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Topic: Best polymer clay to use in making dolls?  (Read 5013 times)
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« on: August 17, 2012 04:17:18 PM »

Let me just get this straight--I want to make dolls, not sculpt figures. Everything I read is talking about porcelain-like finishes, and I'm looking for something a little more flexible, because if all goes well, I want to start making plush toys with polymer clay faces and details. I don't want to fret about them bumping anything and cracking or breaking.

I've done some research, and found several products I kind of like the sound of, but I have the budget of a college student and can't afford to just buy everything and try it. (Though I wish I could :p) I was wondering if anyone has used any of these products and could answer some of my questions?

Sculpey SuperFlex Bake and Bend. It apparently, even after baking, retains a rubber-like consistency and does bend and twist and what not. It comes in a very limited set of colors (Beige, Black, Blue, Green, Orange, Red, White and Yellow). I'm wondering if I could paint over the colors and would they stay? Or would the consistency of the product make it hard to paint/keep the paint true/etc?

Sculpey Ultra Light. Apparently this stuff bakes rock hard, but it's very light and you can use it for jewelry making and such. It even floats. It says it's perfect for doll-making on certain sites with reviews. It only comes in one color (White) and paints very well. I'm worried about its probably to chip and crack and such. Also, what sort of paints/sealing agents/etc I could use with this would be awesome. This seems like the most likely choice for me.

A general question for any and all of the stuff I use--would I want to use glass eyes? Could I insert these into the clay before baking or would it be best to sculpt eyes into the face and just paint them with a very high sheen?

If there's anything better out there that anyone could suggest, I would love to hear about it. I'm working with a limited budget, but I don't play to make the dolls any bigger than 6-10 inches, so I wouldn't be using too much of the stuff at a time and could afford something from a cheap-to-medium price range.

Thank all of you for your help c:
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012 06:11:09 AM »

I'm guessing you're wanting to create something similar in style to this.

I'd say your best bet is probably Super Sculpey. Its flesh toned, holds detail well, and it is strong. I've dropped pieces from four feet onto concrete and not a crack or scratch. But even just any polymer clay would suit. Super Sculpey only comes in 1lb box as its smallest size, where as with Sculpey III, Sculpey Primo and Fimo clays come in smaller quantities and often go on sale at local craft stores.

The problem I've found with Sculpey light is it's much more elastic and so its much harder to get details to stay sharp. It is very light though so if you're worried about weight on your doll it would be a good choice. I don't have any experience with Sculpey bake and bend so I can't make any comment on its usability.

Here's a page where they go over the basic differences between the different types of polymer clay: http://www.polymertutorials.com/polymer-clay-types-tutorial.html
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2012 04:00:47 AM »

Original Sculpey, Super Sculpey and Sculpey III are the most brittle polymer clay formulas. Super Sculpey is ok for some sculptures, but not for anything thin and delicate.  Fimo, Premo, and Kato are much more flexible and less prone to cracking.

Whenever I have used Sculpey SuperFlex Bake and Bend on its own it was never really rubbery or elastic, and I was always afraid that if I tried to bend it too much, it would tear. You can paint it, but if you varnish it with anything it has a tendency to become sticky. I prefer mixing Sculpey SuperFlex Bake and Bend with other clays, rather than using it on its own. I like mixing it with Kato and sometimes with Premo or Fimo. It when mixed with those clays it has a firm but flexible texture after baking, and if it is really thin, it is like has a texture similar to plastic artificial aquarium plants.

I have never used Sculpey Ultra Light, so I dont know much about it.

I also havent used the more expensive brands like Cernit, Prosculpt, Fimo Puppen, or Bozzi.

The clay I use the most and really like is Kato. It is very strong, rarely darkens or discolors during baking. Translucent Kato has the softest texture and needs less kneading. It is easier to sculpt with than the colored clays. I usually use a bit colored clay to tint it so that it is easier to see the detail as I am sculpting. The colored Kato clays are firmer need a lot of kneading in order to be workable. Some can be a bit crumbly also, but are easier to work with if you mix them with Super Sculpey or Sculpey SuperFlex Bake and Bend. Of the colored clays beige is a little easier to work with.

If you mix clays with different baking temperatures, you should follow the baking instructions of clay with the higher baking temperature.

I usually buy my clay and some of my other supplies from clayalley.com, prices are good and shipping is quick. Another place I buy my clay and supplies from is dickblick.com

I havent used glass eyes, but I have baked some of my sculptures on glass and have never had any problems with the glass cracking.

« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012 08:10:41 PM »

I had trouble with Super Sculpey breakage. A dollmaker I took a class from suggested 50-50 mixing with Cernit and that seemed to be much better.

I've got some of the Bake-and-Bend Sculpey - they quit selling it in open stock where you could just buy flesh tones of beige or brown etc. But I did e-mail the company and also got the suggestion to mix it with regular Sculpey. Haven't tried yet but glad to know it's possible.

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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012 11:23:57 AM »

How about using something like Apoxy Sculpt? That goes very hard and I believe it is strong so shouldn't break from being bumped against something unless there are thing parts sticking out.

There is also a product called La Doll clay that a lot of doll makers use, so that should be good as well. I recently bought some paper clay to try out since that was another recommendation I've got in regards to making dolls (though I now you're only talking about parts, not full dolls).

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