Battle of the Brands - The Polymer Clay Conundrum
|6 min read
104
105
0
Recommended Journals
Introduction to Polymer Clay
Polymer clay is a modeling compound consisting mainly of polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plasticizes to make it pliable. As you can see it's easy to define polymer clay, but there's no possible way to describe all the variety of things that can be achieved with it. :thumb258157440: :thumb272006113: :thumb277148343: :thumb281000386: :thumb275056912: :thumb68437412: :thumb270695771: :thumb158289045:  :thumb278525647: :thumb258132173: :thumb273964318: :thumb271696671: :thumb277877336: :thumb255170450: :thumb273894627: In this article I will recollect some of the best resources and guide you through the basics of polymer clay, if
Where do you buy your clay? Help us make a list!
I'm sure that at some point, this happened to most of us: "wow polymer clay/air dry clay is great! but do they sell it in my country? where can I buy it?". It's also the most asked question for clay groups and clay artists! So if anyone asks you again where to buy clay, you can just send them a link to this page. So, how cool would it be if we made a list? Think about how many new artists we would be helping... if you had problems finding clay at the beginning, I'm sure that you were really grateful to that nice person that helped you find it. Also, in countries where clay is really hard to find, having a bigger demand would convince more st
National Animals Contest - Complete.
The contest has ended. You can find the winners here: https://anthro-fantasy-club.deviantart.com/journal/National-Animals-Contest-Winners-Announced-323027857 Click here to see the entries. Click here to see the judges and judging criteria Click here to see the prizes. Contest Concept   For this contest you will make an anthro or fantasy creature based on your country's national animal. Please read on if this contest sounds interesting/challenging to you. Additional Information/Clarification: The due date for the contest is currently August 15th, 2012. Here is a list of national animals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_an
25K Views|2 Today
Many of us start with one brand of polymer clay to start, and as we embrace the clays pros, we often eventually get used to the cons as well and work our way around them. But what if you knew which brand was right for you before you even touched the clay? Each polymer clay brand has many characteristics that make it distinct from other brands, so if you are looking for a specific trait in your clay, you might want to read on. Who knows, you might find something better then what you are working with right now.

I have personally tried every popular brand of polymer clay, and there are about five of them. There are also the polymer clays that require painting afterwards, like Studio by Sculpey as well as Super Sculpey... but I will not get into those.

The five most easily attainable clays are Fimo Classic, Fimo Soft, Sculpey III, Premo, and Kato Polyclay. Each have their own distinct characteristics, pros, cons, and baking times. These are my findings in point form:

Fimo Classic
Baking: 230°F / 110°C for 30 mins (per 1/4" thickness) Do not exceed 265°F / 130°C
· The firmest of the clays. Although it has gotten softer after many new formulations over the years. It has suffered many problems in recent years due to unsatisfied sculptors who favoured the old formula over the new ones.
· Difficult to work with, especially for beginners.
· Needs quite a bit of conditioning, preferably by using a mallet or by using a pasta machine.
· Tends to crumble over time, especially if poorly stored.
· Comes in a wide range of wonderful colours, including pastels.
· Great for caning and firm enough to sculpt easily.
· Certain colours can darken in the oven.
· Very hard after baking.

Fimo Soft
Baking: 230°F / 110°C for 30 mins (per 1/4" thickness) Do not exceed 265°F / 130°C
· Extremely easy to work with.
· Good for beginners.
· Softer than Fimo Classic but not as soft as Sculpey III.
· Does not need any conditioning, and can be worked with right out of the package.
· Can get sticky or mushy when over worked.
· Can be britle after baking, but not as britle as Sculpey III.
· Darker colours can bleed into lighter colours.
· Comes in many different colours as well as special effects like stones, textures, metallics, glow in the dark, translucent, etc.

Sculpey III
Baking: 275°F / 130°C for 15 mins (per 1/4" thickness)
· Extremely easy to work with.
· Great for beginners.
· The softest clay to work with.
· Does not need any conditioning, and can be worked with right out of the package.
· Can get sticky or mushy when over worked.
· Can be very britle after baking - the weakest of the clays.
· Colours tend to stay the same before and after baking.
· Translucent Sculpey tends to brown while baking.
· White Sculpey is very bright.
· One of the best colour palettes of clay there is. There is metallics, stone, textures, pearls, translucent, glow in the dark, pastels, fluorescents, etc.
· Not very good for caning, but some people HAVE accomplished it.

Premo! Sculpey
Baking: 275°F / 130°C for 30 mins (per 1/4" thickness)
· My choice as the best clay to work with. Highly recomended!
· Easy to work with.
· Softer than Fimo Classic or Kato, but not as soft as Fimo Soft or Sculpey III.
· Needs minimal conditioning.
· Certain colours can be a little soft, but most are nice and firm.
· One of the strongest clays after baking.
· Colours tend to stay the same before and after baking.
· "Frost" Premo is one of the best translucent clays.
· Has an "artist palette" when it comes to colours. Such as Cadmium Red, Zinc Yellow, etc. Artists find this fantastic, but if you aren't very aquainted with the artists palette, it can be a little difficult to mix colours.
· Not as many "fun colours" compared to other clays.
· It can be very temperature sensative, so it can get mushy on hot days and really hard to work with in the Winter.
· A great "all purpose" clay, and a total happy medium between all other clays.

Kato Polyclay
Baking: 300°F / 150°C for 10 mins (per 1/4" thickness)
· A very firm clay, but not as firm as Fimo Classic.
· Not recommended for beginners.
· Needs conditioning - preferably with a pasta machine.
· Can become crumbly if poorly packaged.
· Does not stay conditioned (workable) for long.
· Baked Kato Polyclay has a natural sheen.
· Surface seems to reject waterbased glazes like Varathane.
· Great for caning.
· Not as many "fun colours" compared to other clays.
· "Translucent" Kato Polyclay is very transparent.
· Strong after baking.
· Has a very strong smell during baking. Almost like the smell of "new doll".
· Tends to *gunk* up the sandpaper if you are sanding it.
· Is very good at smoothing and leaves little fingerprints.
· All colours tend to be the same firmness.


In Conclusion...

My personal favourite clay to work with is Premo. It really is the happy medium of polymer clays, although it isn't exclusively what I work with. I do not work with Fimo Soft or Kato much, but I love Sculpey III for it's awesome colour palette, and I ocassionally use Fimo Classic because it is so firm. If I need a lot of one colour, say... a nice bright red, I tend to combine one each block of the Sculpey III "Red Hot Red" with Fimo Classic "Carmine" and Premo "Cadmium Red"... the result is a fabulous bright hue of red with the firmness of something between Premo and Fimo Classic. It's lovely.

I really dig the "Frost" Premo as opposed to the "Translucent" Premo. The difference is that a bit of bleach has been added to "Frost" which results in much less browning compared to "Translucent".

Mixing brands can be done no problem, all you have to do is adjust the baking time. For example, if you are mixing Fimo Classic and Sculpey, you should go with the lower temperature for Fimo Classic, and possibly bake it a little longer. Just experiment, and use your best judgement!

Comment me with your findings to share your thoughts with the viewers! Who knows, we might all learn something. Happy claying!
Recommended Journals
Introduction to Polymer Clay
Polymer clay is a modeling compound consisting mainly of polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plasticizes to make it pliable. As you can see it's easy to define polymer clay, but there's no possible way to describe all the variety of things that can be achieved with it. :thumb258157440: :thumb272006113: :thumb277148343: :thumb281000386: :thumb275056912: :thumb68437412: :thumb270695771: :thumb158289045:  :thumb278525647: :thumb258132173: :thumb273964318: :thumb271696671: :thumb277877336: :thumb255170450: :thumb273894627: In this article I will recollect some of the best resources and guide you through the basics of polymer clay, if
Where do you buy your clay? Help us make a list!
I'm sure that at some point, this happened to most of us: "wow polymer clay/air dry clay is great! but do they sell it in my country? where can I buy it?". It's also the most asked question for clay groups and clay artists! So if anyone asks you again where to buy clay, you can just send them a link to this page. So, how cool would it be if we made a list? Think about how many new artists we would be helping... if you had problems finding clay at the beginning, I'm sure that you were really grateful to that nice person that helped you find it. Also, in countries where clay is really hard to find, having a bigger demand would convince more st
National Animals Contest - Complete.
The contest has ended. You can find the winners here: https://anthro-fantasy-club.deviantart.com/journal/National-Animals-Contest-Winners-Announced-323027857 Click here to see the entries. Click here to see the judges and judging criteria Click here to see the prizes. Contest Concept   For this contest you will make an anthro or fantasy creature based on your country's national animal. Please read on if this contest sounds interesting/challenging to you. Additional Information/Clarification: The due date for the contest is currently August 15th, 2012. Here is a list of national animals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_an
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
Comments (96)
IceAngel242's avatar
IceAngel242|Hobbyist General Artist
Ive been trying to find the answer to this question but maybe you can answer?  If i mix fimo and kato what would be the ideal baking temperature? Kato needs 300 degrees but i know femo needs less, it wont partially burn will it? Do i bake the inbetween temp? I use kato regularly but heard primo is really good so ive been wanting to try it
Reply  ·  
Sattamander's avatar
Sattamander| Digital Artist
Thanks for the write up. 
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
No problem!
Reply  ·  
SapphireCreations's avatar
I'm glad they have a large selection of polymer clay at Hobby Lobby. They have sculpey III, Premo, Fimo, and Kato. I've only tried Sculpey III (Liked it at first, but it became too soft to work with... x.x ) and Premo, which I really like. I think I might try out Fimo and Kato soon. Thank you for writing this! 
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
No problem! I hope you found a clay that suited your needs. :)
Reply  ·  
Karona8's avatar
I want to make a small figurine that I then want to make a mold from so that I can make duplicates.  Would the Premo be strong enough to make a mold from?  Thanks!
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
I usually make my molds, if I need one, from a two part silicon. That way the mold is flexible. However, the original that I make the mold from is Premo. But I barely ever make molds.
Reply  ·  
MMCreate's avatar
MMCreate|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I use sculpy III for necklaces that I'm starting to sell. You mentioned this one to be the weakest of the clays. In your opinion, is it durable enough for necklaces? I figure, it's not for daily use, so I can't imagine it to be a problem, but I also don't want people complaining that the necklaces are breaking.

thanks!
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
It is one of the weakest, yes - but for a necklace of adequate thickness and minimal wear, I don't think it'll be a problem! When I first started using polymer clay, I used Sculpey III as well - I never had problems with it breaking!
Reply  ·  
Taytora's avatar
Great write up -thanks!   What would you suggest for homemade kitchen cabinet knobs/drawer pulls?  I want to be able to work it with my hands, form it in a semi-detailed silicon mold, and then have it be tough enough to stand up to that kind of use once hardened and painted.
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
Sorry for the late reply! I'd go for one of the stronger clays like Fimo Classic or Kato - you'd definitely need something strong for something like that.
Reply  ·  
JamieRTL's avatar
hello, im a beginner who is interested in making polymer clay creations. i just want to ask if a special polymer clay oven is needed or if just it is okay if i just use a regular kitchen oven? :)
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
You can use your home oven if you like - I know lots of people who do. :)
Reply  ·  
euphiemialibritannia's avatar
Nice article! I'm interested in trying clay-craft, but I'm still a bit scared. Your article really helps!
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
Thank-you! I'm glad this article helped you. I hope that you give polymer clay a try! 
Reply  ·  
Aithusa308's avatar
Aithusa308|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have a question. Does the weather really affect the premo sculpey a lot? Because I might consider buying it.
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
Polymer clay can be a little harder to work with in hot humid Summer months, but it's not too bad.
Reply  ·  
Aithusa308's avatar
Aithusa308|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ok thanks that shouldn't be too bad as I live in the uk but lately it's been very humid.
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, it's been pretty humid here as well!
Reply  ·  
Ketsueki-Yue's avatar
I have one question about the polymer clays in general. I am starting to get back into clay work after years of not doing it, but this is also something that could help me practice my fondant and modeling chocolate usage. Though, I was reading up on this because I have used Plasticine quite a bit but, the oil in it can make it really hard to use at times. Though, as I was reading, there were a few places that warned that there were some chemicals in the polymer clays that could have long term effects on the user and the person that might end up with a product made of it, I just want to know if it;s true or not, considering that, it was just on a few random websites over google lol. I figured seeing as that you have used it, you might know more than the random websites about this lol. Thank you for taking the time to read this
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
They did remove a lot of the phthalate plasticizers from polymer clay a few years ago due to health concerns and the long-term effects of exposure to those chemicals. But you're right - it's realistically a moldable sculptable plastic (polymer polyvinyl chloride to be exact), and all plastics have their downfalls as most are full of chemicals. Polymer Clay has been around since the 1970's (I think?) and I haven't heard of any major health concerns when it comes to the older generation of polymer clay artists, but it's a personal decision, really - if you're hesitant, use gloves, or find another medium. Personally, I don't use gloves - it makes it harder to work with. I haven't died yet, but don't take my word for it... I could kick the bucket after reading this, you never know. :P
Reply  ·  
Ketsueki-Yue's avatar
O.O O certainly hope you don't T^T that wouldn't be very good XD LOL!!! though thank you again for taking the time to read it and answer my question...after asking I found the other thing you wrote about the concerns over the clay and was like -_- that was a dumb move XD LOL but, again, thank you for taking the time to read it and answer me ^_^
Reply  ·  
monsterkookies's avatar
monsterkookies|Professional Traditional Artist
Lol, not a problem! I always answer, even if it sometimes takes me awhile. XD Like, this reply. Haha!
Reply  ·  
RainyAvalon's avatar
I'm a beginner here looking to start making my first polymer clay charm. I'm just wondering will baking the charms in the oven make it super smelly (I'm most likely going to be using Premo)? I'm thinking of just using the big oven that we use to bake food at home. Do you suggest getting a toaster oven for this?

p.s will the clay charms actually take 30 mins+ to bake?
Reply  ·  
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
©2019 DeviantArt
All Rights reserved