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Topic: Really Sticky Polymer Clay  (Read 5328 times)
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« on: August 08, 2010 02:34:08 PM »

Well ok technically it's Fimo 'cos I'm from the UK... Anyway I'm having massive problems with this. Basically I'll start sculpting and within less than a minute the clay becomes so sticky it's unworkable, it just sticks to the surface, my fingers, and the tools. I've tried leaving it in the fridge, working on a slab of marble so it's cool, having cold water to keep my fingers cool, I even put some in the freezer but again I get it out and it's sticky within seconds. I'm still quite new to working with this material and I don't want to be put off by this but it is becoming a major pain!
Any tips will be appreciated  Smiley

« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2010 03:58:50 PM »

Get some really cheap paper towels, like the ones in public bathrooms, and roll the clay between two sheets with a roller or empty jar.

Diane will have a ton of suggestions, I'm sure, but that's the one that's worked for me.
Diane B.
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2010 09:49:26 AM »

You can "leach" some of the plasticizer out of any line or particular bar of polymer clay if it's too sticky, as mentioned below (there are various ways to do that**).  If too much is removed though, the clay may be weaker after curing than it would have been or needs to be for certain usages.

They "causes" of sticky polymer clay are usually the brand or line of clay purchased since some are just stickier than others naturally (and sometimes there are just differences between colors in a line or just between inidividual bars when purchased), as well as having too much heat/friction applied to or around the clay. 

(And btw, "softness" and 'stickiness" aren't the same though they may sometimes go together.)

All polymer clays have gone through formula changes over the years and all of them during the last couple of years because of new stringent rules for clays sold in the E.U.  Those changes have generally made polymer clays softer and sometimes stickier. But some brands are definitely sticker or softer than others...here are some of the clays in general order of least soft/sticky to most (although there are always exceptions, and older formulations may be different for some):
...Kato Polyclay, FimoClassic (firm, not sticky)---best for those with hot hands, environments
...Premo, Cernit (medium-softness; "heat-responsive" which means they'll get soft more quickly than others with the same amount of handling, especially for those with hot hands or in warm conditions)
...FimoSoft (sticky and soft)
...Sculpey III, SuperSculpey (soft)
...BakeShop/CraftShop (softer and sticky)
...original Sculpey (very soft)
And if you meant one of the sculpting clays by "Fimo" like Puppenfimo, or by others, they also have their varying characteristics for handling :

In addition to leaching, all polymer clays can be firmed up by cooling as you obviously know; that may affect stickiness at least some.  Cooling can mean just resting for awhile to overnight, or putting briefly in frig or freezer, or instead cooling one's hands occasionally on an ice gel pack/etc while working.**  If those things aren't working for you, I'd suspect you need to leach, or change brands, or learn to have a light touch when shaping the clay (not "work-and-work") the clay.
I wouldn't use the cool water though, especially when using Fimo or Cernit clays since they contain more kaolin than some of the others and can get gummy when wet --that's why a powdery release is usually suggested for those brands when they're pressed into molds while other polymer clay lines can easily use powders or water/moisture.  There's always the chance too when using water with raw clay that some of that moisture could get worked into the clay depending on what you're doing, and create later problems.

Other brands and lines of polymer clay are available in the UK besides FimoSoft or FimoClassic (whichever you have) though, perhaps at retail places like Hobbycraft and The Range, and definitely by mail order from Sue Heaser's Polymer Clay Pit:
and Emma Ralph's EJR Beads has at least the Fimos, as well as Cernit:

** click on Leaching or on Cooling:

HTH, and don't give up!  There are almost always remedies or workarounds Grin.  Exactly how are you using your clay though?--what are you making?

Diane B.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010 10:02:29 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2010 09:56:30 AM »

Wow thanks for all the ideas!!
I'm not making anything spectacular, just some small food items to go onto jewellery. Nothing bigger than about a 10p piece.

« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2010 12:12:42 PM »

haha  I was just about to look for a thread about this, or start one on my own. I use FIMO aswell, (Norway here!) and i've noticed that the white fimo soft is almost impossible to work with. In a way, it's good cause it's stretchy like no other, but that gets really old really fast when trying to lift it off the table and unless it comes off within a nanosecond, (which never happens) it's been dragged out of shape.

But there is a brown/orange-y colour of Fimo (cognac colour i believe) and this is very good to work with. it keeps hard for a very long time without "breaking". This is also a "soft" i think. Same with Sahara, (soft fimo) it's a offwhite colour of sorts, so i use this probably way more than the white (unless i need white)

rest of the FIMO's are very soft imo but it's the only brand they sell here. The hardest colour imo out of Fimo was this dark chocolate-y colour. It was insaaanely sticky and soft and it would almost melt when touched.

A lot of these soft clays will also sweat when taken out of the freezer. hmrf!

So i will be looking more into your tips, haha, or try to order the clays online and possibly try another brand that's a bit harder.
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2010 07:53:45 PM »

Don't use the Soft, use the Classic!   And also, I noticed when I had 12 packs of white FimoClassic that were fresh from the factory (so the shop told me) it was very soft when the first few packs where used, but after a couple of months when I got around to using up the last packs it had solidified much more.  I think very new Fimo that is fresh from the factory is a bit softer than the stuff that has had time to settle. Also, leaching works really well.
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2010 02:27:41 AM »

^ yeh i will deffo be looking more into the classic fimo, though not from the store i buy it from now cause they sell mostly soft with the occasional classic, depending on what colour.

the first white fimo i bought was harder and not so strechy, but i was in a small pack.then i bought a biiig pack of white and this is the one that's so stretchy, it's crazy!
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2015 08:02:58 PM »

Hello, new to polymer clay here. I'm having a HUGE issue with this as well. From what you've been saying, it seems I have too soft off a brand. I got the Sculpey Souffle, and it almost instantly gets tacky and way too soft. I've put it in the freezer and such, but it turns right back to super soft and tacky.

I think it also has to do with the extreme humidity right now. I live in near Houston, TX, and we have had rain for days. Can anyone recommend a good brand for hotter, wetter regions?
Diane B.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2015 09:13:32 AM »

I'd suggest for where you are and what you find too soft/sticky, try Kato Polyclay. 
It's probably the highest quality polymer clay out there and will not be too soft/sticky.  You'll have to condition it though (easy to do if you know how to do it easily**) and perhaps more than you're used to, but the results then will be excellent. 

Fimo Classic is currently the other "best" and firmest polymer clay, but its formulation will be changing the U.S. and it will probably be "dumbed down" (so, softer at least) even though I think it will be renamed Fimo "Professional."

As for Kato Polyclay, it's currently available in local stores only in Hobby Lobby, but you can easily order it online.
It also comes only in pure spectral colors so you'd have to mix any colors you didn't get from those 8.  (It also comes in white, ivory, black, brown, translucent, and mica-containing metallic colors, as well as 4 concentrated "colors".)
one place to buy:

You can also read more about the different brands, etc, how to stiffen too-soft polymer clays in some ways, etc, in my previous answer about 6 answers below, from August 2010.

**slice off slabs from a block, then run through a pasta machine repeatedly, or without a pasta machine beat with a hammer (in a plastic bag, etc) or roll over firmly with a roller of some kind, then stretch, roll into a ball, roll into a log....repeat

« Last Edit: June 03, 2015 10:06:11 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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