Polymer Clay Brand Review

Posted on 21 Comments
Polymer Clay Blocks

Why You Should NEVER Say & Do the Following:

“I only use one brand of polymer clay.”

Polymer Clay Brands on KatersAcres Clay Blog https://katersacres.com

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?”

Fimo Soft Polymer Clay Photograph
Fimo Soft Polymer Clay Photograph


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.

My Picks:

Polymer Clay BlocksI 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.

SculpeyIII Pink Polymer ClaySculpey III:

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.

Premo Polymer ClayMy Favorite Brand

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:

  1. 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.
  2. It tends to take the least amount of conditioning of any of the clay brands (except for Pardo).
  3. 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:

    • Sculpey III:

      • 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.
    • Fimo:

      • 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.
    • Premo:

      • 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.
    • Kato PolyClay:

      • 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
    • Pardo:

      • 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,

Happy Claying,

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21 thoughts on “Polymer Clay Brand Review

  1. Hello!
    I am starting out, making the trendy (hate that word but yet here I am, haha) mid-century modern Art Deco earrings. I graduated with my BA in ceramics, so I’m not new to the clay game, but since graduating I have felt empty without my beloved clay. This has been an amazing way for me to get back into it!
    My question is:
    I am needing neutrals and earth tones for these earrings, with the occasional pops of colors of course, but not at all sure how to achieve these blends as you say.
    Do I start with white and add to that? I have seen someone just brush on pastel dust, do you ever do that?
    Also, this “conditioning”, is this the same as wedging the clay? Or would conditioning the clay just look like putting it through the press? I feel so silly asking these questions when I’ve worked with clay for so long, but this is all so new and there are so many new rules!

    1. To make earth tones, take your “color pops” as you call them and add the Premo color “ECRU” this will be the easiest way to get your Earth Tones. I do not use an pastel dust as those may rub off over time, especially when a jewelry is being worn. You want your color to be in your clay and not a topical finish. As far as conditioning, that can be done with a clay conditioning machine; that’s by far the easiest! Welcome to the polymer clay world. There aren’t many “rules” – think of them more as “guidelines” in order to get your best results.

      May I also suggest getting my Color Palette Worksheet which may help you understand clay color theory a little better as well; or at least how I use color to the best of my ability. https://katersacres.com/product/polymer-clay-color-palette-worksheet/

  2. Katie, Please recommend the best clay for adding textured facial features, nose and lips on driftwood faces. Would like to paint with acrylic when finished. Thanks

    1. I would use my recipe for Luminescent Skin, it’s a combination of 2 types/brands of polymer clay; texturization or non-texturization doesn’t matter. And you can certainly paint it if you’d like. That’s certainly what I’d recommend. You can read about it here & purchase the worksheet if you’d like.

  3. I want to make my own polymer clay buttons. Which brand would be most durable for something like a button that would get a lot of use?

    1. I personally love and rely on Premo! I find that it is very sturdy, long lasting and I find is durable over time.

  4. I make jewelry and was wondering which clay is the best for beads. Thank you

    1. Premo is a great all around clay suitable for most techniques and makes gorgeous jewelry – it’s my clay of choice. If you are making large beads and just starting out, you might try Sculpey Souffle. It’s lightweight and very durable.

  5. I’ve been getting into making small animal figurines. However, I’ve been using Sculpey III and have gotten a lot of compliments and requests from people at work. But I want to try a “better” brand. I would feel horrible if one of the things I made cracked or broke just by sitting there. Suggestions? I want to get better and create better quality…

    But I also like the softer based clay and worried about trying others out.

    1. You will REALLY like Premo! Anne. Promo is much more durable, has a much nicer finish, and is still very easy to work with. I would try that. I would NOT continue to make your figurines with Sculpey III, it just doesn’t have the longevity.

    2. I want to make wind chimes .what clay should I buy that would be weather prove?

      1. The best clay (in my opinion) would be Premo. Do NOT add any paint or surface effects to the clay and it will last a long time.

  6. Can you recommend which clay would be best to make a pet’s paw print impression? I tried Sculpey Oven Bake Clay, but even after kneading, it was not soft enough to press my cat’s paw into. Please help

    1. I would try Bake Shop clay. It’s really soft and might work very well! Or try the original Sculpey, it also might work.

      1. Thank you! Maybe I will try both 🙂

  7. I just bought Pardo on sale, and it must have been old. While I love the Pardo primary colors, magenta, cyan and a neutral yellow (I think it is, at least)and I am able to make some wonderful color blends that I haven’t gotten with Premo,(I invested in that dark blue Premo, several one pound packages, unfortunately) the old Pardo, (I’m assuming it’s old) is a brute to condition. I’ve bought several 8 oz. bottles of liquid clay, and I’ve always got something Pardo marinating. Conversely, some of the clay is(must be) newer, and is easy to condition.
    I’ve never had a problem with Premo, it’s very easy. And the Kato is easy, too. I’ve not used Fimo, although I have some coming in the mail, or the other Sculpeys. Cernit, no, not that either.
    I think a lot depends on the age of the clay, and the environmental factors it has been exposed to. But, as the other commenter noted, it’s always good to read other’s experiences with their clays.
    Thanks for a great article!

    1. I’ve never had that problem with my Pardo. Mine is always soft. I wonder if it got partially cured while in transit to the store.

  8. This article is a couple of years old and Kato Polyclay has undergone a change in composition. As the article is still in circulation, it may be worth reviewing as Kato is not at all hard to condition now.

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      While I agree that it has undergone formulation changes, compared to the other brands (Fimo, Sculpey III, Premo!, Souffle, Pardo, etc) this is STILL the hardest brand to condition, hands down. The article is still in circulation because this is a blog, I will not remove it or my opinion on it. Thank you for your thoughts however.

  9. This was a great post, Katie! It’s interesting to hear what other artists use! For most of my career (spanning over 20 years) I used 90% Sculpey III in making my miniatures and ornaments. In the last couple I have discovered I like Premo better for lots of things, but I use a combination of them both. They have distinct color palettes and there are some colors in each that I prefer. For example, Sculpey III black is NOT black anymore, so I never use it anymore. I have to say, over the years they have changed their formulas and colors. I still use it, but am using more and more Premo. I’ve used Pardo, and its fine, but you’re right…..expensive.

    1. Thanks for visiting Lisa!!! I’m so happy you stopped by and shared your perspective on clays as well. THANK YOU!

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