Why You Should NEVER Say & Do the Following:
“I only use one brand of polymer clay.”
Has someone said this to you before? Or have you said it yourself? It doesn’t have to be Pardo polymer clay. Maybe someone has said to you, “I only use Fimo Classic polymer clay.” In either case, I call this the “polymer clay snob syndrome.” I’ll be honest, I too prefer a certain brand of clay over others, however, I will use whatever I have and often times clay that I have found on sale or on clearance. So why am I against “polymer clay snob syndrome?”
The definition of polymer clay snob syndrome is this (as from Katie’s dictionary of course): Being so brand specific that one refuses to consider, use, or purchase other types of polymer clay brands.
Let me be honest, every kind of clay has good and bad uses. While one brand of clay may be great for cane work, another brand may be best for sculpting, and yet another for jewelry components. Here’s the bottom line (in my opinion of course): If you haven’t tried every polymer clay brand for every clay application then you have no right to claim one kind is superior to another. And this is why I don’t like “polymer clay snob syndrome.” Please don’t tell me how your choice is superior to my choice for what you do, when you haven’t tried that brand for that particular application. This being said, here’a brief review from me to you on some of the major types of polymer clay, what I’ve used them for, and what I’ve found works the best for me. I have posted similar things before on polymer clay brands and their uses, feel free to check those posts as well.
I have tried every type of polymer clay available to me here in NW Pennsylvania / NE Ohio area. I have my favorite (which I will share with you in a minute) but my studio is filled with dozens of bars of every kind and I’ll tell you why too. The first reason is the easiest: I blend my own colors very often. I rarely will use clay straight from the package. This is why Parker’s yellow is always slightly different. Yes, I use a formula, but do I get it exact every time….no. Is that okay with me? Yes. This being said, choosing to blend colors and brands is a delicate area that many either won’t admit or won’t talk about.
Super Sculpey Trick:
I have done this for two years now…I’ve done it for so long, I don’t remember if I came up with it myself or if I read it somewhere. That being said, for over 2 years I have blended super sculpey into every clay blend I make. [Read more here] Why you ask? Because not only does Super Sculpey bake up firm and rigid, but it also gives things a softer matted finished, or a ceramic-esque look and feel. I like it because it makes me feel better about my items and their overall strength. Is that a tested fact that I have proven….no, but it is the way I feel. Please note that this clay is different from Sculpey III listed and shown below.
Most clayers of any length of time will tell you to stay away from Sculpey because it is so soft. This is very true. It’s the one thing about this brand that I don’t like. For me, when clay is too soft, I find it horrible to work with and I get frustrated easily. This being said, sculpey’s huge line of colors and variations are fantastic to add into your blends. Why? Have you ever wanted in an between color and they brand you’re working with doesn’t have that color…you’d have to mix the color yourself, and then use the desired amount for your project. This is where sculpey comes to the rescue! I have often needed an in between color and didn’t have time/energy/resources to make it. Or I’m using a very firm clay that needs softened quickly with a lighter shade … again … Sculpey to the rescue. I will also often use Sculpey III as an armature for many of my clay projects as well form beads for larger projects.
My go to brand of clay, the one I must seriously have over 100 bars of in my studio is Premo polymer clay. Why is this my choice of clay? For several reasons:
- It bakes with a soft sheen to it, with when making sculptures it truly allows colors to pop without having to add glaze to the item.
- It tends to take the least amount of conditioning of any of the clay brands (except for Pardo).
- It’s based on a painter’s palette, so it’s super easy to make the right/correct color blends!
Brands I use & What I Use Them For:
- To combine with my custom blends when a color I need is missing.
- To make very hard clay softer and easily to condition.
- Downside: Too soft for sculpting & caning.
- Hardness of this clay varies per bar & per type.
- I use it to cover pens & in blends.
- This is a great clay to use for stamping. Makes great impressions and holds them well.
- I also use this to blend in order to make extremely hard clay soft.
- Downside: Expensive and hard to find in mainstream box stores in the US.
- My favorite clay (see above).
- I use it for everything: caning, sculpting, buttons, mokume gane, unique effects and so much more.
- Downside: Can get a “moon” effect with translucent blends.
- Extremely difficult to condition (very hard).
- Ideal for caning as it retains its shape
- Has a distinct smell when baking. [Note: All clay has a smell when baking. Kato’s (to me) is stronger.]
- Downside: Limited color palette & takes too long to condition
- Nice soft clay.
- Made with a different kind of material than traditional polymer clay.
- I will write a full review after experimenting with it.
- Downside: Cost – this clay is the most expensive! It is also the hardest to find stateside.
Thanks for joining me today,