Types Of Clay
Original Sculpey is just that, the original clay from Polyform Products. Sculpey is soft and pliable, works and feels like ceramic clay, but will dry out when exposed to air. It is available in white and the new Terra Cotta, and will have a bisque finish. It is used in classrooms and is the most economical choice. It is recommended for bulkier projects and may become brittle in thin areas after curing.
Super Sculpey is a more durable development of the Original Sculpey, and can be "carved" and used for projects requiring fine details. Beige-pink in color, it is easy to condition, maintains fine tooling and detailing and will have a matte, slightly translucent finish. It is used for mold-making, by movie studios and professionals world wide and is a favorite with doll-makers, having a finished porcelain look to it.
Sculpey III is popular for its softness, finish, and variety of vivid colors. Sculpey III has won parenting awards and is easy to condition and use, making it the perfect clay for children as well as adults. Once cured, Sculpey III bakes hard and takes on a matte, bisque type finish. Sculpey III maintains tooling and details and can be used for figurines, jewelry, home decor and millefiore canes. Sculpey III can be easily mixed to form your own custom palette and can be mixed with other polymers such as Prēmo! Sculpey and Granitex.
Premo! Sculpey is a popular choice for its strength and beautiful colors. It was developed as a result of artists' ideas of the perfect polymer clay. Although it may seem stiff at first, it is easy to use and stronger than the Sculpey III. It holds sculpting lines well and also is used as a "backing" with other clays. It comes in an array of colors, including metallics and pearlescents, making it a beautiful choice for jewelry. Its colors are based on the Grumbacher color line, making it possible to mix like paint. It finishes as a natural, satin look that can be sanded to a semi-gloss.
Granitex bakes to a speckled stone look. It is available in a range of pastel colors, and is great for use with stamping or to make "denim". It is not recommended with caning, as the colors can blur.
Sculpey Super Flex Bake & Bend is the make it and play with it clay. It is a great new clay that stays bendable after baking. This clay little stiffer than the other clays, but warming it under a light bulb will ease the conditioning process. Once softened, this clay is easy to work with. Its bendability after baking makes it perfect for figures and dolls that can be posed and flexible jewelry.
Amazing Eraser Clay is the clay that bakes into usable erasers! It can be make for pencil toppers, erasers or durable toys for children. It is available in a multipack kit or in bright colors. It is soft and similar to the Sculpey III to work with, and sculpts well, or molded with the push molds or texture sheets. Care must be taken when baking so that it does not overbake and lose its degradibility, essential to erasing.
EZ Shape Modeling Clay is a kid-friendly, non-toxic clay that remains permanently pliable and will never harden. It has a smooth consistency and comes in bright and classic colors.
Sculpey Ultra Light is a new clay by Sculpey that boasts a light weight, ease to handle and strength after baking. This clay even floats-making it perfect for projects like bath toys or floating candle holders. It also ideal for paper crafts, and keeping jewelry and ornaments light.
Transclucent Liquid Sculpey(TLS) is a pourable clay that becomes translucent with baking. Colors can be made by mixing it with paints and powders. It is essential as an adhesive between clays or clays and other surfaces. It is perfect for transfers, "stained glass", or adhering clay to jewelry findings.
Baking Times for Sculpey Clay
To ensure the accuracy of the oven temperature and protect your clay, you may want to purchase an oven thermometer. There are some available that have been designed specifically for polymer clay curing. Do not ever try to microwave your polymer clay. Clay can be baked on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or cardstock. Some people like to use ceramic tiles or glass that can serve as both a work and baking surface.
Original Sculpey Preheat to 275 degrees F (135 C). Bake for 15 minutes per quarter inch of thickness. For example, a piece of 1/2" thickness should be cured for 30 minutes.
Super Sculpey Preheat to 275 degrees F (135 C). Bake for 15 minutes per quarter inch of thickness. For example, a piece of 1/2" thickness should be cured for 30 minutes.
Sculpey III Preheat to 275 degrees F (135 C). Bake for 15 minutes per quarter inch of thickness. For example, a piece of 1/2" thickness should be cured for 30 minutes. To test the curing, try pressing the tip of your fingernail into the bottom of your piece after it has cooled; it will leave a mark but will not actually enter the clay.
Premo! Sculpey Preheat to 275 degrees F (135 C). Bake for 30 minutes per quarter inch of thickness.
Granitex Preheat to 275 degrees F (135 C). Bake for 15 minutes per quarter inch of thickness. For example, a piece of 1/2" thickness should be cured for 30 minutes.
Sculpey Super Flex Preheat to 275 degrees F (135 C). Bake for 20 minutes per quarter inch of thickness.
Amazing Eraser Clay Preheat to 250 degrees F (121 degrees C) Bake for roughly 15 minutes per ½ inch of thickness. Millefiore canes or logs need to be baked BEFORE slicing.
NOTE FROM SCULPEY: Children have difficulty gauging thickness. It is suggested that thicker pieces be initially baked for 15 minutes, then another 5 minutes, another 5 minutes, etc. The clay needs at least 15 minutes to cure properly. Strength increases as the baking time increases. Always be certain to first check the oven’s temperature accuracy with an oven thermometer.
If an object has a variance in thicknesses, an armature should be shaped in order to “bulk out” the thick parts – tightly crushed heavyweight aluminum foil is the best material to use. Try to keep all parts of the sculpture of an even thickness of clay. Layering the clay is the best method to avoid cracking and maintain even thickness in a medium or large sculpture.
Construct an approximate form from tightly crushed, oven weight aluminum foil (this can be applied over an armature in larger sculptures). Cover form with a ¼” thick layer of clay. Bake for 15 minutes at 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Add a second ¼” thick complete layer (like a skin), which can be built up slightly to show contours. Re-bake for 15 minutes at 275 degrees F. Then, apply a third complete layer, adding finishing details, and re-bake for a final 15 minutes at 275 degrees F. Overbaking will cause darkening of the clay, and burning can cause bubbling and darkening.
Conditioning polymer clay can be a fairly quick and easy process. Condition only one package of clay at a time (and be sure to wash your hands in between to avoid accidental mixing of colors). Begin by warming the clay between your hands, and then kneading and stretching it until is becomes soft and pliable. Pasta machines can be used as aide to conditoning. Set the machine on its widest setting and feed chunks through the machine. The firmer clays may take a few minutes, Sculpey III can be conditioned in seconds! If clay gets too soft, let it sit for a few minutes and it should be ready to work with again.
To create your own colors, polymer clay can be formulated like paint, or colored with powders, chalk, ink, glitter, colored pencils, powdered makeup and paint. Instructions on color theory and color mixing can be found here http://www.sculpey.com/Projects/projects_ColorMixing2.htm. For instruction on blending, see Skinner Blends, below.