ALL ABOUT CLAY
The magic of clay is that with just a bit of kneading, pushing and poking, it becomes whatever you want it to be. I’ve worked with so many different kinds of clays and I know how frustrating it is to have to go through blocks and blocks of shitty ones before you find the perfect brand. Well, today is your lucky day! Below are a few honest clay reviews to give you a better idea of what you might need / prefer! Please note that reviews are based on my personal opinions and tips and tricks to the use of clay are not limited to the suggestions I’ve made.
➀ Daiso Polymer Clay
I got this for fun at the Daiso Perth store because it was only 3.50AUD and it says ‘Made in Japan’ on the packaging. ‘You get what you pay for’ cannot be a more accurate to describe this product.
Since it is an air-dry clay, it’s good that it comes in small packs because I hate when leftover clays dry out. There were also a few colour options available but I normally go with white because I can colour my clays with acrylic paint. The clay is very soft and smooth (which is good) and easy to shape. I think this is a perfect clay for those who want to practice shaping and sculpting small things because it is so cheap and doesn’t require baking!
The problem with this clay was apparent when I started dyeing it with acrylic paint. The clay doesn’t take paint very well and even with just a tiny drop of paint, it made the clay very sticky and it didn’t absorb pigment as well as other polymer clays would. I would recommend painting the clay after it has dried instead or buying different colours of this Daiso polymer clay and mixing them to create new colours. I won’t use this clay to create products to sell because the colouring process was messy and I have heard that it is a flammable clay (?!) which sounds quite scary!
➁ Grace Resin Clay
I bought this clay from Japan for 8.50AUD but I know you can get it from Amazon and Etsy too. This is an air dry resin clay which means it has a hard plasticky texture when dried and is waterproof. It is in a white opaque colour and comes in a pack of two - packaged like a polony!
This is a very high quality clay and dries to become very hard and durable! It also mixes well to acrylic paint and is very soft and fluffy. I think this is an ideal clay for beads and accessories making. It is an air dry clay as well which makes it very easy to use and good for beginners. You do get quite a lot of clay in one packet and if you are only making small accessories with this clay, it would take you a while to finish it!
This clay is very bouncy. By bouncy I mean that when you knead it, you can feel the clay resisting the pressure as if you are squeezing a ball of rubbery slime. This wasn’t unexpected though because it says on the packaging that this is a bouncy and flexible clay. I am not quite used to this texture and I find that it is harder to make sharp edges and fine details on this clay because of it. Another downside to this clay would be its packaging. The packaging doesn’t cater to the fact that you might not finish the whole tube in one go. I always have to prepare cling wrap / a box with a wet cloth to store the leftover clays. With other air dry clays, I normally just have to seal the opening of the original packaging to stop them from drying out. This particular packaging just makes it less convenient to store and reseal.
➂ Fimo Soft Polymer Clay
Fimo can be found in most art supply stores. I get mine from Riot Art and Craft / Lincraft in Perth for 5AUD per block. This clay does require oven baking but as long as you follow the instructions, it is very easy to use and produces great results.
Fimo provides an amazing range of colours. This speeds up my working progress because I wouldn’t have to mix my own colours and can use the colour I need straight off the packet. They also have a range called Fimo Effect which has glittery clays, clays with pearl colouring, stone textures .etc. Once baked according to instructions, Fimo becomes very hard and durable. I love to make oven baked polymer clay pins because of its high quality finish. It is also really easy to paint on after baking and super fun to play with!
I know the clay is called Fimo Soft but IT ISN’T SOFT. Fimo can easily be one of the hardest polymer clays I have worked with and my skin often feels very sore and raw after kneading it for a few minutes. Due to its hard nature, you must condition your clay (this means working the polymer clay until it is soft and of the same consistency throughout), and when I have a batch of 50+ pins to make, it slows down my working progress drastically. Fimo is also quite expensive because for 5AUD you only get a mini block in one colour. If you are a beginner, I would recommend getting the primary colours plus black & white to start with. That way you can mix and make a whole colour wheel of clays without having to spend money on each individual colour.
➃ Sculpey Polymer Clay
Sculpey is an amazing brand of polymer clay that requires oven baking. I buy mine from Spotlight for 6AUD per block. Baking instructions are as simple as the Fimo clay but are less commonly stocked in craft stores.
Sculpey is VERY SOFT and that is the main reason why I love it. My fingers don’t suffer when working with it and I don’t have to condition it as much as I would have to with other brands of polymer clay. Sculpey also offers a wide range of coloured clays and clays with special effects including glittery, translucent and iridescent. Once baked, Sculpey becomes hard and smooth. This clay is perfect for everyone because it is so easy to work with and can produce fine details as well. I highly recommend Sculpey for those who are interested in trying polymer clay out.
6AUD for 57g of clay is expensive, but apart from this I really have nothing bad to say about Sculpey!
I believe every clay is made to be most suitable for something specific. So before you choose your clay, think about what you want to make first. For instance, if you want to make a clay ornament or figurine, the clays I have mentioned may not be your best choice because you’d need a lot more clay and clay that gives more weight. I really hope that you feel motivated to explore clay because I want you to feel the same excitement I get from crafting. If you have a favourite clay you’re using, please share it with me too I’m always keen to try something new (>^ω^<)!