Sculpey III Polymer Clay Really Makes Me Mad

My Little Guy With a Broken Heart

My Little Guy Broken Hearted From His Broken Sculpey Miniature Project:

I love polymer clay! In fact I even love Premo! polymer clay made by Sculpey. But what the heck was Sculpey thinking when they made Sculpey III!?

I’ve made a decent cane or two out of the stuff. And I have Sculpey 3 beads that I really love a lot. So why am I so mad? Because Sculpey iii projects almost always break!!!! Even when I’ve tried to firm up this clay by taking out the plasticisers before molding and baking it.

Both my kids and my cousin’s kids have cried because of Sculpey III! After working hard on little miniature sculptures and beads that baked up beautifully, the kids play with them… Duh!! Then they break. Then they cry!!!

Cheap, soft and in more colors than any other polymer clay, Sculpey III is marketed to kids and to beginners. These two groups in my opinion, are the last ones that should be using it.

Polyform which makes the Sculpey brand has a variety of polymer clay products, some of which are excellent. My favorite one is Premo! It’s strong and durable yet soft enough to work with out of the package.

So why the heck does Polyform bother to make a crappy product (IMO) like Sculpey III? And then market it to kids and beginners who will ultimately quit working with it out of disappointment when their stuff breaks?

I would suggest that Sculpey only offer their super great products that’ll hook customers into their brand for life.

My son is crazy about polymer clay. When he makes something out of Premo it lasts. And then he makes more stuff. He gets better at it and I buy him more clay.

Wake up Polyform! You may think that more Sculpey iii is getting sold because beginners and kids want one of every color. But trust me, they won’t buy more if it makes them cry.

I know you have just brought out the new Studio by Sculpey line that I haven’t even tried yet. Maybe that’s a good one for beginners… we’ll see.

I also know there are other polymer clay artists who are having great success with Sculpey III. But my guess is they’re not following the directions on the package and have their own way to make it more durable.

My suggestion to Polyform is to make more colors and sparkly stuff in the Premo! line for the kids and beginners. And then get rid of Sculpey III altogether so that no one has to cry anymore. Polymer clay should be a happy experience for everyone.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 15 March, 2008

    That was a pretty harsh post but it comes from the heart! How do you feel about this issue? Am I being out of line? Anyone have other Sculpey stories they can share… good or bad? Let me know…

  2. john france, 13 February, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz from Polymer Clay Baking Instructions: i do sculpy sculptures for almost thirty years now and almost all of the sculptures that i make crack or break the new formula they use4 sucks it drys out before you even get close to finishing i make alot of art work im on fanartreview,com my name on the site is arthound check them out last year i was number 4 out of 500 artist this year i was number 3 got trophies for both years i sell my art work for a lot of money but if ity keeps cracking on me i’m going to find a differnt clay to use i have done terracotta to messy you should be mad i am too i spend thousands of dollars to make my sculptures you would not believe the crascks and breakage check out my porfolio and youll see thnaks good luck with this john{ :” the arthound

  3. Phaedrakat, 14 February, 2010

    @john france: Hi John/Arthound. Wow, your sculptures are amazing! They’re quite large — lots of clay in there, huh? Very impressive. They must take a great deal of time to make. What kind of clay are you using? You mentioned Original Sculpey Terra Cotta was a mess. If you’re using Sculpey III, it has a reputation for being one of the weaker clays. I don’t know much about Original Sculpey (white, terra cotta, etc.,) because I mostly use Premo Sculpey (all-around good, strong clay.) But I do know that the new formula is causing problems & driving everyone crazy.

    Here’s an article about that: Phthalate-Free Premo Polymer Clay – A Blessing or a Curse

    You can find additional articles on plenty of topics by using the search box at the top of the page (above Topic Categories.) Just type in a word or two, like “cracks” or “new formula”, and a list of articles will come up.

    Just to clarify the issue — your clay is cracking & breaking BEFORE you bake it, right? Normally, this could be caused by failing to condition the clay properly, or by having partially cured clay. But since you’ve been working with clay for so long, I assume you already condition your clay before sculpting with it, so that the plasticizers are all mixed together for strength & workability. As for partially cured clay — you would have noticed if this was the case, since it wouldn’t be conditionable. Just in case, though, here is an article on conditioning: Polymer Clay Techniques – Is Conditioning Really that Important?

    So, if your clay is starting out properly conditioned (soft & workable) and wasn’t partially cured, it might be a problem with the new formula. I read that with the removal of Phthalates, the new clays have the potential to dry out. The clay you’re using is the new formula, right? I’m also wondering what you cover your pieces with (since they probably take a long time to make.) Some plastic wraps can interact with the plasticizers, and cause cross-reactions with your clay. Also, some “cheap” types of wax paper can end up leaching the clay — perhaps even to the point of making the clay overly brittle.

    Well, I don’t know if I helped, but that’s all I can think of… More specific information might assist someone else in helping. Please tell the following: exactly what type of clay you’re using, whether you’re conditioning it well or not, how old the clay is, how long your sculptures sit around (and what you cover them with,) etc. Hopefully, someone else can help you with better/additional information. Good luck with your awesome creations!

  4. Norman K Vance, 05 February, 2012

    I am a painter (artist), not a sculptor. I have been using Sculpey clay to make moulds for casting medallions and clan badges for the first time, and have f ound Super Sculpey to be a fine product.
    I cast the clan badges in pewter, and the mould remains intact for many castings.

  5. Adrienne D, 13 December, 2011

    Last night, I bought six packages of Sculpey clay. Every single one crumbled into tiny pieces as I opened them. I tried kneading them by hand, through my pasta machine, even put them in zip-lock baggies and tried to warm them with a blow dryer. Nothing, so far, has worked.
    I used to always have good luck with Sculpey clay, however, the last two or three times I’ve purchased it, it’s been dry and crumbley. Time to change brands, I guess.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 20 December, 2011

    That sounds frustrating Adrienne! Sounds to me like the clay was partially cured through poor storage. Luckily you can still use those crumbles mixed into fresh clay to give it a granite or stone effect.

    If you can, buy Premo clay and squeeze the package to make sure it is fresh enough to work with. The store that you are getting your clay from, may not have fresh enough product, so you will want to be careful with that. Good luck and happy claying!

  7. Monica F, 27 December, 2011

    I like sculpey the best the rest of the clay are too hard and hurt my fingers. The only thing I’m worried about is the clay drying up on me. You should do a test on how long clay can be stored without being nonworkable. I might change brands because the dirt and lint are driving me crazy! Does sculpey clay pick up dust the most? Sanding might not work for me though because I make characters and I don’t want their faces sanded off.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 12 January, 2012

    Monica, the stickiest clays like Sculpey III will pick up the most dust and lint, but all brands do to some extent. Keeping your area and hands clean with a baby wipe will help. You can even use the baby wipes on the clay to remove lint before you bake your pieces if you want.

    I think if you try the new Premo packages, that you will find them softer than they used to be and quite easy to work with, even for hands with limited strength and mobility.

    As far as drying out, polymer clay doesn’t actually ‘dry’ out at all. Rather, the softeners in the clay get leached out due to poor storage or the clay can be partially cured by being exposed to too much heat and light. Properly stored, polymer clay will stay usable for years.

  9. Robert Ratliff, 29 December, 2011

    I like the Fimo (effects) clay. I have never had problems with “dryness” but I do store opened pkgs in an airtight ziploc bag and I have a softener if I need very thin parts.

    I run the clay thru my pasta machine on about a 3 or a 4 for walls. Then using paper templates and an exacto knife I cut out parts to build buildings for a model train town. While the clay it still unbaked it can be stamped with patterns like brick or wood. im trying to find some architectural window cutters but so far no luck.
    I like the Fimo effects because it glows in the dark. ( the white is very bright under the blacklight) Once baked the peices can be glued into a variety of structures. Supports for poles and signs, bridge components, almost anything. Recently ive been making carnival ride parts for an N scale Carnival because no one makes them. Its going very slowly but so far I have 8 rides that light up, glow, and move.

    I think as an artist there are thousands of uses for this oven hardening clay.
    Ive used this clay to make Pulls for drawers, missing knobs for electronics, parts for models, furniture for dollhouses, copying missing buttons on clothes, making christmas ornaments……so many things. What an awesome country we live in.

  10. angela f, 07 January, 2014

    O id love to see your work robert!

  11. Melanie K, 10 February, 2013

    Some of the members of my local polymer clay guild had some horror stories about Sculpy III. They’d done hours and hours of work on complex canes only to have their creations shatter right out of the oven. I’ve also heard that Sculpy III is bad for cane work in general because it smears easily.

    I do, however, like one thing about Sculpy III: it blends well, so it’s easy to blend seams. For sculpture work that’s going to have thick pieces and will be for display and not worn (or played with by children or clumsy adults like myself) it might be a good choice.

  12. SilverCrafts, 12 May, 2016

    I have used sculpey III and I can mostly agree but I use it for most of my crafts and I don’t normally get too many breaks. I am 15 and so I know how to handle the clay but I can see where you are coming from with kids playing with it.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 12 May, 2016

    Thanks for your feedback SilverCrafts! Nice to have you here!

  14. Heidi J, 30 April, 2017

    I agree 100%. This clay is scrappy and should be taken off the market!! I tried to make a cane the other day and the whole thing crumbled like a cookie when I tried to slice it in Sections.
    Thumbs down sculpey.

  15. Beverly Smith, 16 March, 2008

    I have used Sculpey III for years and have always been very happy with it. I have never ever had anything break, but I don’t have children playng with my beads either. I occasionally mix translucent with Premo or Fimo, because it is soo soft, but I’ve never ever been unhappy with it.

    I bake all of my beads at 260 degrees for 20 minutes, sand, finish with Future, bake again, for 20 minutes at 260 degrees, drop into ice water, and they are beautiful and lasting.

  16. DarbiR, 29 March, 2010

    So glad I found this site! Just made my first beads from Sculpey III and am excited to get them baked… will do just a couple for experiment your way at 260 for 20 then sand then bake again but could you tell me what “Future” is?

    The package says to bake at 275 for 30 min per 1/4″ but remember years ago that temp turned my “stuff” brown and this time I’m working with marbled blue and white so will play around. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Darbi

  17. Phaedrakat, 30 March, 2010

    @DarbiR: Hi Darbi, welcome! The first thing you should do is get an oven thermometer. They sell them at the dollar store, and you’ll be able to get an acurate read on the temperature of your oven. Your beads shouldn’t be turning brown — your oven dial is probably off & it’s higher than 260F. It is critical that you cure your beads at the right temperature and for an adequate length of time. Cindy recommends baking most items for at least an hour at the recommended temperature.

    I’m headed to bed right now, but I wanted to answer your question really quick about Future. It is a floor finish that is compatible with polymer clay as a finish (glaze/varnish.) It is now called “Pledge with Future Shine” (or Johnson’s Klear, in the UK) and is sold at grocery, discount, hardware, etc. stores. Here are a couple articles about it:

    Future Floor Polish for Polymer Clay Beads – 7 Interesting Facts
    and
    Finishing Polymer Clay Beads with Future Floor Polish

    I just read the article you referenced, and realized that you might be thinking Future had something to do with baking. But it is just a finish, to add shine or to protect powders, gold leaf, etc. on beads. It can be baked, but at a very low temperature (200F) just to set the finish. Your beads should be baked at the proper curing temp (265F is good for most Sculpey III) for an hour. To protect light colors like white or translucent, bury your beads in cornstarch or tent your beads. It also helps to bake on a ceramic tile to keep the oven temp more steady (or you can set your bead rack on a tile.) Read some of the baking articles to get information on these tips and many others. Cindy’s article “How to Bake Polymer Clay Beads” is informative, and it has links to even more articles that can help you learn lots of tricks & tips for baking. Be sure to read the comments too, since there’s often even more information there (people ask questions, and get detailed answers!)

    Here’s a comment I left for someone else with info about baking beads. In it I also explain how to search for additional topics & info by using the search box at the top left of each page. Best of luck with your claying, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions! :D

  18. DarbiR, 29 March, 2010

    @Beverly Smith: Okay Beverly and anyone else checking this out, thought I’d write a follow up….read so many suggestions to try on here but want to let you know I did the 20 @ 260 then the sand, bake again then ice water…I think my toaster oven might be warmer than it says…I don’t know, maybe it’s because I didn’t have any “Future” but anyway, my beads turned way brown so I’ll have to play around. They were fine at 20 minutes tho…this time I’ll watch them closely as I intended to do the first time but had company so got sidetracked til bell went off…duh! Wish Me luck!

  19. Tiffany 3, 20 September, 2011

    Future is just a type of gloss to put on whatever you’ve made. its not one they sell at craft stores, but one you get where you find a wood polish in other stores. it works quite well with the clay though and you get much more at a cheaper price than if you bought the gloss made for sculpty/fimo.

  20. Cindy Lietz, 16 March, 2008

    Thank you Beverly so much for your comment. I’m glad you’ve had some success with your Sculpey III.

    It looks like you are baking your beads 30% longer than they say on the package, which could be the reason it is working for you. I’m also wondering if the ice water bath has a positive effect as well in making Sculpey III more durable?

    Also, do your beads have any sculptural elements on them? Or do you ever make thin beads with a hole at the top that could break? If you only make beads that are more the solid type, like round beads are, it may also be the reason for your success.

    By the way, it is good to hear you sand and finish your beads properly. I bet your beads are beautiful and would love to see pictures of them. Send them in if you can.

  21. Lisa Clarke, 16 March, 2008

    I have to admit, I am a Sculpey III junkie. But you raise a good point. I have success with it because I have enough experience to recognize its strengths and weaknesses and to know how to make up for what it lacks.

    Sculpey III can make excellent chunky beads, but forget it if you want to add any protruding parts. What Polyform needs to do is be more upfront about sculptural elements and their need for support. There is only so much room on a 2 ounce package, though.

    I’m not sure what the answer is here, but I would probably cry if they took Sculpey III off of the shelves – it’s the only thing I will cane with!

  22. Cindy Lietz, 17 March, 2008

    Oh Lisa I wouldn’t want to see you cry, so I went to your blog to see why you like it so much, and I get it! Sculpey III does stay softer in canes longer than the other firmer brands like Premo and Fimo, and with your experience and using it in really thin slices sandwiched between the stronger clays of Premo and Kato clear it would work.

    I will still recommend my beginners to cane with Premo and since I already suggest they make fairly small canes to start with, they won’t have as many problems with the Premo as they would with the Sculpey III in the beginning. (Maybe in some of my more advanced videos I could show them how to work with Sculpey III.)

    Also, since I teach several techniques that are sculptural and use thin sheets of clay, they will still need to use Premo or Fimo for those.

    I am really glad I read your post however. Now I won’t throw away the Sculpey III that I have and will not be as harsh to Polyform as I was in my post… Though I still think they should not be marketing to newbies and kids. It takes a lot of experience to use it the way you do and it will only lead to disappointment for them!

  23. Pamela Reader, 15 August, 2008

    baking it twice and and ice water bath? hhhhmmmm, I need lots of notes! hahaha I’m going to buy Premo and give it a try . . . at the next Michael’s sale.

  24. Marion R, 18 February, 2011

    @Pamela Reader: A personal wish/grievance from the UK. I think Michael’s is fantastic! Whenever we used to visit, which doesn’t happen often these days now that we’re both pensioners, I always make a bee-line for the nearest store, and ask, ‘When are you going to sell on-line?!” However, despite assurances thet they intend to, they still don’t which means I cannot buy their gorgeous products. So many times when you show us a clever technique Cindy, you talk about a product you bought at Michaels. And every time you do so I can only groan. You have obviously researched the market and use the best product for the result you want, and the best I can find here is often disappointing. So my wish is that all my fellow clayers who live in the US and use Michael’s regularly will ask every time you visit, please sell on-line! My thanks in advance!

  25. Phaedrakat, 30 March, 2011

    @Marion R: Hi Marion, I’m so sorry! I feel guilty…we N. Americans do talk about Michael’s alot, don’t we? I apologize for any frustration that brings…certainly don’t mean to rub it in or anything!

    I wanted to give my opinion on what you said: that Cindy has “obviously researched the market” and uses “the best product for the result” she wants. While this is no doubt true, I think the fact that she finds these things at Michael’s is more a matter of convenience (& avoiding online shopping/shipping costs) than the products at that store being superior. She IS choosing great products, but all of them (save store brands, which aren’t usually named on this blog) can be found elsewhere online, usually with greater variety, more colors, etc…especially the strictly clay-related ones. IMO, “convenience” is the reason so many of us mention that store — we can walk in, avoid mail order, and often use %-off coupons. I would be happy to ask Michael’s to sell online, though…in fact, I wasn’t aware they didn’t already do so! But the truth is, if I had to order online, it probably wouldn’t be from Michael’s…I’ve found much more variety and “specialty” items from other online shops.

    I suppose I’m rambling here a bit — what I’m trying to say is if you have to mail-order anyway, you’re probably better off ordering from one of the great polymer clay stores out there. I really wish you had a Michael’s-equivalent store, in terms of products, convenience, & pricing/in-store sales! Until then, I hope you find the perfect online shop(s) to buy your supplies & all the same goodies we find here. Fingers crossed for inexpensive shipping/handling, too.

    Best of luck, and happy claying! :D ~Kat

    PS: There are other big US craft stores that DO sell online. JoAnn is the other big craft store close to me; it’s similar to Michael’s. I don’t believe they have them in Canada, which may be why you don’t hear them mentioned as much here at the blog. I’ve never ordered online from them before, for the above reasons. Hobby Lobby is another big store, but I don’t have one in my state. I HAVE thought about ordering from them, though, because they carry Kato clay (Michael’s & JoAnn do not…) There are several more craft stores with online shops, if you’re interested. Other members could probably provide additional info on the products from the stores in their respective areas, if you request it…

  26. Cindy Lietz, 30 March, 2011

    @Silverleaf: Thank you for your support Anna! Everyone benefits greatly from your input and I appreciate it very much!

    @Phaedrakat: What a fantastic comment Phaedrakat! You are so right. One of the things I have found frustrating here in Canada is the lack of options for retail craft supplies. Basically other than the tiny little craft section in the local Walmarts, the only place to buy Craft Supplies (at least here on the West Coast) is at Michaels.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I love Michaels. The 40% off coupon is a great help, and they do have a pretty large selection of supplies. But they don’t have everything and sometimes the really unique things are only found online.

    When I do a tutorial, I want the supplies to be as easily accessible by as many people as possible. Most crafters, especially the new ones, want to be able to walk into a store and get a feel for what they are purchasing.

    Online it can be a bit of a mysterious experience. I am sure every one of you who have purchased something online, has at least once, been surprised by how different something is in person than it looks on your screen. I know I have received beads that were way smaller (or way bigger), way nicer (or way crappier) than what my mind thought they would be. It is not that they were misrepresented or anything. It’s just that my mind made them out to be something different than what they actually were.

    That experience is different if you have bought the product before or seen a tutorial using it, because you have a more clear idea of the scale and properties of it. That is why so many online companies make demo videos of their products to help with sales.

    So, to make a long story even longer… the reason why Michaels is mentioned as often as it is, is because it is what is most available to my Canadian and American customers who like to buy in person. Of course a quick internet search on the product name will usually turn up lots of online resources where you can purchase these or similar products if a Michaels store is not available to you.

    And Phaedrakat you are right, if anyone knows of a good resource for a product or suitable replacement, of something I have shown in a video, it is very helpful to everyone here if you all share your knowledge. The more we can help one another, the more meaningful this community will be!

  27. Silverleaf, 31 March, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz: Agreed, Cindy. I’ll admit that I have moments of frustration that here in the UK it’s often much harder to get hold of certain things that you guys in Canada/US can just pop into Michael’s and grab off the shelf (for much cheaper than I can get it too).

    But I have managed to get pretty much everything I need in one way or another (sometimes with a little help from lovely people who offer to share stuff like metallic sand and such), so if anyone needs a source for anything in the UK there’s a good chance I’ll be able to help.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 15 August, 2008

    There are lots of things to learn about polymer clay aren’t there?! It’s a good thing a lot of the answers are here in one place. :-)

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Fimo Clay, Premo, Sculpey – Which is Best for Cane Making + Sculpting

  29. Cindy Erickson, 02 September, 2008

    First of all, Cindy, your little guy is adorable! I’m sure Willow is as well!

    I don’t understand the part about giving the twice baked PC project an ice bath. Could you tell me more about this, or tell me where to read about it?

    Thanks, Cindy E.

  30. Cindy Lietz, 02 September, 2008

    They are referring to Beverly’s suggested tips in her comment up above.

  31. Cindy Erickson, 02 September, 2008

    Thanks, Cindy…I just don’t understand what putting them in a cold bath does…scientifically I guess I mean.

  32. Cindy Lietz, 03 September, 2008

    Cindy, I’m not really sure what ice water does for the bead scientifically. I do know that it can make translucent clays clearer to place in ice water right after baking, though. But for regular beads I don’t know of a benefit. There might be one… I just don’t know what it is.

  33. Cindy Erickson, 03 September, 2008

    Thanks, Cindy…Interesting :)

  34. Beverley Toyer, 18 November, 2008

    Hi There,
    I invested in sculpey oven bake clay today and tried to use it in the flexible push teddy mould. I am a complete beginner and was almost put off straight away as it got stuck in the mould and it has a grainy look.Its soooo sticky help!!!

  35. Cindy Lietz, 18 November, 2008

    Hi Beverly! Sorry to hear about that. That grainy texture and stickyness is another reason why I don’t really like Sculpey III. If you can return it and get Premo instead, you will like it better.

    However if you can’t there are some things you can do. First, to keep any polymer clay from sticking to moulds, spray them first with water.

    As far as the clay is concerned, you can firm it up considerably by leaching out the excess plasticizers. There is a video on how to do that in my Polymer Clay Bead Making for Beginners Course which I would highly recommend to get you started right. If you want more info on that click the link by my name.

  36. Beverley Toyer, 19 November, 2008

    Hi Cindy,
    Thankyou so much for your advice. I will pickup some primo and give it a go.I had another go with the sculpey last night with much colder hands and that’s helped considerably.
    I will have a look at your courses now and will no doubt be signing up to the beginners course.
    Kindest Regards
    Bev

  37. Eir, 02 January, 2009

    I just started working with Sculpey 3 for doll making and I almost cried when I saw my little trow doll had crumbled and cracked in many places, right out of the oven!

    I was about to give up doll making with clay but I searched the Internet and found many pages like these of people who were very angry with this product.

    I’m glad I didn’t buy in bulk. Thank you for your review!

  38. Cindy Lietz, 03 January, 2009

    @Beverly: You’re very welcome! Let me know if you need any more help!

    @Eir: What a horrible story… you poor thing! There is a lot more info on this site on the different brands of clay and which clays are better for the different techniques. Click the link by my name for more on that or use the search box at the top of the page to search on any topic you like.

  39. Shandara, 06 January, 2009

    Hello, Cindy.

    I saw the web page you had linked (right after posting here!) so I went and purchased a few different types from my local craft store. Primo and Fimo (a couple classic and soft) are the ones I’m going to try out this week on some test dolls. I’m excited to see how durable they can get.

    Thank you very much for your help and I just love your website. It is just full of wonderful advice.^^

  40. Cindy Lietz, 08 January, 2009

    Thank you Eir! Let me know how the new clay works for you and make sure you type ‘baking’ into the search box at the top of this page for more tips on baking your clay! A good post to start with is on why it is sometimes OK to break the rules when it comes to baking your polymer clay beads. Click the link by my name to read that article!

  41. TomH, 22 February, 2009

    My kids and I just started with sculpey iii. We’re all novices. We made canes for butterfly wings last weekend. The outside layer was black, so they looked a bit like sushi. But the black layer melted in the oven. Not completely, mind you, but like wax on a hot stove. I lost all confidence that these canes would come out of the oven looking the way I put them in. Is this a black-sculpey iii thing? Too much plasticizer? Cursed oven?

  42. Cindy Lietz, 23 February, 2009

    Hi TomH! That sounds frustrating! Could be too much plasticizer all right. Was it super soft out of the package?

    You may be able to salvage the cane if you wrap it in tissue paper to absorb some of the plasticizer. Don’t use facial tissue like Kleenex because it’s too fuzzy and will leave lint on the clay, but more the kind of tissue wrapped around clothes in nice stores.

    Don’t lose confidence in working with clay though. It’s a fantastic thing to do with children and for yourself. There are tons and tons of tips on this blog for firming up clay (click link by my name), which brands to buy, how to bake, etc, etc.

    Feel free to ask any questions you have as well. I try to answer every one, though sometimes it can take me a day or two to get to them when I am busy.

  43. Klaykisses, 15 May, 2009

    I feel the same way. My little guy is 8 years old and he loves to craft with me. He gets really upset too when he runs to his dad, so proud of what he has made, and it breaks.Uggg. I am working with the Studio clays right now. I have made all of my items on my site with them. The only thing I found was that if you make a flower with a thin petal, it gets bumped, it’s broke. Otherwise, I find it great to work with and love the colors.

  44. Klaykisses, 15 May, 2009

    Beverly Smith: Wow, I did not know you could bake Future in the oven once you put it on. I also use Future to seal my items and have never tried it that way. What does it do for tthe project exactly? (hope you don’t mind Cindy) I could not figure out how to respond to just Beverly.

  45. Cindy Lietz, 15 May, 2009

    Hi klaykisses! I have some Studio clay on its way so once I work with for a bit I will be able to give you better advice on the thin stuff breaking.

    Yes you can bake your Future finish. I like to bake it at a really low temp like 100F so it doesn’t bubble. Bake for ten minutes or so then add another coat and bake again. Sets nicely that way.

    When you want to refer to someone’s comment, just write @Beverly Smith. That way they will know you are talking to them. I do that if I am answering a whole bunch of comments at once. That way I don’t have to make a bunch of new posts.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

  46. Maria Brown, 16 July, 2009

    Hi Cindy, I love your site and found great information. I need your advice. I have made some nice pendants from Sculpey 3 and want to strengthen them. I’ve tried coating them with Easy Cast resin and it seems to help but I’d like to know of other ways to made them more durable since I plan on selling them. For my future creations I plan on using stronger clays. Thanks for your help.

  47. mica, 17 January, 2010

    i have been using sculpey III for months…. and the first thing that i made is mu lil doll keychain and when my sister drop it off the floor the arms broke. it maybe because i bake it in the big oven. but when i make my clay earings, ice creams and that things for charms and only use the oven toaster and set it to bake and it never break again. yet sculpey III is really soft but not as soft as the sculpey oven baked. I really wanted to work on premo but i find it too hard to condition even if i have my pasta machine… I also hate leaving finger prints on my work as i am selling them

  48. Phaedrakat, 13 February, 2010

    @mica: Hi Mica, that’s horrible when you make something and it breaks. All that hard work!

    I am not sure how much experience you have with polymer clay. One thing that can help is Cindy’s beginners/fundamentals course.

    It covers so many things, like conditioning clay, baking, and finishing your pieces — well, check out that page, and you’ll see the long list of goodies. Even if you have worked with clay for awhile, it can teach you so many tips and tricks that will help you take your work to the next level.

    Another thing you can do, is use the “Topic Categories” box at the top left-hand side of this page. It will lead you to hundreds of articles on all the various things you want to learn about. Just pick one of the topics, and choose an article. OR, you can use the search box — just type in a word or two, like “fingerprints” or “conditioning” and you’ll get lots of articles on that subject. For starters, though, here is an article about conditioning polymer clay.

    And here’s one about fingerprints:

    Sculpey III is well-known for being weak & breakable. If you want your work to stay in one piece, you need to be working with Premo or another strong clay. Check out Cindy’s videos — you’ll be amazed at how much easier your claying experience will be!

    Good luck with your claying, and nice to see you here!

  49. john france, 14 February, 2010

    hi phaedrakat, naw it’s not the prepreation like you say i have been working with this a long long time and i knead the clay till it is at my body heat it is warm when i start my sculptures ,i am really fast ,most of my sculptures i do in a day or two i’m very fast i never cover my sculptures with any thing shriek and donkey took my 4 days they are constantly being touched by my through out the day and when i posted them they werent even cooked but they sat on the table and started falling apart i can fix it but just more colored clay for me to buy.

    Dolphin Sculpture by John France

    i’m a disabled vetran and have a lot of time so this is what i do all the time i use super sculpy on faces and hands and white sculpy for the basic shape over the arrmatures and then i use colored sculpy 111 for the colors there is no paint on any them and the littel blocks of sculpy 111 color wow it is very espensive to do my sculptures, and they just pour out of me, my house is litterly filled and i have a big house and alot of cracked sculptures thank you for getting back to me really appreciate it thanks agin john { :”

  50. Cindy Lietz, 14 February, 2010

    Hi John! Thanks so much for your post, your work is stunning and it must be frustrating you to have it breaking. There is a wonderful doll artist who has been featured on this blog named Bonnie Jones (I’ve linked to her post by my name) that uses a product called Apoxie Clay that gets as hard as a rock. She talks about it in the post, and it sounds like it may be just the right thing for you. If you read that post you will see there is a link to where you can get it. With someone who does as beautiful work as you do, it is a shame for you to have to work with a product that doesn’t have the strength. I am positive there are products out there that would work. It is just a matter of finding them. Hope that helps!

    @Phaedrakat: You are so awesome for helping out John and Mica! I don’t know what I would do without cool members like you helping us the way you do. I just have gotten so busy now that your help has made a huge difference to me and everyone one here! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  51. Phaedrakat, 14 February, 2010

    @john france, I love your dolphins! Wow, you are one quick sculptor! I wish I had ideas just flowing out of me into the clay. A house filled with sculptures-amazing! Let me get this straight, though. Are you saying that all the pieces breaking in your studio are unbaked, or are they breaking after baking, as well? I think what you might need to do first, if you’re not already doing so, is to create your base structure like you’ve been doing (armature, Orig. Sculpey or Super Sculpey) and then bake it. Then, you’re starting with a strong, solid base to add your details and colored clay to.

    If you didn’t already know, you can bake your piece multiple times, and for a lot longer than the amount specified on the label. In fact, the finished item is much stronger after curing longer. BUT, temperature is critical — don’t go above the recommended pkg. temperature. (If you’re using several different types of clay, use the lowest curing temp, then bake longer.) Cindy has loads of baking information in her articles (as well as comments from other members) to refer to.

    This article has info & baking links in it: How to Bake Polymer Clay Properly

    Sculpey III (I’ll call it S-III) is a soft clay, and pretty weak compared to most others. I haven’t tried the new formula, but I imagine it’s even softer now. (All the new-formula clays are getting “soft & mushy” complaints — a lot of “drooping” going on.) You mentioned the cost of S-III, but did you know most of the clays go on sale occasionally at craft stores like Michaels, JoAnn’s, & Hobby Lobby? For example, this week Michael’s has Premo, Fimo (& Sculpey III) on sale — 4 for $5.00. If you have one nearby, you could get a stronger clay (Fimo Classic or Premo Sculpey) at a great price. These stores also have 40% coupons in the paper (or sign-up online to get emailed coupons to use when the clay is not on sale.)

    If you’re baking properly, and still having problems, you need to be using a stronger, firmer clay. If needed, you could buy just a little to start. Mix your Sculpey III 50/50 with the firmer/stronger clay and see if it gives you the extra strength that makes the difference. Another thing to try: firm-up your S-III (or clay mixture) by leaching it (lay sheets of clay between pieces of plain, regular paper — this soaks up some of the excess oily plasticizers.) This can weaken the clay slightly, but it will keep it from drooping so much that it breaks off. You could then do a partial cure as you complete each area, that way the clay doesn’t have to fight gravity, even if it is a little soft. (Just make sure to completely support all the fragile, detailed parts of your sculpture while baking.)

    The things I’ve mentioned here are based on thinking that the breaking is happening before curing. If you’re getting breaking after baking too, then you REALLY need to be using stronger clay, (as well as making sure that your pieces are baked thoroughly.) The strong clay is especially important when you have little unsupported details that “stick out” from the rest of the piece. These are prone to breakage.

    You are really talented, and I’m so happy that you have the ability to create art in your life. I, too, am disabled; I enjoy creating, as it takes my mind off life’s difficulties. I have found a great deal of inspiration here at this blog. Cindy Lietz, and her wonderful videos, got me back into polymer clay after a long absence while I had back surgeries. Her videos are so helpful, and this blog community she’s created is a caring and sharing environment. I “hang out” here a lot. (I can’t clay as often as I’d like, since I have to lay down to rest my back so often.) Anyway, enough about ME~ I just wanted to say I think I understand how you feel…

    Well, I hope one or more of these suggestions will help you. Bake in stages. Use a stronger clay. Then make sure your piece is completely cured. Best of luck with your beautiful sculptures!

    Does anyone else have any tips for John?

  52. Phaedrakat, 14 February, 2010

    Oh, no! This is embarrassing. I didn’t see your post, Cindy. I was long-winded, as you can see. There was nothing there when I started writing…

    I think I’ll start refreshing the page before I post anything that takes me awhile to write (sometimes I get distracted with other things…like babysitting all seven of my nieces & nephews today!)

    doh!

  53. Cindy Lietz, 14 February, 2010

    Oh Phaedrakat you are so sweet! We were probably typing at the same time and that was why you didn’t see my comment. Don’t worry one little bit about being long winded. Everything you say has value so it all needs to be said. Once again, thank you so much for sharing all your extremely helpful ideas. Everyone here appreciates you very much. I’m sure you have been a great help for John as well as anyone else reading this!

  54. john france, 15 February, 2010

    hi phaedrakat and cindy thank you so much for all the helpful hints and all the time you took and so glad you enjoyed my sculptures i think i do need a stronger clay but im so use to sculpy it’s hard to switch but for the sake of my sculptures looks like i might have to do just that john{ :”

  55. Sarah W, 17 March, 2010

    Hello!
    I am a university art student and bought sculpey III as soon as my eyes were caugh by them at my regular art store. I have made figures with holes in them to create jewellery (small skulls with ribbons ontheir heads, miniature chanel purse, octo tentacles, etc) and i too have found that on the thinner areas, sculpey III seems to break fairly easily. Afte finding this, i then realized to be cautious o how i use the sculpey. For exampe, the ribbon i made has broken quite easily because it was made thinner (this was when i was experimenting and did not realize it would break so easily), so ithen decided to make thicker parts of the ribbon and create it in a way that it would not break, and would then cook it in seperate pieces and crazy glue the pieces together. This has worked for me but i do not see this a material for children whatsoever. I can see how it would get frustrating! I myself am going to venture and test ot different clay brands as well =).

  56. Phaedrakat, 17 March, 2010

    @Sarah W: Hi Sarah, yes, the marketing to children is one of the things that “makes Cindy mad.” Why give kids an inferior product that’s going to break on them, destroying their precious creations? As for your projects, I’m glad to hear you’re thinking of getting a stronger clay. In the meantime, you might want to try using liquid clay or Bake-n-bond bakeable adhesive to put the little pieces of your figures/designs together. Have fun & happy claying!

  57. Cindy Lietz, 20 March, 2010

    @Sarah W: Welcome to the site Sarah! Looks like Phaedrakat offered you some excellent information. As you can see the community here is very helpful, so if you need and help or just want to chat, make sure to drop by often. Nice to have you here!

  58. Sarah W, 17 March, 2010

    (apologies for the spelling, my keyboard is sticky from an incident =(… )

  59. DarbiR, 30 March, 2010

    Hi Phaedrakat,

    My goodness….you are so helpful and so kind to give me all this information…I am going to follow through with all of it…just so excited about this and I have to admit….I bought all this clay several months ago and just took it out a couple of nights ago to start making beads…now I am so hooked…just the therapeutic value is immense, then to find helpful, friendly people, what a bonus. So glad I found this site! Thank you so very much and have a great day!!

  60. Cindy Lietz, 30 March, 2010

    @DarbiR: Hi Darbi, I’d like to welcome you as well to our friendly community! Phaedrakat did such a great job of helping you, there isn’t much to add besides a little info about how this polymer clay site works.

    This blog, as you are finding out, is filled with absolutely tons of free polymer clay information and helpful polymer clay ‘addicts’ just like you. You can go to the Home page to see all the recent posts and use the search box if you’re looking for anything in particular.

    Make sure to sign up for the Polymer Clay Newsletter (link by my name) and get new color mixing recipes every week. You’ll also get a few video tutorials just for signing up, which is great.

    There is also Beginners Course and a Video Members Library when you’re ready.

    I think you are going to love it here! Happy claying! :-)

  61. DarbiR, 31 March, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz from Polymer Clay Newsletter:

    Hi Cindy, thank you for the welcome….I have been to this site before but just now started my clay addiction….fought it as long as i could…
    I really want to take your paid course as soon as I get extra money but at the moment am caregiver for 99 year old gent and am paid a pittance…have many job offers for lots more money, just don’t have the heart to break his…took care of his wife also the 3 months prior to her passing near a year ago…in the meantime I’ll try to learn as much as I can for free. I’m very involved with caregiver support and also Alzheimer’s care and victims…I keep thinking that there is something here with working with clay that would be very therapeutic for Alzheimer’s victims AND the elderly….I’m working with trying to put together some classes for very simple items that folks might be able to do…I can see many benefits of this…the working of the clay for stiff hands…the mind activity…the feeling of accomplishment when they have made a simple ornament say for a gift or a clay flower, even beads or simple clay figures….I’m sure you see where I am going with this as my mind races…any suggestions or direction would be very appreciated…maybe someone is already doing this but it’s definitely not around here. Sorry to be so long winded…looking for ideas…oh, along with the fact that I can’t sit down without making beautiful beads…so fun and rewarding!!

  62. Cindy Lietz, 31 March, 2010

    @DarbiR: Don’t worry about being long winded. We all love in depth comments around here!

    I love your idea of using polymer clay as an ‘Art Therapy’ so to speak. I think polymer clay is very well suited for this kind of thing, since you can just leave it sit and come back to it at any time, which is important for people with health issues. The simple act of marbling clay and rolling it into a ball is very therapeutic and if you get a lovely bead out of the deal… all the better!

    Beads are a great way to go. They can then be strung into necklaces, made into earrings, charms, key rings, light pulls, what-have-you. They are small, easy to deal with and are quick to make. Perfect for Seniors.

    There are several articles on the blog in regards to using polymer clay as a health benefit. I’ve linked to one by my name, but there are more if you type ‘health’, ‘therapy’, ‘stress’ etc. into the search box at the top of the page.

    The course and the weekly videos will be there when you are ready. Until then, participate in this community and have fun!

  63. Peggy Barnes, 01 April, 2010

    @DarbiR:
    Hi Darbi, I too would like to welcome you. This world needs more people just like you with such a loving and giving heart. I think you will feel quite blessed to have found this blog. Cindy and her husband have opened their wonderful talents and hearts up to all of us. Enjoy and grow with the rest of us.
    I send you many Uuuuuuggggggs (the painless hug), Peggy

  64. Darlene Wheasler, 18 May, 2010

    Since you seem to have much experience with clay, can you tell me why when I bake my Sculpey clay as recommended, it turns out much darker than the unbaked clay. I’m really frustrated because I want the colors I started with. I’ve tried different oven settings and less minutes, but still no luck.

  65. Cindy Lietz, 18 May, 2010

    @Darlene Wheasler: That is a common problem Darlene, especially with Sculpey III. Premo isn’t nearly as bad at darkening, so when you can, I’d suggest switching to Premo. I wrote an article awhile back which has several tips on how to keep your white clays white that should help you with the darkening problem. Click the link by my name for more info.

  66. Darlene Wheasler, 18 May, 2010

    Darbi R…. a couple of weeks ago I had a friend and her mother-in-law over for a special lunch. They rarely get out because the older one is starting to lose it to Alzheimers and she 92 years old. Active otherwise. I’ll be interested in comments because I will be getting involved with the “teaching” for her. I want her to have fun, not get frustrated.

  67. kymmy, 02 June, 2010

    Honestly I am confused!
    I am thinking of just getting a kit – I want to make some buttons for my projects (knit/crochet) but I figure I could be hopeless -at least the kids can have a go.
    Any tips for making buttons?

  68. Phaedrakat, 02 June, 2010

    @kymmy: Hi Kymmy, welcome! Have you worked with polymer clay before, or are you a complete beginner. You said you’re confused — do you mean by the clay you’ve played with a bit? Or are you talking about the information? I’m just trying to assess where you are in terms of PC knowledge! ;D Cindy has tutorial video on making polymer clay buttons. There are a couple of articles, along with a video preview you can watch to see what I mean:

    * Making Your Own Custom Buttons [VIDEO]

    * Making Polymer Clay Buttons for Sewing Projects

    The best clays for button-making are the strong ones. Sculpey III is not a very strong clay — you should purchase Premo Sculpey, Fimo Classic, Kato or Cernit clay instead, to make sure your buttons hold up.

    You can use the search box at the top of the page to look for more info. Type in “choosing clay” or “beginners tips” or “baking clay”, whatever you need more info on. Cindy also has a Polymer Clay Basics Course (link at top of the page.) It has all the “informative tools” you need, in the form of 39 short-and-to-the-point videos, to start your own projects and avoid making the mistakes most beginners make. Leave another comment if you have any questions or need help. ~Kat

  69. kymmy, 02 June, 2010

    Phaedrakat – Thankyou very much. I guess I am just overwhelmed! I have read a few things on polymer clay and I guess with anything new it would take practice for results. I have not used polymer clay before. I am only keen to make buttons so I can have more unique projects. I wouldn’t mind making beads either – I have made jewellery in the past with purchased beads.
    I will see what I can get locally or search online. I think I can get Fimo here.
    What do you think of the bendy clay – its like rubber after its baked?

  70. Phaedrakat, 03 June, 2010

    @kymmy: Hi Kymmy, I’m sorry, but I haven’t tried the Bake & Bend clay, so I can’t tell you the exact texture. But it’s flexible after baking, so you can move it and “play” with it a bit. It’s isn’t rigid, hard, and “fixed” like regular polymer clay. Are you looking for something that will bend after baking, or are you just wondering about it? Where are you located? Perhaps someone else from your area can tell you of a good place to buy clay. Let us know…

  71. kymmy, 03 June, 2010

    Just wondering about it!
    I am in Melbourne Australia and I am not sure what is available in stores but I have found a few online stores in Aus that stock different clays.

  72. Phaedrakat, 04 June, 2010

    @kymmy: Hi again, there are several members here from Australia, like Sue F., Elizabeth K., and Mary. Perhaps they can point you to some of the better places to buy clay…I’ve read comments from them that mention places they buy clay, but I can’t remember where. You could search on their names plus a phrase like “I buy clay” or “I purchase from” or something like that, but it might be easier to just ask them on a more current page. Best of luck to you, I wish I had more info for you. When you do buy your clay, though, make sure it’s one of the ones I mentioned above. You want strong clay for your buttons…

  73. Sue F, 04 June, 2010

    @kymmy:

    Hi Kymmy,

    I’m in Sydney. There are two Australian sellers that I buy polymer clay from, but they are both online sellers only:

    * Over the Rainbow (polymerclay.com.au) is in Melbourne, and they also run workshops from time to time that I wish I could attend! They have the best range of polymer clay brands and related items of any of the Australian sellers that I know. Their service is excellent and I’ve always received friendly, helpful and informative answers when I’ve asked them questions.

    * Metal Clay Australasia (shop.metalclay.com.au, and also stores.shop.ebay.com.au/Metal-Clay-Crazy) is in Canberra and has more of a metal clay focus so only polymer clays they carry are Premo and Sculpey Living Doll, but they have very good prices for those by Australian standards, and they have a great range of tools, accessories and interesting gadgets. Their service is also excellent and their postage is super-quick. I haven’t bugged them with questions but I’m sure they’d be great in that area too.

    Most of the time I buy my polymer clay from the USA or Canada. It’s actually cheaper even when you factor in the cost of international priority airmail. The particular seller I buy from depends on what else I want at the same time. For example, if I want a bunch of gemstones and sterling silver at the same time, I buy from Fire Mountain Gems (firemountaingems.com). They only stock Kato in small blocks, but Kato is my favourite clay anyway, and with their pricing policy it often ends up cheaper than buying the equivalent weight of large blocks elsewhere. I’ve also bought Kato from Donna Kato’s online store, Prairie Craft (prairiecraft.com). When I want texture sheets, certain types of tools, or certain types of paints and inks at the same time, I buy from Shades of Clay (shadesofclay.com). And since I’ll want a bunch of unusual micas soon, I’m about to try another supplier that I haven’t bought from before, but which I’ve only ever heard good things about, Polymer Clay Express (polymerclayexpress.com). Even though their web site is so awful that when I saw it originally that I dismissed them out of hand.

    I hope that helps a bit. :)

    Sue

  74. kymmy, 05 June, 2010

    Thankyou Sue! Great info!
    I went to Spotlight (Essendon DFO)today and after searching high and low, found a small clay section. They had only Sculpey III so I bit the bullet and bought a set on special. Its marketed at kids so of course the kids wanted a go. It does crack easily but I have no idea what we were doing!
    The kids want to make something other than buttons so will check out those links, much appreciated.:) I sometimes buy yarn from OS cos it does work out cheaper.

  75. Sarah, 21 August, 2010

    Hi,
    I have a daughter that uses Sculpey III, as this is the only available polyform product in our area. She plays with her creations…and none of them have broken. Well, one thing did, but she placed a little bit of matching clay and it has worked fine ever since. She rarely makes beads, but when she does they come out beautifully. I’m not sure why this is; she bakes them less than required. Either way, she seems very happy with Sculpey III.

  76. Phaedrakat, 22 August, 2010

    @Sarah: Hi Sarah, it’s really good to hear your daughter is so happy with her clay! Is this a child or teen, or ?? (You mentioned she “plays” with her creations…) You’re right, there are people who manage to work with Sculpey III successfully. They know its strengths & weaknesses, and how to make it work for their projects. (Like how thicker projects work better, without protruding parts that break easily.) Your daughter might have figured out the perfect balance of time & baking temperature for this clay. Or maybe she just got really lucky with the right combination! ;D It’s wonderful that her creations aren’t breaking. But since you said she doesn’t bake them very long, I wanted mention how important it is to completely cure the clay.

    Cindy recommends baking beads & other projects for an hour. That’s because the extra time helps make up for the temp. fluctuations that occur in most ovens. This method has proved time and again to create much stronger, harder beads that do not break. Baking longer than the package recommendations ensures that the beads are completely cured, and that no raw, uncured plasticisers are left inside to slowly eat away at the item until it breaks.

    It could be that the oven your daughter’s using manages to hold the temperature “perfectly”, enabling her to get a complete cure in a shorter among of time. But the items might only appear to be baked all the way through; it could be that only the outside is cured. It would be terrible if your daughter’s creations started breaking sometime later. If you like, there’s more info in this comment. Please follow the first link to Cindy’s fantastic explanation of why the longer baking is so important — she explains much better than I!

    And here’s a link to more baking information, as well.

    Best of luck, and have fun!
    ~Kat – Riverside, CA USA **Where are you from?

  77. Amanda, 18 October, 2010

    I have used all the types of clay that i have found, the sculpy III, the Premo, the studio, fimo, and Kato Polyclay.

    I like the Sculpy III best. it is the easyest to work with for me as moust right out of the package is easy to put right into my pasta machine. I am trying to work with Premo and just cant get it to a texture that i like.

    I make dragons and such witht he scylpy and have not had anything break that was done right (had a badly attached ear fall off) i put the pieces right out of the oven into cold water which hardens them up quick. i think that this has somthing to do with it.

  78. Pat L, 24 January, 2011

    I am using sculpey iii for the first time ever. I need to make a bridal bouquet and someone recommended that I use it instead of regular polymer clay since it would be the first time I use the stuff. Well I have found that every color but the white are very easy to work with. On the other hand like I said the white is very hard and can’t seem to get it soft enough to work with. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to soften this stuff before I decide to not even use it.

  79. Phaedrakat, 27 January, 2011

    @Pat L: Hi Pat! You can soften the more difficult white clay with Fimo Mix Quick or Sculpey Clay Softener. Or you could try adding some liquid clay (like TLS,) or a drop or two of mineral/baby oil.

    I didn’t understand what you meant in your question…is it the first time using Sculpey III, or the first time with ANY polymer clay? You mentioned the difference between Sculpey 3 and “regular” polymer clay, and I got confused, LOL. Also, what are you making…are you sculpting a miniature bridal bouquet, making flowers for a full bouquet, or…something else?

    There’s tons of info at this blog, as well as help from Cindy and members if you need it. Cindy’s video instruction is amazing, too. (Polymer Clay Basics Course can get you up-to-speed fast!) To search for info, type a word or two in the search box at the top left of each page, and you’ll find articles on just about any subject. Be sure to read the comments under the articles, as that’s where some great discussions are found. Good luck with your project, and if this IS your first time working with polymer clay, be sure to read some of the beginner articles…particularly those concerned with conditioning your clay and proper baking (use an oven thermometer, don’t underbake!) Or better yet, get Cindy’s Beginner course…the link’s at the top of the page…

  80. robert ratliff, 28 January, 2011

    I have used almost every type of clay and sculpey III is by far my favorite. I mostly use the white for making scale models of buildings for a train layout (N scale). I use a pasta machine and it works great for wall thickness. I dont have problems with breakage even with superfine details. The product stays semi flexible for a few days but then hardens into rigid plastic after about a week. I cut out my shapes in cardstock first, roll the clay to desired thickness, cut out with an Xacto (like making a gingerbread house only more precise) then model glue the hardened parts together. Some paint and details and you can copy any structure.Last week was the new style Taco Bell. (Im a big fan of tacos) This week its a N Scale “Mall”. (so my N-scale citizens can buy fashionable clothes :)

  81. Karon C, 26 February, 2011

    I am relatively new to the leaving comments thing… But thought I would add my two pennies worth about Sculpey111. I have not used any other product and literally have many hundreds of dollars in my clay stash. I have been seriously thinking that maybe I will switch to Premo for caning. I have made beautiful flowers and garden necklaces using the Sculpey, and thank heaven I have had no breakage of the delicate petals or other very thin parts and sometimes am not real careful of them when I put them away for later use. And yes , I too have used the ice water right out of the oven. The ice water cools them quickly and enhances the color a bit. I would hate to think that years down the road they will break. You have all given me pause over these comments.
    Karonkay

  82. Karon C, 02 March, 2011

    OMG!!! Okay, I have to tell you that I too, am now mad at sculpey. I read all of this then defended my choice of clay… apologies for thinking that you just liked your brand because that is what you always use, just as I thought the same about my choice. Bad bad bad thoughts. So my ire raised I tried another brand for my next attempt at a cane… thinking that I would be able to report that I just cannot create a cane that could be reduced to miniscule size, and yes my last attempt was a failure also and I would therefore just stick to beads and others things that I had great success with, that I just cannot get the caning thing to work for me. Sometimes that happens…. Cindy , I APOLOGIZE!!! My cane WORKED! I was able to reduce a pointed star right down to 1/8th of an inch recombine them for another cane and then reduce that to half an inch. to my great surprise and I must say delight my stars are still crisp and pointy! Remember this thing about you making the mistakes so I don’t have to? Well, you need to remind me sometimes as I can be pretty bullheaded when I feel like a failure at something. Not a pleasant feeling. I can do canes . SOOOOOOOOOOOO SORRY I doubted you even for a minute. Please forgive me, I will try to listen better . Again thank you for your help through thick (large canes ) and thin (tiny little canes). You really are the best.

  83. Cindy Lietz, 02 March, 2011

    @Karon C: Congratulations Karon!! That is so cool that you found success with your cane project.

    I know sometimes it can seem like there must be something wrong with us when we can’t get a technique to work for us when others seem to be able to. But in many cases, as you have just found, it may not be you at all. Sometimes it could be the brand you’re using, the way you are using it or even sometimes it might be something as crazy as the temperature it is at when you’re using it!

    That is why is is so great to have a place like this to come to, to share ideas and to ask questions. There are so many members here now that you have a large pool of talent to draw from. If I can’t solve your problem, someone else may be able to, or at the very least be able to give you a ‘virtual hug’ for support.

    Don’t worry about apologizing. No offense is ever taken here for a difference of opinion. We only ask that people be positive, supportive and open minded to new ideas.

    Glad to have you here! Enjoy your new found knowledge and enjoy your claying journey!

  84. Silverleaf, 06 March, 2011

    @Karon C: You know, I was kind of the same about Fimo Soft, which is what I started with. It worked fine for me, and was cheaper and more readily available for me here in the UK than Premo or Kato.

    But when I took the leap and ordered some Premo, I never looked back – I just didn’t realise how much better it would work for me, and I love the “mixability” of the colours. I also tried Kato but I don’t have the patience to condition it and I find the colours a little dull, especially the magenta.

    I’m so glad your cane worked! Isn’t it cool when you’ve been trying something for a while and then all of a sudden it just works?

    And Cindy’s right, we all have our own ways of doing things and our own preferences for particular techniques or materials, and that’s a good thing. I love how Cindy gives us a technique and maybe a suggested colour palette and we all go away and create something that ends up very different from everyone else’s, because we all put our own spin on things. It’s very cool. :) And then we can learn from each other too!

  85. Phaedrakat, 30 March, 2011

    @Karon C: I just love this success story…congratulations!

  86. Lina F, 17 May, 2011

    I just wanted to pop in my own experience with the Sculpey 3 clay. I used it to make a mini masquerade mask. The first one (and the prettier mask sadly) i baked according to instructions, even preheating the oven to get the temperature just right.
    When it came out i found it felt very….soft? and fragile.

    Once it cooled i tried poking it a bit and was very careful, yet the mask started to fall apart as soon as i started decorating it! I was very unhappy with the result. But i tried making a second mask, preheated again. but left it in twice as long. the second mask survived some pretty rough play already and is still in tact, without any signs of cracking or breaking soon.
    I think the main key to getting S3 to work is to bake it longer than suggested on the wrapper.
    I really wish i’d found this blog earlier!

  87. Phaedrakat, 20 May, 2011

    @Lina F: Just wanted to mention…you can also re-bake items, too. (Or bake them in sections, etc.) Not sure if that would have mattered with that first mask, but just in case…

    I know what you mean about finding this blog…I’ve learned so much, and have become a much better clayer since finding Cindy & all of the wonderful members here at this site! So happy you’ve found it, too! :D

  88. Jocelyn, 07 June, 2011

    Seriously?

    This is the visual that made me send you money.

    May you be blessed (and google).

  89. Phaedrakat, 07 June, 2011

    @Jocelyn: I saw your comment…tried to figure out what I was missing. (I’m sleepy & easily confused, LOL!) Then I went to yesterday’s post…& read Cindy’s comment about Fisher’s pict. on this page.

    I think I get it, now! (Keepin’ me on my toes, eh?) hee, hee, he ;-)

  90. Jocelyn, 07 June, 2011

    Hee hee. Ilubyaforever.

  91. Jana S, 01 August, 2011

    Hi, I just started experimenting w/clay and over the weekend bought over of clay products. I bought the sculpey 3, the premo & the fimo. I’ve only opened one of the Fimo clays, which was silver, and found that I had a terrible time conditioning it..actually…It never did condition, I don’t think. I didn’t know if it’s because it’s metallic, or if it’s just old, or if that’s just the way fimo is. And I did purchase the clay pasta machine also, this didn’t work at conditioning it either. The Primo also is a little difficult it seems. I constantly run the the clay though the machine, but the edges are always cracked and clay is still very firm.So I guess I’m wondering, how do you know when the clay is conditioned and what can I do to make the clay softer?

  92. Mavis T, 01 August, 2011

    Has anyone tried Kato clays for beads and sculpting?
    I bought some when I first started working with clay.
    I found it very hard, & it took a lot of work to get it soft enough to work with. Wondering if it has been updated, softer, but not as soft as Sculpey lll.

  93. Cindy Lietz, 03 August, 2011

    @Jana S: You will know your clay is conditioned properly if it is pliable and easy to fold in half without cracking. Some clays are naturally soft and others are firm. The problem is that clays tend to get firmer over time. Brand new Premo is fairly soft and will condition very quickly but the old stuff will be firm and may take awhile. I have been able to recondition clay that is over ten years old, with the help of a few tools (food processor and pasta machine) as well as a little additives like baby oil, liquid clay, clay softener, mold maker or Fimo quickmix. I recommend that you do some searches on this blog for tons of information and tutorials on how to soften hard clay. Just type in your keywords into the search box at the top of the page and start digging. You should be able to find the help you need.

    @Mavis T: Yes Kato is one of the hardest clays on the market to condition, though they have recently softened it up quite a bit. You may want to give it a try again. You may even like it now.

  94. Jae J, 27 September, 2011

    Just found your website and this article hit home in particular. I’m new to clay sculpting. Decided to create sculptures of my art animals that I currently sell as gift tags. I thought they would be really cute as three dimensional items instead of just digitally created art.

    My first efforts were with S-III. I made a penguin with a scarf and was very pleased with how cute he came out. His scarf was wrapped around his neck with one end tucked under and the other end falling down his belly but not flat against the belly. The back side was against his belly for support but I had turned the front of it out just slightly to make it look more like a woolen scarf. I couldn’t believe it when that portion broke off in my fingers from just picking it up.

    I had conditioned the clay and baked it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I used white as I want to paint them for more detail rather than using colored clays. This is not a clay I will use again. I’ll try Cernit or Premo next but interested in learning more about Apoxie clay. Also, for some of the larger items an armature should help.

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. I can certainly empathize with your son as I wanted to cry, too, when my cute little penguin’s scarf broke.

  95. shell m, 28 May, 2012

    I have just tried to make my first model i am making my own wedding toppers, i saw some little mice that i wanted bu the price was too high the clay however is a lot cheaper, so i sculpted the groom so far out of sculpty III, recommended for beginner i found the clay to be almost like plasticine where as i went to break it apart it just stretched because it was too warm so i would leave it to cool try work it again bare in mind I’m in the UK so we don’t have super hot temps here, so anyway, the pack says bake on 130c for 20 mins per 1/4 inch my mouse was fat so i baked him for 2 hours he probably could have done with longer but i was worried about the ears, i left him in the oven after baking for a further 2 hours to cool down naturally and well i have just opened the oven he is brown (he was originally white with pink) and had has several gash marks/cracks on his belly and back, he is completely ruined, i could paint him but then how am i going to hide the cracks, I’m not sure what i am going to do atm but i am very disappointed as he was my first run at poly clay it took me hours to make him, last time i used earth clay or any type of clay was over 10 years ago and that was just basic stuff..

  96. Cindy Lietz, 01 June, 2012

    I am sorry to hear you burnt your cute little mouse Shell. :( It was not because you baked it for too long, but because the temperature got too high, and the fact that you used White Sculpey III which will often scorch very easily. Premo Sculpey clay is much better at not changing color or cracking when baked, so next time you make something I would suggest you use Premo instead. Another thing that happens when baking is that the temp spikes a lot higher than the dial says on your oven, so using an oven thermometer is very important. It sounds like you enjoyed making the little mouse, so I would encourage you to continue working with polymer clay. This blog has tons and tons of free information on working with polymer clay as well, we have tons of paid video tutorials and a Beginner’s Basics Course that I highly recommend. I hope you keep trying. Polymer clay can be quite easy and very fun… you just need to know a few little tricks! :)

  97. shell m, 01 June, 2012

    thank you for your response i will have to take a look at some of the info you suggested, i have made another little mouse slightly smaller baked her on 120c for only 40 mins her ears had just started to toast so the next model i baked for 30 mins and he turned out just fine i also found opening the oven by say 1″ at the end of cooking time seems to help cool the oven a little quicker stopping it from baking so long without cooling the clay too quickly, i read i can mix sculpy with primo since i brought the 30 colour tester kit along with the white that was good news i can still mix my colours i have since ordered some more sculpy III and some primo as the oh wants to try it but he thought the sculpy was just too soft for him.

  98. Cindy Lietz, 02 June, 2012

    You’re welcome Shell. I guess I didn’t explain myself very well though… the reason your clay is burning and discoloring is not because of how long it is in the oven, it is because the temperature is getting too high AND you are using White Sculpey III. Switch to Premo and use an oven thermometer to make sure the temp never goes over 275F (135C) and your projects will be fine. Just because you set your dial to 120C, it does not mean your oven isn’t going higher than that. Type ‘baking’ into the search box at the top of the page and you will find more helpful articles on the subject. Make sure to read the comments as well, as there has been lots of valuable hints added by our members. Good luck!

  99. Carol R, 24 January, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    I am a graduate student that will soon be looking at the cordage markings left on Late Woodland ceramic vessels. Most previous research has used some sort of polymer clay, usually Sculpey, to press onto the potsherd to get a positive impression of the markings. Often, the impressions are detailed enough that individual fibers can be seen. Sculpey is used because it is inexpensive and can be baked, so the impressions can be studied by someone else in the future without having to put the sherds at risk. I had read that Sculpey III was softer and able to take finer detail from molds, so had thought to use that for the impressions, but if the clay tends to break after baking, then this would be useless for future research. Could you recommend a clay that I could use? What I need is a clay that is soft enough to press into small impressions easily so that the risk of breaking the sherd is lessened, that small details can be seen, and that will bake without cracking and not prone to breakage once baked. Also, I hadn’t realized that certain plastics will react with the clay, so wondered if you have a listing of compatible and incompatible materials to use with the clays.
    Thank you, Carol

  100. Cindy Lietz, 25 January, 2013

    Hi Carol,

    Your studies sound very interesting. Your question is a first for me in regards to how you want to use the clay. I think others would find it interesting too. So I may have to mention it in a video sometime.

    As far as which clay to use, you have a few options. Premo Sculpey clay is very strong (if baked at 265F-275F for 1 hour) and should be soft enough for your use. Fimo Soft would also work well, (bake it at 230F for 1 hour) and it should also be soft enough to get a good casting.

    If your end piece doesn’t need to be hard, there are a couple of molding clay products that would work very well, and would be flexible after cured. One is called Sculpey Mold Maker, which is a very soft and flexible clay that needs to be baked. (Follow the instructions on the pack for that one.) And another option is a two part silicone molding product called Simple Silicone.

    As far as plastics that are compatible with polymer clay, there isn’t a simple answer. Each brand has a different formulation that will react differently with different plastic types. That is of course only when raw. Once cured the pieces can be stored in any type of plastic. The best thing to do to test if the plastic container is safe with your brand of clay, is to put a test clump of raw clay onto the plastic and wait a day or so. If it is going to react it will leave a foggy or sticky mark on the container. If not it should be fine, but I would continue to check for a week or so to be sure.

    Hope that helps. Good luck with your project!

    And do come back to let everyone know how things turned out.

    ~Cindy

  101. Carol R, 26 January, 2013

    Thanks, Cindy.

    I think it’s time for some sampling of polymer clays before I start.
    Since the casts will probably be traveling from the curation facilities to my home to be cured, I think I’ll take them for a couple hours of car travel to see how well the different types will hold up.
    If too soft, they might become distorted.

    Thanks again,

    Carol

  102. Maria B, 10 February, 2013

    I totally agree!

  103. Sam B., 14 April, 2013

    I use Sculpey 3 and so far I love it! I never had anything break. I have several sculptures I made out of Sculpey 3. I just got Premo because it was on sale so I’m going to try it out.

  104. Kayla K, 16 September, 2013

    You should try quenching them ^.^
    Right after they come out of the oven drop them into ice cold water.

  105. Latisha S, 06 July, 2014

    Hello i am a little tad new to this clay thing tho have been doing it for about 8 months now i use sculpey oven bake clay from walmart its soft till u bake it and not varry good for makeing canes i have tryed many times but when i roll it into a log to cut into pieces it gets all mushed and messed up on the inside i have only had a couple things brake on me i made a cherrim pokemon and her head pettles busted off without superglue i cant fix it also a dragon i made its wings broke off i glued it back on with fabric glue but that has gotten old and it has fell off again but other then that most of the things i have made are still in one pice and i like the clay its the only thing my walmart has and were i live thats the only store we have if i wanted to buy better clay i would have to order it from online there are not alot of colors or anything but there are some glitter and some glow int he dark colors in this type of clay and you can mix in glitter to the normal clay to make it glitter and it is easy to mix colors as well you might want to try this clay tho it might still brake if a kid plays with it im not sure i made a snail and my 2yo has played with it and it did not brake

  106. Patricia Bearden, 07 August, 2015

    Oh my, scary!! I’ve been working with polymer clay off and on since late 2004 to early 2005. I’m not even sure what Sculpey I started with? I know it was a sampler pack. It had instructions for making a teddy bear. I made a boy and girl set for my mom who spent 3 months in the hospital. I made other stuff too, but my girl teddy bear broke. My mom had let a little one play with it. Now I have to wonder did it break cause of bad clay and not cooking it long enough or because she was to rough with it? I still have the boy bear and so far no cracks or anything in it. I’m learning so much, but learning I’ve done a lot wrong. I also mix clay brands for different color mixes. How bad of a mistake am I making there?

    Again thank you so much for all your informative info. I’m learning so much!
    Patricia

  107. Cindy Lietz, 09 August, 2015

    Thank you Patricia! Sorry to hear about your broken pieces. :( Polymer clay can be brittle for basically just a few reasons.

    One reason can be lower quality brand (like Sculpey III, Craftsmart and some import brands.)

    Another can be the clay was in poor condition… ie. partially baked by improper storage.

    Another reason is under baking… either the temperature is not correct, or it has not been baked for long enough.

    These things are not really mentioned in any baking instructions so a lot of people can’t understand why their pieces are so fragile. Like you, they feel like they did something wrong.

    This is one of the reason s why we make all these videos… to help people understand the medium of polymer clay, so that they have success. I am very pleased to know that you are learning so much! Thanks for taking the time to let us know! :)

  108. Crystal Shepard, 19 August, 2015

    For me, Sculpey III is a special use clay. I love it for cabochons, where fragility is not an issue at all, because it requires so little conditioning. But you’re quite right that it’s horribly fragile, and I’d never use it for anything other than thick or supported pieces.

    My clay of choice is Fimo Professional. In my experience it’s stronger than Premo, more color accurate, fingerprints less, and takes less conditioning. I used to use Premo, I’ve mostly switched. If you haven’t tried it, do. YouTube has a real lack of reviews of it in English, Cindy, so you might think about doing a review of it there.

  109. Cindy Lietz, 23 August, 2015

    That is interesting about you saying that the Fimo Professional had fewer fingerprints for you Crystal. I just got some samples of the true colors from Fimo Professional and I found it made my fingerprints much worse than Premo. I will have to work with it more to see if that changes for me. I will be doing some reviews and demos with it in the future, so stay tuned… It may be a little while though, because I need time to play with it first. But it will be sooner, rather than later. :)

  110. Fawa L, 13 November, 2016

    I agree, I started with fimo soft, and I found premo fingerprinted much worse than the fimo, its OK though because premo is still good. Better than sculpey 3. Sad because sculpey is such a cute name!

  111. Nixie L, 06 January, 2016

    If Sculpey III is to soft and it can break after cured, will leeching it before you make something help with the sturdiness of it? I have a BUNCH of S3, and I am scared to use any more of it as one of my THIN pieces broke. I have so much of it and I was wanting to do some canes and such, but terrified that they will turn out all muddy.

  112. Cindy Lietz, 06 January, 2016

    Hi Nixie, unfortunately leaching it won’t really help, but if you bake it longer and use it for things like larger round beads, you can definitely use it up. You can also make it into molds and things too where the strength isn’t much of an issue. Do a search using the search box at the top of the page to find out how to make molds and texture sheets with your clay if that interests you. Good luck!

  113. Nixie L, 08 January, 2016

    What do you think about making maybe some small items, but then using them as inclusions in a resin, or use a resin like a shell to protect it? (Probably would have to make it fairly thick I would imagine) I have some resin as well so that wouldn’t be an issue.

  114. Cindy Lietz, 08 January, 2016

    That could work too Nixie. Just experiment and see what you can come up with. Good Luck!

  115. Fawa L, 13 November, 2016

    I just started working with polymer clay, I used to play with kids clay as a child, and I heard all the warnings about sculpey before I started so I only purchased fimo and premo. But I’m having a very tough time mixing a color that looks like this bear made by Kay miller, (search rainbow bear by kay miller its the first picture that comes on google)

    So I bought some sculpey tan to see if I could mix it, but when I opened the package and touched the clay, it was so disgusting! Doesn’t even feel like clay, it feels like some kind of brittle spread, maybe it would be good for icing or something, but I hear it breaks after baking? I can’t ever use that, not even for molds or structural pieces for my dollhouse project. I guess it might just sit there and collect dust, even when I mixed it with fimo and premo it was still not good. The clay I used as a child was just like fimo/premo, the consistency, but it wasn’t bakeable clay, it was just the childrens kind from toys r us…but sculpey doesn’t feel like clay at all! It feels very dry kind of like the stuff they smear on drywall and let dry and then sand (is that called drywall? lol) , whereas the other ones feel more rubbery and firm like how clay is supposed to be.

  116. Fawa L, 13 November, 2016

    OMG I just found a way to use up my sculpey 3!!! I can use it to clean my hands!!!!! No more wasting other precious clays, its tan so its a light color, next time I’ll buy translucent, and use it only for hand cleaning :D

  117. Cindy Lietz, 14 November, 2016

    That is a very clever idea Fawa! Thank you so much for coming in and sharing your thoughts and ideas!. It is very much appreciated! :)

  118. Fawa L, 14 November, 2016

    you’re welcome Cindy, I love watching your videos they are very helpful! Its pretty funny but I was looking at your website and realized that we live in the same city! I was thinking you were in another province or Vancouver, but you’re just a few minutes away :) according to your P/O box hehe

  119. Cindy Lietz, 17 November, 2016

    Small world Eh?

  120. Deborah B, 17 February, 2017

    I watched with interest your video on baking different polymer clays and you demonstrated how and why you preferred Premo to original Sculpy. I am new to polymer clay and my first project was a dog sculpture with extruded long hair using the original Sculpy from Michaels. I baked the entire sculpture at the directed temp (265 I think) for 1 hour and cooled slowly as you suggested but the hairs were very brittle and would break very easily. Do you think using Premo would make them more elastic and less likely to break. I’m also wondering if I should bake the sculpture in two stages… first without the hair and repeat once I have applied the extrusions?I’m not sure if the application of urethane on the finished sculpture would help strengthen the hair but they were incredibly delicate and I suspect might even break when applying the urethane. This was a about a 10 inch tall sculpture with a good armature core.

    Thanks for your help – love your videos!

    Debbie

  121. Cindy Lietz, 20 February, 2017

    Hi Debbie, Premo is a much stronger clay and it would have fared much better for your sculpture. A coating isn’t going to make that much difference for strength (unless it was a super thick coat of resin or something and I have no idea how’d you ever go about something like that.) Baking in stages is good, if you want to make sure the piece is properly cured and or you love a stage you got to and want to make sure it doesn’t get messed up. I would do the last baking for an hour though, just to be sure. Watch the many videos on baking that we have here and it should help. Good luck!

  122. Nat C, 22 April, 2017

    hi guys, just wanted to say that i brought and tested some premo clay, and all i can say is OMG! i cant believe i have spent several hundred dollars on sculpey lll for making pendants and earrings.
    i had been researching why my clay was soooo brittle after it was baked, even when thick. then i read the testing you did, bought some premo and there is simply no contest between them. im so angry :(, wish they would label sculpey lll saying NOT suitable for jewellery! so thankyou so much for your testing and tutorials. could have saved myself some money, time and effort.
    cheers, Nat

  123. Cindy Lietz, 24 April, 2017

    I am going to have to agree with you on that! At least now you know! :)

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