Firstly, what is polymer clay? It is a mixture of finely ground polyvinylchloride, pigments, binder and a plasticizer. During the process of curing the plasticizer is “baked out” and what is left is the plastic and the colour pigments.
This so called clay, is actually PVC plastic that has been modified to be an art and craft medium that can be used for sculpting and modelling. It has the added advantage, that when completed,the sculptor model can be hardened by baking in a normal household oven.
The use of polymer clay has grown over the years to the extent that a vast array of colours and textures are now available. The most popular brands at present are Fimo and Sculpey which have proved to have the most ease of use, a great range of colours and good strength after the baking process.
Originally introduced for the use of children and students, both brands have made polymer clays that are softer such as Fimo Soft, but have the disadvantage that they are more prone to breakage after baking.
With the growth of use of polymer clay by professional designers, new forms of polymer clay have been developed that combine ease of use with greater strength of the finished piece.
SculpeyPremo for instance, allows adult crafters to design, condition the clay and bake it to a finished article in less than 30 minutes with a minimum of equipment. This ease of use compared to the 24 to 48 hour gestation period necessary with ceramic materials has led to the growth of use of polymer clay by both professional sculptors and hobbyists.
Polymer clays are now used for everything from dolls, wall art, much mixed-media and much more including a recent explosion of interest in the creation of beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery.
How to Select the Polymer Clay for your Project
Is soft and easy to work with. It is possible to condition the clay by hand and to extrude shapes that are pushed through clay guns. It has a good range of colours which can be blended easily to produce an expanded colour range. Its main disadvantage is that it is soft and brittle after baking. Thin pieces are particularly prone to this problem.
We do not recommend it for jewellery or cane work, but is suitable for school or children’s play.
This description applies also to Sculpey 111 which is a similar clay type.
Is the most useful adult polymer clay and our recommended product. It comes in a wide range of colours and is comparatively easy to work with by hand. It is suitable for jewellery and cane work due to the final strength after the baking process and its slight flexibility. This makes it less likely to break even in thin sections. The wide range of colours have been given traditional artist names such as Cadmium Red etc. making them easy to identify.
The description for Promo applies equally to Premo. This range includes sparkling and metallic mica and glitter colours.
This is the latest Sculpey product and is worth a trial. It is soft, very easy to condition, opaque with a matte suede-like texture when it is baked.
This texture makes it great for decorating with acrylic paints, due to the tooth the texture applies. Another interesting feature is that it unusually strong and flexible and will return to its original shape after being bent almost double.
Needless to say this makes it ideal for jewellery. It bakes at the same time and temperature as the other Sculpey clays and may be mixed with them in any proportion for variations in colour and texture.
This clay comes in white and Terra Cotta and is easy to condition and is very strong and firm when baked. It has many uses as a sculpting medium in its own right. After firing it has a bisque like finish. It can be finished with acrylic paints and glazes. It can be sanded and carved after baking.
Comes in grey colour only. Used mainly for making masters, such as car model prototypes, action figures, etc due to its ease of use and strength when baked. Due its firmness sculptors can carve in fine detail. Moulds can be made from these masters for reproduction.
Sculpey Living Doll
Comes in semi translucent skin tones of beige and light beige and has similar properties to SculpeyPremo. It is used mainly for making dolls but is also used for making prototypes and all types of sculpture. It can be finished with glazes.
This is a transfer compound, adhesive colour wash, glazing medium and more. It bakes to a permanent finish in the oven. Bake and Bond creates a strong bond between clay and paper, wood or canvas. It must be baked to adhere.
It is great for putting thin images onSculpey. It can also be used to transfer magazine images onto Sculpey.
The new Liquid Sculpey of silver and gold are being used to make jewellery findings by using silicone moulds filled with the liquid and then baking for a finished product. This opens the door for a limitless number of finished shapes using silicone cake decorating moulds.
The liquid is also being used to squeeze out designs on baked polymer clay shapes such as jewellery pendants and then re-baked for a dazzling new silver or gold look.
Stan Alderson X1298a