To Have & To Mold: Which Clay Is Best?

Whenever I create something out of polymer clay (usually little birdies destined to sit on top of a wedding cake), choosing the type and brand of clay can be surprisingly important.  Here is a list of some of the most popular polymer clays out there, and how they stack up.

  

Sculpey III

I may be biased, because the majority of the things I make are made out of Sculpey, but I consider it to be the gold standard for polymer clay.  They have a great selection of colors, and it’s affordable.  Each color comes in a 2 ounce package, which can be purchased for $2 or less. Select colors also come in 8 ounce and one pound bars.  They offer a number of sets and multi-packs as well.  I do find the 8 ounce bars to be softer than the smaller packages, and can become a little sticky at times if you’re handling it a lot.  However, the softness can be helpful when you’re making larger pieces, as you don’t have to work the clay too much.

Sculpey III bakes at 275ºF for 15 minutes per quarter inch thickness.  I usually bake my cake toppers for 45 minutes to an hour.  The 2 ounce bars are divided into four sections, which makes it easy to divide and break up.

Sculpey III comes in 44 colors:

You can see the colors better here.  The Sculpey website also provides a color mixing chart.  I find that they have most of the colors I look for or need, and the colors turn out well after being baked.

The Sculpey III line can be found at Hobby Lobby as well as Michaels.

  

Fimo Soft

    

Fimo Soft was created as an alternative to Fimo Classic, and you can guess by their names, Classic is much firmer and can be a little more difficult to manipulate.  Fimo Soft, however, is, you guessed it, soft!  It’s also a smooth clay.  It is baked at 265ºF for30minutes.  Like Sculpey, Fimo comes in 2 ounce bars, but some colors also come in 12.5 ounce bars.  The 2 ouncers come in 8 segments.  It is a little more expensive than the Sculpey III though.

Fimo Soft comes in 48 colors:

Including a number of special effects colors:

It’s hard to tell here, but the special effects colors are very pretty.  Fimo Soft is a nice clay to work with, with many great colors (both standard and specialty).

Here is the Fimo Soft collection at Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

  

Premo

Premo is made by Sculpey, so you can expect good quality.  Like Sculpey III, Premo is offered in 2 ounce and 1 pound bars, and the standard 2 ounce bars are segmented into 4 sections.  It is baked at 275ºF for 30 minutes per 1/4 inch thickness.  The main difference is that Premo is a little bit firmer than Sculpey III. 

Premo recently unveiled a new color chart for 2011, which includes 48 colors:

 

While Premo is firmer than Sculpey III, I think they offer more in the color department, especially with their new colors that include the pearls, translucents, metallics, glitter and granite colors.  I will say the pearls are very nice, if you want to add a little sheen or pop to your color without going all out with the glitter.

Sculpey also provides a color mixing chart for its Premo clay.

Premo can be found at Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

  

Kato Polyclay

Kato Polyclay is a newer clay on the market.  It is a little firmer than some of the others, but is still easy to condition and form.  The Kato website says that this clay can be cured anywhere from 275-300°F, for 30 minutes per ¼ inch thickness.

Although all colors initially came in 3 ounce blocks, they ditched that in order to be more consistent with the other clays on the market, and all colors now come in the standard 2 ounce blocks.  Some colors come in 12.5 ounce bricks as well.

Kato Polyclay is available in 21 colors.  The main colors (which they specify as spectral, neutral, and metallic) can be seen here:

The remaining four colors, which you can sort of see below, are green, yellow, red, and blue concentrate.

You can find Kato Polyclay at Hobby Lobby.

While almost all of these brands can be found at both Michaels and Hobby Lobby, I’ve noticed lately that Michael’s has been upping the prices and decreasing the selection of most of the other clays in favor of their house brand, Craft Smart (which I’ve not yet tried) – so that is kind of a bummer!

Which polymer clay(s) do you use?

ABC’s



…everyone else is doing it, so why not?

 

A. Age: 28
B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore you hate: making the bed in the guest bedroom…and cleaning up cat puke.

D. Dogs: love them, but we’re cat people

E. Essential start to your day: hitting snooze a lot. 

F. Favorite color: red and black

G. Gold or silver: silver
H. Height: 5 foot nothin’

I. Instruments you play: none…I used to play the piano but quit when my teacher realized I was playing by ear and pretending to read music.  I also used to play the violin but quit when my teacher got super scary crazy.

J. Job title: Studio Operations Director

K. Kids: none, unless you count our two fur babies…which I do!

L. Live: Chicago suburbs
M. Mom’s name: Theresa

N. Nicknames: Stina, Stina Bina, Chris, Christini, Booka, Wife

O. Overnight hospital stays: No, thank goodness

P. Pet peeve: People who drive in the rain or snow with their lights off

Q. Quote from a movie: “Love actually is all around…”

R. Right or left handed: Right

S. Siblings: Just me!

T. Time you wake up: 7-ish

U. Underwear: Uh, pro?

V. Vegetables you dislike: All…except potatoes.

W. What makes you run late: myself…and finding cat puke on the way out the door

X. X-Rays you’ve had: CAT scans and MRIs, chest/lungs

Y. Yummy food you make: lasagna.  My husband says I make the best sandwiches, whatever that means.
Z. Zoo animal: I love them all, hard.  Penguins and monkeys and seals the most though.

Cats, Dogs, or Other?

 

Must Love Cats

So, this post is unrelated to the usual craft topics, but that’s okay.

I love cats, a lot.  We had a dog when I was little, but after we lost her it was too painful to go there again, so I had bunnies, a gerbil, and eventually a kitten.  From then on, we were a cat family.  Luckily my husband grew up having cats, so we were on the same page there.  We have two cats, a boy and a girl, and we pretty much think they are the cutest things ever.  We aren’t the obsessive psycho cat people who walk around in cat t-shirts or have portraits done of them or anything, but at this point in our marriage/lives, these cats are basically our babies….fur babies that is.

Don’t get me wrong – I love dogs too.  I love every animal everywhere.  I have to resist the urge to hug just about any animal I see, domestic or otherwise.  But we seem to have found our niche with cats, and we’re happy. 

Now, I usually avoid the Animal Planet altogether, since most of their shows are about sad and terrible things, but there are a couple of safe shows on there.  Let’s just say we’ve been known to get sucked into a marathon of Cats 101.  But this weekend, I discovered a show called Must Love Cats.  And it’s ah-mazing.

According to the Animal Planet website, Must Love Cats is “a celebration of fascinating felines and the fascinating people who love them.”  I’ve only seen a couple episodes, but I’d say that sums it up pretty well.  The host, John Fulton (think a dorkier, cornier, but just-as-cute version of Dane Cook), travels all over America to tell stories of unique cats and cat people. 

For example, so far I’ve seen segments on catios (patios for cats of course), a four-eared cat, “tats for cats,” toilet-training your cat, and a kitty rock band.  Also, the host makes up silly songs about the cats he meets.  It’s basically my dream world made into a show.

This show is really entertaining and adorable, and it’s definitely a good way to spend an hour, in my opinion.  It’s also nice to see a show that is obsessed with all things cats, because sometimes I get the feeling I’m a big weirdo for not being a dog person.  Plus, the show travels the country, so it’s fun to see the different sights as well.  The four-eared cat is from the town we used to live in!  I’m thinking this show might inspire me to create some little clay kitties….possibly playing instruments.

Have you seen Must Love Cats?  If so, what do you think of it?