As any crafter knows, the quality of materials you use is key to developing your creativity. In the world of polymer clay, there are a few well known brands as well as some lesser known ones. As a customer, you want to be assured that the materials I use to create my own collection or design a special piece for you, meet the industry standards.
FIMO – most people have heard of this brand and maybe you used it as a kid? It’s available in different grades – soft, professional, and effect.
This brand was created in Germany by Kathe Kruse and was named after her daughter by combining her name Fifi and Modeling clay – FIMO. Fifi used and marketed the product until she sold the formula to Eberhard Faber of Staedtler who then built the brand to what it is today.
It’s a great brand to use for beginners. Particularly, the soft range. It’s very easy to condition using your pasta machine or acrylic roller and comes is an array of colours.
A brand of clay that is made in the USA and has been around for over 50 years and is the main competitor of FIMO.
Sculpey also comes in a variety of colours and effects – some include glitter! There are different ranges which are aimed at the beginner through to professional. You will find that some of the ranges are firmer and a bit harder to soften.
My favourite is the Premo range because of its range of colours and firmness. I have found that it holds patterns well. What does that mean? When I create a pattern, the larger version looks clear and distinct and when I make the pattern smaller, it is still clear. The pattern is visible and not distorted. This is especially important when creating jewellery.
This is my ‘go to’ brand when delivering workshops. You will be offered a variety of colours and the items you make will hold the pattern you create.
A clay created by polymer clay artist Donna Kato. Wow! So inspiring that an artist has created her own brand of clay. Available in 21 colours, Kato clay is perfect for keeping the details in canes (roll of clay with an embedded pattern). It is durable and doesn’t change colour when baked. I inadvertently used Kato clay to create a dragon which was hard work. The firmness of this clay means using it for this project wasn’t such a good idea.
Nevertheless, for creating intricate patterns that holds the details when baked is this clay’s big advantage over the other brands.
Cernit and Pardo are other brands of clay you might want to consider
There are also generic clays or unbranded clays. Each has its purpose, however, some can be too soft for larger polymer clay projects; some are too brittle; or too hard. When you’re starting out with this medium, you may want to try each brand out. Price is a factor as well; some generic brands are cheap but might not produce the results you want.
I tend to avoid purchasing non-branded clay for a few reasons:
- Reliability – this is crucial because you want to ensure that the clay will react as it’s expected, especially when baking; not all of the non-branded clay does this
- Consistency – with branded clay, the colours and textures are consistent; this is not always the case with non-branded clay
- Reputable – the popular brands have been around for a long time and have developed a solid reputation amongst clayers. They provide resources and offer innovative products to grow the sector.
When you want to start working polymer clay, I would recommend using clay brands you can trust and you won’t be disappointed with your results.