to my nearest craft shop here in the U K).
    I accidentally cross- threaded my Makin clay gun so decided to buy the Walnut Hollow extruder. It is by far more sturdy and I like the handle better. I also bought the core adaptors but as yet have not used them. I could never stop the Makin from squeaking when I turned it but purchased it back in 2009 so it has done well as I am a little hard on my tools. Just had to buy another pasta machine as had lost the handle (still cannot find it) but when I do it will be nice to have two. One for white and translucent the other for everything else…………..cheers xx……………

  5. Marilyn P, 12 May, 2014

    I bought a Makins Extruder and used it yesterday for the first time. VERY upset with it. As I turned the screw at the back, and the clay started to come out, the end kept popping off. It was as if the screw threads were not intergrooving. Any suggestions before I return it?

  6. Cindy Lietz, 13 May, 2014

    Hi Marilyn, it sounds like you better take it back… it shouldn’t be doing that!

  7. Marilyn P, 14 May, 2014

    that is what I was afraid of…..

  8. Marion Rayner, 17 May, 2014

    Thank you very much for showing us the comparison between extruders. I shall be looking around for Walnut Hollow dies now I know they’ll fit my Makins. One thing I’ve always wondered, whether it’s possible to get blank dies, so they could be turned into whatever shape you wanted when that shape is not included. For e.g. I haven’t found a very tiny square die; I’ve tried to make your beautiful gingham pattern but when I try reducing, it becomes distorted.I’d also like to make the ‘Dogstooth’ cane’ in a tiny version. If I had a much smaller square die this wouldn’t be a problem. Also, I’ve seen dies on a different extruder which produce a frame shape for pendants or miniature pictures. This seems such obvious omissions I don’t understand why neither of the extruder companies under discussion have included this, or make provision for it in a separate set of dies. A gap in the market, I think.

    Any-way (as Ross would say! ) I think your tutorial is tops and once again you’ve really gone that extra mile, as you always do.

    Thanks Cindy – Marion

  9. Ruth Clements, 19 May, 2014

    Hi Cindy, I’m a beginner at polymer clay and have been experimenting for the past 6-8 months and thanks to your youTube tutorials have learned a lot. Due to budget constraints I can’t manage to purchase any tutorials at present so I thought I’d ask you for help. I’m doing okay learning caning and using my extruder but I have one very big problem. I would dearly like to make extremely thin pieces (if you’re aware of Cynthia Toops work that is what I’m aiming for). My problem is once I have the pieces cut out and go to move them by using my thin slicer to scoop up from my work surface they lose their shape as the clay is so soft. I’ve tried to leach out the clay a bit by placing on paper but that seems to dry it out too much. I can’t work out what I’m doing wrong. I’ve followed all the directions for conditioning the clay so I don’t think that’s the problem. One of my goals is doing small mozaics but I need to solve this shaping problem. Any advice you can give would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance, Ruth Clements, Cedar, B.C.

  10. Jocelyn C, 20 September, 2014

    Ruth, if you need really thin clay, maybe a solution might be to pre-bake it, maybe 30 min, while it is still flat. Then as soon as it comes out of the oven and is warm, slice it into the shapes that you need for your work. Or if extruded shape, bake a strand as above and use a short razor blade to slice it into the thin slices while warm?

    I put “slicing warm clay” into the search box and came up with a ton of information here on the website, some of which may be just the ticket for you. All best!

  11. Cindy Lietz, 19 May, 2014

    Hi Ruth, Cynthia Toops bakes her polymer clay ‘threads’ first before cutting and placing in her mosaic. That is how she avoids distortion. Hope that helps!

  12. Ruth Clements, 20 May, 2014

    Dear Cindy – Thanks for your response. I don’t know what ‘threads’ you’re talking about vis-a-vis Cynthia Toops – I shouldn’t have confused the issue with mentioning mozaics – I meant I was having difficulty with anything I’m making once I’ve rolled out the conditioned clay, cut the shape I want then when removing it from my work surface with a knife it then distorts and if it’s particularly thin I have a real problem getting it back to the shape I originally wanted. I do understand what Cynthia does when doing her mozaics which was nice to learn as I’d worked that out myself, so I know I’m on the right path there! But this other really has me stumped! Thanks again for your time on this, Ruth Clements.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 22 May, 2014

    Hi Ruth it sounds like your clay is too soft and maybe too thin. Why don’t you try leaching it? Type leaching into the search box at the top of the page and you should be able to find the info you need. Let me know if that solves the problem.

  14. Craft Test Dummies [TRACK BACK COMMENT], 23 May, 2014

    Article Published at Craft Test Dummies | Clay Extruder Comparison on Polymer Clay Tutor […] and LOVE it- but isn’t it great to know that Cindy Lietz has compared the two for us? You can see her whole post here, but all of the pertinent information is contained in the video […]

  15. teressa de jesus irias, 10 September, 2014

    quiero saber como comprar para negocio saber precios y que venden

    [GOOGLE TRANSLATION: “I want to know how to buy for business to know prices and selling”]

  16. Cindy Lietz, 13 September, 2014

    Hi Teresa, I am not sure if I can help you with this. We don’t sell the Makin’s Extruder. Maybe you could contact the manufacturer?

    [GOOGLE TRANSLATION:
    Hola Teresa, no estoy seguro de si te puedo ayudar con esto. No vendemos Extrusora del Makins. Tal vez usted podría ponerse en contacto con el fabricante?]

  17. Karen Avery, 08 January, 2015

    I have a brand new walnut hollow extender but I can’t get the clay to come out more than about 1/4 inch. My clay is pretty soft. Do you have an any idea why it won’t work?

  18. Cindy Lietz, 15 January, 2015

    Hi Karen, sorry to take so long to respond. It wounds like your threads may be damaged and that the handle won’t screw in any further. I would suggest taking it back to where you purchased into contacting the manufacturer to ask them if they can fix this for you. Good luck… let us know how it goes!

  19. Robin F, 17 September, 2015

    I have a walnut hollow will your discs fit in the walnut hollow?

  20. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2015

    Hi Robin, I actually don’t carry any disks myself but if you’re asking can you use the disks from the Makin’s in the Walnut Hollow, the answer is yes!

  21. Lyolya C, 05 July, 2016

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for the review on the walnut Hollow. Last night I was excited after having seen your tutorial on youtube re using the extractor for canes… I created only about 4 and continued with a few more today…. and my trusty Makins that I have had for about 12 years finally packed it in – ugh!…perfect timing – not!

    Upon closer inspection of my Makins extruder…. when you thread off the top (if you needed to replace the rubber “O” ring)…. the shaft with the threaded long rod, it’s made in such a manner that it screws into that brass plunger (which the rubber O ring goes around), so it was no longer seated flush and had actually managed to unscrew itself!! I too have the same divet on the plunger on my makins one, must be how they go over time!

    Do you know if the Walnut Hollow brand is of the same “internal” construction when it comes to how it is attached to the part that actually pushes out the clay (plunger part)? Do you actually get an “O” ring on the Walnut Hollow branded one?

    Gosh, I hope that all makes sense ?? I’m not sure if you have completely pulled apart the Walnut Hollow one to clarify??

    I’m in the market for a new extruder now, do you happen to know if Cynthia Tinapples Driver Adapter would work on the Walnut Hollow extruder? I’m weighing up my pro’s and cons between the Walnut or Lucy extruder.

    Much Thanks, appreciate the reply when you can :-D

  22. Cindy Lietz, 07 July, 2016

    Hi Lylola, the Walnut Hollow extruder does have an O-Ring, similar to the Makins but the plunger is designed in a more sturdy manner. The problem is that the thread on the plunger are stronger than the threads on the nut that the plunger threads through… which basically means that the threads in the Walnut Hollow can be stripped quite easily. That is how I wrecked mine. If you can afford it, the best extruder on the market is the Lucy Clay XXL HD CzExtruder. (There is a link in the Ad section near the top of this blog where you can buy the Lucy Clay Tools if you’re interested.) I also have a video on it, if you want to use the search box and hunt it down. The LC extruder is extremely well built, super strong and can also be hooked up to a power drill to make extrusions super easy. It is well worth the cost in my opinion!

  23. Lyolya C, 09 July, 2016

    Thanks so much for the reply, I am still weighing up the pros and cons but I will check out your vid links for sure. Thanks for the feedback :-D

  24. James A Monk, 09 July, 2016

    Hello Everyone, I have tried the Walnut Hollow extruder and a green one that I purchased from Wish… I had trouble using the walnut hollow extruder due to the fact that I have RA… The green works well for me and it easy for me to use and the operation is very smooth. I know that it is a knock off: however I have used other disk from walnut hollow and makin’s green and the work..

    Thanks

  25. Starr P, 12 August, 2017

    Great video Cindy I had no idea what its tutors did and I love how you always do the comparison of the pros and cons of each tool thank you

  26. Cindy Lietz, 22 August, 2017

    Thanks Starr! Glad you like the reviews!

  27. Susanne Wegert, 10 June, 2018

    I just viewed your YouTube discussion comparing the Makins vs Walnut Hollow extruder. I was wondering if you ever tried using the WH one after that? I recently purchased the WH extruder but have not used it yet. Someone said there had been problems with the WH handle breaking. I am wondering if I made a mistake purchasing this model and if I should return it and get the Makins if I can get it on sale as my income as a senior citizen is very limited. I am new to polymer clay and just purchased clay etc. so cost is important but so is equipment dependability.

    Any information you could share for a newbie would be very much appreciated.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 13 June, 2018

    Hi Susanne, I did use my Walnut Hollow extruder after that. I didn’t have a problem with the handle but I have heard that others have. I did end up breaking my Makins one though. But I have heard that if your Makins plunger breaks, they will send you a new one. I think they are pretty comparable in quality, so it is up to you what you want to do. Just make sure you use very soft clay in the extruder and don’t try to force it if the clay seems stuck and you should be ok.

  29. Robin Johnston, 01 August, 2019

    I am in market to buy an extruder. I am doing polymer clay as a hobby not as a professional. Which one would you recommend to start out with? I am careful with my tools but, I don’t want to have to buy one every few months. Thank-you in advance. I love your video’s.

  30. Cindy Lietz, 02 August, 2019

    Just buy one of the Green Makins extruder and use that until it breaks. If you are gentle with it, it should last you a long time. Then if you end up using it enough that you break it and you have the budget for it, you could then invest in the Lucy Clay Extruder. It is the best and will never break, but it definitely is much more expensive.

  31. Robin Johnston, 02 August, 2019

    That was so fast answering me. I got the Walnut, 1/2 off. I got the Makin 1/2 off. I will use both until they wear out. I will end up, if I use them enough getting the Lucy Clay Extruder.

    I want to say thank-you for getting back to me and to let you know I have watched your video’s on all Extruders. You explain well and it shows up nicely on the video’s.

    I will continue to follow your advice, video’s and keep enjoying my hobby, thanks to people like you.

    Robin

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