Who makes the very best polymer clay for sculpting? If you’re serious about sculpting and crafts, you know you can’t afford to cut corners. After having caught sight of this amazing material and not having to fork over thousands of dollars for a professional kiln, I have to tell you this stuff is the bomb!
Yes, I have used air dry clay too in the past but when I discovered the kind of clay that bakes up in a home oven and I could make literally anything under the sun I never looked back. But like all other art materials, there are going to be differences.
So in this post I’ll review the clay brands and types I’ve worked with, and let you know what I thought of them, as well as others I haven’t tried (but I WILL tell you what others said!)
Pin Me, Friend!
Best Oven Bake Clay
Well, there is really no “best”…but Sculpey….hands down!! 😁 is my favorite. There are others. Fimo and Kato Polyclay are the other two brands I know about.
Ultimately, I like Sculpey the most because of its versatility – I have been using it faithfully since Clinton was in office so that’s quite awhile. I’ve been making stuff hand over fist; just ask some of my relatives who have received Sculpey-constructed gifts made by yours truly!
It comes in many colors and types and can be molded into anything you dream of and bakes solid in 20 minutes in a 275 degree home oven. More on all the different types shortly.
I’ve Used Fimo…
And I think a lot of people like it, too. I bought a couple of 2 oz bricks of FIMO way back when and either I got a bad batch or something as they crumbled right out of the package. No hard feelings, just wrote that one off and kept going. It comes in lots of vibrant colors and bake time is pretty close to that of Sculpey.
For more conventional colors, like white, beige, etc., there is Soft and Professional. These come in larger sizes.
…But Not Kato
According to those who use it the most often Kato Polyclay is the most dense of all the polymer clays, and that it is bar none for canes and work requiring fine detail. It also comes in “pure” primary colors – less variety than Sculpey, which can produce more predictable results when mixing them together. It will also tolerate higher baking temperatures than other brands.
Notice how the colors are arranged and that there are four in each package (each package is 4 oz, twice the size of my Sculpey bricks -which is hardly apparent at first.)
However on the negative side of things…I’ve heard the odor emanating off the raw clay is pretty strong – also because it’s not as easy to break in, if you suffer from conditions like arthritis, this might not be a good choice. I haven’t decided if I want to try this one or not.
Sculpey Types, Styles and Sizes
Sculpey is available in 1 pound “bricks” and larger and also small 2 oz package sizes.The 2 oz sizes carry a wide gamut of multiple colors The larger “bricks” come in more basic colors.When “in the raw”,it has a slight stiffness to it; this is normal. I just start kneading it a little and within 5 minutes I am on Easy Street – just grab a few tools and go to town!
Now, on with my experiences!
My favorite of all is Super Sculpey, which is actually the first type I started working with. Yep, this is the one that launched my “debut”! It is like a peachy-terra cotta color out of the box, but dries to a fleshy translucent color making it the best type of polymer clay for figurine work.
It comes in a one-pound box and wrapped securely,here’s what it looks like in its raw state:
If you’d like to see a example of work I did with Super Sculpey, check out this post:
Best for: Making doll heads, figurines, miniatures
Next is what is called “Original” (I suppose this was the first one to come out?) plain white in color and in my experience is a little stiffer than the Super. I do have to “work it” a little more. It has a great weight to it – you can get it in the one-pound size below, or larger.
Because it’s pure white (or close) it is ideal for painting once you finish, or you could add color while working on it with the addition of chalk or mica powder, and the colors will blend together well without looking muddied.
Here’s an example of a project I made with Original: DIY Ring Keeper Hand
Best for: Making jewelry components, e.g. beads, clay canes, small objects for decoration
Sculpey Ultra Light
Another great offshoot is Ultra Light. a variation of their original clay product that, as its name insinuates, is a real lightweight. Let me tell ya, this is pure bliss, it’s almost like molding a marshmallow! It must be popular, too, as it’s not always findable at my usual venues.
Luckily I came across it on Amazon at a good price. I was making Christmas gifts and had precious little time, I needed that stuff yesterday 🙂
It is perfect for things like wall hangings, figurines, or building over armatures – generally, sculpture projects that you really don’t want much weight to. And it’s so light it floats! Good news if you’re into stuff like model boats.
Its softness makes it more suitable for large-scale sculpture projects; I find it stretches a good bit; which can be a good thing depending on what you’re trying to create. However when I’m working on something requiring fine detail I usually prefer the first two types; being more firmer bodied.
Example of a project I made using Ultra Light: Wall Hanging
Pros: Lightweight, easy to work with, great for 3D modelling work
Cons: Stretches a little, harder to carve into, not as easy to create fine details with
Polyform Sculpey III Clay Set
I don’t know why its called Sculpey III, but this is the kind that comes in the most vibrant colors in 2 oz bricks. They all have a matte look to them. It is also a little softer than the Original/Super, once you warm it up for a few minutes it’s ready to go.
Some people have said it’s a little more prone to breakage, I don’t think I had that experience – unless it was a teeny tiny detail. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to paint it because of all the colors it came in….although it did look better with a little gloss finish. I used it in combination with Super for figurine work so I could have a natural flesh-tone human and the Sculpey III worked great for their clothing.
Souffle and Premo
Premo and Souffle are excellent for artistic work, like jewelry. I’ve used Souffle and it’s a slightly more dense version of Ultra Light. I haven’t tried Premo yet but if/when I do I will update this post.
Premo comes in pearlescent and metallic sheens which would be an excellent choice for a project in which you’d welcome a special effect.
Are You Ready To Get Your Sculpting On?
I usually shop for Sculpey at the local Hobby Lobby, some types I can find readily and others, it’s a little tougher.
The sky is the limit (or perhaps, the confines of your oven’s dimensions) when it comes to making jewelry, standalone figurines, pinch pots, and so much more!
Want to see one of my favorite polymer clay projects?
The figurine in this shoebox diorama I made here:
HAPPY SCULPTING PEEPS!!
Post Updated: 3/27/21