The Polymer Clay Test On, Du-Kit, Sculpey III, Super Sculpey, Premo,

Fimo Soft, Fimo Classic and Cernit.

 

These clay tests that I have conducted, are for the benefit of all my students, you can always refer to this page if you are having problem baking with the various types of polymer clay. Clay creations begin with enthusiasm, fun, happy baking the clay project, will turn into disappointment if their works starts breaking or falling apart. To the parent preserving their kid's creative works as momentos, it must be strong and durable. As a handmade gift to friend, deteriorating item can be embarrassing. Parent and student question me about the durability of polymer clay and finally, I decided to conduct my own clay test. The baking temperature was recommended at 130ºC for 15 - 30 minutes, depending on its thickness. If you are busy and had forgotten about clay model baking in the convection oven, it is alright to leave your project in the oven for more than an hour at that set temperature, it will not be burnt or damage your clay work. If you are conducting clay classes the baking time are best set between 15 to 20 minutes, but the baking temperature should be adjusted, I will recommend the temperature setting after you have read my test. As a professional clay artist for more than twenty years, it never cross my mind about the problem, until, I started teaching in tpolymer clay classes. Firstly, I have always design and made my creations with parts that closely integrated together, preventing the model from falling apart, if it does happen, it was probably due to poor clay adhesion, a little super glue will hold them together. Mixing clays also help to strengthen the polymer clay. Any 3D clay model must be properly re-enforced with wires, toothpicks, wire mesh etc., this will prevent any drooping of the clay model in the oven or falling parts, after baking. Do not touch or move the clay project after taking it out directly from the oven as it is hot and not properly cure. Touching the clay will dislocate the parts, it varies from different polymer clay, will not happen if the polymer clay have good clay adhesion. At this stage the clay should be left to cool before moving them. Choosing a proper oven for baking is important, use a convection oven or oven with temperature control and timer. Toasters without temperature control are a problem with baking of the clay, you need to shield the creation from the heat, with foils and protect the base with ceramic tile, constant observation is a must while baking the clay model. Choosing The Clay For The Test There are many brands of polymer clay, basically, they are made with similar polymer base compound, some recommends a slightly higher temperature for baking. Although some are hard, some are soft, some are elastic, worst of all for children, are polymer clays that are hard and crumple with crumbs when you roll them. It is difficult and messy for kids to use them. There are also clays that are too soft, handling it with our warm hand, makes it even more difficult to shape our creation. I had used many different brands of clay and also intermixing them, makes them easy to handle, example, I have tried mixing elastic clay with the normal hard polymer clay, the result, it makes them soft, a little flexible and stronger after baking. You must mix at least ten parts of polymer clay to one part of super elastic clay, this process will also soften the hard clay but lighten the original polymer clay colors. Try and mix it yourself, you must be adventurous to experiment with the polymer clay. The Test To test the polymer clay, I had used a convection oven with better heat distribution, this is my home oven which we had use it to bake cake. The clay is non-toxic, I had roll all the clays into a diameter of 6mm thick and baked them for not more than 20 minutes at the various temperatures . Testing Begin At 130ºC For No More 20 Minutes Du-kit The clay is easy to handle and not so much effort in kneading, quality seem to be good, but not much choice of colors. Baking at the above set temperature, when the clay cool, is a little flexible and it breaks when bending the clay a few time with not much effort. Sculpey III The 3 series clay, is a very popular among all the children, it is soft and easy to handle by children from age 3 and above. There are wide choice of colors, in particular the red tends to stain the hand. The children and parent are a little annoyed at the situation as it will stained the other clay colors that they come into contact with. Baking at the above set temperature after cooling, it is rigid and brittle when you bend them. This is the reason why, I have been receiving complaints from disappointing parent and kids, that their work breaks even before reaching home. Been called Dr Clay I have fixed many damaged clay projects, the best way is to teach them to repricate the parts and replace them. I hope that the manufacturer will improve its formula, to prevent many disappointment, that will kill enthusiasm in clay creation. My students often play with what they create and also it is a memorable way to preserve your childhood creative works. Super Sculpey This is one of my favorite clay, for figurines and doll, feels hard, kneading it gives a good feel and easy to handle. It is a very popular clay for many professional artists and crafters, as it can be drill, carved after baking. I like the translucent effect on the clay. I had baked it at the test temperature and found that it is rigid and hard, it doesn't breaks easily when bend needs a bit of effort. I once set it at this temperature and did not remove my art from the oven for more than 1hr and 30 minutes, it becomes very hard and it did not change color. Unfortunately, some time you get "mooning" spots which can be eliminated by adding another type of polymer clay. You can find out more about "mooning" spots. The size was 50mm x 80mm x 12mm thick. Premo Sculpey This is a high quality polymer clay produced by Sculpey, it is comparable to Fimo Classic, but it is much more easier to handle than Fimo Classic. Baking time is recommended at 130ºC for 30 minute with (6.mm) thickness. Baking it and cool down seem to be a little flexible when bending, it also breaks, this is due to the shorter time in baking and temperature setting. Flexibility is probably due to its thickness, I had test clay with 1.0mm thick it is flexible though at a higher temperature overall it is stronger than Sculpey III. Fimo Soft Fimo clay is in the market for more than twenty over years since I started to used the clay. The soft clays was introduced later to the public, overall the colors are wide and I really likes its color ranges. Unfortunately, it is not that soft, I find that the clay ranges have inconsistent softness. I had to spent time pre kneading the clay for my young students taking away some of my teaching time. The crumbs can run out of control on the table and floors if you allow the students to roll them. There are certain color that are reasonable soft to handle as they do not produced crumbs. The red colors are bad just like Sculpey III, also stains your hand, One good way of softening the clay to prevent the crumbs, is to roll the clay with its packing wrappers. The baking and the test, shows the clay to be even more brittle than Sculpey III, it is rigid and brittle. Fimo Classic Once I was in love with Fimo Classic, the quality had change, the clay is hard not like before, it is not as hard as Sculpey original white clay. Fimo Classic color ranges are lesser than Fimo Soft, its quality are comparable to Sculpey Premo, but it is also difficult to handle for young children. The clay produced lots and lots of crumbs, as you rolling it on the table. It is messy if you do not have the patient to condition it. Fimo Classic was created for only for the experience and professional clayer, the quality is comparable to Premo. But if you used Premo and Cernit, you will not like to use Fimo Classic as the clay is more messy when conditioning the clay. As I test and baked at the temperature of 130ºC for half an hour, it is like Premo, a little flexible then it breaks after bending it a few time. Cernit This is another German polymer clay and also in the market for a long time, I find that the quality is very good, and strong comparable to Premo. I consider it as a professional clay, you must use it to experience the feel of the clay. With wide ranges of colors, I like some of their soft pastel colors. I noticed that the clay are a little translucent in appearance, the feel is very good and easy to handle. When baked, it is also a little flexible, then it breaks if you bending it too many times. Like Du-Kit, Premo and Fimo Classic, the set temperature is a stable setting for baking polymer clay. Quality is good for smaller modeling and fine detailing. Eventually, clay adhesion plays an important role in durability of your model when you add tiny details, without relying on super glue to fix them, especially very tiny parts. TEST CHART ON VARIOUS TEMPERATURES

 TEST TEMPERATURE

  150º C For 15 Minute

 When Bend

 Bend FiveTimes

 Color
 DU-KIT

Glossy (Like Vinyl)

 Flexible

 Difficult To Break

 No Change In Color
 SCULPEY III

 Matt Finish

 Not Flexible

 Brittle

  No Change In Color
 SUPER SCULPEY

 Matt Finish (Like Plastic)

  Very Hard

Tough To Break

  No Change In Color
 PREMO SCULPEY

 Matt Finish (Like Vinyl)

  Flexible

 Tough To Break

  No Change In Color
 FIMO SOFT

 Matt Finish

 Hard

Brittle

  No Change In Color
 FIMO CLASSIC

 Matt Finish

  Slightly Flexible

Tough To Break 

  No Change In Color
 CERNIT

 Matt Finish

  Flexible

  Tough To Break

  No Change In Color

 

 TEST TEMPERATURE

180º C For 15 Minute

  When Bend

 Bend Five Times

 Color
 DU-KIT

Very Glossy (Like Vinyl)

  Very Flexible

 Does Not Break Easily

Changed To Dull Color
 SCULPEY III

 Matt Finish

  Hard

 Breaks Easily

  No Change In Color
 SUPER SCULPEY

 Matt Finish (Like Plastic)

   Very Hard

Very Tough To Break

Changed To Dark Color
 PREMO SCULPEY

 Matt Finish (Like Vinyl)

  Very Flexible

 Does Not Break Easily

Changed To Dark Color
 FIMO SOFT

 Matt Finish

  Flexible

 Does Not Break Easily

  No Change In Color
 FIMO CLASSIC

 Matt Finish (Like Vinyl)

  Flexible

Does Not Break Easily

  Changed To Dull Color
 CERNIT

 Matt Finish (Like Vinyl)

  Flexible

 Does Not Break Easily

   Changed To Dull Color

Note: This is way beyond the recommended temperature, avoid this setting if you do not want the polymer clay to change color.

 

 TEST TEMPERATURE

 200º C For 15 Minute

   When Bend

  Bend Five Times

  Color
 DU-KIT

 Melted Very Glossy

   Very Flexible

  Very Hard To Break

 Drastic Change of Color
 SCULPEY III

  Semi Gloss Finish

  Hard

  Breaks Easily

 Drastic Change of Color
 SUPER SCULPEY

Dark Matt Finish

 Little bit flexible

 DIfficult To Break

 Drastic Change of Color
 PREMO SCULPEY

  Melted bubble Surfarces

   Very Flexible

  DIfficult To Break

 Drastic Change of Color
 FIMO SOFT

  Melted Glossy Surfaces

  Very Flexible

   Difficult To Break

 Drastic Change of Color
 FIMO CLASSIC

 Glossy Surfaces

 Very Hard

 Very Hard To Break

 Drastic Change of Color
 CERNIT

  Melted Very Glossy

 Very Flexible

  Very Hard To Break

 Drastic Change of Color

Warning Note: If you set at the above temperature, there are unpleasant fumes emitting from some of the clays, avoid smelling the fume, it is nauseating. There is no reason to bake at the above temperature unless it is only for special effects, under professional supervision.

Test Examples

 

Baking Temperature At 150º C

 

Baking Temperature At 200º C
Baking Conclusion As the result shown after testing, I prefer to set my temperature to 150º C, with this setting, you should not bake beyond the 20 minutes, set an alarm to remind you. If you have the time, the safest temperature setting will still be 130ºC for more than 30 minutes and even 45 minutes will be OK, but if your oven is faulty the result cannot be guarantee under such circumstances. Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature. The baking result at 150º C shows five type of clay to be tough and durable, they are Du-Kit, Super Sculpey, Premo Sculpey, Fimo Classic and Cernit. My prime consideration for my young students is to select polymer clay that are easy to handle and durable. I will start with the most difficult to handle among the five clays, Fimo Classic is a quality clay, the most difficult to use, it is hard rolling it create lots of crumbs and most kids, refused to roll the clay, as it will mess up the table, I feel that it is only suitable for the experience and professional clayer. The next is Super Sculpey, a good modeling clay, a favourite for hollywood modeler. I personally like to use it for figurines, dolls, puppets, animals and other application relating to plastic hobby crafts. Beigh in color, I just love that slight translucent effect in the clay, unfortunately, they don't produce other colors. The initial contact with the clay appears to be hard, but when you handle it, is easy to knead soften easily without producing crumbs. The next clay is Du-kit this is the clay that is strong and glossy (looks like vinyl) when baked. The quality is good, my student likes the clay and I like it for its durability. My initial love for polymer clay was Fimo Classic, but after using Premo Sculpey, I change my mind. Firstly, the quality is comparable to Fimo Classic, it is much more easy to handle, rolling it does not produce any crumbs, all my students are able to knead the clay without much effort. Lastly, Cernit clay is also a very good and tough clay, generally can be use by all. I love the feel of the clay, it is also one of my favorite, you can use it immediately without much kneading. Living exposed polymer clay to the environment will makes certain clay harder to knead, but Cernit will not give you that problem. The final result, narrow down to four types of polymer clay which are tough, durable and easy to handle, they are Super Sculpey, Premo Sculpey Du-Kit and Cernit. The Above Test is only conducted for the benefit of my students, your test own results might differs from mine in testing the clay. Overall baking at 130ºC temperature setting is stable but my preference is 150ºC which is my choice of temperature setting to bake the clay for my students, if you are acceptable to my test result you are welcome to follow my recommendations. The Clay Adhesion Test Clay adhesion is very important when you are creating tiny miniatures, such as 1.0 mm to 5.0 mm in size. It will be difficult to use super glue to hold the tiny figurine, it might mess up your creations. I have students already creating very small miniatures, therefore, by conducting the test it will be benefit themt when baking their clay projects To test the clay, I had roll the different brands to the size approximately 20mm x 3.0mmø x 2, crossed them and pressed them slightly together, sent them to bake at the temperature of 150ºC for 15 minutes, the results are as follows: Du-Kit Moving the crossed Du-Kit Clay like using a hand held grass cutter, takes 3 times to separate the clay. Sculpey III Moving the crossed Sculpey III Clay like using a hand held grass cutter, takes 10 times to separate the clay. Super Sculpey Moving the crossed Super Sculpey Clay like using a hand held grass cutter, takes 9 times to separate the clay. Fimo Soft Moving the crossed Fimo Soft Clay like using a hand held grass cutter, takes 7 times to separate the clay. Fimo Classic Moving the crossed Fimo Classic Clay like using a hand held grass cutter, takes 26 times to separate the clay. Cernit Moving the crossed Cernit Clay like using a hand held grass cutter, takes 18 times to separate the clay. Conclusion The above test results show that Fimo Classic is top of the list for good clay adhesion. If you are prepare to do more clay rolling, then Fimo Classic is the most suitable for tiny miniatures without worrying about breaking your tiny miniatures even, if you picks it up with your fingers. The next alternative is Sculpey Premo and Cernit, you too should also be able to enjoy creating tiny miniatures and not been afraid to hold them with your fingers. If you mixed both of them, it will be stronger, try mixing other clay will have different results. Your clay miniature will be durable if you mixed with quality clay. To enjoy polymer clay creation, just relax, create and bake the recommended temperature setting is 150ºC for 20 minutes. Good Luck! Garie Sim More About Polymer Clay Creative Clay For Creative People Garie Sim's 101 Polymer Clay Information, Tests And Experiments

 

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