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Topic: Brands? Advice, And Mixing Brands, as well.  (Read 487 times)
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monsterkookies
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« on: May 27, 2008 08:39:29 PM »

I started out with Fimo Soft, and liked the medium very much. Although, I find once I start a package that it would dry out a bit and become a bit harder to knead. Do you have any tips on storing it once you start a package?

When I went to an art store, I could only find Fimo Classic and Sculpey III, so I brought home a little pack of each to find my "brand".

My advice to those just starting out with Fimo. FIMO CLASSIC IS HARD AS HELL TO KNEAD!

I didn't like it at all.

I tried the sculpey, and I loved it. One thing I noticed is that Sculpey, when added to Fimo Soft, or having some pieces in Fimo and others in Sculpey, it bakes mostly the same. Fimo bakes at 30 mins at 230, while Sculpey bakes at 275 for 15 mins. I find baking Sculpey and Fimo both works well at 230 F for 30 mins.

I was curious to know what brands you guys use?
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Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2008 10:04:51 AM »

When deciding on a favorite brand, be sure and notice several things:

...brands have changed formulas (many of them quite recently) and sometimes that means the stuff on the shelves they will be softer than it would have been in the recent past or than bars you'd bought previously ...the newer versions may also have been manufactured much more recently so those bars probably won't have been allowed to "advance" naturally with age at the manufacturers like they will in the future

...single colors within a brand can be different hardnesses naturally (because of the pigments used to color them, or because of the type of plasticizer available for purchase the day they were manufactured), or later as a result of too much heat or UV light at a supply house, in delivery trucks, or on shelves at stores (...stock currently available at different stores will vary too)

The softer clays may be easier to condition, but they sometimes give up strength after baking (in thinner areas) for that softness, as well as giving up good handling and the degree of detail they can achieve.  A good example is Sculpey III... it's very soft when raw, but gets mooshy pretty quickly with handling (especially in warm situations or for those with warm hands) and it's also is easily broken after curing unless the clay is very thick (the stronger clays will be Premo, Kato, FimoClassic, and even the newest version of FimoSoft). 

Since clayers often use aids to condition their clay (pasta machines, softeners, etc.) and it's not a big hassle, they often prefer the firmer brands because once those are conditioned, they're really wonderful to handle --plus, items will often turn out better than if they'd been made with a softer clay.
Otoh, if a bar has no give at all when squeezed at the store, it's usually not worth the hassle of conditioning it.

As for storing any polymer clay, the clay will firm back up after the heat has dissipated from being handled (which is one reason why it can be good to let the clay rest overnight, or even a while, before trying to cut slices from canes or get more detail). 
Over weeks and months, it will firm up a little more (but not as much as before it was conditioned).  And though it will always be usable with more conditioning, it can be kept as soft as possible in an air-tight situation ...for example, wrapped in plastic wrap or a baggie (most brands are okay for clay contact), then placed in a lidded container away from excess heat and UV light.

If you're interested in reading more about storing polymer clay, check out this page for lots of info:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/storage.htm
(and if you're interested in ways to condition clay, check this one:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Conditioning.htm
...and this page if you're interested in the "characteristics" of the different brands:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Characteristics.htm)

(All the brands and lines of polymer clay can be mixed together as well...the new clay will have characteristics proportional to the amount of the clays that were used.)


Diane B.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2008 10:15:32 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
Mamapotomus
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008 09:43:51 PM »

I pretty much use Sculpey and Premo (depending on what's on sale!) and use the 275 for 25-30 minutes depending on how thick it is guideline.  I've never had anything burn and just about everything comes out perfectly solid.  (That said, I don't really mess with anything too thin- I don't do figures; mainly pendants, beads and the like.)
 
I've bought clays before that have flat-out been BAD; it didn't matter how many times they went through the pasta machine they still were crumbly and never felt workable.

So...if you've found something you like and it doesn't fall apart or burn after you cure it then go for it!!  In my clay guild some people bemoan how certain brands are horrible but others SWEAR by the "horrible" brand.  If you've found a brand or mixture that works for you than go for it!
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"I am prepared to believe that a dry martini slightly impairs the palate, but think what it does for the soul." ~Alex Waugh

And She Was
monsterkookies
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2008 09:58:19 PM »

So...if you've found something you like and it doesn't fall apart or burn after you cure it then go for it!!  In my clay guild some people bemoan how certain brands are horrible but others SWEAR by the "horrible" brand.  If you've found a brand or mixture that works for you than go for it!

Good advice  Cheesy Thanks!

I find that Sculpey is my favourite so far. It's funny, I put my clay mini's in the oven on 275 for 15 minutes, but than put them back in for a little while longer but didn't set the timer. Almost an hour later, I came back and they weren't even burnt. Solid as a rock!  Tongue
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