Saturday, November 15, 2008

BTB: Which Polymer Clay Type is Better?

I have decided to start up a new series of posts called "BTB" or rather Back To Basics. These posts are not just for beginners, they may have valid information for more experienced polymer clay workers too! ;)

To Discuss:

Today I thought I would touch upon a very important question that most ask when researching polymer clay. This question would be "Which Polymer Clay Type is Better?" I know this was a question I had, that required a lot of independent experimenting by myself. I do believe that experimentation is a good thing; however, saving money on not buying all the types of polymer clay is also good. :P

Types of Polymer Clay:

There are many types of polymer clay and it is important to know their names, before you just grab the first one on the shelf at the local craft store. ;) Below are pictures, as well as titles to different types of polymer clay.



(The above picture is not mine! It belongs to "Garies Shop," a link is found under the tests section :) )

From the picture above you can see several types of polymer clay, most of these are the more popular brand names that you will see in common craft stores. The exceptions being Cernit and Kato, I have only seen them in Hobby Lobby once.

Under some of the brand names there are several different sub-categories, for lack of a better word, of polymer clay. Below I have organized them under the brand name.

Fimo:

1) Fimo Classic: This was the first of polymer clays to hit the market
2) Fimo Soft: Softer then classic, formula changed.
3) Fimo Effects: These usually include glitter, and metallic effects built into the clay.

4) Fimo Puppin: This was made specifically with doll makers in mind. It comes in several "skin colors."

5) Fimo Decorating Gel: This is actually Fimo liquid clay. It is transparent, and good for transferring as well.


Sculpey:

1) Studio by Sculpey: Has lots of colors for decorating.
2) Sculpey III: Very soft, made for sculpting
3) Premo Sculpey: Lots of colors and different effects to be made.
4) Sculpey Liquid Clay: Transparent in nature, can be used like Fimo's liquid clay.


The Tests:

Now that you know most of the polymer clay types out there, I can now show you some tests that have been performed by fellow polymer clay workers. :) These are all unscientific tests, meaning not done in a lab; however, very informative! Below I will summarize, as well as link, to different tests that have been done.

1) The first set of tests are from "Garies Shop." They did a test on flexibility, and strength by stetching the clay with a weighted scale. They also bent each cured peice of clay 140 times, unless it broke before 140 times were up.

Garies Shop Results:

"After the above tests, the contender is Cernit Polymer Clay, next Kato Polymer Clay, then Sculpey Studio, Fimo Classic, Sculpey Firm, Fimo Soft, Sculpey Premo, Super Sculpey and Sculpey III."

Here is the website to their test:
http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/tension_test.htm


2) The next test I found on gigagraphica's site. There tests were on conditioning time, needle poke, finger pressure, and the noodle. The noodle test consisted of making each type of polymer clay into long "noodles" then curing them. After curing each noodle was then bent, and stretched to determine flexibility. ;)



The picture above is from gigagraphica's site, and shows the noodle test. :)


Gigagraphica's Results:

"Cernit was the most flexible after curing. It bent and stretched quite a bit without breaking.
Durability rating: very good

Fimo Soft was extremely durable after curing. It was flexible, not breaking when bent, but finally breaking when stretched. Durability rating: excellent

Premo was durable and flexible after curing. It flexed without breaking, and stretched a bit
before breaking. Durability rating: good to very good

Sculpey III was not durable after curing. It was brittle, crumbly, and stiff, and took very little bending to break. Did not stretch at all without breaking. Durability rating: poor

Super Sculpey was somewhat flexible but broke and crumbled when tested with mild abuse. Durability rating: fair to poor"


Test Link: http://www.gigagraphica.com/poly/polyclay.html


My Final Words:

I have to say that these tests are amazing to look at and I wish I had thought to look online to find them before I started experimenting. Really each test is to be taken with a grain of salt; however, I find them to have lots of information. These tests can help one to make a final decision, but that decision in the end is still yours to make. :)

12 comments:

rkdsign88 said...

Wow..very inform, thank you for sharing

CB said...

Thanks rkdsign. The people who did the tests have my respect. It's something I never thought of to do. :)

Tialey Vintage Clothing said...

Great information. Very interesting. Thanks.

KAT said...

I never thought to do this either, but the test results seem to be right on the mark. That probably explains why the Sculpey III is always the cheapest in the stores!

CB said...

Your welcome taley. :)

Now that you say it, yupe thats probably exactly why Sculpey III is the cheapest in stores kat. ;)

I actually use Fimo soft though for sculpting, premo is too soft for me to handle *shrugs.*

Ragtree said...

Thank you so much for the post! I use Super Sculpey for my faces but have totally moved away from polymer for bodies because I can't find any polymer durable enough. Have you ever tried apoxie-sculpt? It is a two-part air dry clay that is FABULOUS!

Renee :)

CB said...

Your welcome ragtree. :)

I haven't used any of the air dry clay as of yet actually. I've been meaning to try some out, so I will have to look up apoxie-sculpt next time I'm out. ;)

MySweetThree said...

I love you for this post! I bookmarked this specific post for the future..After we move, I really want to try my hand at this! So much good information..thanks again!! =)

CB said...

Your welcome mysweetthree. It's always nice to see other people take up polymer clay. ;)

Oh and I wish you luck in the move!

Msplumuniq said...

It's Pam from Plumuniq's Clayaholic Confessions.blogspot.com. I put a link to your blog on my blog and let people know that you have two really good articles to read right now about the right clay to use, and inclusions. I think your writing is awesome and wanted to share it!
Pam

CB said...

Thanks a lot pam, I actually just saw that post via google. I very much appreciate it. :)

Contrariwise said...

Thanks for the info. I'm bookmarking this.