Best Polymer Clay – Premo Sculpey vs Fimo Clay vs Sculpey III

Best Polymer Clay Brands

Battle of the Brands: An Experiment for Strength, Hardness and Flexibility:

Hi Cindy, When you get a moment I’d like your opinion on this. I’m so new to polymer clay work that it isn’t funny. What make of clay is best for thicker items (1/4 – 1/2″) that are made and baked. My first purchase of clay to work with was Sculpey III. I find that after it is baked it isn’t as hard as I would expect it to be. Which make of clay bakes the hardest? Thanks so much for your time. ~Eric

A: Well Eric I thought it would be fun to answer your question by doing a little experiment! Although I had some good guesses as to which clay bakes the hardest, it’s always best if you can show proof.

So taking 3 of the most common brands of polymer clay Fimo, Premo and Sculpey III, I baked up samples in thin sheets and thick blocks to see how they would compare in a number of categories. I also baked up a sample with Fimo Mix Quick added in to see if that made any difference.

Each strip sample was approximately 1/16″ thick, and the blocks were 3/8″. Using a letter rubber stamp I identified each brand with a letter:

  • F = Fimo Clay
  • P = Premo Sculpty
  • S = Sculpey III
  • PQ= 50:50 mix of Premo and Fimo Mix Quick. I ran a little short for the PQ mix so the block is slightly smaller.

Here are the results after baking for 1 hour:

Fimo Classic (White):

  • The strip was firm but somewhat flexible.
  • Strip could be bent in half a couple of times without breaking (Strong Rating).
  • Baked up the whitest in color.
  • Thicker block felt the hardest when still warm. No give.
  • Once cool, the block was very hard.

Premo Sculpey (White):

  • The strip was very flexible.
  • Strip could be bent in half several times without breaking (Strong Rating).
  • Baked to a clean off-white color.
  • Thicker block felt firm when still warm. Some give.
  • Once cool, the block was very hard.

Sculpey III (White):

  • The strip was not very flexible at all.
  • Strip snapped with the first bend (Weak Rating).
  • Baked to a horrible spotted purple-brown color.
  • Thicker block felt firm when still warm. No give.
  • Once cool, the block was hard.

Premo Sculpey (White) and Fimo Quick Mix 50:50 Blend:

  • The strip was very, very flexible.
  • Strip could be bent in half the most times without breaking (Very Strong).
  • Baked to a clean off-white color.
  • Thicker block felt firm when still warm. Some give.
  • Once cool, the block was very hard.

For strength and hardness I honestly cannot recommend Sculpey III. It was the most brittle, the least flexible and it baked to an icky purple-brown… definitely faired the worst. All stuff I knew through experience but it was fun to see the side by side comparison! Here’s another article you may want to read about my least favorite brand: Sculpey III Makes Me Mad

As far as the hardest polymer clay off the shelf, I’d have to give first place to Fimo clay. But the winner for strength goes to Premo Sculpey. Premo mixed with Fimo Mix Quick seemed to improve the strength as well. So that combination gets top honors. Thanks goes out to doll artist Bonnie Jones for the advice she has given me in the past, about using Quick Mix to add strength to polymer clay. Questions? Comments? You know what to do :)

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Lietz, 19 September, 2008

    The interesting thing about this experiment was the color differences between the clays. They were all baked together at the same time at 265 degrees and were tented with a sheet of paper. This just proves how all clays are definitely not created equal!

  2. Katherine O, 21 June, 2011

    @Cindy Lietz from Polymer Clay Tumblers:

    um hi, i’m thinking of making my own cutesy jewellery with handmade charms and i’d previously used fimo soft and classic about 4 years ago as a youngster for fun, but i had some questions on the different clays.

    firstly, which clays are best concerning waterproofness (i don’t recall fimo being waterproof) and best at taking all the knocks and what not that you’d expect a charm bracelet or necklace to have to handle on a day-to-day basis ?
    um also i’m considering the cost of the clays as i’m still a teenager with not much of an income, so i was wondering if the half fimo/half premo mix was very costly?
    I used to mix colours with the fimo, but i’m thinking painting the charms might give them a more realistic look and quality, but again i have no idea which paints would be durable and long lasting enough for jewellery. I have decent quality acrylic paints for regular painting at my disposal i was wondering what your opinion on those might be?

    My final question is which clays would you say are best for sculpting realistic looking charms such as food?
    I’m sorry for all the questions, but I’m not sure who else to ask so when i found this i was relieved. Thank you for your time =)

  3. Jocelyn, 22 June, 2011

    @Katherine O: Welcome Katherine. It’s great to see new folks start out with this medium at a young age….I promise when you retire you will still be claying and learning, lol.

    Until Cindy can get back to you, I’d use the search box in the upper left corner to find some answers to your questions. Just type in “waterproof clay” and see what comes up. Same with the others.

    All of your questions are answered in the various blogs and videos here. Maybe, for a birthday or Christmas gift you could ask your folks for a membership so you can hit the video vault?

    You’ll love the results, I guarantee.

  4. Katherine O, 22 June, 2011

    thank you =] i’ll be sure to ask my mum if she can do that =] and i’ll definitely browse this sit some more,
    thank you again for your time =]

  5. Jocelyn, 23 June, 2011

    @Katherine O: No prob. Look forward to seeing you around. I swear the most fun of all is the enthusiasm and quest for knowledge that you find here. Cheap. Go Cindy, Doug, Willow and Fisher, TEAM LIETZ.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 24 June, 2011

    @Katherine O: Welcome Katherine! It is so great to have you here! My daughter Willow is 14 and my son Fisher is 12 in a couple days and they love to be artistic. It is really cool that you are being creative with polymer clay. It is a medium that you can work with for the rest of your life if you wish.

    It has been super busy around here, so I am very glad to see that Jocelyn helped you out. She is right about the Beginners Course being the best place to start for any beginner. It will help you avoid lots of problems, and make you advance much quicker than if you try and go it alone. If you click the link by my name, it will take you to more info about that.

    As far as clays go, my favorite clay to use is Premo Sculpey. It is strong when baked, yet soft enough when raw to work with easily. It is a great all purpose clay. Good for miniatures, canes, beads and tons of techniques. It is also excellent for color mixing. You won’t need to mix it with anything else, for good results. The price is usually a little more than some of the other clays but you can get it cheap (99 cents) if you wait for sales at places like Michaels.

    SculpeyIII is not the best choice because it can break so easily, which is very disappointing.

    Spend lots of time reading the blog posts (and the comments from members) and you will learn a ton! If you can’t find the answers after looking, you can ask, and someone will help the best they can.

    Happy claying!

    @Jocelyn: Thank you for your help sweetie!

  7. lu oliveira, 03 October, 2011

    I totally agree with you Lisa. Just two days ago I had my first experience working on some beads using Sculpey III, and I was extremelly disappointed seing my beautiful combination of colors turning into brown or purple spots. I have always used Premo and the results are always pleasant and consistent. I will never used Sculpey III again. So you know if you go online instead of local art stores you will find more variety of colors that your son might like.

  8. SilverCrafts, 12 May, 2016

    Sculpey III only needs to bake for about 3 to 5 minutes at 350? F. Thats why it changed color. It got burnt.

  9. SilverCrafts, 12 May, 2016

    Degrees not the question mark. Oops.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 12 May, 2016

    Hi SilverCrafts, 3 to 5 minutes is far too short to be baking polymer clay beads at. The inside will not be cured properly and the inside clay will eventually break down the cured clay on the outside. Although it may look fine at the shorter time period, it isn’t going to be of the quality that it should be. The bad thing about Sculpey III is that a properly cured piece (one that won’t break or fall apart over time) ends up discoloring… like mine did.Also, 350F is too high a temp. It will end up burning your pieces if you bake it the amount of time required.

    If you are taking the time to make wonderful polymer clay pieces, then it is worth the slightly higher cost of buying a better quality clay like Premo and baking it properly so that the piece lasts for many years to come.

  11. Eric, 21 September, 2008

    Thanks Cindy for taking the time to answer my question. I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is to have experts like yourself to help us newbies along. Your article was very helpful.
    Thanks again,
    Eric Nielsen

  12. Cindy Lietz, 21 September, 2008

    You are so welcome Eric! It is great to have more men around here! Make sure you comment a lot so other guys start to comment too!

    I see you have a site all about ice cream. Have you considered making ice cream cone charms out of polymer clay? You could even scent them with vanilla, chocolate or strawberry essential oils. Bet your customers would love it!! Would also make great party favors too!

    Click by my name there for a link to scenting polymer clay. Read down into the comment section too… a comment from Ryssa is very helpful.

  13. DaisySoapGirl, 29 September, 2008

    Thanks for all your helpful info. and for adding me as a friend. I’m just starting to play with polymer clay. I have a lot of Sculpey to work with before I try any big projects. I am basically covering switchplates, bottles and picture frames.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 29 September, 2008

    Hey DaisySoapGirl if you make soap you probably have some of those great scented oils for soap making! Did you know you can make great scented polymer clay beads with that stuff? If you click the link by my name you’ll find an article about it. Thanks for dropping by!

  15. DaisySoapGirl, 08 October, 2008

    What Cindy? Oh my gosh! I’ll have to try that. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the tip.

  16. Cindy Lietz, 09 October, 2008

    You’re very Welcome!

  17. Anna Sabina, 04 November, 2008

    Hi Cindy, Have you ever used Sculpey Premo Frost. It is supposed to be like translucent with “bleach”. If so, what techniques did you use?

  18. Cindy Lietz, 04 November, 2008

    Anna, I’ve haven’t actually tried the Frost yet because my local Michael’s store doesn’t carry it and I haven’t gotten around to purchasing it online yet. Would like to though since I hear it is nice and white compared to the regular translucent.

  19. Anna Sabina, 05 November, 2008

    Thanks for the information. Our local Michael’s does not have it either. Have not seen it at Hobby Lobby. I ordered it online.

  20. Darren Carrington, 09 July, 2009

    Dear Cindy,

    I’m Darren Carrington an Artist in Brighton. It’s only now that I’ve begun to search on the Net for complaints about the newer versions of ‘Sculpey’ that I realize I’m not on my own. I’ve found your site really interesting, and people like me really appreciate your time and efforts.

    I’m a Puppeteer my puppets heads, arms and legs are made of the old ‘Sculpey’ but you see I created my main characters of my Comedy TV series ‘Thatch Close’ way back in 2005, it wasn’t until last year that I noticed a few puppets had got slightly worn and so I began to re-create the main cast of my series, it was then that I was horrified to find none of the clay was working for me and I was nearly convinced I’d lost my marbles and couldn’t continue my aim. I must add and to help other Artists that there are a few companies out there that will send you a few samples if they feel you are a true Artist and that you have lost money in the past over trying various clays to find out you have the same problem. It’s a nightmare, for example for the faces of my characters I used the old ‘Sculpey’ flesh/beige colour this was back in 2005 I wonder if you noticed that it kind of had a visible fleck fibre within the clay, maybe this is what you go on to explain and which made it so much firmer?

    However Cindy you’ve been a great help and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so, so I thought I’d throw some light from my point of view, please do update me if a newer firmer version ‘Sculpey’ comes out won’t you? At the moment and to continue my work I’ve been using ‘Sculpey living Doll’ as it states in the name, it’s perfect for models, dolls and sculpture, and flesh colour the only other colour available is ‘Ethnic’ and I’ve been getting it from ‘Ebay’ I may have missed this in your write up, otherwise I hope I’ve helped.

    Your’s sincerely,
    Darren Carrington

  21. Cindy Lietz, 13 July, 2009

    Hi Darren, thanks for your great comment! It is such a pain when formulas change isn’t it!

    Now I’m not really a sculptor but I have made friends with Bonnie Jones a wonderful polymer clay doll artist who works with several different types of clay including Fimo Puppen and she will be able to tell you the strongest clay for your puppets.

    If you click the link by my name, it will take you to an article about Bonnie and the link to her site.

    Hope that helps!

  22. Lindalou, 14 February, 2010

    can i mix premo and fimo togather, im using fimo translucent and i want to add a little bit of premo alizarin crimson to it.

  23. Phaedrakat, 15 February, 2010

    @Lindalou: Hi! You can mix any of the clays together. You just have to be careful when you are doing something like making canes. In a cane, all of the clays have to be the same consistency so they’ll reduce without distortion. For most applications, though, just mix your colors as you like. Then, bake your piece at the lowest temperature of the clay types. (Just add extra baking time.)

    Welcome, and Happy claying!

  24. Betty-Anne, 24 April, 2010

    I am just learning on all this … making some shawl pins, and went to hobby store yesterday and bought some new colors that I NOW think I should return. I was looking at which were the strongest polymer clay to use … but am now thinking I should use more flexible clay, so pins do not snap with pressure. Do you recommend the flexibility in this case?
    I saw/ bought some “Studio by Sculpty” and wonder about it’s characteristics. Is the transparent [Premo] as strong or flexible as the regular?

  25. Phaedrakat, 24 April, 2010

    @Betty-Anne: Hi Betty-Anne, the Studio by Sculpey clay is actually a pretty good one. Sculpey III is the clay that Cindy had bad results with in the tests above. That’s not the same one you bought, is it? (You can check out the pictures in these articles to verify what you have, as well as read about the qualities of this clay.)

    *Studio by Sculpey…Oven Bake Clay
    *Comparison—Studio by Sculpey & Premo Sculpey

    Studio by Sculpey is one of the newer clay lines, and people have been quite happy with it. The strength & flexibility are great, so it should work quite well for your pins. (Unless you need something extra flexible, in which case you can add some Fimo Mix Quick, or even some Bake and Bend clay or Mold Maker/Elasticlay to make it really flexible.) As long as you condition your clay and bake it properly, however; you should have no trouble with your pins snapping.

    Regarding translucent clay: Premo Sculpey is excellent (Cindy’s favorite!) Premo translucent is just as strong/flexible as the regular colors. There are actually two (2) types of translucent Premo—regular and Frost. Premo Frost usually has to be mail-ordered; but it’s considered to be the clearest of all brands of translucent clay. If you have questions about the translucent clays, you can check out this article: Translucent Clay Comparison

    I hope this info was helpful to you. You mentioned returning the clay, but I assume that’s because you thought it might not be strong or flexible enough. Since that’s not the case, you will probably keep the clay? Also, you said you were pretty new to all this. There’s a lot to learn, but all the information is here at Cindy’s website. You can find just about anything you want to know by doing a search (use the box at the top left of the page.) There are also videos, courses, a free newsletter (w/free videos & color recipes,) etc. I actually left a comment for someone the other day about all the site has to offer. It starts out with baking info & tips, but the last paragraph explains how to navigate the website, and how to get free videos & color recipes. My comment is here: Sculpey Clay Projects

    Best of luck to you in your clay journey. It’s so much fun, I think you’re going to love making beautiful shawl pins! Please leave a comment if you have any other questions or comments. There’s always someone happy to help. :-D

  26. Miguel, 02 August, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Hi <i have not talk to you in some time…I want it to ask you if you can send me the link to the conversation we had about the name of the companies that make all the clay …It looks like my wife deleted that my email to link to that conversation..Thank you and talk to you soon…

  27. Phaedrakat, 03 August, 2010

    @Miguel: Hi Miguel, sure thing! Here’s where we talked about the clay companies.

    I found this by typing in the words “Miguel, clay company” into the search box (there’s one at the top of each page.) It found the article where we had that discussion very easily. With some searches, you have to fiddle with the wording a bit. But in a case like this, where you know what you’re looking for—it’s easy to find! I hope things are going really well for you, and that you’re having fun with your clay!
    Take care, Kat :D

  28. Wendy, 01 September, 2010

    Ohhhh noooo lol I stocked up on Sculpey III when I first started sculpting in clay some months ago…now I find out that it’s no good? D: No wonder I can’t make any good canes! >_.< But I love how it bakes to a very nice finish =) I hardly have to gloss it like I do with the Sculpey III.

    Btw cindy, your site is awesome! I get most of my tips from here now. You pretty much have every answer right here!

  29. Phaedrakat, 02 September, 2010

    @Wendy: Hi, we’ve all purchased clays and tools, things we didn’t know “better” about..we call these purchases “BC” (Before Cindy.) Even though Sculpey III is a weaker clay, its pretty colors can still be mixed in with other clays, and it’s good for things like molds, bead cores, and many other things. It is weakest in thin pieces, or when used for protruding parts…avoid that, and it should work a lot better for you. The article, Sculpey III Polymer Clay Makes Me Mad, has some more information and tips about this clay.

    Best of luck! ~Kat

  30. Melanie, 30 September, 2010

    Thank you for this! I was planning to buy Sculpey III, but what i hear from this tutorial, i will not be buying Sculpey anymore!

    I will buy Fimo instead! ;)


  31. Carolyn Michels, 05 November, 2010

    Hi, can you advise what is the difference between Fimo Classic and Fimo Soft? I am going to be making christmas decorations and jewellery, so am wondering which is better to use or maybe Premo Sculpey would be better? Thanks!

  32. Phaedrakat, 06 November, 2010

    @Carolyn Michels: Hi Carolyn, all 3 clays you mentioned are fine. Your best choice depends on what techniques you plan to use and what you want to make. Fimo Classic is a firmer clay. It’s harder to condition than Premo Sculpey or Fimo Soft, but once you get it warm & pliable, it’s easy to use. It’s strong & holds its shape well…a better choice if you’re doing precision caning/geometric designs, etc. Fimo Soft is a pretty good clay, too…it’s fine for just about any clay technique.

    Premo Sculpey is a wonderful choice because it’s an all-around great clay — easy to condition, yet quite strong. It’s Cindy’s favorite clay, and most of her clay recipes are made with Premo. So if you’ve been getting her weekly newsletter, you’ve got color recipes ready to be mixed up with Premo! (That’s in addition to the A-series recipes that come with the member’s weekly video tutorials…) To see what Cindy thinks of these clays, see her post Fimo, Premo, Sculpey – Which is Best…?

    She highlights the pros & cons for Fimo Classic, Fimo Soft, Premo, & Sculpey III brands…plus, there are some helpful tips in the comments section…

    If you want more information, try using the search box located on top of each page. There are hundreds of articles on this website, so just about every topic has come up at least once. Just type a few words into the search box, like “clay brands”, “Fimo classic vs. Fimo soft”, “best clay brand”, etc…& you’ll get a list of articles where the topic was discussed. Be sure to check the comments* under the post, as well…some of the best answers & tips are mentioned there (often more info than in the original article!)

    *If there are too many comments to read through on a particular post, try using your browser’s “find” function (“Control” + “F”,) along with a keyword. You’ll be able to find the right comments/replies more quickly. For example, hit “Cntrl + F”, then type “Fimo” when the find box comes up — it will quickly take you to the right place(s) on the page…

    I hope that helps! Have fun making your decorations/jewelry. If you haven’t signed up for Cindy’s Polymer Clay Newsletter yet, you can do so at the top of the page. You get 3 free videos for signing up, and 2 color recipes from Cindy’s custom palettes each week. It’s an awesome deal…hope you enjoy! :D ~Kat

  33. Greg T, 23 January, 2011

    but dont different clays bake at different times?? the sculpty could have been over done

  34. Cindy Lietz, 25 January, 2011

    @Greg T: You make a good point Greg, and you would think so, but I have another opinion on that.

    It has been my experience that burning polymer clay during baking is more about the temperature than the amount of time. In order for the polymers to cure fully in a regular oven, the clay has to be held at the recommended temperature for a minimum of 30 min. The problem is that home ovens especially a small one like a toaster oven rarely hold their temps consistently or for very long.

    They heat up and cool down constantly. To compensate for that, most polymer artists (including me) bake their pieces for much longer. In most cases for at least one hour at a time. As long as the temp does not spike too high, this method of baking, creates a much stronger and durable piece.

    As you can see from the tests, the Sculpey III white clay didn’t fair too well. But if you bake it for less time, it won’t be strong enough either. Problem is solved if you switch to Premo. It is a better, stronger and higher quality clay, that is hardly higher in price than the Sculpey III and definitely worth the price for the less hassle it is.

    Bet you didn’t expect such a long answer for such a short question! ;-)

  35. Van A, 25 February, 2011

    Hey, y’all!I
    I have worked in all polyclays listed here, and felt I should speak up to the topic.
    For any beginner, I reccomend that you try to obtain a sample size , or buy a small anount of the clay you are curious about using, and test it before you take anyone’s advice on its usage. Sample sizes can usually be bought in craftstores or on Ebay. But since every artist has their own working “comfort zone”, no one clay can be favored or rated over another by nebulous descriptions like relative strength or color. I use diffrent clays for diffrent purposes. I will say, however, that polyclay companies today tend to cater to beaders rather than true sculptors-hence the very soft “new” clay formulas; easy to put through a pasta machine, not so easy to actually sculpt with. I am a classically trained sculptor, who switched to polymer clay to have more control over my work through the entire process of finishing. I feel significantly underserved by most of the polyclay companies, all of whom focus their marketing to crafters, beaders and children, despite coming out with so-called “Professional” materials that they never try to market at all to serious artists. But by all means, try a material before you comit to buying a large amount. And you can use anything you like to paint polyclay–oil, acrylic or even watercolor– but you must seal the surface with a quality soft body acrylic gesso, first. That kind of thing you only learn from thirty years plus of working with the stuff.

  36. Linda K., 26 February, 2011

    @Van A: Van, What do you mean by “soft body acrylic gesso?” Also, you say “seal” (rather than using the term basecoat) the surface. I can understand that you might need to seal the clay before painting with oil paints, and that gesso might help hold onto the watercolors, but why would you need to seal with gesso before painting with acrylic paint?

  37. Van A, 04 March, 2011

    @Linda K.: It depends on the final effect you want to achieve with the color. If you are painting to achieve a flat, even surface, you indeed may want to go over your polyclay with a thin coat of soft body gesso first; this makes for a smooth, even coat of paint, with colors that pop. It is not always necessary to prime polyclay with gesso. I do it usually before applying specialty finishes like gold leafing. Soft body reffers to liquid rather than gesso in a tube, which is primarily for canvas. And I say “seal” because of the porous nature of polyclay. If I were emersing a polyclay sculpture permanently in water, as in a snow dome, I would give it a few washes of gesso, paint, then seal it with marine grade polyurethane and allow to dry for two weeks.

  38. Coby B, 12 October, 2016

    Hey Van, this is interesting info. I want to make fish tank decor and don’t want to kill anyone’s fish so just curious if the marine grade polyurethane is safe for fresh and salt water tanks. Also is there a matte finish marine grade polyurethane product?
    Thanks Coby

  39. wyne, 14 March, 2011

    Hi Cindy,

    Is it possible to mix premo and sculpey 3?
    Are there any other alternate home materials replacement for TLS? like glue?

    What is the trick in doing realistic icing on the cupcake?

    Thank you for your help



  40. Cindy Lietz, 15 March, 2011

    @wyne: These are interesting questions Wyn. As far as the first one, the answer is yes you can mix brands. It has been discussed a few times on the blog already. If you do a quick search, using the box at the top of the page, you will be able to find more info on that.

    I don’t know about using any household supplies such as glue as a replacement for TLS. That is something you would have to test to really know, since it is not something I have tried myself.

    As far as creating icing, you can mix a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil, TLS, Sculpey Diluent, Bake and Bond or another liquid clay in with a small amount of solid clay and mix like crazy. A fun option is to mix a scented essential oil like a vanilla or chocolate scented oil, to make your icing smell good too.

    Have fun!

  41. Karen C, 20 April, 2011

    Hi Cindy,
    I am having trouble deciding which polymer clay to use when getting my 3 year old kinder kids to make a single pendant for mum for mother’s day.
    It will be a small pendant but I want to push the children’s thumb print into the clay and I’m not sure which will work the best to show off the thumb print. I’m hoping you can really help me. I’m from Australia.

  42. Linda K., 20 April, 2011

    @Karen C: Karen, I wanted to make pink ball markers to be given away at a Ladies Golf League Breast Cancer Fundraiser. I had some pink Sculpey III that I wouldn’t trust for jewelry, but I thought this was a good use for it. I rolled a fairly thick sheet of clay and pressed a texture sheet into both sides. Then I cut out a bunch of coin-shaped pieces and baked. They looked great, but they snapped into pieces like mint candies with almost no pressure.

    I would hate to see those little children disappointed by making presents for their moms that break…so don’t use Sculpey III. I’d recommend using Premo clay, which is much stronger, but still faily easy to condition. As long as you condition it well, you should have no problem getting nice fingerprints in the pendants.

  43. Cindy Lietz, 20 April, 2011

    @Karen C: Linda gave you excellent advice! Like she mentioned, Premo is your best bet. Use a solid color, not a translucent, metallic, pearl, or glitter. The solid colors will show the fingerprint better. You could also ‘antique’ the print with acrylic paint or a glazing medium to help show off the print better. If you haven’t done that before, Click the link by my name to find out more about that.

  44. Karen C, 26 April, 2011

    Thanks for your advice. I have had trouble finding just the right polymer clay for this project and haven’t been able to find premo. I have certainly found sculpey III but after reading your comments, there is no way I would buy it. My local lincraft store had fimo soft – I bought 4 little blocks today, so I hope this will still do the trick. I am going to start it with the children tomorrow as it is our first day back to Preschool after our term and easter break. Do you think this will still be ok? Many thanks Karen

  45. Cindy Lietz, 26 April, 2011

    @Karen C: Yes Karen, you should be fine. Fimo is a good brand and should be strong enough for your project.

  46. Karonkay, 28 April, 2011

    I just had to chuckle. I am working hard to get rid of fingerprints!! Nice to find someone who wants them to show up. Some of my earlier work would have been great examples for you.

    Hope you have a great time with this project and your little ones

  47. Scarlett S, 02 May, 2011

    Hi. I am new to clay and i was wondering what type of clay is best for making items like food, animals ect.

  48. Cindy Lietz, 03 May, 2011

    @Scarlett S: My favorite multipurpose clay is Premo Sculpey. It is soft enough for sculpting and strong enough not to break easily. If you need more information on brands and other polymer clay stuff, there are tons of articles here at the blog that will help tremendously. Just type your keyword into the search box at the top of the page.

  49. Katherine O, 24 June, 2011

    thank you for your response =) i’m afraid I don’t know what Michaels is though, I live in England so I’ll probably have to put up with craft shop prices (not cheap, unfortunately) I’ll definitely look out for Premo, I’m hoping I might be able to find it online slightly cheaper, but I’m assuming it’ll be the same kind of price as Fimo classic and soft which is what i used to use as a little kid =)
    I’ll test out a few different ways with premo and fimo and see which works best for me though, thank you for all the tips, they’re really useful! =)

  50. Jocelyn, 26 June, 2011

    @Katherine O:

    Online sources for Premo/Sculpey:

    All products:

    One of my fav ordering sites:

    and another two:


    Have fun!!!

  51. Phaedrakat, 03 July, 2011

    @Katherine O: Hi Katherine, there are a couple of UK-based sellers you may want to order from — see this comment: ClayAround

    Silverleaf’s comment explains how to get 10% off your order, too (from Penny at
    Enjoy! ~Kat

  52. Katherine O, 03 July, 2011


  53. Alma L, 15 July, 2011

    I made those tiny babies (head the size of little finger) out of fimo and it looked so lifeless. I then made one out of premo flesh I had years ago. It looks like moisture on the skin it’s so lifelike. I put the fluff of white feather for angel wings and some old barbie doll’s hair for baby fuzz (hair). But, now I can’t find premo flesh?

  54. Jocelyn, 16 July, 2011

    @Alma L: Hi Alma, I googled flesh colored Fimo and got the following link:

    Lots of other suppliers came up as well. Hope this helps.

  55. Alma L, 16 July, 2011

    @Jocelyn: Thanks so much for your time. I need “flesh color” premo. They may not make it anymore? My little block was over 5 years old. I used Fimo first and there was no comparison to premo’s. Premo looks like dewy baby skin. Fimo is so flat in color. I did see I found alot of Premo, but no flesh color. Thanks again for your help, I need it!!

  56. Jocelyn, 16 July, 2011

    @Alma L: Alma, as my Dad used to say, this is where the tough get going……

    Just as with my favorite perfume, Charles of the Ritz, a discontinuance is but a small hurdle. Ever seen that hoarder show on TV? Trust me, someone out there has a lifetime supply of the right color. I believe.

    Will save a search at EBAY and will google it. Would suggest you contact every person who specializes in dolls, as many may have a supply or sell it at their sites.

    We will find it.

    Now, the question is… long can it lay around inert?

  57. Alma L, 16 July, 2011

    I had mine for 5 years. At the time I bought ever brand and tried them. Just came across the flesh premo in my stash!! I’m going to try cernit (which comes in several shades of skin) after reading these letters. I saw them making the babies on utube so tried with fimo clay. So lifeless and pulled out my flesh premo and how wonderful it was. They used premo too. I have transluent and maybe will mix my flesh color. Thanks again. Glad to know someone is out there!!

  58. Jocelyn, 16 July, 2011

    @Alma L: Dunno, Alma…this is sourced from EBAY and it sure looks current:

    13 oz Bar Dark Flesh 76700 $13.95 $8.37 IN STOCK

    13 oz Bar Flesh 41046 $13.95 $8.37 IN STOCK

    Sure hope so….

  59. Alma L, 16 July, 2011

    I think the premo beige will work!!! Thanks for helping me. I want to try that flesh super scupley too. Thank you so much.

  60. Rain D, 15 September, 2011

    Hi there, I was wondering the difference between regular glitter and the glitters used with polymer clays. I have a lot of “regular” glitter wonder if I can use that to mix in my polymer clay projects then bake? Thank you and I appreciate your time!

  61. Cindy Lietz, 21 September, 2011

    Hi Rain, that is something you will have to test. Although most glitters are fine with polymer clay, some will explode in the oven. Since there are a million types of glitter, it would be impossible to list all the ones that worked and those that didn’t. Just take a bit of the glitter you have and mix it with some scrap clay and then bake it to see if it works or not. Have fun!

  62. Dea C, 03 December, 2011

    I was wandering what do you think of cernit? I was amazed at first by the texture, the finish and how good it was for the tiny details but last week I noticed something weird… We were organizing an anti-fur event and I had to make lots of animal pendants and animal print beads but I was running low on polymer clay so I made them with foil center. I made guide holes before baking and pierced them afterwards (still not feel comfortable drilling them). On the cernit beads the needle didn’t come out in the right spot. It was way to easy to make a new hole in the baked clay and it was definitely not a thin layer… I didn’t have that problem with the fimo classic and effect beads and not even with the sculpey III beads. It was not an aesthetic problem cause I was going to put bead caps anyway but now I’m worried that my cernit thingies might fall apart or something in time.

  63. Cindy Lietz, 10 December, 2011

    Hi Dea. Actually I have not tried Cernit yet myself, so I am not the best one to help you with this. Hopefully someone else will pop in with some advice for you.

  64. W. Henry-Elwell, 29 December, 2011

    [Disclaimer: I am neither a beader nor a professionally trained sculptor.]

    In defense of Sculpey III:

    I feel the need to defend Sculpey III as a perfectly legitimate clay to use for crafting purposes, especially if you’re simply working with kids, exploring your own ideas, or want to make something pretty. It seems like this post has people headed for the hills and running the opposite way when it comes Sculpey III and I think that’s an entirely unnecessary aversion to this product.

    I have been using Sculpey III, (also Premo! and Sculpey Bakeshop) regularly for the past four years to create little clay creatures. It’s more of a hobby than anything, so I’ve only made a couple hundred items (critters) during my time with these clays. (A little over half of them have been for sale/sold (others are gifts, or personal)).

    I have never had a problem with Sculpey III (even white) turning purple, getting brown spots or anything, ever. . I usually bake the Sculpey III as the package states, estimating for my thickness (which is on average 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick). So, the guys are in the oven approx. 15-30 minutes. I’ve used a few different toaster ovens and an electric stove, and none of them ever effect the quality.

    The only “problem” I’ve had with Sculpey III color is burning due to operator error. It browns slightly if it’s in there 40+ minutes, and will eventually blacken if you leave it in long enough, no matter how thick it is or the clay color. My personal issue was surface fissures due to cooking rate – so, I learned to cook thicker pieces longer at a lower temp. Other than that, I’ve never had a hang up with any of the polymers I use. The horns, ears, and tails on my critters have broken off if dropped from too high, or handled improperly (i.e. chewing, stomping, throwing against hard surfaces) – but only at extremely thin points, or poorly melded joints (again, mostly operator error, not clay issues).

    Bakeshop is extremely soft, but it’s designed for little hands and fingers. I use it if I want to avoid having to pre-work the clay for something small and quick, or to add to Sculpey that is slightly too hard or “dried up” for me. Premo! does require longer baking time, and if anything those colors sometimes go a little wonky on me (but not enough to be an issue). I’ve never experienced serious issues with any of these products. I’ve yet to use FIMO because the nearest place that sells it is a couple hours away – and I’m already using clay that works for me. I dislike Studio Sculpey because it doesn’t hold heat very long (i.e. goes cold quickly and requires frequent re-working to warm it), so I choose not to use it. Sculpey “Light” though is one of the most pointless, and worst, art products I’ve ever used (across the board) – I can wholeheartedly advise against using Sculpey Light.

    Again, I neither bead, do any clay caning, nor try to render doll flesh or the like – but I have worked with Sculpey III regularly and sold the products I made with it.

    Everyone has their personal material preferences, my suggestion is to go out and develop your own. You’ll only ever know a product through your own experiences with it. Play with whatever you come across and feel drawn to… In the case of polymer clays, I’m pretty sure most anyone reading this has blown $3.00 on a worse idea.


    @ Rain D. – Pearl Ex Pigment Powders are super fantastic with polymers. You can mix a little in for a very subtle effect, or brush it on the clay before you bake it. However, when brushing it on, it will act much like cornstarch does – the clay will not stick to itself. So, make sure you won’t need to attach anything else to a surface before you powder it. After baking, though, soft clay can be attached and cooked on, or hard items can be glued.

  65. Cindy Lietz, 13 January, 2012

    Thank you Henry for such a detailed response! I love for people to share their own experiences whether it is of the same opinion of mine or not. If you are finding success with a product than by all means use it. I am all for supporting whatever works for you.

    On a side note, there have been significant improvements to the Sculpey III line of products over the last year or so, so my negative opinions described in this post, may no longer be valid. I am very happy with the Premo Line they make however, and will continue to use it as my main polymer clay for now.

    Thanks again for your comment!

  66. Monina Naylor, 02 January, 2013

    Hi Cindy,

    Found your site today. I am building my Nativity Village and I am going to use polymer clay. I saw your comparison clay test and it is great because I am purchasing my clays today. The clays will be used to make all my accessories such as baking items (cakes etc…), baskets, vegetables and etc… do you by chance have any videos on food mini dollhouse I can download? Do you have any videos on YouTube? I do a lot of gumpaste flowers and decided start a new project for next Christmas.

    Thank You,
    Monina Naylor

  67. Cindy Lietz, 02 January, 2013

    Hi Monina,

    Welcome to the site.

    Here is a link to our PcT YouTube Channel. We are now uploading one or two videos a week so you may want to subscribe to get notifications. I have not yet posted any Youtube videos on dollhouse and miniature food techniques, but there are several articles about these topics here at the blog. Type in appropriate keywords into the search box at the top of the page, and you will be able to find some helpful info.

    Also you can check out Vol-038-2 in the members library if you like… Miniature Cupcakes

  68. Monina Naylor, 03 January, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for your info. Learning about clay is the most important part of all the lessons for me. I am looking forward to many beautiful projects made of clay. Will be exploring your web site for more informations later after I set up.

  69. Stephanie S, 30 January, 2013

    Hi Cindy & Doug,

    Retired, bored, caregiving my elderly mother, holder of an Art Education Degree earned 45 years ago: I need your advice!

    Working with clay was–long ago–one of my favorite activities. Thinking of what to do with my time, that’s the most appealing to me, but I don’t want to go the “real” clay/kiln-fire route. My idea is to make small garden creatures of, say 2″-4″ tall I can share with almost all my friends. My wrists and hands aren’t as strong as they used to be, but I’m looking forward to strengthening them.

    Soooo…for a clay that will survive all kinds of weather, I figured Premo Sculpey (1 lb white) that I can paint with acrylics then give an outdoor clear coating of some sort. Then I came across Super Sculpey Firm (1 lb grey) and the description seemed to fit my purpose better. I did purchase a 6-pack of Premo! 2 oz colors and 1 oz small bottle of Sculpey Satin Glaze. Now, I’m stuck! The more I read about the various Sculpeys the more confused I become.

    Please, please tell me what would be the best polymer clay for my purposes. I’ll be forever grateful!

    Stephanie in Oregon

  70. Cindy Lietz, 04 February, 2013

    Hi Stephanie,

    Your question is kind of a tough one to answer since polymer clay isn’t really meant to be outside. It is plastic so if you put it out there, its waterproof so its not going to get wrecked in the short term. But as far as handling hot sun, UV rays, temp shifts and regular rainy days, how well it would do over time would be so different depending on where you lived and what the weather conditions were. Adding paints and finishes, could just compound the problem. I am not saying it can’t be done, but it may not be as simple as you would like it.

    As far as which brand of clay would be best, that I am not sure. Premo Sculpey is one of the best, most durable clays on the market, so it would be the best place to start. Make sure it is properly baked (type baking into the search box on my blog for lots of info) and heat set your paint to get a better bond with your clay. I wouldn’t bother using Sculpey Glaze for this kind of thing. It won’t be durable enough.

    One option is to wax the surface with Renaissance Wax. It has a UV protectant in it that may help with the sun.

    My best advice would be to make one and test it before making a bunch for friends… unless you want to keep them inside, then there won’t be any problems at all with your idea.

    Good Luck!


  71. Jocelyn C, 04 February, 2013

    I tried outside objects a couple of years ago. Made some toadstools and some ghost pipes, used Premo, then treated with Preserve your Memories II. Used several coats of the spray because it protects from UV. This is the company to order from:

    Placed them all in deep fern shade and bring them in for winter. I love them. All were mostly a white/translucent base with a few red spots of Premo on the toadstool. Embedded cut of pieces of a wire hanger in the base so they would stay in place.

    Works for me, lol.

    Would love to see what you come up with, all best!

  72. Lisa E, 22 August, 2013

    Interesting! I need to make my own 5/8″ tiny knobs to match a very old antique cabinet. This may just be the ticket. I always seem to need things that just don’t exist anymore. Thanks

  73. Jocelyn C, 02 November, 2013

    Just as the “Angels of Hope” poly clayed bottles were the symbols of hope for all affect, covering tinee tinie little bottles with who cares what (Christmas is near) and giving them as holiday trinkets just make me feel good.

    This set from the glitter folks, is adorable.

  74. Sherry B., 26 May, 2015

    Hi Cindy,

    It’s hard as heck to find the old formulas for Premo and Fimo. When I go to the Staedtler site for Fimo, they list Fimo Soft and Professional. Is Professional the same as Classic? Will it work well for caning? I am just starting to do canes. The first ones, I did with Sculpey and….uh…no, that didn’t work out. I am trying some with Kato Clay. Much better, but the white and yellow are still a bit soft.

  75. Cindy Lietz, 27 May, 2015

    Hi SHerry, from what I hear, the Fimo Professional is the same formula as Fimo Classic… plus they added the new true color line for better color mixing. As far as caning goes, Kato and Fimo Professional will be good choices. You can use Premo though… I do for all my canes, but you may need to leach the clay to firm it up a bit. Just type ‘firm clay’ or ‘leaching clay’ into the search box to learn more about that.

  76. Jocelyn C, 28 May, 2015

    Staedtler Fimo Professional

  77. jamie carrington, 04 June, 2015

    As an established miniature figure maker I’ve had so many problems with clay and the makers changing their formulas. For years I used and taught using Living Doll by Sculpey but, because of safety, they removed the phthalates and it became unusable.

    However they did retain the formula for Premo and I now swear by it. It’s very strong, as you found out in tests, does not change colour when baked. It’s firm to the touch but easily conditioned, and I have many students with weaker hands, and doesn’t lose details while working.

    The downside for miniaturists is that the colour Beige is too dark but I add a tiny amount of white and it’s perfect.

    I use a jeweler’s scale to weigh the amounts, For each 1 oz of Beige I add 0.103 oz white.

  78. Cindy Lietz, 05 June, 2015

    Thank you so much Jamie for coming in here and sharing your sculpting formula and tips with us!! I just checked out your site (click on his name to go there) and you do very beautiful work. I am in awe of people who can sculpt like that… You are a true talent! Thanks for popping by!

  79. H Masters, 02 July, 2015

    Thank you for your tests Cindy they are so insightful and I love your site and youtube videos. I’ve just started using Sculpey Premo but find it is breaking as thick as 3mm. I use an oven thermometer to check the temperature is correct and baked for an hour but the pieces I made snapped in half easily (strips of 1mm,2mm and 3mm thick). Do you have any suggestions what could be wrong? I used clay from one of those multi colour packs. Perhaps I should try the individual blocks instead?

  80. Cindy Lietz, 03 July, 2015

    Hi there, it sounds ot me that your oven thermometer isn’t reading right and your oven isn’t as hot as it should be to melt the plastic particles in your clay. Even a very thin piece baked at the right temp for an hour should not break without a lot of severe bending back and forth. Try a new thermometer and see if that helps. Good luck!

  81. Dorothy C, 03 August, 2015

    Hi, Cindy
    Is it safe to bake fimo at 265F and for a hour long?
    Thank you.

  82. Cindy Lietz, 04 August, 2015

    Well I don’t work with Fimo that much, but I think I have baked the translucent at that temp without problems. I would test it though… that is about 35 degrees higher than it is supposed to be baked at so there is a high chance it could burn. Try it out on a scrap piece and see how it does. Let us know how it goes!

  83. Kristen N, 22 July, 2016

    I still can’t decide whether I should use Fimo or Premo. They both seem to do well in strength but I was just wondering, does the color in the clay change after baking by any chance?

  84. Cindy Lietz, 22 July, 2016

    Personally my favorite is Premo, Kristen. I find it much easier to mix colors than with Fimo and I like that it can do anything that I want it to do. Premo also has less color shift when baking than Fimo does. I have some videos on what Premo and Fimo looks like after their baked that you will probably want to check out.

  85. Tony B., 13 January, 2017

    Cindy,I have been using Sculpy for many years, not as jewelry or art, but as a medium to make stone bricks for my models in HO (1/87th) scale. My latest is called Sewall’s Foundry. Most of my models are scratchbuilt, not kits, but sometimes based on kits. I have a few small blocks of Fimo, and didn’t realize they were essentially the same thing, so your article has enlightened me, thank you.

    Here is a link to the finished pictures on the Railroad Line Forum web site


  86. Cindy Lietz, 15 January, 2017

    Oh my gosh Tony your work is amazing! I am really impressed with your attention to detail. I would love to start doing miniature work and your work is very inspiring! Since you have been working with Sculpey all these years and you didn’t realize that it was the same medium as Fimo, I would suggest that you get to know some of the other brands and their properties as well. Each clay is suited for different applications. Some of the clay are stronger, some are translucent, some are softer and stickier and some are drier and firmer. I have some information on this blog about some of the different brands out there. Just some of the brands of oven baked polymer clays to look into include, Premo, Souffle, Kato Polyclay, Fimo Classic, Fimo Professional, Fimo Soft, Pardo, Cernit, BeesPutty, PVClay, Sculpey Bake n Bend, and more. There are also several airdry polymer clays that may be suited for your larger projects. Thank you so much for popping by. Make sure to take a look around this site and use the search box to find lots of cool info that you can learn more from. Cheers!

  87. Cindy K Marlow, 11 March, 2017

    Cindy :
    I realize this is a really old thread but I see some recent activity so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m curious at your baking time of 1 hour. Did you even bake the thin strips that long? Not one of my clays recommend baking that long. My. Premo soft says to not exceed 30 minutes. I inherited a beautiful box of clay, miles, and tools and I’m excited to get started but I’m confused regarding the different types of clay. I have sculpey studio, I, III; Fimo soft, premo, kato polyclay, and granitex. I want to make totem figure totem figures.

  88. Cindy Lietz, 14 March, 2017

    Hi Cindy, yeah I even bake the thin pieces for an hour. I realize that non of your packaging of any of the brands will say to bake for that long, but as a professional that has been doing this for years, I know that baking longer makes for a better product. There are tons of baking videos on this site that will go further into detail on the hows and whys of longer baking which you can find by using the search box above. Have fun with your beautiful box of clay! :)

  89. Aubree Rivera, 30 October, 2017

    Hi I just wanted to say thank you for doing this experiment. Even though it’s been almost 10 years since you put this up it is still very helpful. I have read all the comments and advise on this site and I am hoping that now I can make a better product after all this wonderful information.

  90. Cindy Lietz, 31 October, 2017

    Thank you so much Aubree for taking the time to say such kind words! I am so delighted that our content is helpful for you. Hope to have you around for a long time more!

  91. Donna S, 04 September, 2018

    Just received my first sculpey living doll clay. It seems to dry on the surface & gets kind of powdery while working with it in a push mold. Is this normal? Regret not staying with premo but kind of stuck with it now. Tried adding premo translucent & liquid clay which helped some. Absolutely the last time I use living clay but will need to use this up. I am molding babies for the most part. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. BTW! I really enjoy your tutorials.

  92. Cindy Lietz, 10 September, 2018

    Hi Donna, that sounds very interesting! Unfortunately I don’t have any insight to share with you, because I have not yet worked with the Living Doll clay. (So many brands…. so little time!) It sounds like you have figured out a work around for yourself though. If anyone else here has worked with the clay, perhaps they can help you out better? Good luck!

  93. Leah Clark, 14 March, 2019

    I have an urgent question. I am making little mermaid pendants for a clients child’s birthday. They are only maybe 1/4″ thick, so very thin. I used premo for 1 hour on the first set. They are flexible with no breakage on the fins and arms which are very small and vulnerable. But I did not like the beige color, it came out too dark so I tried the beige kato clay. After four times, the kato just kept snapping into pieces when bent. So I went back to the premo clay and did 3 mermaids. One in translucent, it seems to be strong with no breakage. One in pearl also seems to be strong. The third in white with glitter snapped into pieces very easily. They were all baked together at 275 for an hour. I really wanted them to be flesh colored but most importantly they need to be strong because these are for little girls (4 years old) necklaces and will be treated rough I’m sure. SO should I try to do them in a liquid polymer clay? And can I tint that with color? Or do I need to get another form of clay that will be more flexible without breaking? I did not think this was going to be a big deal. I though I could get them done quickly, now I’m under pressure to get them done in time for the birthday. I have never made anything so small before so I have not had an issue with breakage before. Please let me know what i should do. I appreciate any advise so very much!!!! Thanks as always.

    So I understand that nail polish straight on top of the polymer clay will eat it eventually. But what about if I paint the clay with three coats of acrylic paint then seal it with PYMII. Then put the nail polish on top of that and then seal it with top coat nail polish. I have holographic nail polish that is really perfect so I would love to be able to use it. What do you think? Thanks.

  94. Cindy Lietz, 14 March, 2019

    The Kato clay probably needed to be baked hotter, it is a very strong clay when baked at a higher temp. In regards to the liquid clay, you could use that, but it will be very rubbery, it is not my favorite thing to use for molded pieces for that reason. If you liked how strong the premo was, but not the color, you can mix some white Premo into the beige. That should get you a good skin color. In regards to using nail polish, I would stay clay of that all together. There are some great new holographic glitter paints that are acrylic that would be way better that you can find at Michaels. There is also a paint called Color Shift that is very pretty. Just don’t use any solvent based paints, even with a layer of stuff in between. There is just too much of a risk of them getting all sticky, and I’m sure your client wouldn’t be too thrilled about that!

  95. Sarina Parker, 08 August, 2020

    As a newbie to polymer clay…can i mix Fimo and Sculpey together and if so, what temp do i use for baking as one says a lower temp than the other on package. I watched your video on baking for an hour and also using cornstarch, etc. I have a tile to bake on and I can tent it with foil if not using cornstarch in a tin. Asking before I ever start to bake anything…again newbie. Love your videos and appreciate your tie to teach!

  96. Cindy Lietz, 10 August, 2020

    Thank you for your kind comments! I would suggest that you do some test strips first before baking your first pieces. That way you can figure out the perfect setup and not ruin your brand new projects. You can mix clays but you will need to play around with the temps and baking times to find that sweet spot for your new mix. Since you’re new you’d be better off sticking with one brand until you have a handle on the baking process. Also, make sure to get a separate oven thermometer since most ovens are off by several degrees. Good luck! Let me know how it goes…

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