modelling material made from calcium salts, petroleum jelly and aliphatic acids

Plasticine is a putty-like modelling material made from calcium salts, petroleum jelly and fatty acids. It does not dry, and comes in many different colours.

A Plasticine model of a rat, by Polish animator Monika Kuczyniecka

Plasticine is used for children's play and for modelling more formal or permanent structures.

Because of its non-drying property, it is a good material for stop-motion animation.[1] It has been used for several Oscar-winning films by Aardman Animations (Nick Park). The brand-name clay is sometimes mentioned in British music, such as the "plasticine porters" in The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", the Oasis songs "Little James" and "Shakermaker", the Placebo song "Plasticine", and the Thom Yorke song "Plasticine Figures".

Industrial history


Plasticine was invented in Bath, England in 1897 by an art teacher, William Harbutt. In 1983 production was moved to Thailand. Several attempts have been made to change the formula to evade the patent and its licences. There are a number of similar products, but none has proved more successful. There is, however, a good market for epoxy products which set hard after being applied as a liquid or putty. Plasticine does not set hard.

Plasticine is about 65% gypsum, 10% petroleum jelly, 5% lime, 10% lanolin and 10% stearic acid. It cannot be hardened by firing, melts when exposed to heat, and is flammable at higher temperatures.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 May, James (2009). Toy Stories. London: Conway. p. 16. ISBN 9781844861071.