Polymer Clay Brand Review

Posted on August 28, 2012 in Product Reviews by Katie Oskin

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

Definition:

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.

Honesty:

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.  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 from beads to 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 Parker StoryBook scenes 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 Soft:

      • Extremely soft clay (almost too soft).
      • I use it to cover pens.
      • 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: Too soft for sculpting & caning. Gets too soft too fast.
    • 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
      • Downside: Limited color palette & takes too long to condition
    • Pardo:

      • I just bought some of this clay this past week and have yet to use it.
      • I will write a full review after experimenting with it.
      • Downside: Cost – this clay is the most expensive!

Thanks for joining me today,

Happy Claying,

 
15 Comments for this entry
Deborah
November 10, 2015
16:50

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

Reply
Katie
November 10, 2015
18:00

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.

Reply
Anne
September 22, 2015
00:39

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.

Reply
Katie
September 22, 2015
15:43

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.

Reply
Christina
September 14, 2015
23:54

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

Reply
Katie
September 15, 2015
21:00

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

Reply
Christina
September 16, 2015
15:08

Thank you! Maybe I will try both 🙂

Reply
Jean
March 3, 2015
19:57

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!

Reply
Katie
March 4, 2015
17:46

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.

Reply
Suzanne Ward
January 13, 2015
16:54

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.

Reply
Katie
January 15, 2015
12:14

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.

Reply

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A Piece of Lisa
August 28, 2012
14:00

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.

Reply
Katie
August 28, 2012
20:56

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

Reply

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