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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Translucent Clay Test

Have you ever wondered if there really is a difference between the brands of translucent polymer clay on the market? I got to wondering that very thing this week while working on next week's video. I had three brands of translucent clay on hand and started to wonder if it really made a difference which package I grabbed. I did a quick test bake on one of the colors of clay I was going to use, picked a brand and went ahead with the project. Then I got to thinking I should do an actual test of the different brands and post a blog here about it showing you what I discovered.

So my first step was to research which brands of polymer clay even have a translucent clay. I found that Sculpey III has a translucent which I didn't have on hand. I also looked at the Claysmart store brand available at Michael's craft stores the store that we checked did not carry a translucent so I don't know if they carry one or not since their website only tells me that they have 15 vibrant colors, not what colors they have. (at least not that I could find) I did not look at Kato brand because I can't find it locally so I knew I would not get it in time for this test.

I did pick up a package of the Sculpey III translucent to use in this test. I also purchased blocks of fimo in a red and a black to test the effects of the different clays.

So the clays used in this test were:
White Translucent by Premo! (made by Sculpey)
Translucent by Sculpey III
Transparent White by Fimo
Translucent by Cernit

For the colors of clay I used:
Cherry Red by Fimo
Black by Fimo

I wanted to use a red because that is the color I find shifts the most when baked or mixed with other colors. The black I chose because when we want black we want it to stay black not grey so I wanted to see if the pigments in the translucent clays lightened it at all.

In preparation for the test I marked off areas and marked them for the different brands of clay and also an area for the red and black that I wanted to bake straight from the package.

To do the test I thoroughly conditioned all the clays separately. I was very careful to keep everything clean between clays with wet wipes, especially important with colors this dark.

Next I rolled each clay out separately with my pasta machine to the number 3 thickness. I wanted to make sure that all pieces were the same size and thickness for the test. I used the same size round cutter with each clay to make pieces the same size. I then combined the different brand of translucent clay with the two colors. I made sure that I used wet wipes between and also that I combined the clays very well.

I then re-rolled the translucent/color mixtures through the same #3 setting on my pasta machine. 

I baked everything together on the paper plate at 265 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 minutes.

Overall for mixing into colored clay I really don't see a big difference between the brands. The black stayed black in all my samples and is virtually the same in all samples. Same with the red, they are all virtually the same both in color and overall look.

The biggest difference is in the translucent by itself. That varied immensely from brand to brand.

So by brand here are my observations:

Sculpey III
This clay is soft but was one of the most difficult to mix into the colored clay for some reason. The plain sample did turn somewhat yellow and is not very translucent. I would say this would work well if you are mixing it just be careful to mix thoroughly so you don't get streaks. 

Premo (also made by the Sculpey company)
This was the hardest of the clays and very difficult to mix into the colors however it was probably the oldest package of clay I used in the test. I think I opened it about 3 or 4 months ago possibley longer ago. It also turned a bit yellow but not as much as the Sculpey III and was slightly more translucent.

This my usual go to brand. It mixes well and is easy to use. It is slightly more translucent than the either of the clays made by the Sculpey company but it does have a cloudiness running through the baked sample.

This is the one that surprised me the most. I only see this one for sale at one local store and picked up a package a few months ago to try. It was still sealed in its package this morning because I hadn't gotten around to trying it out. When I first touched the clay I did not have high hopes for it. First off it was very, very soft and sticky. Also it was very white, I really thought it was going to fail this test. However this clay proved me wrong. Once I got it mixed in (this took a while because it was so soft and sticky) and baked it I was very happy with how translucent this translucent clay really is. You can clearly read the name of the clay through the disc of baked clay. 

So what do I think after running this test, I think for day to day use when mixing the translucent clay with another color I will buy whatever is on sale. It really didn't make a huge difference but when I want to use the translucent by itself I am definitively going to be using the Cernit Translucent. I have had a few projects in the back of my mind for a while but I couldn't find a clay that was truly translucent up until now.


  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to run this experiment, and particularly conducting such a thorough test.

  2. Thank you for all this great information.
    Hugs Maria

  3. Wow! Great test! I will definately use Cernit the next time I need to use translucent by itself!

  4. Very useful test, thanks for sharing.

  5. Since I am relatively new at this, it never crossed my mind that it would make a difference.
    Thanks so much. Great information!

  6. Hi Joann, I always wondered myself if there was any difference in the brands - thank you so much for posting this test!! :)


  7. Thanks, Joanne! One question, is there a shade number on the Cernit? They seem to have two translucent white shades, I want to make sure I pick the right one.

  8. Very useful! I share this page on my facebook.
    Thanks, Joanne!

  9. I think its unfair on the Premo translucent since it was kept for some time. A fairer test would be this one by Ginger


  10. great info - thanks for the post.

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