CHARACTERISTICS of polymer clay BRANDS & TYPES
a condensed list of many
ways that polymer clay
can be used,
see this page:
OTHER PAGES at this site with info about clays
...for sculpting with polymer clays- flesh or other colors ... see Sculpting-Gen > Clays for Sculpting
...for all info on translucent
clays (and glow-in-the-dark clays) of all brands... see
...for all info on mica- containing "metallic" clays (Gold, Copper, Silver, whitish Pearl, Red Pearl, Blue Pearl) ...see Mica
...for all info on liquid polymer clays ... see Liquid Clay
SUMMARY of some important points
The main brands of polymer clay you're likely to run across in stores and online in the U.S. are:
...the Sculpeys --manufactured by
......white or terracotta original Sculpey (called Polyform in art stores?) (in boxes)
......flesh-colored SuperSculpey (in boxes)...gray SuperSculpey Firm
......colored Sculpey III (in 2 oz bars)
......soft-colored Studio by Sculpey (2.8 oz bars)
..... white, marshmallowy Ultralight
...the Fimos (FimoClassic and FimoSoft ...different clay lines) --manufactured by Eberhard Faber
...Premo --also manufactured by the Polyform (..aka "Premo! Sculpey", but only by manufacturers or in print!)
...Kato Polyclay (newest polymer clay) --manufactured by Van Aken, though VA also makes a non-polymer clay
...Promat and Friendly Clay are no longer manufactured
A few other brands are available outside the U.S.
There really isn't
one "best" brand of polymer clay.
...All brands can make most anything in the polymer clay repertoire ...but, the different brands & types definitely have different characteristics, diff. costs, and diff. suitabilities for certain applications, handling, detail, or weather conditions, etc.
...the Sculpeys and new version
of FimoSoft are weaker after baking than the others (bulk white
or terracotta Sculpey is the weakest ...SuperSculpey and the small bars of Sculpey
III are stronger, but still weaker than other brands)
.......all the Sculpeys and new FimoSoft will be brittle after baking in any areas which are thin or extending, and can snap off or chip if they are stressed
.......(however, if you simply want to make something round like a bead, or apply cane slices to something, or make something small with no thin areas, those clays probably wouldn't be a problem because those shapes/sizes/etc. are inherently strong).
....have the "hardest" surface after baking (which can be good for armatures, e.g)
....caning ...although most clayers don't use Sculpey III or new FimoSoft, it's not impossible to use, especially if you don't mind a bit of distortion in the pattern (i.e., spirals are fine, faces usually aren't)
...FimoSoft has changed its formula in the U.S. in 2006 (which had happened a year or so before overseas) to something similar to Sculpey III
... FimoSoft has an even newer version in 2007 (see below)
is a great clay especially for caning ...but its major disadvantage is it takes
more time and effort to condition
(no longer true since the 2007 reformulation... now soft)
...if you tend to have hot hands, or live in a hot climate without ac, or tend to work-and-work your clay, certain brands may become too soft as you work with them unless they're cooled periodically (Sculpey, Premo, Cernit)...if one of those things applies to you, you'd probably be happiest with Kato or FimoClassic
...the natural surface of Kato bakes up with a slight sheen, and Sculpey's is very matte... the others are in-between (though each can be made to have more sheen or matte-ness)
...Cernit has translucent clay in every one of its colors --if you want to make Cernit colors opaque, add bit of white (which is opaque) from another brand, or their "Opaque White"
..colors... each brand has
it's own color palette
.... so each brand may have the same general colors (e.g., red, blue, or white), but each brand's version of that color may be different
.....Kato, Premo, Sculpey III have the "truest" colors, whereas the Fimos are often toned down... Studio by Sculpey's colors are soft and no real darks ...Kato has the fewest "extra" colors
...Kato and Premo have the best mica-containing metallic clays for their amount of shine, but FimoSoft has recently made some too
Each brand may have special "colors" too
....for example, most all brands have a translucent clay, many have metallics
which contain mica, some have a glow-in-the-dark and glitter clays (and flesh-colored
clays in boxes) ...Polyform puts out some "stone-look" clays and a few
clays which remain flexible after baking (Bend and Bake, MoldMaker, Eraser Clay,
(for most all info on clear translucent clays (and glow-in-the-dark clays) of all brands... see Translucents
(for most all info on mica-containing clays (Gold, Copper, Silver, whitish Pearl, Red Pearl, Blue Pearl) ...see Mica)
brands, and types of polymer clay can be combined to make
new combinations of flexibility, strength, or to "extend" the amount
of clay when needed, etc.
........Deborah's info on mixing clays together http://www.pcpolyzine.com/january2002/beginners.html
...all colors of clay can be combined to make many new colors, or entire palettes of color (see Color for details)
There are also clear "liquid
clays" which can be used as glue, or in many other ways
... the only one generally available at retail is Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS), but online Kato and Fimo have somewhat-clearer versions --Kato Clear Polyclay Medium and Fimo (Liquid) Decorating Gel-- and there are colored versions online too.
(Be aware that other clays which may look like polymer clays are actually *air-dry* clays --those don't require heat to cure ...e.g., Makin's, Hearty, Das, "cold porcelain" clays, Creative Paperclay, Celluclay, epoxy putties, etc... each has its own characteristics)
see below for much more detail about the characteristics of each brand and type of polymer clay
for sculpting with polymer clay, however, desirable characterstics can be different and are discussed in Sculpting-Gen > Clays for Sculpting
----local retail stores (craft stores like Michaels & Hobby Lobby...also some larger hobby stores, art supply stores, or kids educational toy stores)
...may stock one or more of the brands and/or colors, but usually have an incomplete selection ... and don't usually carry the larger bricks
...some stores charge more for one brand than another... sometimes have good sales
...be sure and squeeze the clay because it could have gotten too hard from excess heat or ultraviolet light during storage or shelf life
...because Polyform and Eberhard Faber now each manufacture two lines of clay, don't confuse FimoClassic with FimoSoft... or Sculpey III with "Premo!Sculpey" (which clayers refer to only as "Premo")
----mail order ...(online or by telephone):
... usually have most of the colors within a brand.... they often carry several brands ... and the clay is fresh
....clay bought mail order is almost always cheaper than that bought retail at the reg. price ... (but be sure and but do check out the weights of the clays bars offered--see below)
(... larger "bricks" of clay are not generally available in local stores)
....... see Supply Sources for specific mail order contact info & for non-US. suppliers
the lesson says
to use a specific
clay!". . . .Debbie
...Well, one thing to keep in (one's necessarily cynical) mind is that the brand of clay "recommended" in a project will most often have to do with the interests of the manufacturer or person suggesting it.
In this case you were at the Polyform website when you saw the project, so of course Polyform wants to see one of their products (Sculpey or Premo) recommended (this is akin to Heinz putting out a recipe for meatloaf in which Heinz Ketchup is an ingredient ...most people realize that it doesn't have to be Heinz brand which is used, although as with clays it *may sometimes* make some difference... see above.)
...also, sometimes the person recommending a specific clay can be in some way working for the manufacturer...e.g. Donna Kato was a representative for Polyform long ago, and then for FimoSoft's manufacturer. It's not surprising then that when she demonstrated a project or wrote about one, she said to use Sculpey clay (and later FimoSoft). Now she has her own clay, and recommends it for her projects.
Each brand of polymer clay has a baking temperature that's recommended by the manufacturer
...(these temps are different because the exact composition of each varies)
Each brand (and sometimes type) also has a recommended time at which that temperature must be held for the clay to cure thoroughly (and be as reasonably-strong as that brand is capable of being)
But baking time and temperature are interdependent and a trade-off:
...so for thermosetting plastics such as polymer clay, the "best" temperature is just one at which it polymerizes at a reasonable rate
......the hotter the temperature, the quicker the setting reaction will happen
....... but,the reaction will still happen even at somewhat-lower temperatures --it just takes longer to finish
....(the DH says there's a rule for that ratio:."for every 10 degree C (18 F) loss in temperature, a reaction will proceed half as fast -- or in reverse, for every 10° C or 18° increase, the polymerization rate will double" ...it's an exponential change
.......the half-as-fast ratio actually makes sense for polymer clay especially when the curing time is much longer since so many people report baking lower and longer and still getting strong clay --and sometimes just baking longer than minimum times for stronger clay in general -- and also fits with some other bits of information I've heard over the years and couldn't explain
..The darkening or ambering of the colors occcurs because certain higher temps can cause side reactions, such as oxidation of the pigments and other materials.
(for a bit more info on this, see Baking > Controversies)
WEIGHTS & PRICES, etc, of diff. brands
weights of clay (in packages or boxes) may
differ from each other
by brand (true for "small"
bars & "large" bars-bricks)
......and sometimes manufacturers change the weight sold in a particular-size package, or weight may be different outside the US
...(a brand with the heaviest small or large bar usually isn't necessarily the heaviest in its other sizes as well)
...the Fimos and Cernit are manufactured in Europe with the metric system, so that may account for some diff's?...how?
So the weights
of bars should be taken into consideration when figuring the real
cost of clay from various brands and suppliers!
SMALL BARS (......heaviest to lightest, in grams
& ounces ):
Kato ( 85 g =3 oz)
Cernit ( 65 g =2.3 oz)
FimoClassic ( 56 g = 2 oz ...used to be 65 g in US ...may be 63 g outside US )
FimoSoft ( 56 g =2 oz)
Premo & Sculpey III ( 56 g =2 oz)
(......heaviest to lightest, in ounces):
Premo & Sculpey III** ( 16 oz ..1 lb)
Kato (12.5 oz)
FimoClassic ( 12.3 oz = 350 g)
FimoSoft ( 12.3 oz = 350 g)
Cernit (10.5 oz ....sold as six 2.3 oz bars sometimes)
bricks of Sculpey III are not easily available
...but plain Sculpey and SuperSculpey come in boxes of heavier weights, from 1 lb on up
PRICES will depend on factors
....the brand selected
....where purchased & when (which store if retail, or which supplier if mail order...also whether having a sale, shipping/handling charges, and in the case of Kato clay whether it's a metallic clay) & weight
(Feb 05)...at this moment it appears that in general:
.....by WEIGHT, in the U.S., the Fimos are most expensive ....Premo & Sculpey III fall the middle .... Kato Polyclay is the cheapest
.....also, large bricks are almost always cheaper by weight than an equivalent weight of small bars (though usually available only by mail order)
retail craft stores like Michaels
often have sales on their polymer
...sometimes all clays will be 99 cents for the small bars, sometimes there will be differences in price between brands (some will be higher, or not on sale)
...it's well worth getting a "rain check" for any color they do 't have in stock at the time of the sale (can get multiple colors)
.....they may never need to be used, but can be great if there's a certain color you use a lot of (like white or translucent)
.....they will be honored any time the color is in stock (...expiration date?)
(however, I've heard Sculpey III can usually be found at Walmart, at 99 cents, which is as cheap as it gets...seems to be a "loss leader"... my Walmart has very little though)
One block of 2 oz clay that's 1 mm thick will cover 23 cm square ... (courtesy of math-by-TeraGram)
(places to see them online)
NOTE:/ colors seen online, especially if not photos of actual clay, can be quite misleading!
Premo, Sculpey III, and Fimos--but
Fimos all mixed in together tho? (at Munro's)
Kato Polyclay (at Kato) http://prairiecraft.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=KP
Kato Polyclay (at PCE) http://polymerclayexpress.com/katoclay.html
Premo (at PCE) http://polymerclayexpress.com/premo.html
Premo (at Clay Factory) http://www.clayfactory.net/sculpey/premo.htm
FimoClassic (at AI) http://shop.store.yahoo.com/fimo/everything-fimo-fimo-classic-2oz.html
FimoClassic (at PCE) http://polymerclayexpress.com/fimo.html
FimoSoft (at PCE) http://polymerclayexpress.com/images/fimosoftcolorchart.jpg (actual bars)
FimoSoft (at A.I.) http://shop.store.yahoo.com/fimo/everything-fimo.html
Sculpey III (at PCE) http://polymerclayexpress.com/sculpey.html
Sculpey III (at Clay Factory) http://www.clayfactory.net/sculpey/sculpey.htm
Cernit (at PCE) http://polymerclayexpress.com/cernit.html ...http://www.clayalley.com/cernit.htm
(more in Supply Sources > Mail Order)
(for info on the properties of the pigments that create color in polymer clay, see Color > Helpful Tips > Pigments)
STRENGTH .....RIGIDITY, .FLEXIBILITY
It is a common misconception that polymer clay will be rock
hard after baking like earth clay will ...you can actually
dent the surface of a polymer bead with a fingernail if you really try. I believe
it's the "plasticizers" in polymer clay that give it some amount of
This flexibilty shows up mostly in thinner
pieces (and projecting areas) of the stronger clays (they're
actually bendable when very thin). . . however, that's also what prevents
them from breaking when stressed, as opposed to earth clays.
(Polymer clays also soften somewhat during baking, so will not attain their normal hardness till cool.)
NOTE: There have been various reformulations of the brands and lines of polymer clay over the years, which has often resulted in changes in their characteristics, mostly re strength.
of the polymer clay brands are similar in this characteristic,
...but the exceptions are Sculpey (actually Sculpey, SuperSculpey and Sculpey III), and to a lesser extent the new version of FimoSoft.
......the Sculpey's are much "harder" after baking (don't know about new FS yet), although flexibility is then lost and therefore much the ability to withstand stress.
...(btw, roundish beads or items of any clay brand will be difficult to break though because of the inherent strength of the rounded shapes)
the bottom line on strength for the mostly common clay brands is:
STRONG: Premo, Kato, Cernit, SuperSculpey Firm
MEDIUM (probably): FimoClassic... then FimoSoft, Studio by Sculpey
WEAK: Sculpey (weakest), SuperSculpey, SculpeyIII
the flexibility of stronger brands doesn't seem to be a problem most of the time
(most clayers don't even notice unless it's a really thin piece)
If you do want to make a thin clay piece stiffer though, there are several things you can do:
--back it with more clay
.....either lay the raw piece on another raw piece of same-colored clay and then cut it to the same size and shape just as a backing
.....or use a different color clay underneath a bit larger than the original piece, to act as a frame
--using liquid clay between layers can stiffen them a bit too
--embed some kind of armature inside the clay (like a bit of wire mesh or cardstock inside the ear of an animal, or a toothpick or bit of wire inside arm/fingers)
.....you can also use the Sculpey clays (they bake up harder) (or FimoSoft?) as armatures or cores, or as backing, under (or inside) other clay layer
.... this will make the outer layer also "feel" harder (some people like to create a 3-D shape with one of those clays, bake, then cover them with a layer of decorative clay)
.... if you want the piece lightweight also, you can use scrunched aluminum foil, various polystyrene foams, Sculpey Ultralight clay, or other things)
--attach the thin clay to a (non-clay) surface (e.g., covering a glass votive, or a metal Altoid tin)
--try to attach projecting bits (like arms or heads) to other clay with as much contact as possible (press an arm to its body, e.g.)
--mix your weak clay with a stronger clay (the resulting combo will have proportional strength ..mix .50-50 at least)
for increased strength in solid
clays, I've even tried teasing/chopping up scrap bits of the (real,
pongee) silk, and encorporating them into solid clay
....it does work quite well as long as you don't overdo it and add so much that it can be seen (actually, the texturing can quite be a pleasing effect)... ....the added strength can be very handy in pieces likely to be used in more 'hostile' circumstances like childrens' toys or jewellery worn by younger people etc etc.
time ago I ran a flexibility tests on all colors and a few brands
of the clay
.. I found out that color really doesn't matter...the one exception was: translucent which seems to be somewhat stronger than some of the others.
(see much more about the relative strength and flexibility of the clays on this page, from some older experiments
(see also Summary > "Baking polymer clays" above, for the relationship between baking temperatures & times)
SHRINKAGE... BLEEDING, etc
(noticeable in larger, fit-together pieces only?)
...I learned not to assume perfect fit a couple of years ago when I did a piece which was supposed to have exactly 6" square tiles. 54 of them. After the first 18 didn't fit quite perfect in their places, I got wise!! Anyway: All brands of clay can shrink. The ratio can be from 1% to 5%. I found it depends on the softness/stickiness of the clay--how much solvent and plasticizer is present. thus leached clay will shrink less than fresh clay. the thickness of the sheet seems to have an inverse relationship to shrinkage: a thinner #4 or 5 sheet will shrink more than a # 1 sheet... I suppose this is some factor of resistance and "stretch"; ie. the thicker piece has more body to resist the force of inward shrinkage. If what you are doing needs to be precise, I would suggest you either do a test piece and calculate your final cuts based on the shrinkage you find. Or cut your piece slightly larger than what is needed and trim or sand down to fit after baking. Patti Kimle
. . . someone also said their tiles didn't shrink when placed between two bathroom tiles...
...Finding the shrink rate of polymer clay can be tricky. I've found that it varries because each batch of clay is slightly different. I would suggest you roll out a four or six inch sheet of clay and mark off the inches before baking. Remeasure after it's baked and you'll get a sense of how much shrink you're dealing with. I've never done this with a mathematical formula, but it gave me enough information to guesstimate. I made some flat polymer art for tissue boxes once and came up a good eigth of an inch short lengthwise after baking! For something small, the shrink would not be so critical. Jody
...shrinkage is brand dependent and also dependent on what, if anything, encases the clay. In placing clay faux cabs in bezels of copper, brass or nickel alloy, I've found Kato clay shrinks least (bezel only needs to be "set" burnished after baking with bezel on clay during baking) and, "old" Sculpy shrinks most (and is softest)... setting cannot be enclosed in bezel as setting shrinks too much. Premo is close to Kato clay. Paul
....(see a bit more under the sub-category on this page: Premo)
...I have also found that the shrinkage varies greatly if any liquid clay has been used in the clay or by itself. I am making a church that has different windows depicting different religions and I used a design under a piece of glass to follow along to make the TLS windows. The first one was still perfect when sat on the pattern straight out of the oven when still stuck to the glass. Had already built my walls so I wanted them just slightly smaller than opening. I used my blade to lift one end to release from the glass while still warm. Sat aside to cool. When I came back and put in opening it was over 1/4" all the way around smaller than when hot and still stuck to the glass. I made others and when left to cool on the glass they did not shrink as much--but still had slight shrinkage. ...These are fairly large and I have noticed the larger your piece the more shrinkage you will have. ...Pieces are 14"X20".. . Jeanne R.
...The thing about making my own bezels that I really like is that I can shape the outside bezel lip to any shape I like. Then, before I put my backing on, I can use it like a cookie cutter. So I can prepare my decorative piece... cut it out to the perfect shape... bake it, sand it and polish it... all before putting it into the bezel. No distortion to the design at all. Likewise... I can polish the bezel up to a high shine before putting the clay in. Then burnish the edge down to trap the clay piece... just like you would with a stone.. no worries about it popping out. And I know it's going to fit perfectly because I used it to cut the piece out. Very fun. The edges will be very thin too... which I like. Joanie
clays ...the colors that seem most susceptible are the reds
(or anything with a lot of red in it, e.g. purple)
because of the pigments used
...some reds may also bleed even after some time, even in baked clays???)
. . . I've noticed several of my collected items that were made with Fimo have "fugitive" reds also. In fact, that's how I can tell they are Fimo. . . . .when Premo was being developed, Polyform was asked to address (and not allow) this.
...Fimo's glitter metallics bleed (esp. blue and red) so be aware of this when caning with them. It shows up very quickly. Faber is to correct this now. The effect can be quite interesting, sort of a 'Skinner Blend" but only if you know it's what you want! Donna K.
prevention: some colors of some brands do bleed, a problem esp. for caners
....Marie Segal outlines every cane segment in black (or a dark color) for many of her canes. This border color prevents bleeding and produces a bright pattern that reduces without the losing integrity of the design. Katherine Dewey
...I have found that mixing in a little more than one part translucent to every 2 parts red will prevent bleeding & make that nasty RED (Fimo’s) easier to work with (when caning). Marilyn
...especially make sure that your bleeding colors don't sit next to lighter colors for long when raw
. ...also make sure these colors get baked completely to avoid leaving any plasticizer whch could flow into adjacent clay over time, taking pigment with it.
(see more on bleeding below, esp. in the subcategories on FimoSoft and Sculpey III... and also see Sculpting > White or Light Clays)
Pearl clay seems to be more opaque than most - not surprising with all that mica in there, I suppose (so the background didn't show through even with a thin slice over it). Alan V.
LEACHING ....to firm up solid polymer clays if nec.
If the clay (Sculpey or any other clay) is just too soft for your purposes (this can also be because it’s very fresh), you can make it firmer by "LEACHING" it. This removes some of the oily plasticizer. To do this, roll the clay out and place it between several clean sheets of paper. It’s best to then weight this with something heavy (putting something unporous between paper and heavy item). You can leave it this way for an hour or more, or even overnight; some of the plasticizer will have been absorbed by the paper, and the clay will be stiffer.
I found a great way to leach the clay without having a bunch of clay around with books on top of it. I used the brown paper bags, print side down, cut it into strips. Then I put the clay through the pasta machine on a one setting then laid it on the brown paper strips, placed another piece on top and rolled the whole thing up like a jelly roll! THEN I put a bunch of rubber bands around the whole tube, to give it extra pressure, and it took brand new STICKY translucent clay and turned it into something workable! When I opened it up a day later, the paper was totally saturated. .Leigh
I've had great success with cereal boxes ( after eating the cereal!). Try 2 or 3 hours at first, the cardboard really (leaches it) in a hurry. Bob
the paper after overnight. It can take from one to three days to leach out the
Being the impatient person I am, I've not ever waited this long for leaching Premo. I love the typing paper, as it soaks up extra plasticizer pretty quickly, and it gives me a use for my inkjet waste paper... I usually run the clay through #4 on the Atlas (maybe that's why it works fast for me...maybe I do it on a thinner setting?) and put it between the typing paper and put it under the cushion of my hard wood seated chair. 20-30 minutes later, I'm ready to go...oh yeah, you have to be SITTING on that cushion for the quick results. Sometimes it takes more than one time, but most times only one good seating. :) You can tell when it's 'done', or at least the paper needs to be changed because it looks oily all the way through. Make sure to give it a few passes through the PM after leaching to redistribute evenly the plasticizer is left in the clay. . . . . And just a word for leaching...I never used to do it until I took Pier Voulkos' metallics class where she had leached clay...and WOW what a difference it makes to work with clay that is a little more stiff! **lori
Instead of waiting for it to leach, why don't you sit on it while you're working. It will leach so much faster. After about 20 minutes you should see the oils leached in to the paper. Change the paper and sit on it again. You'll have clay that's pretty firm in no time. Oscelyn
You were leaching FIMO. Fimo reacts differently to leaching, in my experience, than the other clays. It does exactly that... crumbles. With really fresh fimo I am not sure there is a really simple way to alter it's consistency other than put it on the shelf and wait til it 'matures' sounds like maybe a leech half and mix it back together might work out. You can mix it with unleached Fimo though. Also FimoSoft leaches okay..
~If your ordered clay comes too soft . . . (besides leaching, the other thing that really helps is to buy in bulk during the fall, winter or spring (avoiding the hot shipping times) and let it sit for a while...like "aging" one's meat or cheese. I have much better results with clay that's been sitting for a month or several---the fresh stuff is tooo fresh, and I don't even have warm hands. After a little aging time here in the basement studio (in a dark drawer, kept at an even temp) its much easier clay to work with. I do this with both fimo and premo, and the clays stay workable for years and years. Howard at the ClayFactory says "10 years or more" for shelf life stored correctly....we'll see. I've got old classic fimo stockpiled that is 6 years old now, and quite usuable. Sarajane
have recently learned that leaching not only removes some of the plasticiser--making
the clay less sticky to handle--it also takes out
some of the stabilizers. Sarajane
...What exactly does this mean for the clay once it's baked? . . . .that it's more likely to crumble, be more breakable if stressed, or have some other effects? Diane B.
...The short answer is "yes".. It also removes color stabilizers that help keep the colors from changing. (As to long term-comparative tests, I don't think any have been done yet. Someone would need to break a block into two parts, wick half and leave half alone, then bake and comepare--and compare again in a year and in two.) . . . It does change the strength though, and I was told that changing the chemical formulae may not be a real good idea, and that wicking/leaching takes out stuff that's in there for a reason, and not just "excess moisture". Sarajane
(for more on leaching
clays, see Conditioning > Leaching)
detailed sculpting work that demands a very firm clay, change the
paper after 6 hours and continue leaching... or let it sit for 2 to 4 days. It
depends on the original consistency of the clay.
...I use the following "fitness test" to determine if the clay's right for modeling:
Roll the the clay into a ball and cut the ball in half. Put the ball back together by sealing the seams using thumb or finger strokes only. If the clay loses its shape, it's too soft for modeling. If seams blend easily, yet the two hemispheres retain their shape, the clay's generally just right. Katherine Dewey
(...for cooling clay to keep it from being too soft if you have hot hands or are in a hot environment, see Conditioning > Cooling)
Bubbles & Plaques (summ) ...Crumbling or Softening after baking .. Allergies
There are several known reasons why clay may have bubbles, principally the introduction of moisture or air into the raw clay, or not pressing the clay well to another surface, leaving trapped air which will expand with baking. The following may apply to both bubbles and "plaques" --half-moon shaped lighter areas in baked clay:
"Plaques are little half-moon
shapes of slightly more opaque color which often show up when translucents are
baked, especially in thicker amounts and with lighter colors. We think they're
caused by moisture already present in
the clay or from hands. Some people think that air incorporated
into the clay can be a factor too. . . This shows up with SuperSculpey too as
it is mostly translucent; in fact, some boxes of SuperSculpey seem to just
have more plaquing than other boxes" (other packages, colors
or brands too?).
....Use dry and clean hands when handling the clay to avoid any water or oils which might be present on your hands)
...and condition by hand rather than doing it in a pasta machine.
...(you probably already know to be careful not to feed clay in to the pasta machine with the fold on top, right? . . . that would certainly trap air).
...bubbles can also be caused by bits of clay stuck in the pasta machine insides, catching on raw clay as it goes through; if you think that might be the case, try cleaning the pm well before putting the clay through.
.....If you're getting bubbles while using layers or slices of clay, it could be that there is air trapped beneath them which doesn't show up until heating. In that case, you might lay sheets down from the middle out, and them brayer them toward the outside, or press slices down well before adding a next one.
......if possible, you can also bake any flat items under a flat weight (the weight should have a piece of paper under it to prevent shiny spots unless you're using a terra cotta tile or something similar); let cool with the weight also... this will keep any bubbles that form flattened
There are lots of reasons that you could get bubbling in your clay, but probably the most frequent reason is too high a temperature. Elizabeth
on preventing or fixing bubbles in clay, see
Pasta Machines > Problems > Bubbles
(not only about pasta machine bubbles)
....and maybe also Eggs > Bubbles & Cracks)
of the clays will crumble later
if you don't bake properly, but Sculpey III is the
...(raw) clay is full of plastisizers, they keep the clay soft... when you bake, you bake them off... but if you don't bake it long enough, you don't kill off all of the plastisizors....then when you take it out of the oven, and the piece cools down, the plastisizors
Those nasty plastisizors live on your hands also and they love to eat the shine off of beautiful shiny finishes on finished pieces, so you shouldn't pick up anything with a beautiful finish on it without washing your hands eather!! leigh
Though unlikely, it is possible to get an allergic
reaction to one or more brands of polymer clay (especially itching or rashes).
....if you suspect this might be happening, to read more info and get info on barrier creams and gloves, see Safety > Rashes .
BRANDS of polymer clay
(see suppliers at top)
bake at 275°
for maximum strength (...not
265 like the Fimos...)
...for 20-30 min per 1/2" of thickness
small bars of Premo are exactly 2 oz (56 g) ....large
bricks are 16 oz (1 lb)
...Polyform named this clay "Premo! Sculpey" (probably
to associate it with their other clay line, "Sculpey")...but
since Premo is such a different clay from the Sculpeys in its characteristics
(not to mention being a mouthful for a name), you'll usually see this clay referred
to only as "Premo" --except perhaps anywhere
the name is published and must be the exact trademarked name.
...in it's beta version, Premo was named CFC or CFC/Premo, because Marie Segal company is called The Clay Factory of Escondido
.....the bleached version of their translucent may still be referred to with the CFC initials... now called Frost
HISTORY: When Marie Segal (who owns the Clay Factory) decided no longer to carry Fimo, she couldn't find any other clays or combinations of clays which really suited most polyclayers (the difficulty of conditioning Fimo was a great problem for many anyway). So she set out to create a brand new line of clay for Polyform (makers of Sculpey and Promat, which was being discontinued) --a clay which would have the best advantages of clays then on the market (strength, ease of conditioning, flexibility, and cane-ability. (Polyform has now taken over the whole process of production.)
When Marie developed Premo, she also created the
Premo colors according to a regular artists' palette ...(in other words,
a warm red and a cool red... a warm blue and a cool
blue, etc) for maximum number of mixables, and also called them by their familiar
artists’ names (cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, zinc yellow)
for ease of mixability.
.. "special colors" of Premo:
..... range of metallics (mica-containing clays --includes "Pearl" which is a colorless mica clay ... see Mica)
.....2 translucents & a "base" color... fluorescents ...a glow in the dark (see Translucents)
...the following 14 colors will be discontinued in the 1-lb size after Jan.1, 2005:
........zinc yellow, alizarin crimson, turquoise, violet, orange, fuschia (all important basic mixing colors, & impossible to make true from other colors ...ack!)
........sea green .... red and green Pearl...Fluorescent yellow, red, green, and pink .... Glow in the Dark
(the reason given is that they "don't sell well enough" from mail order suppliers --no retail stores have requested to carry 1-lb. bars however)
etc: ...Premo is a very popular middle-of-the-road brand
...it's softer and easier to condition than FimoClassic ... but firmer than Sculpey
...it's very strong after baking and very flexible in thin areas (FC strong, Sculpey weak)
....... to condition, needs no chopping ... cut off a slab just a bit thicker than the widest setting of your pasta machine, then run it through a few times until it’s malleable (or in your hands if you don’t have a pasta machine).
is very temperature sensitive... this is good for
some things, but can be more of a problem in hot rooms,
for those with hot hands, and for those who like
to fiddle with their clay a
lot. ....so it can
be a bit stickier than other clays under some conditions.
....I know what you mean!! I've responded to several SOS calls at Clay Days from people who had overworked their Premo to mush. But once they get the picture that they don't have to handle, handle, handle, and keep working it like they did with Fimo, they are ONE HAPPY CAMPER!! .... probably about the same learning curve as driving an automatic after driving stick . .. Syndee
To cool clay when it gets too soft or sticky (& Premo is the brand which can definitely get sticky)
.....put the clay in the refrigerator or freezer for awhile (especially before trying to slice a cane, or even make certain shapes to be assembled into a cane)
... let it sit for awhile
....use a marble slab as a work surface since it tends to stay cooler than the surrounding air.
.........chill the work surface (a ceramic tile, or marble, e.g.)
..............I have a couple of tiles to work on. I keep one tile in the fridge, and rotate to the other when the 1st starts to warm up...Laurel
....let the clay sit on a gel pack when you're not actually manipulating it or for short periods between work
........a gel pack can also be used to cool your hands as you work.
....I dip my hands periodically into ice water.Dotty in CA
To firm up your clay ....(if your ordered clay comes to you too soft, or for other reasons):
....you can leach some of the plasticizers out of it by placing paper on both sides and weighting ...they will be pulled into the paper (....see Leaching sub-category below for more on this process)
....(June 2005)...also these days, the factory can't keep up with the growth of Premo clay... it used to sit on the warehouse shelves for the right amount of time to "advance" naturally to the proper stiffness, but now it's shipped as soon as it's made (especially the most popular colors --translucent, white and black.
.........so if you like firmer clay and you have the time, it's best to allow Premo to sit around your house for 6 months before you open the package; the clay will advance considerably.
........or you can learn to love the clay fresh and goopy, like I did. :).... I've gotten to where I actually prefer that really fresh softness for most things. It's my favorite clay. Elizabeth
...another other thing that really helps is to buy in bulk during the fall, winter or spring (avoid the hot shipping times of year)
and also let it sit for a while ...like "aging" one's meat or cheese.... after a little time in the basement studio (in a dark drawer, kept at an even temp), I find it's much easier to work with.
........btw, I do this with both fimo and premo, and the clays stay workable for years and years (Howard at the ClayFactory says "10 years or more" for shelf life if stored correctly) Sarajane
clays (those that "smudge" well for sculpting --Sculpeys & Premo)
tend to be insoluble clays
...so water is the preferred release agent for them, especially for intricately detailed molds
...(Fimo and Cernit, both initially firm clays, are soluble clays; both possess a filler (possibly kaolinite) that absorbs moisture, so talc or cornstarch are the better release agents for those clays). K. Dewey
Premo . . . . I was having difficultly smoothing it on the doll heads until I tried wetting my fingers. What a difference...it just smooths right out. I love it now
Premo white is dull, and the white and translucent combo darkens in the bake... DawnIt's been my experience that Premo seems darker when you first take it out of the oven, but then it lightens as it cools.. But I have a whole box of baked color swatches of Premo that match the package colors or raw mixed colors pretty closely.
Premo's "Base" color clay : (...the
color was discontinued for awhile, but now available...by the lb. at Clay Factory
& polymerclayexpress ... Puffinalia also has it by the quarter-lb.)
.....it's slightly translucent... the pigment it does have is a neutral tan/beige ...can be used like SuperSculpey (pinkish) or Mix Quick (white) to extend other colors
......Base can be used to extend other colors up to one-quarter
......I mix Base up to half and half with the deeply-pigmented Premo colors.
....I have done a fair amount of color mixing experiments using the Premo Base color, which is somewhat translucent. When mixes are compared to mixes with translucents they appear to be more "milky". ...The stuff works quite well when adding inclusions (pigments, etc.). ...The analogy that I use is that it is somewhat akin to bread dough that has more room for flour and that dry pigments won't make the mixture too stiff and crumbly.
.......It makes a great background color (good with black, e.g.), and the slight translucency makes your design really stand out.... I have also colored it with Pearl-Ex powders with very nice results.
I go to the Clay Factory site, I see these colors of Premo: Beige/Flesh, Ecru,
Translucent (5310),Translucent (Frost, 5310-bleached-CFC06-), and Base. So Beige
is not the same as Ecru (though that's confusing! --and at polymerclayexpress,
the word Flesh isn't even used), Ecru is an opaque creamy/tan. Base
is kind of like SuperSculpey (less pink, but still lots of translucent to
be able to mix in with other colors to soften or extend them, though it looks
cool just caned with black, etc.). ...Beige/Flesh is a little translucent,
to be used for skin. Diane B.
...(Beige/Flesh) (for dolls) I'm definitely going to add a little white to it, because that caused it to have the least amount of color change from raw to cured... Elizabeth
Premo Beige, is actually (now called) Premo Flesh. It's quite translucent. To avoid the plaquing you can just add one pea-sized piece of white Premo to 2 ounces of the Flesh clay. Premo flesh is really a base clay. In other words, it's not intended to be used as it. It's a starting point to which you add various colors of clay to get the type of skin...tone you wish. It's a middle of the road color with a nice translucent quality which, even when mixed with opaque colors, gives the finished piece a porcelian look. Dotty
Premo 5092 Beige.... I use it as a base color. It's in the regular Premo section of PCE, for sure... don't know about the other sites. It's very translucent, clearer, darker and pinker than Super Sculpey, and of course, a lot stronger. It's intended to be used as a base, mixing in whatever colors you like to achieve the color that you're going for. The color mix that I told you about changes color very little in extended and repeated curing. Clay Factory used to make a color that they called "Base," but I don't think they make it any more?? - at least, that was the last I read. Elizabeth
(for combining Base with other colors to get individual skin tones, see Faces/Skin Tones).
....for all info on Premo's clear translucent clays (and glow-in-the-dark clays)... see Translucents
tried the new Christmas Red ?
....The color is nice but it plaques like a much lighter clay (such as flesh or translucent). Cathy
(isn't available yet --they're still experimenting with it??)
From what I understand about this new color... it behaves differently than a really opaque color. That is, it will show through any color that's next to or under it --Sculpey's old yellow was similar and very disappointing, in a cane especially. Also, in general, certain colors (especially non-light ones) will tend to darken with baking. A solution some people use is to add about 1/6 white to help compensate. Diane B.
I have noticed that pieces from Premo which I have sanded and buffed seem to be harder and tougher than any of the clays. Jeanne R.
Also have noticed that when Diluent-Softener is added to Premo, the baked clay is more "rubbier" and does not break or snap as easily. Just bends more. Jeanne R.
My experience has been
that the Premo shrinks up
more than FimoClassic. ...On the smaller notebook covers
I made it wasn't a problem... but on the larger ones
the holes wouldn't line up with Premo. Fimo worked okay on the larger ones though,
even though it has a bit of shrinkage too, I could still line the holes
up enough to use the covers..... Biggest question I have is whether the diluent
affects the shrinkage rate. I suspect it does, but think it would be hard to pinpoint
how much as I add more diluent according to how much Pearl-ex powders that
I have added for tinting the TLS. Also, the TLS if fresh seems to not need
as much as older TLS. Jeanne
The other place I've had problems with shrinkage is on my fish boxes... or paperweights... where I'm encasing something larger. If the clay shrinks, it has no where to shrink up TO in a project of that sort... so it cracks. I've had repeated cracking on these projects with the Premo... so I'm sticking to the Fimo for those now. Sadly so, as I really like the metallics... but damage control is more time consuming than making the entire project should be. Water baths do nothing to close up the cracking on these encased items... that's why I'm convinced it's a shrinkage problem. This is NOT a shot at Premo.... it's just a noted limitation. It helps you choose the clay that's right for the project you're working on at any given time. Joanie
(however, see above in Miscellaneous for more info)
In numerous tests that I and a friend have done,
Premo comes out the strongest. However, Fimo certainly is a good strong
clay and you should have no fear in using it. Premo is more flexible than Fimo
if baked correctly and that may be why it stood up better. You can bend and twist
it and it refuses to tear or break. Dotty
Please, correct me if I'm wrong about this - I think Premo is inconsistently strong. Cobalt blue is very strong, but Alizarin Crimson isn't. I baked some sample tiles and then flexed them and the Aliz Crim just snapped instead of flexing at all. A friend of mine had some Premo white she used to make thin pins and they just cracked apart! The problem may be in the manufacturing - they'll not computerized and the factory is open to the elements (high humidity some days, none on others). I think there are differences batch to batch.
I do think that the Fimo white is a brighter white than Premo's white and it was quite wonderful to work with. But I haven't had the problem you mentioned about the white Premo breaking easier. But that could be due to what you said might be inconsistency in the batches. I may have been lucky with all the Premo colors I've used as none of them have been brittle or breakable as long as they reach the 275 temp for the right period of time, which I understand is crucial. Dotty
many clayers mix a combo clay of part Premo and part Kato
clay... they feel doing that yields the best characteristics
....My favorite clay is now a Premo- Kato combo.... I'm using about 1 pt Kato to 3 pts Premo.... if I use the very freshest Premo and Kato, I get my perfect clay.
.......of course, it's important to be sure that they are mixed competely, so use two slightly different colors so you'll know when it's done. Jeanne
...also with this combination, the Kato will make the Premo buffable (without having to sand it).....and I like the soft matte 'gloss' look (...had found the Kato alone too hard for me to condition). Carolyn
My combo of Premo
and Cernit holds up much better for me under similar (strength)
situations (....tiny fingers on miniature dolls, for instance).
..... Cernit/Premo colors are nice also, but darken a bit if cured too hot.
..... my Cernit/Premo blend also sands, carves, and endures multiple layers of curing with excellent results. Jeanne R.
more info on Kato Polyclay
....came out in Jan 2002
Kato Polyclay may be cured up
degrees F....but generally it's baked
.......at 325, curing time can be reduced by half (from what's stated on the pkg... will change the pkg instructions later though?)
(....when cured at 325, Kato clay is more rigid (less flexible, which would affect thin areas most), still strong, still with no color change, and the surface is harder --more like Sculpey's)
....however, if Kato is mixed with another brand, the clay should be cured at the lower tempearature in order to prevent color shift of the other brand.
old instructions were: "Bake at 275 degrees for at least ½ hour. Larger pieces may be cured for hours (with no change in color) ."
... should be the same clay thouh... Donna just discovered it could be heated higher for even better characteristics
2008 --2nd REFORMULATION:
"In response to changes in California’s Prop. 65 listing of phthalate plasticizers, most polymer clay manufacturers have reformulated their products... Unfortunately for the adult crafter and polymer clay artist ...new competitor formulas no longer reflect the range of techniques published in numerous craft books on the subject. The new Kato Polyclay formula has maintained all craft attributes of previous formulas while providing improved (easier) conditioning characteristics.
....(However) While phthalate plasticizers were cost effective and provided excellent working properties, the alternative plasticizer that satisfies the demands of the new regulations, adult crafter, and artist are 50% more expensive. Starting April 1 (2008) there will be a price increase..." Donna Kato
(prices and sizes just below are now for the new line)
....their small bars are 2
oz (56 g) each (used to be 3 oz)
....their large bricks are 12.5 oz. each, rather than the 16 oz. of Premo (....but same as the Fimos)
store locator: http://www.katopolyclay.com/locator.html
Hobby Lobby carries it ... they alsohave a few of the larger bricks of Kato---white, black, flesh
Aaron Bros carried it --but no longer?
few art supply stores
... old prices: MSRP list price of 3 oz bars is 2.29.....and 2.99 for the metallics (Gold, Silver, Copper, Pearl)
... new prices: MSRP of 12.5 oz blocks is 9.99.... and12.69 for the metallics.
We decided rather than to average costs, we would price according to the cost of the actual color. Donna Kato
Prairiecraft (Donna Kato's site) http://www.prairiecraft.com
....(prices are always at an everyday discount of 20-25% off list price; further discounts for volumes over $75; low shipping)
clay does come in fewer colors than the other brands, but
the palette was created so that any color can be mixed
from those 17 total colors
(2 or 12.5 oz):
--8 "spectral" colors (pure colors, as in a rainbow or spectrum... these pure colors weren't mixed with other colors in the factory, so they can mix to create clear bright colors, if desired, without dulling or being "toned down")
--4 "neutral" colors (white, black, brown, beige/flesh)
--4 metallic colors (gold, silver, copper and Pearl--which has as much color removed as possible)
--1 translucent color
SETS ("sample packs")
1 oz bars, in sets of 4
--4 concentrates (red, blue, yellow, green)
--4 primary colors (___) .... 4 neutral colors (__)
--4 warm colors (__)... 4 cool colors (__)
--4 metallic colors (__)
2 oz bars, in set of __?: "Master Sample Pack"
spectral and neutral colors are opaque (not the translucent
or metallics, of course)
... this is not true for every "regular" color of other brands (..so be aware of this when creating votives, etc; will have to add some transcluent)
The 4 Kato Concentrates
(red, blue, yellow, green) are formulated with a high concentration of color pigment..
sold in sets only
....these clays are not used alone... only as "tinting aids to produce other colors, or they're added in small quantities to existing colors to create a color not currently in the Kato Polyclay color line.
......mix with standard colors for increased color saturation
......mix with the metallic colors to create jewel tones
......mix with translucent to achieve transparent colors
(Kato Clay also has a clear liquid clay and several pre-colored liquid clays...as well as Repel Gel, glues, tools, etc)
has a great page illustrating the color wheel Kato clays make, and
info about mixing
the following was written before the reformulation of April 2008 (see just
but most things will still be the same (except conditioning which is easier)
The clay is vacuum extruded so that
it is more dense than other clays
... this results in a number of desirable characterstics for manipulating, baking, strength, carving/drilling, transfers, and caning & slicing, and also results in a dense baked surface with a slight natural sheen
http://www.prairiecraft.com/colorchart.html (for more info)
Kato Polyclay is definately the strongest! Both Judy Belcher's daughter Maria and my son Jeremy did school science projects testing the tensile strength of several different polymer clays and the results proved that far and away that Kato Polyclay was the most durable and resiliant polymer clay. Lisa P.
This clay is GREAT!!!! It is soft,
but not too soft. Not sticky as you've already heard.
.... It is easy to condition. It can be conditioned by hand easily or a couple passes thru the pasta machine will do it. Julie W.
.......I also think that the clay can be overconditioned - that's happened to me and the result was that bits came off the surface.
.......I've done this! Kneaded and rolled the clay to such an extent that bits of clay from the surface pull away. Of course, this was so frustrating, I just kept rolling through (thinking that I could correct it). Dumb! Finally, I let it rest and then it was fine. Donna Kato
I found Kato clay did not hold its conditioningfor long .... by this I mean that if you condition and make a blend tonight, and then try to use it a day or so later, it will be crumbly. Patty B. (still true with 2008 reforumulation though?)
reduce easily. It slices easily with no dragging or smearing!!!!! Julie W.
....If you do any caning, this clay is fabulous! I can cut clean, distortion-free slices from my canes immediately after reduction.
.....canes I have made last winter are still pliable and don't crack when sliced or reduced. Lisa P.
(I've been using Kato clay
for 3 weeks, and so far) it is a caner's dream. Not as resistant as Fimo, not
as soft as Premo, for me it has just the right amount of give and
I don't turn it to mush in my hot hands.
...My notes so far: the red has been the squishiest for me. My guess is the dye. Since the infamous red dye No. (2?) was removed from the market, good red dyes have been harder to come by.... black has been kinda squishy, too. Again, prolly the dye. ...The rest of the colors I have tried seem to have very similar consistency, which makes caning easier.... The translucent seems to be more transparent than others and much less likely to turn yellow. I even use a layer of No. 6 instead of 7 many times..... If anyone out there is heavy-handed and/or has hot hands like me, do give it a try. (Colors I've used to date: red, black, white, blue, turquoise, violet, yellow, orange, green and trans.) Kim K.
saga re testing the new Kato Polyclay for sculpting (he liked it
very much, and felt that it raw clay blended to rbaked clay was very smooth and
that it was very strong, among other things)
....It adhered to itself well...Jacqueline
....(Dawndove felt the skin color was too orangey and opaque for skin though) I did my best face sculpt yet out of it (despite the skintone issue) because it took the tooling so nicely. And seams lovely. That nice blending of pieces together. Dawndove
...~I tried the flesh color to sculpt a fairy with, and wasn't impressed with the color (too peachy) or the translucency of the skin after it was baked. So I tried mixing it with translucent. Still didn't like it. And the feel was a bit too mooshy, for my tastes. Some people like Cernit feeling clays, so I'm not knocking it, it was not for me. Guess I'll be a Super Sculpey girl forever.... I do like the clay, it's just different from anything I've tried. Ginger
....Vernon said when I first ordered it that they were going to change the color of the flesh to something with less orange. Leslie
....Works great for all my claying needs except for sculpting. Still prefer Pro- Sculpt for sculpting. Jeanne
Polyclay is not as fragile as other brands when warm. Donna
says, "When I make small box vessels covering a clay form I can actually twist
the interior form to loosen the box walls without the walls breaking."
... could lead to being able to do simple origami as it cools?
surface appearance is a soft sheen after baking. . . but
can also be altered to achieve a more matte finish by:
.......applying cornstarch to raw clay before curing (...rinse off, if any still present after baking)
....... sanding and then using 0000 steel wool mattes the sheen a lot. Dotty
...to achieve the appearance of frosted glass, the surface can be scraped lightly with the tip of a metal file. Trina
...Donna scratched off the surface of a piece of black baked clay (the handle of a brush), and it made it look like soft velvet. Very nice effect. Dotty
...I agree that Kato Polyclay's baked surface finish isn't as natural looking when making organic faux items though (...but could use one of the matte ideas above). Dotty
did I mention the smell ? Kellie told me that there is a new
formula in the works (if not already out there) that is much less "aromatic"...
...(June 2004).... we conditioned and worked with about a Kazillion pounds of clay in a fairly small room this weekend and I never noticed an odor. Linda in VA
EARLIER: I was one who at first did like the smell, but with later samples, I did not notice the smell anymore. I agree with (was it Julie?? Or Tara??) the PCPer who said it smells somewhat like a new doll. Dianne C
...The smell reminded me of 1st grade art class. Deirdre ...that new plastic smell . . or like glue
...the clay has a rather sweet smell. Dotty
...I rather like the smell. :) It reminds me of a new doll. We each smell things differently..but it's not offensive to me at all! Jan
...reminds me of a plastic shower curtain liner, but doesn't bother me. Emily N.
that they put extra mica in the metallic & pearl
clays to give it a heavier metallic effect (mica shift) but
because of that it is a little harder
to condition and is a little drier (crumbles
more easily). I really didn't find it all that difficult to condition ...
you just have to be aware of it. catbyte
...The silver Kato clay is really lovely. Donna was doing some mica-shift projects with it which were stunning. Dotty
...some people feel the silver and copper are the best of the Kato metallics
..the mica effect of the
metallics and pearl carries over even when only small bits of
them are mixed with other colors! (Vernon)
.......Donna showed samples of the metallics "diluted" with translucent. ... mixing 1 to 1, or even 1 to 2 (metallic to translucent), still had a very pronounced mica shift effect. Lenora
(& memory) is incredible ...it's called "warm repositioning"
--this characteristic somewhat less pronounced after the first reformulation} .
. . When I took a flat sheet out of the oven, I curved it into a ring for my finger just for the fun of it, and it stayed in that position. I could have reflattened it, but I decided to leave it as a ring. This new clay (Kato clay) has some definate characteristics that sets it apart from the other clays. Deirdre
....(One of the main reasons I have chosen to use Fimo over Premo is because Fimo has such good "memory". I like to go back and re-position arms etc. I know this doesn't seem like it would be a problem, but when I am mass producing some of my items, hours may go by before I am able to go back and re-position. Mirella)
....if only partially baked though, thin sheets or areas are sometimes very easy to tear while still hot (as the piece cools, it hardens and becomes very tough, if baked correctly).
....what about covering bottles of lotion, stand-up toothpaste containers, etc., while cooling?
(for more details on warm repositioning and on making removable sleeves of clay, see Covering > Removable Sleeves)
In the beginning of its
production, some of the Kato clay shipped out was partially
cured in hot delivery trucks. They're taking precautions
against heat while shipping now though (and also have a new formulation).
......In the summer heat, Prairie Craft will now rotate its Kato Polyclay stock through our refrigerator and ship in an insulated carton at no additional cost... We do, however, recommend 3 day shipping. Vernon, Prairiecraft
... (I have some of that older, crumbly Kato clay, and I'm treating it the same way I did with the Fimo Classic. I use my mini-food processor and adding either some diluent or some mineral oil. Dotty (see more in Conditioning)
anyone tried sanding the Kato Clay yet? I
covered some pens and found that it was soooooo hard to
sand and also gunked up the
sandpaper . . . almost like sanding something coated with TLS .
..The grit wears off my sandpaper very fast when I'm sanding it and it doesn't seem to work as well as it does with the other brands.
.....In fact, I use 220 to start with (rather than 400), and I'm thinking of getting some even coarser. Trying to sand mica shift stamped things flat takes forever ....I just picked up 150 grade sandpaper today and I'll see how that does...Dystini
...Another possibility - quite a while ago Donna mentioned she was sanding Kato Clay dry, no water. Might work better on the big bumps. Linda (wear a mask? Kathy)
Kato Polyclay has water repellant properties
and a smooth and shiney finish after baking, it may not take Flecto
well (it may bead up during application and/or
peel off after drying after some days).
.....To get around this problem, the clay surface can first be prepared with a bit of liquid clay first (see details on this in Finishes > Flecto Varathane > Peeling)
.... or Future can be used instead, without any problems
... (a new finish just for Katoclay may be manufactured eventually)
the translucent is beautiful!! ....it does not plaque unless you want to make it plaque (by adding moisture?)! Julie W.
the white Kato Polyclay is a crisp and really really white ...and the black is really black. Julie W.
Unless they change the formula, the black seems to get on hands, etc., easily. Having baby wipes handy can help remove it.
I noticed that the green and the turquoise do exactly like Premo of the same colors and have tiny spots which look like plaquing (not half moon but with lighter looking specks) the first few times through the pasta machine. ..if I let it rest, they disappear after just a couple of more passes. Jeanne
All of the colors are good, but the turquoise doesn't seem quite like turquoise to me. I suppose it depends on what type of turquoise and where it came from. But to me it appears more like a nice medium blue..... so I added some of the green to it and am much happier with that turquoise color. Dotty
& later, from DONNA:
We partnered with Van Aken International on this product...one of the most well known and well respected companies in the art and craft materials busines. (they're best known for their Claytoon clay animation clay ---the California Raisins, Wallace & Grommet, etc.).
So, you might ask, how is Kato Polyclay different? Here are a few of the ways.
1. Conditioning - Kato Polyclay is easy to condition, with no crumbling.
...Donna told me recently that Kato clay should be compressed when you first take it out of the package.
.....example: use your acrylic roller to mash down the clay brick... just a bit, doesn't have to be a big flat pancake. I use a regular rolling pin (easier for my hands) and smash down the center, then roll/push to each end of the brick. One pass, that's it
.......now it is ready to be put through the pasta machine or hand conditioned, with no crumbling or cracking edges. Celia
...it's easier to condition than FimoClassic ... may be a little more difficult than Premo.
2. Handling - with continuous kneading and working, Kato Polyclay does not become sticky and, therefore, maintains its ease or workability.
3. Strength - Kato Polyclay was deemed as strong or stronger than the other clays testers use - with most feeling it was stronger. Not one single respondent found it to be less strong. Additionally, every color shares the same strength.
4. Color stability - From uncured to cured state, no Kato Polyclay color shifts more than 1/2 shade, with the majority remaining unchanged from uncured to cured state. It is virtually "true-color" (other brands change color in baking much more)
5. Consistency - Colors share the same consistency and softness. For example, you won't find white very hard and green very soft. Even consistency promotes even cane reduction, which results in less distorted imagery and less waste at cane ends.
6. Color Mixing - Rather than taking an academic approach (this requires that the user have a rather extensive knowledge of color mixing) we have opted for a more user friendly and intuitive method. The "Spectral" (rainbow) Colors form the basis for the creation of all colors. If they were placed on the color wheel, you would find them very evenly spaced. This approach makes color mixing simple for even the most inexperienced user.
7. Colors - Colors have been formulated for maximum purity and brilliance. (Muting a color is simple but you can't take a muddy color and make it bright)
8. Finish - Once cured, Kato Polyclay exhibits a satin sheen.
9. Density - As part of the manufacturing process, Kato Polyclay is vacuum extruded (we are the only company utilizing this state of the art process). In essence, air from the clay is removed, making the clay denser and eliminating the need for continuous folding and rolling to remove air pockets from the clay.
10. Warm repositioning - Kato Polyclay is not as fragile as other brands when warm. When I make small box vessels (I cover a clay form) I can actually twist the interior form to loosen the box walls without the walls breaking. Additionally, Kato Polyclay allows for a measure of repositioning of elements when warm - the clay maintains its new position without breaking (...this is lessened with new formula though...DB).
...Packaging - the ink is sandwiched between two sheets of acetate so the ink doesn't rub off the outside (the UPC codes are printed on the outside) or come off inside on the clay.
... We've designed a "Pay for Publication" program covering not just magazine articles, but Internet projects, videos, and television appearances.
And I did a small transfer test, and I think Kato Polyclay picks
up the ink better than any other clay I've used.... It was a simple black
and white magazine pic transfer, but the intensity of the black that transferred,
and the crisp detail impressed me
.....Also the texture is a bit firmer and more resistant to fingerprints, and such is really nice. Dawndove
clayers mix a combo clay of part Premo and part Kato clay...
they feel doing that yields the best characteristics
....My favorite clay is now a Premo- Kato combo.... I'm using about 1 pt Kato to 3 pts Premo.... if I use the very freshest Premo and Kato, I get my perfect clay.
.......of course, it's important to be sure that they are mixed competely, so use two slightly different colors so you'll know when it's done. Jeanne
...also with this combination, the Kato will make the Premo buffable (without having to sand it).....and I like the soft matte sheen (...I had found the Kato alone too hard for me to condition). Carolyn
Julie Wise of
"Razberi Kids" fame and I, are starting a Kato Polyclay usergroup on Yahoo
very soon. You'll be able to get all your answers about Kato Polyclay answered
there as well as your general clay questions. Lisa Pavelka
NOTE: (June 2007)... yet another new formulation of the Fimos
Bake at 230°- 265 ° (15-30 min per 1/4- 1/2" of thickness)
.....the package recommends baking the new clay at 230º (110º C)
.....BUT clayers have found that the old temp of 265º results in a stronger product (for just new clay or mixes with the old clay)
......... at the higher baking temp, the colors won't darken any more than before....however, some colors (translucents & light ones) always darken more easily so those may need a slightly lower temperature (or just tenting-enclosing?)
...both Fimos are now not as strong as they used to be
...both Fimos are softer than their previous formulations (becoming softer with each reincarnation) and have more problems with stretch and detail
...the new FimoClassic is now too soft and tacky (which makes it almost impossible to use for sculpting). UGH!!! ... it used to be my favorite for sculpting. Chris
...miniaturists don't like it as much because of the softer texture & the color changes
...no longer offering a translucent in Classic (now only available in the 'effects' range in FimoSoft)
...see Reformulations of Fimo Clays just below for more
NOTE:....this formula change will often not be reflected at the entire GlassAttic site ...too many instances to change!
....small bars of FimoClassic (& FimoSoft) can run from 58-65 g (slightly more than the 2 oz of Premo or Sculpey III ... metric system)
are now several lines of Fimo clay (...which can be pretty confusing):
--There used to be only one Fimo line (simply called plain old "Fimo"), which was very stiff and difficult to condition.
--Nowadays, the original Fimo is now called "Fimo Classic" and it has been softened (and in 2007 softened a lot more).. some of its colors have been discontinued also.
--Fimo has also put out a second line which is called "Fimo Soft; ...this clay is much softer than Fimo Classic but not as soft as Sculpey III, etc..
.... local: I checked with my local Michaels the manager is a personal friend, he said Michaels will discontiue Fimo Classic ??? and only carry FimoSoft, Premo and Sculpey III. Called some more JoAnn's ETC will carry the same. A large art supply store diffrent from first also no Fimo classic. (it will still be available by mail order though --DB)
...online: see Supply Sources for places to see the colors and purchase clay
Classic has two sub-categories of colors:
Standard (which includes the old, heavily plaquing, "00 Art Transparent" and a glow-in-the-dark clay, Niteglow), and Soft Pastels
...Fimo Soft has 4 sub-categories of colors:
Transparents (which includes one "colorless" Translucent --FS 014)
Metallics (which are actually glitter clays)
Stone Colors (simulate granite effects--discontinued-- plus Marble White and possibly Anthracite)
..........(they have also recently added to the FimoSoft line at least three true metallic, mica-containing, clays --gold, silver, and copper, plus one semi-glitter/whitish translucent for simulating opals, etc. called Metallic White)
reformulations of Fimo clays
All Fimo clays have been reformulated yet again...this time because some customers felt it was too crumbly
... though the plasticizers used in the previous formulation were judged okay for toys by the European Union (Fimo is classed as a "toy"), they also worried that the EU could ban more plasticizers in the future so those were changed too
...for more info, see http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/fimo_new_formula.htm
........also see Safety > Plasticizers, Oils, Phthalates....and Baking > Times and Temperatures
..Fimo's flesh-colored doll clays:
.......Miniature Doll Fimo is a lot softer than it was when it was first re-introduced. The latest batch was very difficult to use for original sculpts of miniature dolls although it is still fine for moulding.
.......Soft Doll Fimo is also currently very soft. We are waiting for more information from the manufacturers about this problem. (Meanwhile, if you are having difficulties, you may wish to use Sculpey Living Doll instead. I have found this clay is excellent for making both full size and miniature dolls.) Sue H..
...dollmakers particularly are not happy. ...we are currently testing the new clays and observing their performance for jewellery, modelling, miniatures and doll making. We will update this page as soon as they are completed. Sue H.
...There is little chance of Eberhard Faber developing a new line of polymer clay specially for adults and artists, etc....they cannot put that sort of investment into a new product... also a new adult clay would have to have a new name, and Faber is not willing to lose their well known branding. Pat, Philippa, Angie
2007....The result of our meeting (with the manufacturers of Fimo
re the dissatisfaction of sculptors, caners, etc., with the new formulation)
was that Eberhard Faber realised that we have big problems with the new
FIMO Classic which they take very seriously...They will look at how to improve
it and expect to be able to come back to us by January next year (2008).
Faber marketing director Nils Henssen said: "We will try and work it out and hopefully
come to a satisfactory solution. It is a difficult problem".
Nils wants to hear about any problems users have (with the Fimo clays).
.....please get in touch with him - and pass his email address on to anyone you know (in the UK, US, or anywhere) who has had experience with the new formula:
(see more on this meeting at http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/fimo_new_formula.htm )
Aug 2001: . . . It was (so I understand)
reformulated somewhat recently, and ever since she's been having problems with
it breaking easily. She used to fire it at 225F in a convection oven, and
now that it's been changed she's got to fire it closer to 275F or 300F to get
it to not break as easily (and it still doesn't stand up to punishment as much
as it used to.) Also, for those wondering, she's using Fimo Classic, and
not Fimo Soft. She also uses clay quickly, so it's never more than a few months
old. The problem she finds with firing at a higher temperature is that the clay
darkens during firing. This can be compensated for by mixing in extra
white clay, but the clay is still more brittle after baking than it
used to be. (Many of the products she produces are made from canes sliced at approximately
1/8", and as such they break easier than they used to.) Kim2
Is she high altitude? I add 5 degrees becauses I'm over a mile above sea level--the chemist at Polyform said this would help, and it did. I too noticed the change in FIMO, and its one reason I use a lot of Premo now. Sarajane
2001: . . . Fimo is harder than premo, but the new formula is a lot better
to work with than it used to be. For example with the new Fimo classic,
I can cut off slices and feed them straight through my
pasta machine without crumbling, of course we could not do that with the
old stuff! ...I know many american folks who, like me, find fimo classic TOO soft
now!... I find fimo classic softer and nicer to work with than fimo Soft! Emma
...The only real bummer is that the fimo folks seemed to have lost the plot a little with the changes to the colour pallette. I want the fimo classic avaible in ALL the same shades as the fimo soft comes in please, AND please bring back the OLD fimo metallics colour range, the new stuff is just pants with its big glitter flakes in ;-) My advice, stick to fimo classic! or one of the Polyform clays. Emma
June 2000: a heads-up word to people
who've really liked the firmness of Fimo--its been softened!
..The new Classic Fimo (which they swear is the same formula--NOT!) is soft and sticks to your hands, however it does cane and reduce well, and makes it through the Laundry strength Test (we are at 20 times through and buttons are holding up fine)
......IMHO, Fimo and Premo are meeting in the middle
......you may note that the new classic Fimo is leaning towards the Premo pallette
.....(Premo is still more heat-sensitive in it's response than Fimo---something to remember with really big canes or with really hot hands.) Sarajane Helm
on Fimo Class characteristics... written for various
(most may no longer be true)
The new formulation of Fimo Classic does have one drawback in that it does seem to have more air bubbles in it. This hasn't been a problem for me, but I know that for some people doing project using flat sheets, it has caused some problems. Emma
Fimo Classic is the
hardest of the clays when raw and the most difficult
to condition, though
not nearly as bad as it used to be!
...sometimes the new stuff is even too soft! . . . I have found too, that I buy my Fimo in large quanitites, and let it age for a month or so, and then it is not so soft. Jenny Pat
...The packaging has lot numbers, but they have nothing to do with how hard the clay will be, since storage conditions significantly affect the hardness of the clay. Stores that move a lot of clay tend to have softer clay, while other stores have ancient clay that feels like wood, or newer, also-very-hard, clay that was overheated or over-exposed to lighting. The best test is to lightly squeeze the package; with some experience you'll learn what to feel for. Ordering Fimo by mail order will usually deliver a softer clay.
...see below in FimoSoft for banging it on all sides (while still in the wrapper) with a rubber mallet to possibly avoid the crumbs!
Fimo Classic is like warm leather when I take it out of the processor, and start to make sheets. It is beautiful stuff. Karen in FL
Fimo classic is wonderful for caning!
have found that mixing a little more than one part translucent to every 2 parts
red will prevent bleeding & make that nasty RED (Fimo Soft?)
easier to work with (when caning). Marilyn
To prevent the color bleeding Diane talked about, I wonder if a thin sheet of black outlining the red would help? LynnDel
(for more on bleeding, see above in Miscellaneous)
Fimo (esp. black) smells (more than other clays). . . If the piece is fully cured, it should get better as it airs. If it's not fully cured, I'm not so sure. If it doesn't air off in a couple of weeks, I think I'd pop it into the oven for fiftten minutes or so and see if it helps.)
I use Fimo (for sculpting),
and Fimo also has a clay called PuppenFimo that is specially for dolls.
The colour is very strong but you can mix it with white puppenfimo to get a nicer
.... Now I think they have two flesh colors in the smaller bars at least also.
(see Sculpting > Clays for all info on polymer clays when used specifically for sculpting, making figures, etc.)
Then I had some old hard fimo which I overdid adding Vaseline to. I stuck it in the fridge for a while, then used it to make some critters for my kids. It was ridiculously sticky, but did hold its shape in the oven. The texture is really interesting - kind of pebbly like cement.
I have found that Fimo, while hard when cured according to directions, has a bit of a waxy crumbly texture on delicate or fine detail. Jeanne R.
There is now also a Fimo
liquid clay! Emma ....though it's not that easy to find
... called "Liquid FIMO® Decorating Gel" ...may need to use the trademark icon if searching! (or Deco Gel or Deko Gel outside the U.S.)
(see websites above for recipes for the discontinued Fimo Classic colors) …
(see suppliers at top)
NOTICE .. important formula changes!
another new formulation
...even softer than before (so not as good for details and handling)
...same lack of strength after baking as before probably, maybe worse (compared to Premo, Kato, and the older version of FimoClassic ...probably still stronger than the main Sculpeys though)
....the new baking temp recommended by the manufacturer is 230°......however, clayers and EF's chemist says have found that baking the clay and mixes of old and new at the old temp of 265 results in a stronger product (and colors also don't darken more)
........ but the burning temp may be lower than the usual 385 for mixes or for new Fimos
...(from Eberhard Faber): "It will be no problem if you want to mix "older" Fimo (130° C, 265°F) with new Fimo (110°, 230°F). We advise to harden the combined Fimo at a temperature of (230° F) 110° C for 30 minutes (per 1/4" thickness?), and to use an oven thermometer for checking the temperature in your oven." Eberhard Faber
formulation... softer than before, and less strong
...how to recognize the small bars compared to the older FimoSoft
.....the new formula bars now have 8 bar markings on one side, and 2 on the other side
.....the old, stronger FimoSoft had only 2 segments both sides
NOTE:....these latest changes may not be reflected at the entire GlassAttic site ...too many instances of it to change
see the "Reformulations of Fimo Clays" 2007 sub-category
(just above, under FimoClassic), for the history of the various changes, info
about baking temps, doll Fimo, etc
FimoSoft is now very soft out of the packet
...the downside is the stuff is that it's somewhat brittle after baking in thin or projecting areas (not as bad as Sculpey though), but not as strong as the old FimoSoft (....rounded balls will be strong though because they're inherently strong shapes)
......this weakness can be remedied by adding any other strong clay brand (FimoClassic, Premo, Kato, Cernit), which will strengthen it in proportion to how much stronger clay is used
...the new version also has that very matte finish like Sculpey III
Small bars of FimoSoft can run from 58-65 g (slightly more than the 2 oz of Premo or Sculpey III ... metric system)
boxes (not easily available) ..seems
that Fimo is now making larger boxes of white and flesh-colored
FimoSoft ("bulk" ...for teachers, etc.)...this is probably to compete
with Sculpey's plain white in a box, and flesh-colored Scuper Sculpey also sold
in larger amounts (for teachers)
...but it is the new fomulation which may be weaker than most other brands but stronger than Sculpey equivalents?
(8 lbs. bulk white = $58 ....... 24 lbs bulk white = $170)
(8 lbs. bulk flesh--"Doll Pink" = $58..... 24 lbs bulk white = $170 ........is their flesh translucent or opaque?)
The older (two?)
versions of FimoSoft had some advantages/disadvantages that may or
may not be present in the current version:
......sticky, too soft, colors not consistent, some colors bled easily into other clays/work surfaces/etc, some could be crumbly, if leached became less flexible after baking but harder, didn't seem to blend to itself very well, could crack in caning, may not hold conditioning very long, could attract "gunk" if tumbled ...but could be sliced immediately, reduced well, smoothed out well, had a very white White, some good colors...
.... (recommended temp on label is 230, but clayers and EF's chemist says have found that baking the clay --and mixes of old and new-- at the old temp of 265 results in a stronger product (and colors also don't darken more)
........ but the burning temp may be lower than the usual 385 for mixes or for new Fimos (see more in Baking > Times & Temps)
colors... now called Effect...FimoSoft
the FORMULA for these has probably also changed
....All the "special effect clays" now relabeled with word EFFECT on pkg (all those which aren't simply plain regular "opaque" colors)
... Fimo has converted most of the lines that used to be regular FimoClassic (the transparents, stones, metallics, neon) into the FimoSoft line instead
"Metallics"....NOTE: these are
not what the other
clay brands call "metallics"!...
at least now they seem to have glitter in the color name
. . . they have actual glitter in them (instead of mica)....distinctly sparkly with a somewhat glassy background color
......"Metallic" Silver, Gold, Red, Green, Blue
.......White Metallic .... translucent-white with glitter
...Linda WP's polar bear and dog made with FimoSoft's White Metallic and Marble
........ when baked they looked like transparent with tons of glitter in them... If you like glitter, they are great. . . .just glitter in depth.
.... I wish that when you buff the glitter colors, the glitter didn't turn silver!!! Leigh (still true?... any buffing needed?)
........(could cover the glitter clay with a thin layer of translucent or liquid clay before buffing?)
...the glitter "Metallics" need a reformulation to make them less prone to bleeding. It's just awful!! Kelly (should be done by now?)
.....Karen Omodt's planet with rings made from yellow glitter FimoSoft (possibly mixed with other colors) & pearl
...Elizabeth's marbled beads with some glitter metallics (rolled in bead rollers to avoid having to sand... glitter comes off too much?)
...symmetrical (Natasha-type) pattern made with opaque turquoise clay plus probably gold clay + gold glitter clay
....Marie Segal outlines every cane segment in black for many of her canes. This border color prevents bleeding and produces a bright pattern that reduces without the losing integrity of the design. Katherine Dewey
...(re the new FimoSoft): If the "sparkly" gold is any indication of how fantastic the other colors will be, there will be a whole new twist on Christmas ornaments, this year... Santa's will sport "Double Flake Candy Apple" instead of velvet. <g>
....lots of things are interesting with glitter clay, or glitter clay mixed in with translucent or with other clays, or in liquid clays
Marie's pendants (using glitter clays?, and glitter in liq. clay) http://www.clayfactory.net/marie/ecrunecklace.htm
....try making strands of it with the clay gun
... I took a vase out of the oven..it had some cane baked . . .& while it (the glass) was still hot, I put some green glitter fimo soft around the base. Then I took a little knife & began to treat it as you would frosting on a cake! It responded JUST LIKE frosting on a cake. So I baked it . . . . Dawn
Marble...appears to be a somewhat-translucent white with indistinct and distinct dark spots
. . . FimoSoft has now introduced clays with mica in them, however ...
they just aren't in their "Metallics" line (changed now?).
....MICA:. Gold FS11, Copper FS27 , Silver FS81, probably Metallic Pearl FS08 ...plus Sapphire Blue FS38, Emerald Green FS58 and Ruby Red FS28 (NO MICA: other FS colors may have "Metallic" in their names, but contain no mica--only glitter)
Dayglows (fluorescents, neons) are beautiful but at
the present point these are a little soft, although this could be because
they are just about as fresh as you could get!!! But still they are not so soft
that you would have to leech them! It really does have a beautiful YELLOW that
bakes like a dream! And Raspberry is gorgeous! And Mandarin is outragious! Leigh
I found that the fluorescents are so much softer and stickier that you cannot successfully cane them with other colors than themselves. Donna
Nite Glow ... regular greenish glow in the dark clay
.... this line includes 1 uncolored Translucent... plus 5 bright
tinted translucents (called "transparent," but really
..There are six new colors of transparent Fimo: T1 Yellow, T2 Red, T21 Pink, T37 Blue, T4 Orange, and T5 Green.
....http://www.amaco.com/pdfs/AC4.pdf? (if you have Adobe Acrobat) ...look for "Transparent" colors
....When I first saw these bright, kid-friendly colors, I thought there was no way I would use them in my palette. However, after trying them I was surprised to find that you can achieve some subtle shading, especially when combined with regular translucent. I imagine they would be great for votives .
.... would be great for translucent-opaque canes to overlay on other clay (see Canes--Instr. > Translucent Canes
....**12-1-99: If you like the Fimo translucents that Donna Kato uses to make her beautiful beads, stock up now. They aren't making them (the same) anymore. The translucents have been incorporated into the FimoClassics line but they reformulated them so they are not the same, more waxy. Jody
....When I ordered Fimo transulcent colors the other day from a large art supply in my area (Rochester, NY) and was told that that they were being discontiued and replaced with Fimo Soft tran-colors except pink. Pink was being discontiued all together. The FimoSoft trans-colors are not being introduced until april. This info. came from AMACO. So, order now.... Confused in Rochester, Christine
....The colors for the Fimo Soft that are marked as translucents (transparents?) are MUCH stronger when baked than they appear when you're mixing them, and the colors you can end up with are not what you think you're mixing. I've had much better results getting the colors I want when I use regular Fimo Soft colors to tint the translucent and pearl clays (rather then the Fimo Transparents)..... http://thepolyparrot.blends.html has some pictures at the bottom that show the incredible tinting strength and translucence of some of the "regular" Fimo Soft colors. You can compare them in the packages and see how some already appear translucent and others, opaque. Elizabeth
....see more on these and how to tint your own translucent clay for a very similar effect to this clay in Translucents > "Fimo's Colored Translucents" ... and also "Making Your Own Tinted Translucents")
"Transparent" Translucent (uncolored). . . . Is the # 014 Fimo Soft Translucent the new version of Fimo Art transparent (00) or something newer??
...No, it's not like the 00, really..... I guess the FS 014 would be analgous to the "old" Fimo translucent - but, it's a new product - doesn't need the lower temp, it's clearer, softer and easier to work with. Elizabeth
. . . they now have several lighter but saturated colors in pastel tints
sky blue, peach, mint, orchid. Sera
....As for the pastels... (Just my 2¢, of course ;) save your money... buy a huge block of white Premo or Fimo Soft and mix your own pastels from the colors you already have.... will cost less, and you can have infinite variety of your own making. Zig
...(all? these now discontinued ....or same as their tinted "Transparents"?)
"stone" colors (most of FS's stone colors are now discontinued-- only the gray "Granite" left?)... also see below in Stone-Type Colors (of all brands)
(Sculpey III, SuperSculpey, SuperSculpey Firm, Sculpey, Studio by Sculpey, UltraLight)
Sculpey is sometimes misspelled as Sculpty
...this will become important if you try to look it up in a search engine
or if it's written on your website.
--though lighter colors may need to be shielded
and not over-baked to prevent browning
(...see Baking, esp. "Enclosed
.... Sculpey III bars are exactly 2 oz (56 g)
Sculpey III, SuperSculpey,
and especially the boxed white & terra cotta Sculpey, are all softer
clays than other clay brands when raw, and therefore easier to condition
... BUT, their disadvantage is being very brittle after baking in any. thin or protruding areas (easily broken or chipped if stressed) ---rather than being strong and flexible like the other brands (perhaps because Sculpey has less PVC (polyvinyl chloride) & more fillers? (Studio, SuperSculpey Firm?, and Ultralight are stronger)
........however, if there are no thin or projecting areas in the piece ( e.g. with roundish beads), using the Sculpeys will create a strong item
heard that when eraser clay is mixed into it, it makes the Sculpey
III stronger. Helen P.
.......or mixing any other clay with it will strengthen it proportional to the amount added
...One way to strengthen an already-baked piece of Sculpey III, I would definitely use (liquid clay) brushed onto both sides, then rebake. Patty B.
...Or you can add a backing of stronger clay even after the item is baked (then rebake), in some cases.
individual bars of colored Sculpey III run anywhere from $1.79 to $2.00
per bar (again, cheaper by mail order) --though occasionally craft stores
will run sales.
. . . .all the (other) clay brands except Sculpey are available in 1-lb bricks for $8-13 apiece by mail order (however the Clay Factory does carry the 1 lb. bars)... any Sculpey will usually be cheaper by mail order than retail though.
...there are now also a number of Sculpey kits which come with a number of bars of clay (and some instructions/projects)
http://www.sculpey.com/Products/products_samplers.htm (just clay, no projects)
info about the Sculpeys: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shire/6883/basics.html
SCULPEY III .(regular colors)
III comes in many colors, but in small bars only
....(however, the Clay Factory seems to be carrying the colors in 1 lb. bars as well; maybe other suppliers too?--no longer?).
Sculpey III is softer than SuperSculpey (flesh-colored), but firmer
than original plain boxed Sculpey (white and terra cotta).
...Sculpey III has more of an organic-clay feel because of the fillers in it. Syndee
(...Premo has a smoother feel when raw because of LESS filler, which also makes it more durable!!) Syndee
III yields a "harder" feeling surface after baking
than other clay brands (but it's still weaker)
...hence the shearage effect which means it can snap if too thin.
....however, I've heard that some folks use Sculpey III as a base layer for vessels ....it is more likely to maintain it's shape in subsequent bakings because of its brittleness(then you can add layers of a more flexible clay, like Fimo, Premo or Kato). Kathy W.
It's baked surface is also more porous, making it good for transferring onto, and for coloring with colored pencils
or Premo clays in particular can get too
warm and then become soft or
goopy (for caning or
just working with), if you have hot hands, or when
you've been manipulating the clay
a lot, or when the weather or
room temp. is very warm... there are various things you can do about that:
....put the clay in the refrigerator or freezer for awhile (especially before trying to slice a cane, or even make certain shapes to be assembled into a cane)
... let it sit for awhile
....use a marble slab as a work surface since it tends to stay cooler than the surrounding air.
.........chill the work surface (a ceramic tile, or marble, e.g.)
....let the clay sit on a gel pack when you're not actually manipulating it or for short periods between work
........a gel pack can also be used to cool your hands as you work.
leigh believes that Sculpey III is the most vulnerableof the clay brands to later crumbling and fragility if not baked properly (that is: long enough, hot enough, in an oven whose dial temperature has been checked, after proper preheating) . . . see more on this, and on baking properly in Baking > General Info)
has the brightest white (and its' very opaque), a very clear
translucent (when in very thin, covering sheets), and some colors you can't
find in the other lines. Elizabeth
(. . . Sculpey III's white darkens more easily than the other brands' whites during baking though)
One up side of
using Sculpey III is how much freer I've become in mixing colors
and in using more colors.... With Sculpey, I will on a whim pick up a couple
of bits of clay and mix to see what will happen, or e.g. when mixing a shade,
try both adding black and adding the complementary color too see which one works
better. I NEVER did this with Fimo--too much work and too much time.
I use Sculpey III all the time because of a health-related physical condition, esp. in my chest, arms, hands since it's so much softer.
I've heard that you "can't cane with
Sculpey." ....however!... there are many famous clayers who use
Sculpey exclusively to do their caning, and no one can tell the difference.
Well-conditioned Fimo does feel somewhat better in the hands and has a nice feel
in slicing, but I've found Sculpey III works just fine, with some changes in procedure.
....Don't give up on Sculpey III! for caning (http://www.velocity.net/~cam/)..... What you need to do is leach the clay before you use it (will make it even weaker though?). . . To do that roll out thin sheets (most easily done via a pasta machine) and put the sheets between white paper. I usually leach Sculpey III over night and sometimes longer. For the really sticky stuff, you'll need to change the paper and leach some more. It works like a dream! . . . Sculpey III is great stuff (and it's cheap too), but you'll have to learn how to use it. What I have done to increase it's strength without making it firmer is add Fimo (or Premo) translucent to it, which is actually a softer clay than Sculpey III. Mixing and leaching is a pain, but I feel it's better than the alternative which is hard clay. Candy
Sculpey has recently come out with 10 or more new colors: Red Hot Red (a true
bright red), Violet (a very saturated color), Pumpkin, etc.
....many of Sculpey's color hues (and Premo's and Kato's) are truer than Fimo's and therefore make other colors easier to mix than Fimo.
Sculpey is the only one
that has two plasticisers and one of them is water soluble, which
is why the mokume gane with sculpey will tarnish/turn
green (when leaf is used?). . . (just their translucent,
or Super Sculpey too?)
...Since it has more water in there than the other brands, maybe it dries out a bit AND cools off more when stored in sheets...that's my theory. Sarajane
I do flowers including roses, irises, all manner of composite, berrys, and leaves with Sculpey III. I have wired and sold dozens of wreaths with no problem. . . The trick is to thin the edges only, not the whole piece. . . create an illusion by thinning visible edges while retaining central thickness for wiring.... problem is how to wire pieces that are thin... MJ
I also like to use it in my molds, and for making faux rock. Syndee
I suggest you check out the clays called Premo and Kato Polyclay (see above), since they are a little firmer, and not brittle after baking in flexible or thin areas like the Sculpeys are.
by Sculpey..("soft" colors)
First sold in 2008, but not widely available at
...this line of polymer clay was created for the "home decorating" market and for classes given by the Donna Dewberry (one-stoke painter) program
...different from the other polymer clays in various ways
sold locally at Joanns, A.C. Moore, (not Michaels --maybe later?)
...and online, etc. polymerclayexpress.com, theclaystudio.com, Munros.com, and probably others
....all colors are on the "soft" and muted, and on the lighter side (kinda "feminine") (and perhaps to match wall paint colors--Jenny)
....all colors are intended to "go together" since created for home dec.
....not many saturated colors, or deep rich darks
....no translucent clay (probably because transcluents won't be used in the Donna Dewberry classes and techniques)
..colors at studiobysculpey.com http://www.studiobysculpey.com/clay/clay.php
...some of the colors, plain and mixed ... and review... at Ileen's blog
...comes as 2.8 oz bars (long, rectangular) with 16? divisions ... larger bars than Sculpey, Premo, Fimo (bit smaller than Kato), but about the same price by weight
...each bar comes in a loose package, intended to be hung on the wall rather than stacked in stands
raw, it has a sort of suede, papery, foamy feel and texture) (because
of that it doesn't stick to itself when raw well and
also probably won't stick well to plain metal or glass without
adding glue, etc.) and takes a little longer to mix
... resists fingerprints though because of the fabric-y texture
soft and not-sticky, but can get too soft or even sticky
with more than a little handling or pasta machining, or with warm hands
...conditions about like Sculpey III (but some reports that when
older, can be crumbly when conditioning)
...smells different from other polymer clays when raw, but inoffensive (smells the same as others while baking)
when rested (also rest before making holes)
...keeps its shape while baking so nothing needs propping! (in propping situations)
clay is more papery or leathery feeling that other main polymer clays
...baked clay is lighter-weight than other regular polymer clays
...baked clay finish is matte or even a dull sheen if sanded and buffed (no high shine possible with sanding/elec.buffing, only with liquid finishes?)
....I've heard that it's reasonably strong (and flexible when thin, though may tear --not break-- easier than other strong clays).
....not too absorbent for surface techniques using alcohol inks or antiquing with acrylic paints (similar to Premo)...Ultralight is too absorbent. Angela
...good for stamping and for castings
made in clay molds. Angela
.......works fine with water as a realease. Angela
...a laser (toner) transfer worked great on this clay... thought it did even better than my previous transfer choice, Premo! Angela
Studio line also sells other things (all with photo of Donna Dewberry on package):
...a liquid clay called Bake and Bond
...clear acrylic finishes (gloss and satin) as well as tinted acrylic finishes (brown and white) for antiquing
...various tools (most are things clayers already have except for the several sizes of ball-styluses and the opposite Etch "Pearl" tool which makes tiny upraised domed shapes
......there are handles which can fit on the 4 blades offered, but many seem to like them
..... they also have a thin flexible palette knife for lifting the clay from surfaces, and some shape cutters and texture sheets, etc.
SUPER SCULPEY. (flesh- colored, boxed)
Sculpey is largely translucent with some flesh-colored pigments in it, and comes
in a 1 lb. box only.
...Super Sculpey (flesh colored) and Sculpey III (many colors) are somewhat similar in strength.
You asked about the price of SuperSculpey (flesh colored, in a box). In stores, it usually runs around $10 for a one-lb. box. You can get it cheaper by mail order though (check the supplies area of my information letter.)
had little 'tests' for the (Super Sculpey) before I bought.
. . Cracks (like splits) in the raw clay were a good sign,
as well as how much came off on my finger when I drew my finger hard
accross it. Like sampling wine! Even if someone's dirty fingers were all over
it I would buy it rather that the mooshey stuff. I bought retail for years
for the very same reason. Shane
...I just buy the box (if it's good clay) take it home and carefully drag my palette knife across the clay...this removes any dirty marks without removing to much clay.
Many times there is a lot number stamped on the box. So when you find that first great box you can then note the lot # and check out all the boxes with the same number. I use to hold on to boxes of clay of the same lot once I found one I liked.
Katherine Dewey said: (SuperSculpey) is a good clay (for sculpting), and baked
at a slightly higher temp, just under 300 degrees, proves to be
fairly strong. .....it will darken though?
. . . she will paint over?
....I was referring to Super Sculpey, not Sculpey III. (I've so little experience with Sculpey III (I always found it rigid, but brittle) that I can't say what higher baking temps would do to it.)
...Baking times for me are 20 minutes per quarter inch thickness, with a minimum of 20 minutes (items thinner than 1/4 inch also bake for 20 minutes). When I blend clays, I don't treat it as blend and compromise temperature or time, but use the clay with the highest temperature as a gauge and bake accordingly.
. . . To prevent browning of thin, prebaked, or highly placed (my oven has hot spots) parts of a sculpture, those parts get wrapped with cotton batting secured with aluminum foil after the first 20-30 minutes of baking time. Works for me, Katherine Dewey
...SS does tend to brown a bit after 40 minutes or so in the oven, so may affect baked blends. Like Beige Premo (identical in color) SS is so translucent that blending it 50/50 with another color, will produce a shade only one value lighter. Katherine Dewey
are little half-moon shapes of slightly more opaque color which often show
up when translucents are baked, especially in thicker amounts, and
with lighter colors. We think they're caused by moisture
in the clay or from hands. Some people think
that air incorporated into the clay can be a factor
too . . .
...SuperSculpey is mostly translucent; in fact, some boxes of SS seems to just have more plaqueing than others.
...To avoid moisture and air incorporation, use dried hands, and hand condition the clay rather than doing it in a pasta machine (see Translucents > Clearest for more)
...Some of you use Super Sculpey to make prototypes and for doll faces. When working on prototypes, the translucence of the clay makes it difficult to read the details of your work. Add white Sculpey III to reduce the translucence. Some of you have experienced "mooning" in your clay. This is actually moisture in the resins. . . . This moisture might have been introduced in the manufacturing process or might have been contained in an individual ingredient we use. In any case, you don't want it! Every batch is different... something like dye lots - they just aren't all the same. So, please test each new box you buy. Work a bit of Super Sculpey as you would normally, then bake it. If you have "moons" either add a bit of White Sculpey III to mask them, or roll the clay out into sheets and sandwich between paper towelling for a day or so (leach). Run the test again and see if the moisture has been removed. Donna Kato
I make most of my molds from SuperSculpey too, for several reasons ...it's cheaper than most other polymer clays, always available at home, and I don't have to decide which of my colors to use up when I want to make a bunch of molds... plus I can easily color code my molds to make them easier to find and to sort into groups. Diane B.
Having a sheet of SS around near the pasta machine is good for cleaning it too since it's a fairly stick clay... the SS will pick up stray bits of color which would have been deposited on the next sheet put through (and also the streaks)... so put the SS sheet through a few times, then put through your good sheet (once).
the Creager's "Sculpting Hands" video, Jodi says that she has found that when
using the Sculpey flesh it has tiny white specks
when you *pull* the clay away from the block, and
she has learned that when removing clay if she cuts it
then this lessens the white specks that seem to appear.
....Also, I have learned not to twist and pull clay. It is better to chop, warm, run through the pasta machine or the like to condition.(I use a lot of flesh Cernit and never have this problem. I have heard of several people having the specks with Caramel Cernit, however.)
Plankspanker suggests using a thin coating of Vaseline to help raw adhere to baked SuperSculpey
for much more on using SuperSculpey)
SUPER SCULPEY FIRM (gray)
extra firm, opaque gray,
sculpting compound ......shatter and chip resistant after baking
......good for sculpting fine details... gray color makes item easier to see and photograph ... 1 lb pkg ($10?)
plain original SCULPEY (white + terracotta --boxed)
White original Sculpey in a box (and now they offer Terra Cotta-colored
Sculpey in a box too) is the softest polymer clay before baking, and by
far the weakest after baking.
.... If you are making pieces or beads that are roundish, oval shaped or without appendages, they will work better with this clay...no parts hanging out to break off. . . .Or if you don't expect to stress your item after baking, it may be okay then too.
...denaturing the baked plain Sculpey clays with isopropyl alcohol, painting with acrylic, and then varnishing with an acrylic finish helps to strengthen the durability of the clay
....Lynda mentions that coating with liquid clay (her curly Santa beards made from plain white Sculpey), then baking, makes the weak Sculpey very strong (see more in Liquid Clays > Strength)
Mixing it with strong clay brand (Premo, FimoClassic, Kato, Cernit)) will improve original Sculpey's strength (proportionally to the amounts added).
(however) I have found that mixing the white bulk Sculpey with Fimo
and translucent clay is VERY strong and is not brittle after
multiply long baking sessions. I actually tried to break a piece and the only
thing I got for my efforts was a sore thumb.
Here is a guesstimate of the clay mixture for my skin tone.
1/2 large bulk block (1 lb block?) of Sculpey white
3 blocks of Fimo (small bars?) flesh tone
2 blocks of transluscent
...It was too gooshy so I leached out thin layers of clay between pieces of paper .... some I did for only a few hours and a couple sheets didn't get taken off the paper until the next day.
...The mermaid arm that I tested is about 1/4 inch thick at the wrist and while the fingers have some flexiblity the rest of the arm is VERY strong. I have not broken the fingers .... yet.
...The mermaid tail is about 1.5 wide x 3/4 thick and extremely strong. I do not have an armature. She has even been dropped a few times without incident.
...I also tested a mask ... about 1x2 by less than 1/4 thick with facial features .... couldn't break that either.
Baking .... I place the piece on brown paper bag in a cold oven.Turn the temp to 240 degrees F. Let preheat for 6 minutes then bake for 15 minutes for 1/4 inch. Turn off oven and let it sit there for about 10 minutes. Multiple baking. I am not the swiftest sculptor so when I get an area done to my satisfaction .... I bake that sucker before I can ruin it. ...After the sculpture of the mermaid is done to my satisfaction, I plan on putting a thin layer of transluscent over the whole body. . . . I'm hoping that my liquid sculpey will be here by that time and I can test a piece with a layer of that.Deb S.
purplish (when baked at regular baking temps) is a characteristic of original
......Baking it at a lower temperature (around 225) will reduce this effect, but the clay will be very weak. Katherine Dewey
. . .This is one reason why people who started with that clay tended to paint everything.... A coat of acrylic gesso will cover a multitude of sins, and prime it for other colors. Halla
Also, you can mix in (other polymer clay) colors...to make interesting colors. Premo or Fimo brands would add more firm properties as well. Allyson
advantages & uses for bulk Sculpey ...(however)plain Sculpey (white or terra cotta color) costs about $10-11 for almost 2 pounds (....even the cheapest wholesale clay is still $8-plus-shipping for *one* pound)
I do find occasional uses for the plain Sculpey though..... its
relative cheapness is important sometimes.
....For instance, I once needed a divided "tray" for separating various chalks and eye shadows (for use with clay), and made one just the way I needed it by laying logs of plain Sculpey onto a flat sheet of it. I either pressed them down or may have used the Klay Gun to extrude square logs, can't remember. (I did make the whole thing IN a box top though--it definitely wouldn't survive without a sturdy bottom and sides.) Worked real well, was quick and cheap.
http://www.glassattic.com/imagesCANES_COV/cov-BOH/BOH.htm (bottom left for a partial view of them)
...I have also used the plain stuff (very brittle, granted) with other things (for kids, in my case) where there wouldn't be much stress (decorations, etc.), or for round beads or for learning different bead shapes.
....I once used it for expanses of "snow " on a 6" gingerbread house.
....I can also see using it for making landscapes or for contour maps for school or for other one-time projects. Diane B.
The plain Sculpey
does have all sorts of good characteristics:
...the absolute lack of the need for conditioning
...and softness so you can make beautiful impressions even with textured paper.... and its matte white, non-plastic appearance after baking make it one of my favorite art materials. . .
...it bakes up hard (tho brittle) so can be good core or armature for adding a layer of stronger clay to (for things like heads, beads, etc.)
The white Sculpey clay is very lightweight after baking, and easy to impress with rubber stamps or any other texture
...I have taken advantage of that fact to make medallions and small tiles for cards, journals, and the fronts of glass bottles, collage elements and doll elements and even jewelry.
...When mounted on a support material, the clay’s lesser strength becomes a non-issue.
......for my tiles, I roll the "slabs" in the box through my pasta machine just one time, and fold over to a double thickness and they're ready to use
..... for added strength, I mount them on 4"x4" ceramic tiles ..the double deck effect adds interest as well as strength. cre8it
(...cre8it also uses her pastel-tinted High Desert PolyGlazes on white Sculpey, to create a bisqueware look... settles mostly in crevices like antiquing ...for more, see Finishes > Finishes Made for polymer clay)
list of some projects using plain white Sculpey and/or Sculpey III
(from their What Now? ezine)
I use the white Sculpey for Christmas ornaments.... I make sure it's at least 1/4 inch thick, then cut shapes out with a cookie cutter. I paint it with acrylic paint and seal it. I have never had a problem with breakage (prob. because of the paint and sealer, plus treated carefully).
** It makes the most interesting marbled effects when used with regular colored sculpey III , precisely because of its chalkiness. . . it it looks more like (unpolished) marble matrix, and makes more interesting color separations when put through the pasta machine.
making use of its special qualities (brittleness and extreme
....extruding from clay gun, or even an icing tip . I believe that's what Yang Yang uses for the ruffled ribbons of clay that resemble lace which edge her baskets:
........it might be fun to practice extruding flowers, star shapes, leaves, etc,. from an icing tip onto aluminum foil, then bake and add to tiny cakes or gingerbread houses, the insides of eggs, whatever.
(see much more on extruding through icing tips (and clay guns) in Clayguns > Icing Tips
...maybe the brittleness thing might also suit tiny pinatas, where you *want* to break it?
.......or maybe a balloon or box of Sculpey around a tiny gift which the recipient breaks to "open" it.
.. Also, it may be true that sealing plain Sculpey items with one of the sealers we use (or even watered down white glue) or liquid clay should stiffen them and give some protection if needed . . . Diane B.
The easiest way to clean your food processor and pasta machine between colors is to use plain white sculpey. It's really sticky and will grab all the crumbs of your previous color. It works even better once the piece gets a little dirty and less sticky…
In July 2005, Polyform introduced a new product
called Sculpey UltraLight (at CHA)
in white only
...when raw, clay is very soft .. feels a little like firm foam when you're conditioning it
.......(too soft for creating some details??... how well does it "smudge" for sculpting?)
........can fairly easily stick to hands, work surface, and tools
...when baked clay is very light-weight (about 1/3 (2/3??) the weight of regular baked clay) ...volume of the "regular" bag is the same as one pound (16 oz) of regular polymer clay, but weighs only 10 oz
.......if thick, very hard after baking ...this "hardness means it won’t crack or break, even in larger pieces" (during baking or after baking??)
.......if thin, is flexible after baking (but is also strong? when thin, like the stronger brands of polymer clay?)
...floats (lots of air inside?)
...bonds well with added raw layers of clay (but let sit together awhile before baking for best bonding)
...can be colored with other polymer clays, or alcohol inks --let dry before mixing into clay
...takes acrylic paint on baked surface well
(....can be sanded, buffed, and drilled)
TIPS, from Marie Segal:
...may want to wear gloves if it sticks too much
.......if the clay starts to stick to work surface or tools, wipe off with paper towel and keep dry ...sometimes Ultralight will leave a residue on the work surface.
...though soft, it still needs to be conditioned (knead, then roll out with roller to little thicker than #1, then put through pasta machine (thickest setting, or thinner settings one setting at a time)
...paints/inks/powders used on surface
.....fabric paints (or other acrylics?) work well on raw or baked clay (let dry completely before any baking though)
.....when antiquing with acrylic paint, work in only small areas at a time
.....Ultralight is too absorbent for me when alcohol inks or antiquing with acrylic paints. Angela
.....can also paint with Lumieres and Neopaques
.....Dye-Na-Flow paint acts like a watercolor on canvas with variations in the coverage, beautiful in my opinion.
.....stamp pad to clay (stamps?)...permanent inks should be cured at 200 degrees
.....mica powders can be used too
...baking:... bake exactly as stated on the package to insure it's cured thoroughly (if not cured completely, may be cracking)
...can use regular polymer clay on Ultra Light before or after baking... let sit together a while (even overnight) for best bonding though
USES for UltraLight:
...as permanent armatures which are light-weight & hard if thick
.......armatures for larger sculpts ... figures or structures
.......lightweight jewelry, bead cores, etc.
......water toys and bathtub toys (boats, ducks, etc...look at floaties at kids' store)
..........whole structures, etc. could be made on top of a base of Ultralight? (or totallly with Ultralight), so they could float
......other submersible toys or partly submersible toys make sure of air insdie the clay to create (see Garie's submersible toys in Kids > Other Toys > Motion Toys)
...Christmas ornaments that are lightweight (no branch sagging), esp. little sculpts
....lightweight embellishments or sheets, for scrapbooking, etc.
http://www.clayfactory.net/sculpey/LiteWeight.htm (several sizes)
http://www.clayalley.com ...http://www.theclaystore.com ...http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/sculpey.html
.....I saw some at my local JoAnns.....Haven't seen it at Michaels yet (there now though?).
and Bend, Eraser Clay and Moldmaker
(other specialty Polyform-Sculpey clays)
see below under Super-flexibles
(not easily available in the U.S.)
Cernit is a clay made in Germany, and more easily available in Europe and in other parts of the world than in the U.S. ...It can be found in some places though, and some US clay mail order suppliers have it also.
2008..... Cernit gClay ...new line and forumation of
Cernit using no phthalates ---don't know characteristics yet
---may replace previous Cernit... 2.2 oz
and mail order suppliers (previous Cernit)
weight of small bars (65 g) is slightly over the 2 oz of Sculpey & Premo
is a strong clay when baked
....Cernit is a very good clay IMO for durability. I made a doll head for a puppet for a niece and it was treated like it was a ball and it is still in perfect condition after six years. It has been banged up against everything, thrown in and out of a toybox. Jeanne R.
more heat sensitive (maybe even than Premo), and will get soft and sticky
... also during baking, it may ten to droop more easily if projecting areas are not supported.
importantly , all its colors are slightly *translucent, which will
show up after baking as a somewhat-porcelain effect
... it's range of flesh colors in larger bars are used by some doll artists because of the beauty of the translucent flesh
....to opaque any color of Cernit, add white clay (or another opaque light color) or possibly Titanium White oil paint, if desired (if using a Cernit white, must use their "Opaque White").
comes in glorious colors and they do have a porcelain sheen, but Premo
can bake up with a similar sheen and polishes up to look like glass ( for those
people who are willing to sand and sand and sand).
...And of course, translucent clay can be added toany brand to increase the porcelain look. Jeannine
to say Dianne, Cernit is great for jewerly, it is very very strong after
baking, and the colors are almost translucent (except the white opaque of course).
...The best thing is that you don´t have to spend much time on conditioning. Gaby
clay prior conditioning. It makes conditioning Cernit a childs play.
....Condition properly. Cernit behaves very much better when conditioned well (a IMO, proper conditioning seems to greatly affect the sheen and translucency)
....Cernit is difficult to control if you condition -knead it too much, it becomes sticky since it is warmed by our hands
. .. so when using Cernit, don't knead with your palm...instead compress the require lump of clay with your fingers. This will prevent too much heat transfer onto the clay causing it to be too soft and sticky.
...Alternatively, you can also mix it with other clays like Fimo, Premo and Sculpey. Garie
fact that Cernit is temperature sensitive and can be overworks can also be used
.....for example, when making beads, use some extra pressure ...combined with the warmness of your hands you get very smooth surface since Cernit kind of "melts".
.... be warned that Cernit, while giving gorgeous results for dolls and jewellery, and just about the strongest clay available, is a very different clay from the other brands and difficult to adapt too if you are not used to it
....It can get very floppy when handled for long, and does not smooth like Sculpey III, Premo and Fimo Soft. Sue
...lots of people do use Cernit (for sculpting) , although personally, I hate using it, its very hard to blend when you add pieces on, and it also gets very soft while you work, specially if you have warm hands like I do;)) But some people do the most gorgeous work with it. Karen
....I did notice though that as I worked with one arm and hand for a while, the Cernit warmed up and became more mushy ...but not as much as when I've used Prosculpt. It still had substance to it...but not like Premo which has elasticity to it. Dianne C.
...I agree, clay choice is a personal matter... but Cernit by itself can be quite bit like sculpting with taffy.
My recommendation is to mix it with S.Sculpey. Any mixture is fine- any where from 50/50... or what I often use in classes- ½ box of S.Sculpey and 1/3 of pkg. of Cernit (large 500mg. pkg.) Premo would be easier... as you wouldn't need to mix the clays. Kathndolls
(see more on Cernit as a sculpting clay and other flesh colors in Sculpting > Clays)
When baking Cernit, the
slow approach would be bad, as the clay seems to soften (mor e than other polymer
clays?) before setting, so if there are protruding parts to a sculpture for instance,
if not very well supported it will have a somewhat melted quality to it when finished.
....Cernit is very good for baking between tiles (to create a shiny finish)
Cernit does not, IMO, need varnishes unless you use some kind of powders. ...if varnished, Cernit loses some of it´s porceline-ish look. PöRRö
WITH OTHER BRANDS:
....My Cernit-Premo blend holds up much better for me under similar situations (tiny fingers on miniature dolls, for instance).
....My Cernit/Premo blend sands and carves, and endures multiple curings, with excellent results. Jeanne R.
also has special colors:
"Nature Colors" (stone type colors), Pearlescents (some of which are metallic and contain some mica) and Neons, in addition to their range of "doll" flesh colors
Their metallic clays do not have as vivid mica shifting as Premo & Kato have, but they still are LOVELY.
....for a simple mica effec, mix pearl white and tiny amount of any metallic colour.... then just chop it to pieces and take a lump from that pile to form a bead.
All of the brands offer
special "colors" of clay. Sometimes these are included in their "regular"
lines, sometimes they have lines of their own.
To try and avoid confusion,
I've separated out some of the special colors in their own categories below (flesh,
....Other colors which could also be considered special are discussed under their brand's category (translucents, mica-metallics, glitters, etc.).
(Metal clays like PMC are different enough to be considered in their own category below)
most of the info on all flesh colored clays in Sculpting
> Clays ... or above in a particular brand's subcategory)
"STONE" TYPE colors
clays in each brand can look quite different from each other.
....(see links at top of page for photos of the colors)
faux Stone colors ...FEB
2004--these colors have been discontinued
from the FimoSoft line, so grab them while you can, or maybe check E-bay
(....instead you can try adding sand, dirt, etc., for a comparable look?--- see Faux--many >Other Stone for other ways to simulate this type of stone look)
...FS's STONE COLORS WERE: granite-y effect in 5 colors... rose quartz, turquoise, china jade, jasper, granite (sev.grays & trans. + tiny black dots and little very fine silver glitter flecks) and lapis lazuli (very dark blue & trans.mostly with tiny silver flecks)
........I like the look/colors/texture of FimoSoft's stone colors because it's more like actual granite with its tiny multi-toned granular, composite effect.
.........hard on your blade though, so don't use a new blade when working with it.. If you only want to roll it out and use as is, they work fine. Kay,
....FS's STONE COLORS NOW:. Marble White (mostly somewhat translucent white with some gray colorings here and there), and maybe Anthracite? (several grays but with a lot of fine glitter?)
....(soft granite effect in 4-5 colors)
.....Granitex actually contains little fibers in the clay (maybe lint?)... Granitex can be difficult to use in a cane because the fibers tend to get pushed rather than cut; you’ll usually find a little collection of fibers at the bottom of every slice. You can sand granitex canes *after baking* to get rid of those, or any smearing . . . and use a really sharp blade (try cleaning with alcohol and/or dusting with cornstarch before cutting each slice) . . . DB
....When I slice through Granitex and get that line of fibers, I take a really soft piece of light clay (I use a blob of mix-quick), and lightly dab the line. It picks up the fibers really nicely. I also use the same bob to run along the edge of my blade to pick up any stray fibers that have gotten caught. I've also found that it really helps to freeze the piece before cutting. It seems to help keep the fibers from sticking to my piece as easily.
....I usually cut Granitex with a needle. I don't think there's any way to get a sharp cut in the stuff without also getting fiber blobs, but perhaps cutting with a needle would give good-enough results for what you're working on.
...I tried mixing it with polymer clay one time. I mixed a quantity of it with chocolate brown Fimo in a food processor and added some diluent, then conditioned it. I was trying to duplicate Granitex, which always looked to me like it had dryer lint in it. It didn't turn out like Granitex, but it was kind of cool. . . . Then I used a leather-like texture sheet, and it looked and felt just like leather. It seemed more flexible than cured polymer clay usually is. ...The only hitch is you have to cut this mix with a scissors (even uncured); it's too fibrous to cut with a clay blade (my dryer lint contains a large ratio of dog hair, though, and maybe if you didn't have furry pets, you could cut this "faux leather" with a blade! Suzanne
...I really love the look I've gotten by mixing Granitex with white.
... It also looks good marbleized with non-Granitex PC (like white ribbons running through stone or marble). Chris
....unless cured exactly perfectly, Granitex is actually brittle. I use it only when I can use a coat of TLS on it or if it is a "chunky" piece . . . ...the ...I have made miniature walls out of them and it is even less flexible than wood of the same thickness. I also put on tinted Liquid Sculpey to fill the "grout" areas. For those who have not worked with Granitex, it has a filler in it---not sure exactly what, but it is sort like paper so that is what makes it strong and not the polymer clay. Jeanne R.
Nature colors --will be only 3 in the 2008 Cernit
(these stone effects are more like Sculpey's White Marble color . . . the coloration is here and there, not evenly multi-colored)
The colors are: granite, sienna (reddish), & basalt (greenish), quartz, agate, savannah (sandy, yellowish)
are also ways of simulating stone in clay yourself:
--mix your own inclusions into raw clay (generally into translucent or a tinted translucent)
.......grate baked clay or chop it finely in a food processor, and add to a base of raw clay
.......he also made grog of polymer with thin, baked polymer ground to a powder and screened, just like you do with fired earth clay. He mixed into the raw clay, which adds body for throwing, and gives a very earth-clay look to things.
--put a thin sheet of older/stiffer clay or baked clay, onto a softer clay and send it through the pasta machine...(can't be sculpted but can create some rocky effects)
--break up raw clay of several colors in a food processor, creating tiny pebbles and press them together (turquoise cn be made this way, see Faux-turq) . . . however, the resulting clay cannot easily be sculpted because the raw clay will not stay in round little crumbles when manipulated (canes can be made and sliced okay, but if reduced the outside of the cane will be streaks).
................see Faux-many > Stone, and also Inclusions for much more creating them yourself
GLOW IN THE DARK clays
Glow-in-the-dark (GITD) clays are made by several manufacturers and come in plain GITD (usually greenish) or colored GITD's; now there is even a liquid clay version.
FimoSoft (NiteGlow) , Sculpey III, and(2008) Cernit G-Clay
each has their own (solid) glow in the dark clay(s)
....Sculpey offers a sampler pack only ... with several colors (green, blue, orange, yellow)
....Premo's 1-lb bar of GITD to be discontinued by Polyform
Liquid Poly Glo .... glow-in-the-dark liquid clay in 6 colors http://www.puffinalia.com/glow/liquid_poly_glo.html offered by Linda Geer
(many of the clay brands also have FLUORESCENT neon-day glow colors . . . see details on those in the relevant brand category)
have used Premo, Kato, Fimo, Fimo Soft, Sculpey Superflex (not the regular
Sculpey III clays!)
...First, the flexibility depends upon how thick you make the item. These clays all flex when very thin, less than 1/16 of an inch. Of them Superflex is the most flexible, then Kato, Fimo Soft and Premo, then Fimo... In general, do not use Sculpey III if the item needs to flex after baking. It tends to be brittle at any thickness.
....If you are making something that is thin, I would recommend Premo. It will be flexible and still retains its strength. For something thicker, I would first try Premo (up to about 1/4 inch thick), then Fimo Soft or Superflex.
...The superflex is the most flexible after baking, it also has the least strength. This is especially true if the Superflex is very thin. One of my items would not support itself. Bob
...The new Kato clay is also very flexible. Myra .........And if you brush a coat of Kato Sauce on it, you will almost have a rubbery clay. Jeanne
also called Sculpey Super Flex Bake and Bend
..... used to be called "SuperFlex" clay....
(and is still called Super Flex when in larger bars?)
... by Polyform/Sculpey...
There have been several
formulations for this clay ..make sure to buy only the
.....first reformulation: . . . not as gummy and less translucent than the original SF... soft... rather crumbly and a bit difficult to control.
........so I asked Polyform about the crumbly clay. They immediately said that they knew about this problem, and have "reformulated" it (yet again). Mindy
Polyform recommends baking this clay at 285°, which is a little hotter than normal baking temp (15-20min. depending on thickness)
info and purchase:
...wherever you buy, be aware that it may be called SuperFlex ...
.......if online esp., make sure you let them know you want the brand new formula, not the old stuff!
....available in either 6 or 8 color sets in retail stores (it's usually on the hanging racks along with the Sculpey III kids' kits) Patti K.
........by mail order... sets as well as individual 2 oz bars of the 8 colors, are available (at some websites)
..............at sculpey.com (see link just above) ...indiv. 2oz bars
..............at the Clay Factory http://www.clayfactory.net/sculpey/flex.htm (indiv. 2 oz bars... or x 8 = 1 lb)
..............at http://www.allartsupplies.com/item.php?articleId=1399 (indiv. 2 oz bars, and sets)
This clay can be mixed with regular clays too
...mix with some regular Premo and you've got a very nice clay, for many uses
....I experimented with three batches -- one to one... one part Flex to two parts Premo... and one part Flex to three parts Premo.
......all those blends proved easy to control and eminently flexible after baking (all passed the fold it in half test, though the 3 to 1blend exhibited some stress) Katherine Dewey
...I have mixed it with Sculpey III which strengthens it. Garie
I like to mix all the Bake and Bend colors with mica-containing metallic clays (gold, silver or Pearl Premo, for ex)... the mixed colors are gorgeous. syn
on sculpting a frog with Bake and Bend
Garie's various items made with Bake and Bend (SuperFlex)
S's very flexible flat bookmarks
http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/bookmark_content.htm (click on each)
can make shoes for figures with it!
... I rolled the clay out thin and built the shoe right on the doll's foot...then set the clay some with a heat gun.
...after it cooled, I could flex it and pop it off her foot, and then put it in the oven to cure fully. Jody Bishel
molds I made with Bake and Bend clay turned
out wonderful as far as detail and flexibility
(.... but I don't think I would use this clay for too much else since the surface does not "look" all that great--old formula?) Jan
...I used Bake and Bend for all my molds for the swap and they turned out great.... Jeanette
I have published three articles that have
instructions on making texture sheet molds using Bake & Bend. Patti K.
(see Texture > Texture Sheets)
....I also show how to use different effects with them: enamel, fossil wood look, black Pearl-exed, etc. Patti K.
It can be added into your regular clay to add flexibility.
just where you need a bit of flexibility
... I add it one to one into my clay for the loop clasps of my necklaces and it makes them much more flexible and almost springy.
... Katherine Dewey's uses... every finger on every sculpture, the membranes on the dragon's wings, the ears and tail on the sphinx, and the leafy dress on the Green Lady
I use it 1:1 with Premo
to make cording.
....however, when baking long strands, don't let them touch the tray (or touch itself) ... spiral it around instead... you can stack index cards between layers of it on your tray ...usually stack about 12 deep. syn
...extrude a thick rope with a clay gun, roll in Pearl Ex, insert ends into premade holes in pendant with liquid clay, bake in the shape that's expected when placed on the body, then wipe down with a damp cloth after baking rather than sealing the Pearl Ex (and possibly cracking finish).
.....mixed into the Premo, for necklaces it's softer, and more comfortable to wear..... I especially like it around the back of my neck. syn
.....If you mix ANY of the Bake and Bend colors with (mica clays) gold, silver or Pearl Premo, the mixed color is gorgeous
...... most of my cording now is either black w/ black (duh), or a color with Gold Premo. syn
for weaving and crocheting with cords made from flexible clays, see Clay Guns > Weaving-Crochet)
CLAY??...Garie says EZ Flexi flexible clay is good to
use for figurines, eraser, fridge magnets,
bookmark, molds, window clings, toys, etc,
...some items made with flexible clay
Older formulation?from here down .....(how much still applicable to newer one?)
Super Flex is very different from other polymer clays in that it has a crystalline
plasticizer which is thermal reactive. The clay must be pre-warmed
(under a lightbulb for about 3-4 minutes for 1/4 block), and then rolled in
the hands until soft and pliable. If it has been in a sheet state for some
time, the plasticizer has solidified. If you try to roll it through the
pasta machine it will look grainy and crumbly.
Place the bar under a 60 watt bulb for about 5 minutes. then take a section and roll between the hands. It softens very quickly. It is very heat reactive. If you have hot hands it can begin to get quite sticky. don't overwork it. Set it aside and the molecules will "slow" down. Many people will put it in the refrigerator for a bit to firm it up. The packs I am sending you are quite fresh so this will probably not be the case. (Polyform)
The plasticizer is what gives the clay its bendy, flexy quality after baking. Never put it through a pasta machine until pre-warmed and softened.
Sculpey Flex has a liquid cystal-type platicizer. It is extremely responsive to heat. In fact, I control the softness of mine by how long I keep it near my work lamp. You probably got it too warm.... I like to mix it 1:1 with my Premo anyway. Syndee
The Superflex is the most flexible after baking, it also has the least strength. This is especially true if the Superflex is very thin. One of my items would not support itself. Bob
My experience with SuperFlex has been that it's very stretchy - almost
gumlike. I haven't read the article you refer to (Patricia Echeagaray, Bead &
Button), but I've heard that clay has a "memory." When it's baked into
a certain shape (such as with extruded threads), it will remember that memory.
If you then manipulate it into another configuration (such as in crocheting or
basket weaving), it will "snap" because it want to go back to the original shape.
...Trying to crochet after baking, though, I get too much breakage...
...I know that SuperFlex baked in coils should be functional for crochet as long as you are working with the curvature and not against it, as Shelly says. So that could be a factor, too. But, usually when I hear of brittle behavior, it is not completely baked, nine times out of ten. Meredith
Flexiclay and Eraser clay are problematic; you can only bake them once -- the second baking makes them brittle. In fact, if you make something thin (like an extruded cord or even a snake or sheet), bake it, flex it, and rebake it in the flexed position, it will break in the oven! Georgia S.
weaving with Super Flex clay
http://members.tripod.com/~ctrottier/clay3.html (Cheryl's chokers)
Triche's demo of preparing, extruding, baking, wrapped cylinder, basket pendant, etc. (website gone)
It is slightly (?) stretchable and available in colors --the people who've test driven it for the makers were quite enthusiastic. It may be that Fimo has something along this line now already, but it's not well known and is probably just a few colors.
By the way, my molds turned out wonderful as far as detail and flexibility---but I don't think I would use this clay for too much else since the surface does not "look" great. Jan
with flex all the time. Yes, it's tacky and somewhat greasy, but it's a problem
solver. I use it in two ways: for flexible sheet molds that can be run
through the pasta machine and as the ductility agent when I want to model very
thin elements of a sculpture that won't break.
For modeling, I normally blend Beige Flex in a 50/50 mix with Premo (any color) that's been leached twice and then leach the 50/50 blend one more time. Beige Flex is so inert as a color it has a negligible effect on other colors, includeing white. The result is a slightly tacky clay the exact color I need with a consistency similar to fresh Premo, but it does remain flexible after baking; that's the quality I want.
Examples on my webpage http://www.elvenwork.com include every finger on every sculpture, the membranes on the dragon's wings, the ears and tail on the sphinx, and the leafy dress on the the Green Lady. .
. . . It's important to note that all of the Polyform clays have a quality I call "fused memory"...The shape you achieve on baking is the shape the clay will hold, no matter how flexible. . . . If you need to bake the piece again, don't try to bend that flexible part into another shape because it will crack at fusing temperature. This means pose those fingers after the piece is completely finished (will never go into the oven again) or be prepared to repair the cracks. Katherine Dewey
???Although, isn't this the same clay that a number of famous
polymer people were given to play with, and they really loved caning with
it?? . . . maybe it just doesn't "look" great
in broader expanses like sculpting?? DB
...Sue Heaser: Well, I tried rolling out a snake of this stuff and baking it. Then I gave it to my teens who were watching some horror movie with instructions for them to see how tough it was. They attempted to mutilate that poor snake for the whole movie. In the end it was returned to me tied in several knots and it still showed no sign of any breakage or even strain. I was gobsmacked! Unbreakable polymer clay!!!!! The possibilities are mind boggling - bangles and bracelets, flexible jewellery, miniature plants and dolls that bend and bend and bend.... It canes beautifully for the caning addicts, sculpts, rolls, stamps... I want more colours! I know a little about a flex clay from Polyform Products Company called "Super Elasticlay". Yes, I understand your frustration about it melting in hands and being too stiky to work with.
Yep, it handles a lot more like regular clay and it comes in colors. I got mine as a set. I just wish the wrappers had been marked "Flex" because it looks just like the regular clay! But I've got it stored in a separate baggie, so no problem.Jody Bishel
I sat one of the dragons on the dashboard of my car and where it was bent, it cracked (due to the UV exposure of the sun, that degrades the plastic)... My pendant that was made about a year ago is holding up strong and considering what I do to jewelry, that's pretty amazing! Pauline
Also, leaving these baked eyes "exposed" to the unbaked clay before baking, allows the eyes to "draw" or extract a greater quanitity of plasticizer, until they are thoroughly saturated. This rubbery effect is exactly why Polyform's new Super Flex is so flexible -- LOTS more plasticizer. I suppose you could do this on purpose if you wanted something especially flexy.
are making something that is thin, I would recommend Premo. It will be flexible
and still retains its strength. For something thicker, I would first try Premo
(up to about 1/4 inch thick), then Fimo Soft or Superflex.
The superflex is the most flexible after baking, it also has the least strength. This is especially true if the Superflex is very thin. One of my items would not support itself. Bob
the _really_ nasty thing I noticed is that the bright colors are so sticky and
over-pigmented that I end up with dye all over my hands when I work with
WOW! That is pretty bad....I worked with all the primary colors when I wrote up my observations for the Bead & Button article on extruded clay threads..., and I never noticed dye rub off....giving the benefit of a doubt, *perhaps* there was a little of that with the red, but IF there was, it was not enough for me to notice....and I actually may be confusing what I KNOW I have seen with Sculpey III red. Tricia
Nope, it was the _green_ Super Flex. I bought the intro pack with 8 colors in it, and haven't tried enough of the primary colors yet to see if all of them are that bad. The store I bought it from had just gotten the brand new Premo and Super Flex displays, so these hadn't had any chance to dry out. After they've been sitting on my shelf for a couple months, they may be easier to deal with. I'll just leach the clay if I need to use it again any time soon. Lee
(see warning about availability under SuperFlex above?)
only in Asia?... same as SuperFlex?
. . . Garie says good to use for figurines, eraser, fridge magnets, bookmark, molds, crazy glass sticker, toys, etc,
...some items made with flexible clay http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/eziflexi.htm
(used to be Magic Clay)
(see warning about availability of open stock 2 oz bars, above under SuperFlex)
It's by Pro Art (this brand no longer made though?) and comes in a package of 5 colors (white, yellow orange, green & blue -- no red) for $2.99--a total of 2.65 oz. The pkg says it can be boiled or baked. Try art supply stores; think I've since seen it somewhere else. Pro Art may have a website, or you can try contacting them by mail or phone to find out where they retail it: P.O. Box 1417, Beaverton OR 97075.
thinking is that Sculpey has decided to do their own version of an eraser clay
since they're concentrating so much these days on kids' kits. Diane B.
...Eraser clay is not new. It was available as far back as 98 and probably much longer... the company that produced it was not doing a very good job of marketing it apparently, since so very few people had ever heard of it. ...Polyform-Sculpey bought the product and is now marketing it ...Tommie
being sold at Walmart...and at other craft stores, Joanns.
.... It comes as a kit...in 6 packs with 1oz bars, or 8 packs with the regular sized 2oz bars. Curly
.............8 pack kit also available at http://www.clayalley.com
...you can also purchase the 2 oz blocks alone from The Clay Factory http://www.clayfactory.net/sculpey.html (now in the "What's New" category?) .
..........and from http://www.allartsupplies.com/item.php?articleId=1400 and possibly other places (often called SuperFlex in the larger bars)
page on their Eraser Clay and some projects, including lessons on pencil
lessons at michaels.com (erasers, etc.)
(the clay called Sculpey Bake and Bend... see above...*may* work the same way, but I've never tried it. DB)
After it is baked it erases pencil lead.
.....So now we can also make polymer pencils with real erasers? Jennifrog
It is absolutely AWESEOME especially for working with kids! Delany made hjer first cane with some of it and we baked it and she took some of the erasers to school and everyuone loved them! THe colors are great! The soft consistancy is very good and easy for kids to use!!! I other words it's great, I love it! Leigh
mixed the eraser clay colors with Premo translucent
bleach (Frost)... and WOW!!! They colors are a vibrant pastel! ...I just
...This basket thingie was made by Marie Segal last weekend out of 1/2 eraser clay: 1/2 Premo. Very flexible and as you can see.. skinner blended...caneguru
when mixed with Sculpey III, it actually makes the Sculpey III strong. Helen P.
You can also cane with it. ...but can it be reduced the same as regular clays?...
can be shaped ......see
also Syndee's idea for making a flower/dino/whatever by flattening clay
shapes of balls/cylinders/ovals/etc. to about half depth, then texturing
in Kids > EraserClay)
What to do with it?:
...wearable jewelry. wear it out and make more! ... cane it and make fun erasers.... mix with polymer clays for neat colors......add to translucent for a lovely matte polymer clay.... make non-skid coasters that won't scratch the surface....
.... for more ideas, syndee's chat log has lots about ideas for it!!
http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/chat.html#guestchat (look under Special Guests, or MonthLeigh chats)
....could be used to make molds with ?
Mine isn't sticky, but it takes a bit of working to blend seams...Jennifrog
Flexclay and eraser clay are problematic; you can only bake them once -- the second baking makes them brittle. ....In fact, if you make something thin (like an extruded cord or even a snake or sheet), bake it, flex it, and rebake it in the flexed position, it will break in the oven! Georgia S.
My guess is that the reason
that the eraser clay stays soft and spongy is that it has extra
plasticizers- the stuff in polymer clay that manufacturers have to warn about
not putting raw clay on furniture - so that to some degree, it never
really fully cures. Irwin (mostly a problem with long contact?...)
...Last year I had made some erasers for some pencils. A few days ago, I took one of those pencils and found the eraser had fused to the varnish of another pencil. I don't know how long the eraser was touching the pencil ...but it is obvious that you don't want Eraser Clay in contact with fine furniture! I'm sure I baked the erasers properly.
Moldmaker (Super Elasticlay)
03 ...Polyform (Sculpey)
reformulated their old Elasticlay
formula ...the new version is now called Sculpey Super Elasticlay MoldMaker
...sold in a 1/2 lb. box... at Joanne's and other places
...finished mold is somewhat flexible ....holds detail well
...it's very soft and pliable ... (can also be used as a "clay softener" when about 1% is added to stiffer regular clay)
...can also pour Plaster of Paris in the molds
...cheaper than 2-pt silicone mold making material, but more expensive than regular polymer clay
...don't know if the old Elasticlay is still being sold... it tended to degrade over time and had other prob's
(see Molds > Silicone and several other materials, for flexible mold materials other than Moldmaker and Elasticlay)
the REST OF THIS SECTION was written BEFORE the new formulation came out
though some of the ideas may still be good??
You can also
use Elasticlay as a Mix-Quick type of agent too to soften other clay.
I tried it with Promat, & it worked beautifully. Absolutely no cracks in my
....it only took a pea-sized bit for a whole 2 oz. block of clay
also added the Super Elasticlay to Fimo and Sculpey to give small and
thin items the ability to "bend" rather than break
off... Doesn't take much...a little dab. Jan
.....It can also be used for making very delicate doll or sculptured parts that would survive better as a flexible part. I have used it to create tiny scale weapons packs for fantasy warroir sculpted prototypes, figures with wings or long tails with a wire armature underneath. The Dane
to me, does not stay "elastic" over a long
period of time. It is still usable with a release agent though. (I have some
that are "years" old....) . Jan S.
...came across all the molds I'd made from Super Elasticlay about four years ago. That stuff now feels like the most brittle cured clay I have.
...... When I try to bend it, it creaks as if it is going to break, and it looks rather porous, both the molds I've used (sprayed with Armorall), and those that were never used. LynnDel
....Elasticlay does get harder as it gets old, but some molds are worse than others--some of my old molds have dark cracks like hairs, but they still work. This may have something to do with interaction with the plasticiser traces left when using the mold frequently, also it is very dry air here. I think there is a difference from batch to batch of the elasticlay too. I usually make two molds now when I cast something, and put one away in a box for later ---I'm experimenting. Sarajane
..... had bought quite a bit of the elasti-clay, but was disappointed when some of the molds cracked-tore after about 20 uses.
... But due to how hard they become with time, I am now hooked on silicone molding materials (see Molds > 2-part Silicones) and will probably not waste time on Super Elasticlay . . . which in my book is a clay that should only be used for something you don't expect to last and you have no sweat and tears in. Jeanne R.
Re super elasticlay being too sticky. . . I first
get a lump as big as I need, then powder my hands and roll the ball of
elasticlay in them until it's not sticky on the outside. Then I press whatever
I'm molding into the powdered lump.
... I made some molds out of Elasticlay and... put the molds into the freezer for about 10 minutes and was able to put the clay into the mold and pop the item right out. Could get 2-3 impressions before it became too warm to do it without distortion. ...Was able to mass produce quite quickly! Karen R.
...When I use the elasti-clay, I knead up ahead of time and let rest!!! Marie S.
...It helps if you are working in a cool room and yes, you did it right. The stuff is just extremly sticky.
... I just squeeze it a few times, like kneading sticky bread, and it's pretty much conditioned. Then I sort of pat it into an oval or circle. Then I flatten the surface of the clay using the back side of a purchased push mold. The hard part is removing the piece before baking. ...Then I slide the whole bit into the oven- I've found that it's best to let it cool in the oven, because if you touch it while it's still warm it will feel like it's not fully cured.
should be able to extrude strings of it from a clay gun. Don't try to separate
the strings before you bake it, whack it on the counter while it is still warm
from the oven. This makes flexible string.
...It can be rolled incredibly thin and textured.... I also rolled out a piece very thinly and textured it with a natural sponge and baked it. It is like kid leather
I use Elasticlay all of the time for
molds and I do quite a bit of production work for a company.
I think the secret is to bake the mold for one hour, not the 30
min. that it states on the package.
..... As a releasing agent, I use plain old water in a spray bottle. I switched to water, from talcum powder, because of the residue the powder was leaving on the finished product. I have re-used the same molds over and over again, without any problems. Marie R.
... When I've made my mold I use armour-all as a mold release too!!!! If it is a face I roll in to a cone and put the tip of the cone into the nose and press!!! The molded piece usually comes right out on my thumb!!!! I also wipe out the excess armour-all with a paper towel, just so I have a nice thin coating of armour-all in there and I can usually pull 4 to 5 images from this with out putting more in.
...After resting the conditioned Elasticlay, I roll into balls and cover my original with armour-all and press ball over the original and remove the original from the mold and then bake it. I use these quite awile before I have to make new ones.The Elasti-clay usually gives a better and more detailed mold,because of the softness!!!! So it has it's advantages.I mold alot of my stuff just using Clay Factory Clay and get good enough mold!! and they don't break down .But for detail use the elasti-clay.
... I tried mixing it with Fimo, found that more like 5% Elasticlay addition was easy to handle. It made very good molds and sheets for impressions.
I've had some really interesting and lovely results with the Elasticlay.
DU-KIT ...& Other polymer claysless available in the U.S.
is available in Europe and in other places, I believe... it can also be found
in the U.S. but not that easily (there are a number of U.S. clay suppliers who
carry it though ...see Suppliers > Clays)
....for all info about Cernit, see above in its subcategory
Other brands such as Du-Kit, Modelene, Formello, Jonco, Creall Therm (flesh color only?), etc., are not available from US suppliers as far as I know:
Jonco (Dutch) ......in tests of strength and flexibility after baking, it is at least slightly less brittle than Sculpey, and does have some flexibility
(German, Italian?) (Formello and Modello both made by the same German company??)
Prima (German, Italian?)
(the Australian polyclay) - will not snap, bends into a U-bend, eventually
looks slightly stressed but is extremely strong
..I wish I could say that Modelene is great (being 'home grown' in Aus., it's much cheaper than any of the other clays) but alas, I can't
......it's just not versatile like Premo or Kato and Fimo clays....
........ it's useless for caning, doesn't hold the lines well at all and it has a habit of becoming a squishy gooey mess.
..... one good thing I can say about it is that it takes great impressions, so if you're stamping or molding with it, I say go for it.
....I keep my costs down by mostly buying bulk online from the US. Me
(the New Zealand clay) ...soft
when raw... slight sheen after baking, which resists some finishes...
stronger clay than Modeline when
...Premo is a much superior brand in all aspects, comparing with Dukit though. Barbara J.
...It's soft ...even prior to any conditioning.
....after baking my Du-Kit pieces at 150 deg C, there is a slight sheen on the canes which appears 'naturally'. I'm wondering if this slight sheen appear only for Du-Kit or is it the same for other brands? I've only used Du-Kit up till now because of difficulties in logistics.
... After baking my finger prints are everywhere on the pieces. Sanding did remove all traces of them. Again, Is it just Du-Kit that does that? (or all soft clays?) I rather bake them without the finger prints. ... And the increase/decrease of heat from your hands to the clay? I'm living in Kuala Lumpur so it's hot here everyday. . Barbara J.
...the beauty of Dukit is in its strength (compared to what?), which is why a lot of NZ minaturists use it so that flowers etc don't loose petals and such .Petra
...canes: because it stays rather soft throughout, caning can be tricky... and slicing canes even more so (however slicing a Dukit cane will be easier once you pop it in the fridge for a while)
.......do use up all leftover canes soonest possible ...canes won't last more than 3-4 weeks in the freezer?. It'll start to crumble.
... finishes...varnishing is a no no with many varnishes.... they peel off. Barbara J.
......re finishes flaking off DuKit.... according to my tests, Sculpey's glaze, Fimo's glaze and a crafters' glaze all peeled off too. So the result of my conversations with the manufactuer today have led him on search for a suitable lacquer..... Hes now speaking to the paint manufacturer to see if it can be supplied in a bottled form... Petra
....(this may be the same problem Kato Polyclay has with finishes because of it's denseness, very smooth natural finish and slight sheen
........but Future can be used with Kato... Varathane can be used, but only after liquid clay is applied first --see Kato Polyclay above for more on this possible workaround)
....I remembered an artist who used to work in Dukit and used a product called Spray Kote (it is a spray-on polyurethane ...this isn't the first person I've spoken to who used this product.... iIt doesn't affect either Dukit or the old Fimo (it does affect the new Fimo recipe however?? --referring here to the new FimoClassic, or old or new FimoSoft??... and why should that one be any different?)
....... the spray does need at least 24 hours to dry, and a few days to dry really hard, but it does work. I have seen this product work on items and have seen (polymer?) work at least 15 years old done in this lacquer (...probably best to apply in several light coats, drying between, as for other sprays... see more in Finishes > Sprays)
...air dry, polymer, other...
"Clay" can mean a special kind of heavy soil (silt) which is dug out of the ground and cured in a kiln, but clay has also come to mean mean anything which can be "modeled" and will stand alone (for example, the "modeling clay" that kids use). Different people may use the term differently though, sometimes depending on their backgrounds. Here are some of the "clays" an eggshell:
clay...a certain kind of soil/mud (potter's clay, porcelain clay, etc.)
... it will dry, but breaks easily unless fired in a kiln
at a high temperature (grayish-brown to white; also terra cotta and white/gray
in a bag, at craft stores)... to see the diff. between various kinds of earth
clay andget much more info:
http://www.infoplease.com/spot/clay.html and http://users.lmi.net/~drewid/clay_faq.html
BASICALLY earthen clays, maybe with additives?
--moist, low fire, earth?clays (Laguna Ovencraft, Della Robbia Oven Bake Clay) (lt. brown to gray), cures at 250 or 350 degrees (needs to be kept moist so really air dry, like allowing earth clay to get "leather hard" without firing?)
...Magic Mud ...air dry, or (low?)fire in kiln... air-dried objects made with Magic Mud can be turned back into mud again by breaking into smaller pieces and adding water
AIR DRY clays,
....some dry out completely, some only crust over and become hard to manipulate further
........polymerclayexpress carries some brands http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/airdryclays.html)
...cellulose, paper and/or plaster? and/or wood-based clays (when dried can be sanded, painted, sprayed with non-acrylic sealer,etc.)
.......Celluclay (gray) Celluclay II (white)..powdered or flaked "instant papier mache" (add water)...leaves bumpy surface
.......Sculptamold (by Amaco) white...cellulose-based (add water), functions like plaster....leaves very bumpy surface
FINER GRAIN air-dry clays
..handle and use some of these somewhat like polymer clay, but they dry out if left in air... not as strong as polymer clay... all lighter weight?
..can also be used as armatures under clay, or as molded items or for body parts like faces, hands, etc.
....Creative Paperclay ..very smooth...made of wood pulp, volcanic ash, talc, & starch ...leaves smooth surface
......air dries in 1-3 days, or can be baked at 250, 15 minutes on each side to speed drying
......comes in white but can be mixed with water-based paints to make colors
......heavier, firmer, not quite as easy to carve, more economical, and slightly less durable (than ?)
......once dry, can be finished with any kind of paint or markers
.......Pearl Paperclay is their less expensive,lower grade clay...Delight is their lighter-weight modeling material (dries hard)
......many projects http://www.paperclay.com/projects.htm (2 pages)
......also see Books > Shorter > Design Originals, for Emi Fukushima's book on paperclay
....Makin's Clay ...very smooth........by ProvoCraft?, or Dutch? .... acid free (when dry)...lignin free
........9 colors (incl. glow in the dark) http://www.makinsclay.com/US/eng/products/basic_color.htm
....... can mix colors, or color w/ acrylic paints http://www.makinsclay.com/US/eng/products/mixing_chart.htm
........"does not have the same feel as air dry products like DAS Modeling material or other similar non-polymer clays"... works a lot like polymer clay
.......starts to dry out fairly quickly ...if water-spritzed, can work longer but must work in very evenly, could be light cracking? Jeanne
EXCEPTIONALLY FINE GRAIN Japanese "stone ground mineral" clays ... lighter weight
.....LaDoll (more brittle) ... Premiere (white, strong) .....Crafty (see Handcraft Designs 1-800-523-2430 above as US distributor)
.......... LaDoll is a very very fine paper clay and resembles porcelain. Never used it although folks I know who work w/ paper clays say it is fabulous. Linda
.......more info on these clays (plus Papydur, brand): http://tinyurl.com/cecw3
"COLD PORCELAIN"-type clays ...principal ingredients are cornstarch and glue... often used to create very thin lifelike flowers (buy premixed or mix yourself) ..lighter weight, very fine grain (for much more on these, see Sculpting-Gen > Paperclays, Cornstarch Clays
"DOUGHS" (principally grain-based & homemade) clays made with wheat flour (or white bread), water, glue, or salt, baking soda, etc..sometimes sand (not light weight... fine grain to rough grain)
OTHER AIR DRY:
...Model Magic clay by Crayola (texture is marshmallow-y and very lightweight...comes in a few colors..sticks to itself with moisture, but joins are fragile)
...2-part epoxy putty "clays" ....strong when dry (Apoxie Sculpt, etc.)
for much more on air dry clays and other non-polymer clays, see Sculpting-gen > Clays for Sculpting
...or seethe mailing list group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Air-DryClay
OIL-BASED CLAYS (not air drying)
.."modeling" clay... & plasticine & plastiline are basically the same thing, it seems... some of the brand names are similar to these words as well ...this is the stuff kids play with in kindergarten... range of colors... manmade with oil and wax... always remains pliable, and most *cannot* be cured to make them really firm since they will simply melt in the heat... similar in many ways to polymer clay but has an oilier, softer consistency, and is "heavier"
...usual cost: more expensive than earthen clay, but cheaper than polymer clay (by volume)
.....Plastilina is one brand of modeling clay which is made by the Van Aken co. http://www.vanaken.com/howclay.htm and is prefered by many major animators, as it is very flexible for making minute adjustments before filming each frame. The consistency is like that of the polymer clays which stretch after baking (MoldMaker, Elasticlay or Sculpey's Bend and Bake) and are very soft to the touch. .. . . It is also used by many figure makers to make a maquette (original design model, or example) which can be cast in a one-piece mold and then heated, which melts the plastalina and it can be poured out of the mold hole, where later what ever material is being used (slip, whatever) is poured in and then out again to make a hollow molded piece.
...art stores have better selections ...it comes in big bricks too.
...the colors are mixable like polymer clays . ....don't mix it with your raw polymer clay though....keep them very separate. However, *baked* polymer parts are very, very useful- with modeling clays -eyes and mouths and accessories and things. Sarajane
.....one recipe for modeling clay (basically a clay powder mixed with oil and wax instead of with water): 10 lbs microcrystalline wax 1/2 gal. #10wt oil 4 lbs plain automotive grease 25 lbs dry clay powder (such as Kentucky ball clay)... Melt wax, oil, and grease together in an electric frying kettle; stir clay in slowly once melted. Pour into shallow microwave-safe plastic containers, or into a wet plaster mold. . . . this basic recipe may be modified for specific applications. One variation I have worked out uses beeswax for part of the wax component, substitutes petroleum jelly for the grease, and purified mineral oil for the 10wt. motor oil. This smells better, and doesn't have a problem with the rubber mold compounds I use... varying the proportions of the constituents slightly will yield harder or softer clays http://users.lmi.net/~drewid/plastilene_recipe.html
..for more info and online groups and info re claymation, see Sculpting > Online Groups
clay ..manmade, remains pliable (though not "moist") until cured in
a 250-300 degree home oven
..several brands (Sculpey, Fimo, Premo, Cernit, Kato Polyclay, DuKit, etc.)
..comes in many colors and colors can be mixed to make many more colors ..(also comes in translucent, mica/metallic, flexible, and special flesh-colored sculpting clays "colors")
..cost: around $ .50 - 1.25 per oz., depending on how and where you buy it
...acid free and lignin free . . .the sculpey.com website says that . . ."“Polyform’s chemists have been conducting tests on the clay for quite some time. All tests indicate that baked Premo! Sculpey and Sculpey III are acid free” so it should be fine to use in fine scrapbooking, etc. if properly and completely cured. . .
...sold in 3 sizes and shapes ....by the box, bar, and brick.
Each color is sold separately (unless bought in a "kit" containing a number of bars or half-bars).
bricks are large bars (12-16 oz.), and usually are found by mail order; generally the cheapest to buy by volume.
bars are 2 - 3 oz. each, and can be found at craft/hobby/art supply stores; also cheaper by mail order.
boxes ...Polyform makes two types in boxes: white or terracotta bulk Sculpey --this stuff is pretty fragile when cured (sometimes called simply Polyform); ...and SuperSculpey, which is flesh-colored and less fragile the plain ones.
....(there may be a few other companies which make single-color polymer clays by the box too, but polyclayers aren't generally very familiar with them.)
...."doll clays" (PuppenFimo, etc.; some come in bricks; various flesh colors; see above)
Also, liquid clays come in squeeze bottles or cans (Translucent Liquid Sculpey, Liquid Sculpey (opaque), Kato Clear Medium, Fimo Decorating Gel) in small bottles or cans; not sold to make whole items from, but rather to be used as a glue or a coating with polymer clays)
real silver with a binder, in clay form ... require a kiln, or some just a butane torch
Precious Metal Clay (PMC, PMC+, PMC3)
Art Clay Silver
(some of this was written before diff. versions of clay brands, and torching, e.g., were introduced)
Guild galleries & archives
gallery of 6 clayers and their PMC creations, from Embellishment
"Milly Pheeory" PMC jewelry
Patricia Kimle's use of texturing/lettering on metal clay, and often using with decorative clay backings, etc.
Linda Bernstein's lessons on PMC bead, pendants, on Carol Duvall show
http://hgtv.com/HGTV/show/0,1102,CRHO_show_21,FF.html (then enter Linda Bernstein in Carol's Search window to find the other two programs)
Clayfreak's photos and semi-lesson on making a PMC ring and earrings
's fantastic caned pendants in frames of PMC
for metal clays:
...PMC Guild (online?) has a message board: http://www.pmclay.com/
...Art Jewelry magazine has a message board for metal clays http://cs.artjewelrymag.com/artcs/forums/32.aspx
...yahoogroups... there are also a number of metal clay groups there (mailing lists, or read online)
......(go to http://www.yahoogroups.com, then enter Precious Metal Clay in the Search window)
........for example, this one called MetalClay: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MetalClay
If you use a kiln for (metal clays), you should not
use it for glass, ceramics, or enamel as the "debris"
from the PMC can fall into your glass or other stuff. ...when I first started
with PMC I did fire it in my glass kiln a couple items, and then I got a small
dedicated kiln. kathi
...PMC has ideal workability, and a relatively high shrinkage that allows wonderful detail. It is the least expensive version.
...PMC+ fires very quickly and results in a dense and durable material. It also allows for firing at 3 different temperatures, the lowest of which makes certain implants and enamels possible . . . fires in about the same time as Art Clay (15 min at 1650 deg F), has less shrinkage after firing (10-15%), and produces a more dense product than Standard PMC.
........PMC+ is also sold as slip (liquid), paste, paper, and sheet
..........PMC+ Paper ... can cut this thin, pliable PMC+Paper with a utility knife ....then weave or layer it, tear or fold the sheets into incredible designs (there's a picture of an origami crane done this way. I thought it sounded very cool and the little crane is beautiful). ...comes in 6x6 cm sheets, $8.95 each... can also be used with regular PMC ...order # at Rio Grande 100-886. Sue
...PMC 3 fires at an even lower temperature (1290°F) which not only allows implants but allows use of low-tech firing devices ...
......I have used the #3 and it is very dry, and I found it difficult to work with as it dried out faster than I could manipulate it into my design. Perhaps the more experienced PMC'er would have better luck. Jeanette
..Rio Grande's page with info on all three PMC's
..loads of info on PMC and PMC+ and PMC 3 (particles become smaller with each version)
..Rio Grande Tech Support (phone: 1-800-545-6566, or e-mail: email@example.com ), or the PMC Guild for more info. Diane M
...Linda Bernstein is a supplier of PMC as well . . .also videos, kiln, syringes, Mystic Mold Compound, as well as her own
...WholeLottaWhimsy is a supplier (also kilns, etc.) and has some tutorials
Clay Silver (created by Art Clay, they also have a gold)
...http://www.beadhub.com/SiteContent.aspx?ContentItem=WhatIsArtClay (lots of info about Art Clay Silver)
...Dana's items made with Art Clay Silver http://www.cgpcg.org/photos/clayathon02_dana_beads1.jpg
...."After it is shaped, dried, and heated at 800°C / 1472°F, binders burn off, leaving only pure silver retaining its modelled shape.
There are 5 types of Art Clay Silver: Clay Type, Paste Type, Oil Paste, Syringe type and Sheet Type. . . . "
.... It's main advantage is that it goes further than PMC and is somewhat easier to work with. If Kathy is lurking around she will probably mention more advantages. The things she makes with it are just beautiful!! I hope to take a class from her before long. I'm sure that your PMC teacher will tell you that PMC it is better. Your best bet would be to do classes with both and see which one you prefer. It's in the doing that you discover a mediums characteristics. Dotty
and Silver Art Clay are very similar in handling and results. I think there was
initially a better response to the Silver Art Clay because the PMC shrank 40%
while the Silver Art Clay shrank only 10%. ( . . .now, there's Precious Metal
+ (PMC+), which also shrinks only 10%).
.......I think it's kind of cool to have the two different rates of shrinkage, because you could make a mold, then make one cast with the 10% shrinkage for a pendant or pin, and two with the 40% shrinkage stuff for matching earrings, or whatever. Elizabeth
Yes, most of what you learn
about one clay is transferrable to the other. They are very similar... as far
as I've heard. I only work with Art Clay Silver... but keep a close eye
on PMC artists for ideas and inspiration.
....the advantages of Art Clay Silver are:
..........less shrinkage... only 10% c compared to 30% of PMC,
.........shorter kiln time... only 10 minutes at 1600° compared to 2 hours with PMC, and then
........ the option of clay in 3 (now 5) wonderful forms with Art Clay Silver- clay, paste and extrusion.
They really have perfected the clay!!
...PMC seems to be a bit more porous and often doesn't have as nice of finish. I'm not sure if it's the clay... or the artist's techniques.You can check out a few of my projects at my photopoint site: (website gone)
IMHO, as a certified PMC artisan: -- Haven't worked much with Art Clay; (disadvantages) feel it comes in too small of a package and dries out too quickly while being worked. --Also, I like the detail I get from the shrinkage of the PMC; I make the shrinkage property work for me! --Doesn't mean I won't work with Art Clay in the future, just more comfortable w/ PMC at this time.
important thing is the opportunity to take classes. Also distribution is changing
with Art Clay Silver... so won't be available through Swest and Paragon. But they
are working hard to make sure we can get our clay! Art Clay Silver has a website
with classes listed. PMC's site is a wonder!! I think art clay silver's site is
just starting- but lists available classes . Kathndolls
... there are websites for both clays. You might do a search for "silver clay" and find them. . . Last year I purchased both some art silver and PMC. At that time Parragon Industries was selling it direct - purchased along with a quik fire kiln.
own a Paragon model SC2-1 kiln, which I use to fire
my PMC creations. It's very simple to use: 1650 deg. F for at least
2 hours. I like to ramp up to temp slowly (i.e., speed 3) -- the
chemist in me tells me that this can only aid the sintering process.
...You have to fire the clay for a certin amount of time, at a certain constant temperature.... My kiln will work for the Art Silver as I was able to get special firing instructions from Paragon. However, I purchased some PMC that I have been unable to fire - it has to be fired longer than Art Silver and I have been unable to get any modified directions on how to fire this on my kiln.... Art Silver bakes at a shorter time, from my understanding has less shrinkage than the PMC....long story but I wish I didn't have two packages of PMC that I cannot do anything with! (There might be a link from Parragon - they are not selling it direct any longer.) Check out Karen Lewis' s site (Klew). She (teaches Art Clay Silver &)may have added some info. I know she has worked with both and had some articles published. I have "talked" with her via email and she agreed with the difference in the properties of the two brands. Jan NC
with a torch
...at the HIA show they were firing Art Clay Silver with a kitchen torch ... like one would use for crème brulee. Jeanette
... Carol Duvalls' segment showed the piece being torched on top of a firing brick (the kind used in kilns)
......she moved the torch constantly over the piece until it had all fired red-hot, it took about 3 minutes - she emphasised there was no need for a kiln. . .
.......she also decorated a piece of pmc+ with writing using a syringe filled with PMC 3 paste and also 'cured/fired' it with the torch later in the show. http://www.silveralchemy.co.uk/tools.html - note they even sell a butane torch there.
The show talked about precious metal clay, but the packages they showed were not pmc but pmc+ or pmc3. Shelley M.
PMC+ can be cured with a handheld butane torch (lesson).
..Art Clay Silver has a very informative video that shows using a torch in two projects, as well as firing with a small kiln. It's only 31 minutes long and is very well done. Patty B.
stovetop method. . . I think this may only work with
the lower firing silver clays --- (PMC3 and Art clay 650
and possibly PMC+) but it probably takes a longer time.
...You put a stainless steel net (at least 4 inches square) right on the burner. Turn the burner on medium-high and watch where the steel begins to glow a cherry red. Note the hot spots. . . .Turn the burner off.
...Place your dried piece (again, not larger than the hot spot) onto any of the hot spots, and turn the stove on again. ...The piece will smoke and have a brief flame as the binders burn off. When the piece is glowing, time for 5 minutes. . . .When complete, turn off the stove and allow the piece to cool.
We're just completing a video and one of the projects demonstrates the stovetop method. It's actually pretty simple. ...It is suggested that you get another piece of stainless steel net and create a small cage to place over the piece while firing in case you didn't dry it enough and it "pops" (if you've ever used the torch and had a piece jump, you'll know what I mean), but we've found that if you take care, it's not a problem.
Reminder: we're recommending this method for Art Clay Silver only, as this is the material we've tested. (via Jackie B.)
Briefly, here's Belle Armoire's
techniques for finishing...
Winter 2002 issue
...Place each piece in a tumbler with soapy water and lead shot for several hours.
.....If you don't have a tumbler, use a Dremel tool with a buffing disk or fine steel wool (4/0). Rub the steel wool over the surface of the artwork in a circular motion.
...Powdered pumice can also be used to polish PMC.
...When finished, you can add a patina, for an antique look, with liver of sulfur, Silver Black and Black Max.
........Once the patina is done, can polish with a scratchbrush & steel wool.
.........Finish by rubbing the entire surface with a sunshine cloth (available through jewelry suppliers). Karen
.....Soapy water is not necessary when tumbling PMC with steel shot, I don't know about lead. Lori
Mystic Mold Compound Kit. One kit is $14.95 +$5.95
s/h...use Paypal at http://www.Artique.org
... very cool stuff... holds details very well. ....now available, as seen in Jewelry Crafts "Mastering the Mystical Mold" by Linda Bernstein in the December 2000 issue (Linda is using it for PMC). Bette
sheets. . . I want it for Art Clay Silver.
I have found that drying (in preparation for firing) the metal clay on
a warming tray- at about 200* really dries the clay thoroughly.
In a classroom situation the sound of hair dryers is very distracting... so the
warming tray works wonderfully.
...But some of the materials I was working on would warp with the heat... plastic, parchment paper, even heat resistant quilt-pattern material. I started using post-it notes for the silver- it didn't wrinkle with the heat... and you could form your metal clay on the paper and then pick it up easily and put it on the warming tray.
......But one of my students noticed that the paper seemed to soak up moisture from the clay- and you know that moisture levels in the clay is critical!! The teflon seems to be the solution.Kathndolls
...here is one place to see the teflon sheets: http://kerekesequip.com/Bakeware/pn11/baking_sheets.htm
videos & books
Linda Bernstein's video series: Precious
Metal Clay, "Silver In No Time", http://www.Artique.org
BEGINNER & INTERMEDIATE
Volume I ...beginner techniques with Precious Metal Clay (metal-based clay that is pure metal after firing) to make earrings, pendants or bracelets and more. Forming, firing and finishing included.
Volume II Learn intermediate techniques ...to make beads, rings, bezels, hidden barrel clasp and more.
ADVANCED (shipping by August 1, 2002)
Advanced I Precious Metal Clay with Glass Enamel or Dichroic Glass ...techniques for combining PMC with glass enamel and dichroic glass: ... glass enamel on a stamped image, reverse stamp mold, Syringe cloisonné and enamel fades as well as a fail proof sheet bezel for a dichroic glass cabochon.
Advanced Video II Precious Metal Clay Vessels, Leaves and More ...PMC techniques to create vessels with various armatures and finishes, as well as leaves done with PMC paste: armatures made of match boxes, index cards, cork clay, vessels from a mold, slump molds, as well as, liver of sulfur, Raku, silver black, PMC leaves.
video: Push Play for PMC: Intermediate Techniques,
Celie Fago & Tim McCreight, 2001
2 hrs, Precious Metal Clay techniques
http://www.lapidaryjournal.com/books/pushplaypmc.cfm (review and details of video ...order through http://www.riogrande.com/PMC/pmc_videos.htm)
Clay Silver has a very informative video available from their site
that shows using a torch in two projects, as well as firing with a small
kiln. It's only 31 minutes long and is very well done. Patty B.
RENT videos & DVD's:
California Paper Goods ....various titles (some on metal clay)
....... $4.75 for one week (including all s/h)... VHS or DVD?
http://capg.zoovy.com/category/videorentals (click on all 3 pages)
Smartflix .... many titles relating to polymer clay & other crafts (+ some metal clay)
.....$10 for one week (including all s/h)..... DVD's
Clay and Mixed Media Jewelry...Sherri Haab, 2006 ... book
... mixing media with metal clay... e.g., resin, polymer clay, fiber, glass, ceramics, ribbons, gold leaf, pottery shards, leather, collage materials, etc. (for beginners to more advanced users)
of POLYMER Clays
(compared esp. to earthen clays)
There is something therapeutic about playing with clay; it relieves stress, gets out aggression, and it feels good to work with it. Most of us are starved for that "touching" need and clay may remind us of that feeling. I use clay with children in therapy because of abuse. They express through clay what they cannot verbalize. Just one opinion.Kay Frank
CHEMISTRY of polymer clay
Want to get excited about polymers?
. . James L's page all about polymers, carbon, polymer clay, the stuff-of-life!,
(loads of info on uses, history, chemistry, etc., of polymers)
http://www.polymerweb.com/_datash/pvc.html (characteristics of plasticized polyvinyl choloride--PVC)
. . . clay is a thermoset, which means that once it is heated and cured it does not 'melt' or return to its pre-cured state. The clay is made up of PVC grains, plasticizer, antioxidants, colorants, etc.... When you heat the clay, the grains of PVC swell and fuse together as the antioxidants are consumed and the plasticizers burnt off. The formula used to compound the different clays varies, and each manufacturer has done testing to determine the best temperature and time conditions for baking. I've been trying without sucess to think of a good way to illustrate the time/temperature dependence. I am fairly sure that as soon as I post this, I will think of a better example: I want to melt a block of ice. It is sitting in a climate controlled room with the temperature set at 31F where it will not melt. If I raise the temperature to 33F it will melt eventually, but I wouldn't want to sit and watch it melt that slow. It would be faster at room temperature, really fast at 115F, BUT if you get much above 212F where water boils you aren't going to melt the ice - it will go straight to vapor. With polymer, a drop of 10degrees may mean you need to drastically increase your baking time -- the only way to be sure would be to test bake clay at various temperatures. Z Kripke taught me to test the temperature of my oven by baking thin [#6, well-conditioned] strips of clay and bending them around my pinkie finger. Well cured clay should wrap around your finger without breaking or stress cracking. Too high a temp will discolor your clay, or worse. This test would also work with time as the variable.
Only once have I had to resort to the following. Another vendor at a show said she couldn't accept my work as art or as anything she wanted to own because it was plastic. Even after showing her the books I take with me to each show (New Clay, etc) and describing techniques and everything, she was still very negative. So in extreme self-defense, I asked her about the earthen clay she used -- removing something from the earth, pretty invasive, eh? And the wood her husband used to make furniture -- doing his part for deforestation? Oh, metal-based artwork -- stripmining! Natural dyes -- how about disposing of the heavy metals necessary to set the dye? My point was to illustrate that just because it's synthetic, it's not bad.
~May I submit this tiny tidbit. ALL plastics are "organic". Plastic is made with and from petroleum. Petroleum is a variable substance created through the decompostion of plant and animal matter under not fully understood conditions of heat, pressure,
history of polymer clays and some pioneer clayers, by Trina Williams in the Nov.
2000 issue of Polyzine
(see also Translucents, Colors, Sculpting, Carving for more on strength, Misc. for polymer Outdoors or in Snowglobes, )