Phthalate-Free Premo Polymer Clay – Blessing or Curse

Premo Sculpey Clay

The Removal of Phthalates from Premo Is Certainly Causing a Stir. Have You Tried the New Formula Yet?

With recent concerns over the safety of different types of plastics, many companies have decided to remove some particular types of plastics called Phthalates from their products. When I first heard that they were going to do this with polymer clay I was really excited. Anything that moves in a safer, greener direction is good, right? Well, yes and no.

Although I am glad for the removal of phthalates from polymer clay, it hasn’t come without some issues. For example, the new phthalate-free Premo is no longer firm but super soft, which changes things a lot for the polymer clay artist.

The new Premo is easier to condition and mix together, but traps air and fingerprints very badly. Its soft texture goes nicely through a clay extruder but distorts easily when used for caning. It is easier to smooth out the joins when adding cane slices to beads, but more difficult to keep the shape of the beads.

So, with the new Premo, comes the need to figure out a new way to work with it. This has caused a bit of an up roar in the forums. With titles of posts like “NEW Premo formula- Egads!!!!!!!!!” and “Mush” popping up all over the place. People calling the new formula ‘silly putty’ and frustrated caners returning all their clay to the store that they bought it from.

All this negative activity towards the new formula has caused Polyform (the creators of Premo) to stand up and take notice. In fact on Mother’s Day one of the polymer clay artists that has been complaining to Polyform about the new formula, got an email saying that they were working on yet another reformulation of Premo which they will be sending her a sample of real soon.

I’m hoping this even newer Premo has the best of both formulations so that I can be comfortable again telling people that Premo is my favorite polymer clay!

Anyone tried the new formula yet? (You can tell the new formula from the packaging. The new formula has the web site address on it and the old one does not.) What do you think of the new Premo?

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Lietz, 14 May, 2008

    One way to deal with the softness of the new Premo is to leach out some of the plasticizers from the clay. Although there may be some loss of strength in the clay by removing plasticizers, the loss is minimal and makes little difference in general bead making. Leaching the clay too far could be a problem for sculptural elements so is recommended only for more solid bead shapes.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Baking Beads on a Bed of Cornstarch

  2. Karen Hanson, 22 May, 2008

    Michael’s has Premo for $.99 for 2 oz. Is this what they are trying to get rid of for the new formula to come in? We are just beginners, and perhaps the soft stuff would be o.k. for us. Thanks.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 23 May, 2008

    Hi Karen! Michaels has a polymer clay sale every couple of months so I don’t think the new formula is the reason they are selling it cheap right now.

    As far as what clay to buy why don’t you try some Fimo Classic as well some Premo to see which one works better for you. As a beginner soft clays can be tricky and with the new Premo being so soft (that may change again) you might find the firmer Fimo Classic easier to work with for now. Fimo Soft is about the same as the new Premo so there is not much point testing that one unless you want to. With the clay being so cheap it’s a good time for testing.

    Click my link below for a blog post I just did on this sale at Michaels.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Polymer Clay Sale at Michaels Arts and Crafts

  4. Pamela Reader, 15 August, 2008

    This is interesting. As a new-comer I don’t have any experience with the old stuff, and in this case, perhaps ignorance is bliss! Does putting it in the refrig help at all to firm it up? And if so, what other problems can it create? Thanks again for the great information, written in a clear and concise manner to help all of us.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 15 August, 2008

    Pamela putting soft clay in the fridge can help quite a bit. It will go back to being soft again when it warms up though.

    The problems you run into when the clay is too soft is: trapped air, difficulty slicing, distortion in canes, colors mushing together and more.

    In my course there are videos on how to deal with clays that are too soft or too hard and the other problems you can have working with polymer clay.

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

  6. DDCNGA, 31 August, 2008

    What does “leaching” the clay mean, exactly? And how is that done?

  7. Cindy Lietz, 01 September, 2008

    Leaching means ‘sucking out’ some the polymers in the clay that make it too soft. This is done by putting it on an absorbent surface like a sheet of paper.

    In my beginners course [see link above] I show you a few cool tricks using your pasta machine to speed up the process.

  8. Lupe Meter, 06 February, 2009

    Thanks for explaining the “leaching” process. I wasn’t sure how one actually did it because I have heard the term before but wasn’t sure what it meant. I like using the FIMO soft clay as well as the PREMO although there are more colors available in the PREMO than the FIMO at least at JoAnn’s or Michael’s. But your color palette cards come in handy when you just can’t find the right color and so you make your own. I am not sure if I have used new PREMO brand since I didn’t look carefully at the package, but I will let you know when I come across one. Although the last PREMO I used, I thought I was considerably softer, but I didn’t take a good look at the packaging. Thanks again!

  9. Cindy Lietz, 06 February, 2009

    I bought a bunch of the new Premo about six months ago and now that it has sat around a bit it is quite a bit stiffer and I’m finding I don’t have to leach it as much. Also I’ve heard that they tweaked the formula after many complaints so now it is good again. If you bought your clay recently Lupe it shouldn’t be a problem. If it is still to soft, it is nice to know you can leach it out to make it stiffer again.

  10. Cheryl Harris, 11 July, 2009

    I’m curious what’s happened since these comments were posted. My friend taught a class today and used what is presumably the new Premo formula, and she said although it was soft and easy to run through the pasta machine it continued to break when folded. She said it was really hard to work with and it wasn’t because of the room temp. It was warm. Any thoughts?

  11. Cindy Lietz, 11 July, 2009

    Hi Cheryl. That sounds a little strange that it would be soft but would still break. Sometimes I wish I could just reach through the computer and see the clay for myself. I’d be able to tell better if I saw it and worked with it.

    Any way, most of the recent Premo I have bought, has been the perfect consistency. Not too hard or too soft. But you never know how long a package has been on the shelf. So every once in awhile I get an extra hard one or a soft one.

    ** How about everyone else? How have you found the recent Premo Sculpey? Too hard? Too soft? Just right? Or something like Cheryl’s friend, soft but breaks?

  12. sarahwww, 12 July, 2009

    It may be because there is not alot of turn over of clay on the store shelves in my area (don’t EVEN get me started) but I have found all sorts of consistencies from all brands of clay. One will be too firm, another too soft and sloppy. Nothing much surprises me, I just keep adding stuff (opposite consistency, translucent, liquid) until I can work it. I guess the clay that I never get softened up can no go for Jupiter beads ;)

  13. Debi, 28 July, 2009

    I ran out of translucent before my order of premo frost came in. So as I was near a Micheals, I picked up a couple of bars to tide me over. Boy….I was very very upset at the crap that I ended up with. I bought the only translucent that they had at the time which was Sculpey III. Normally I can leach it and it works out ok. This stuff was worse than horrid! I tried every trick I know and then tricks I have learned from you all. This stuff even stuck to my blades so badly I cut myself trying to clean it off (with alcohol) my blades. It was like mutilated flour glue or something!! I am even more upset because I live in the tim buck too area of Indiana….the closest craft store is Micheals that is an 45 min drive. Can you imagine knowing that you can’t even take it back because it cost more in gas to get my refund?

    Bet you all know who I am sending email too really quick? Lol….

  14. Cindy Lietz, 28 July, 2009

    Well that sucks! I like your description of “mutilated flour glue”! LOL Made me chuckle. I can relate… there is only one craft store around here too, it is also a Michaels and it is 25 minutes away. Not quite as bad, but just about.

    Sorry, I don’t have any new advice for you rather than leaching between two sheets of paper run through the pasta machine.

  15. Debi, 10 August, 2009

    It’s ok, I understand….it’s like the old saying…you put crap in and you get crap out!!Lol…

    I did send e-mail to complain to Sculpey, and ya…you guessed it. No reply as of today. I will just have to order online from now on. I just am praying that they don’t change the frost recipe as well. But, I know they will…. :(

  16. Marta, 24 November, 2009

    Hello Cindy! I’ve just got to know about phthalate free formulas in clays and I’m so curious to find out the following thing: what has changed on the package of the new Premo, for example? may be it’s a new sign or design? Which exactly norm all clays should conform to now? I heard, previously they also had some sign and were considered non-toxic and harmless… though they proved to be harmful, as they banned phthalates at all…

  17. Cindy Lietz, 24 November, 2009

    Thank you for your comment Marta! It is nice to have you here all the way from Russia. Welcome!

    The new Premo has a picture of an oven on it and their web address the old ones did not. From what I know about the different clays, most have gone to Phthalate-Free.

    If you have questions about the safety or non-toxic qualities of the clay, you should ask the manufacturers directly. Polyform, for example is quite good at getting back to people with answers.

    Hope that helps!

  18. Marta, 25 November, 2009

    Thanks a lot for your answer! It was worth coming here from Russia ;)

  19. Cindy Lietz, 25 November, 2009

    Glad that helped. What part of Russia are you from? I’ve been seeing a lot of wonderful Russian polymer clay works lately and would love to hear more about how things are going for you Marta. What are some of the biggest challenges you face with polymer clay in Russia?

  20. Marta, 25 November, 2009

    I’m from the Urals, European part of Russia. As for my city, there are only two rather small shops that sell polymer clay, but actually nowadays it’s not a problem to visit one of the many Online stores and order some clay.

    I guess, our city is having a boom of polymer clay new born artists, but I can hardly call anyone a unique designer. It’s a quite understandable situation, as everyone is trying to satisfy the wider possible range of needs, they reach more perfection day by day, but no uniqueness. To my mind, uniqueness needs more braveness not to be appreciated by some part of the audience. As for me, I started my experiments with clay in October of the last year, but I changed it for felting in April, because of the same issue of not 100% natural material. But I guess, I’ll return to it in a short time, as it’s a curious material worth attention.

    The biggest challenge for me is that issue about the chemicals in clay. Most people live in blocks of flats, so you sometimes can’t arrange some artist corner for yourself with a separate oven. In summer the balcony is good, but in winter its too cold.

    What about situation in your city? And what challenges do you face?

  21. Cindy Lietz, 25 November, 2009

    Thanks for your wonderful feedback Marta. My biggest challenge is being able to keep up with all of the wonderful polymer clay activity that is happening all around the world. I always really appreciate having the opportunity to hear from people like you Marta, who can share your cultural stories here at my blog. Your command of the English language is excellent!

  22. Marta, 26 November, 2009

    Thanks, Cindy. It’s my profession, I’m a linguist :)

  23. Joy, 28 November, 2009

    Hello Cindy, I came across your informative website when I was searching for info on polymer clay.

    I am a first time user of polymer clay; I am looking for a phthalate free clay to use to make jewelry.

    I read somewhere on the web that these 3 types of clay made by polyform were phthalate free: Original sculpey, Premo sculpey, and Sculpey 111.
    However when I looked on, the only mention of any of their clays that are phthalate free are the bake shop sculpey clay.

    I know you mentioned that the new Premo clay is phthalate free; I guess I am puzzled why the sculpey website would not list it as such.

    Also, I tried out a small disc of the sculpey oven bake clay, about an 1/8 inch thick; after baking, the pieces were definitely firm, however they were somewhat flexible. I am looking for a polyclay that will bake hard without being flexible. Do you know which type of sculpey would be good for this?

    Thank you so much for your help.
    I really appreciate your website!


  24. Cindy Lietz, 29 November, 2009

    Hi Joy, welcome to the blog! As far as why Polyform has different info on their site than you expected, only they will know. Why don’t you ask them? They are excellent at responding to any questions you may have.

    In regards to the clay being hard, I’m afraid that even though there is a range of hardness’ between clay brands, they will all have some flexibility when they are that thin. Premo and Fimo are fairly hard when baked and are better than most of the other brands.

    To read more about the differences between clays, click the link by my name for more info.

  25. Joy, 30 November, 2009

    @Cindy Lietz: Hello Cindy, thank you so much for your prompt reply. I had emailed polyform, tho I have not heard anything yet.

    Apparently, they do not have a way of contacting them via phone; I looked on their website, and don’t see any contact phone.

    Do you know if the original sculpey has phthalates in it?

    Thank you so much for the link on the different sculpey clay options… I think I will try the Premo sculpey, as I gather it is indeed phthalate free, and thanks for the tip on the sculpey 111, it sounds like it isn’t a great clay!

    Thank you again for all your help Cindy!
    Nice to “meet you.”


  26. Robin Elsey, 01 December, 2009

    I’m not exactly new to polymer clay and had my first brush with di methyl phthalate when I was in my 20’s (over fifty years ago)
    . My problem with phthalates was migration – it sooner or later corrupted any adhesive system I could find at the time.
    Anyway, I now need to find out if the new plasticiser will corrupt the UV curable glaze I’m using. This material is much thinner (viscosity wise) than the nail varnish gels but much more smelly. Have you or any of your contacts any experience with this problem?
    Kind regards, Robin Elsey

  27. Cindy Lietz, 01 December, 2009

    @Joy: Sorry I do not know whether Original Sculpey has Phthalates in it or not. Polyform is a pretty big company and gets a lot of inquiries. It may take awhile to get a response but most of the time you will get one. Let us know when you do find out. It is nice to meet you too!

    @Robin: Thanks for your question. I’m sorry but I don’t know how to answer that for you. Maybe you should try to contact Polyform as well. It’s best to get that kind of information from the manufacturers themselves.

  28. Robin Elsey, 12 December, 2009

    @Cindy: Hi again – thanks for your response – I have decided to do a test program using Fimo Classic and Kato with various permutations of acrylic undercoating. As the insidious effects of phthalates can take some time to manifest themselves I won’t be able to report results until early summer next year.

    I have also developed a dip coater suitable for occasional use – and an improved version for more intensive use. The construction is simple but it works very well. If anyone is interested i can send them a pdf file.

    Unlike many PC workers I am interested in surface effects and my particular ‘holy grail’ is bright metallic effects in precisely defined graphic images. Again , if there is anyone interested I can send them details of my progress so far.

  29. Marta, 08 December, 2009

    Hello again, Cindy! I just wanted to find out whether all premo clays leave colored spots on the hands. I’ve recently used pearl red color and checked other pearl colors, they all color my palms… Is it usual and ok for that type of premo?

  30. Cindy Lietz, 11 December, 2009

    That is normal Marta. Especially for the strong colors like red and black. I like to keep baby wipes close by to clean my hands between colors, so I’m not getting my other colors dirty.

  31. Cindy Lietz, 12 December, 2009

    Hi Robin – I look forward to hearing about your phthalate testing results. Thank for “long term” dedication in reporting on topics like this.

    I’d be interested in seeing your dip coater PDF. Please do email it to me.

  32. Robin Elsey, 13 December, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for your encouragement -you certainly are a prompt responder!
    Ref. dip coater – have come up with a better construction method – so slight delay on .pdfs while I adjust text. Glad you liked my mosaic idea- had the thought that if one wanted non glitzy effects one could use acrylic painted egg shells (duck or goose better than chicken?). Also safer for kids or near food. Of course if you are Eastern Orthodox you could do icons by combining egg shells with the baubel idea for the halos.
    I liked your idea ref. the Sculpey material. Not sure it is available in UK I have another soloution to the problem of adhesion- using the hot melt powders mentioned in the entry about realistic pears pendants.
    Not sure if you would be interested but I counted up over 10 mainly finishing ideas which have not been published or if covered, then in other contexts and not gererally applied to PC. If someone is writing a new book on PC jewellery then I might be able to help them add a few more pages.
    But I need some time to get my ‘phthalate’ tests started!

  33. Phaedrakat, 13 March, 2010

    @Robin Elsey: Hi Robin, I would love to hear about your finishing ideas and the dip coater pdf’s you were talking about!

  34. Robin Elsey, 14 March, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: hi Phaedrakat! I had a disastrous virus and lost my info on making a dip coater – but I did send the file to Cindy so she may have saved it. Dip coating works fine for pendants and that sort of thing. I’m now experimenting with airbrush methods as I’m decorating jewellery boxes with Kato polymer clay bas relief flowers- too big to dip coat. If you want to know more on gold effect designs using the gold transfer foil used to embelish Xerox printing I can let you have an account of my trials and tribulations. I’ve found it a process with great promise – but so far unrealizable with any reasonable degree of reliability. I’m shortly going to try laser etching of dichroic on glass – but that’s outside the scope of poly clay! Robin Elsey

  35. Phaedrakat, 14 March, 2010

    @Robin Elsey: I’m sorry to hear about the virus wiping out your computer files. That’s awful! Especially with the scientific way you seem to approach all of your artistic endeavors. Is that the case – are you scientific in your art? You certainly document and test things! I’d love to hear about whatever you’re doing; I find all of this incredibly inspirational. Trials & trib’s to air brushing to perhaps seeing pictures of your jewelry boxes? It’s all interesting to me!

  36. Debbie, 08 January, 2010

    Hello! Thanks for this informative blog. I just made my first two miniature roses tonight and I must say, they look adorable! lol. I’m looking forward to using pastel dust and variegated clay colors for more realism. I am using Premo Sculpey since it sounds like the preferred clay for most people. I bought mine at Michaels (on a sale, of course) but I see no oven or website on the package. It does say it contains PVC and plasticizers. But maybe it’s the final recipe? I say that because my Michaels stock turns over pretty fast. Anyways, the clay worked great!

  37. Phaedrakat, 17 January, 2010

    Wow, don’t I feel like a complete do-do-head. 4 or 5 years ago, I decided to take up polymer clay. (I saw Lisa Pavelka “caning” on TV. I just had to try it.) I ended up buying some of every Premo color Michael’s had, as well as tools & a PM. I made a couple of simple canes, but soon had to package everything up & store it to have back surgery. I am now on disability, my back doesn’t allow me to do much. Lately, though, when I can, I reach for that clay I bought years ago. It’s amazing, most of it is still pretty easy to condition. But some of it requires dilutent & some major effort. (Black & translucent are the most brittle, for some reason. Weird, since they’re at opposite ends of color saturation…) A few months ago, I purchased a couple blocks of the more “brittle” colors, so that I could skip the hard work if I needed a color and was hurting too much. When I tried the new stuff, it was too soft! I got air bubbles, etc. I leached some of it; some I just combined with my older “brittle” clay.

    The “oh, dopey me” part is that I have been seeing things in blogs about
    Kato’s new Phthalate-free clay. I assumed that Premo would probably be following in the future. It never occured to me that the new soft stuff I’d purchased WAS Phthalate-free. I knew the label was a little different, but I didn’t know it was a new formula. (I only noticed some font changes on the label, I didn’t even notice the little oven or the website.) When I bought my “new” clay, they had some of the old stuff on the shelf. I wish I had known the difference then–I would have bought it!

    Anyway, thanks for clearing this mystery up for me. Since I only get to play with clay for short periods of time, I think I have plenty now to wait for the new stuff. I know where I can come for info if I need it!

  38. Cindy Lietz, 18 January, 2010

    @Phaedrakat – Just wanted to say a big Welcome to you. So glad you found us here. There is tons of helpful info at the site that will keep you reading for hours and hours if you like. The search box at the top of the page is the best way to find articles on specific topics.

    And I see that you have decided to become a member at the video library too. Friday’s will now have a whole new meaning for you. That’s when the new video tutorials for the week are posted for paid members.

    By the way, your Phaedrakat name is very unique. I bet there is a story behind it. I’d love to hear more if you would like to share.

    All the Best

  39. Jayne, 13 March, 2010

    I was not aware of the recent changes to Premo clay. This week I received my clay in the new packaging. I have been caning for ten years now with great detail. With the new clay, there is a dramatic difference between the white and black, even though to the touch they seem very similar. Premo has always been my favorite clay, but after going through 5 pounds of clay with poor results,what other clays do you like as well? I am in high production this time of year, and prefer clay with a minimum of conditioning..also what product would you use to equal out the white clay if that really is the only issue? I’m not that familiar with added conditioners. Thanks!


  40. Phaedrakat, 13 March, 2010

    @Jayne: Are you saying your new Premo is harder to condition than before? The new phthalate-free clay that came out a year or so ago is softer & droopier. Is your new clay packaged in almost completely transparent wrapping, except for a prominent “PREMO”? If so, this is even newer packaging; I’m wondering if this is yet another new formula?

    What is the problem with your white clay? How is it different from the black? Are you talking about the softness/firmness or color saturation? I know the black is much more saturated than the white… If you’re talking about one clay being softer than the other, you can leach the softer one. It’s described above, if you haven’t done it before (you place a sheet of your clay between 2 pieces of plain white paper and let the oily plasticizers leach out into the paper.)

    The best clays everyone talks about here, besides Premo Sculpey, are Kato & Fimo. Kato sounds like a superior product, actually, but the conditioning sounds horrific. Crumbling, and many, many passes through the pasta machine until it gets to a workable state. Great for caning, but you have to “get used to” the conditioning. I have only worked with Fimo a bit – it’s a good clay, but so far, I prefer Premo. I haven’t seen many comments about it here lately, either – good or bad.

  41. Phaedrakat, 18 January, 2010

    Thanks for the welcome! I have been poking around this blog for months now. I am kicking myself for not joining sooner. I see now that I could have had access to the last few months of videos for a third the price, but I thought I knew enough that I didn’t “need” the subscription. But, after watching my first 2 member videos, I can see that it would have been soooo worth it. I have learned some new things already, and I’m sure there are many more great things in store for me. You are a great teacher, and you have such a supportive group of people here at your blog. I’m glad I finally made it to member status! (If only there was a way to wind back the clock and get Vol. 14 to 19 for $3.32 each instead of $9.95! What a dummy I am!)

    Phaedra was the name of my first Persian female. I was thinking of breeding cats, and had not discovered the pleasures of jewelry making yet. I had never heard of polymer clay! My baby kittykat is long gone now, as are days when my back doesn’t hurt. But I do love me some clay! I can only “play” for awhile, but find it to be very (mentally) therapeutic. The great thing about PC is that I can stop at any point and go lay down. When I feel good enough I can get right back to it. Such a fun and forgiving medium!

    Sorry, I tend to be long-winded. Thanks again for such a great place to visit! I think I’m going to like it here… :)

  42. Cindy Lietz, 19 January, 2010

    @Phaedrakat – Being long winded is just fine :-) It is one of the reasons why this is a “such a great place to visit.” Thank you for the kind words. By the way, if you figure out how to turn back the hands of time, let us all know. I would love to know how to do that too… LOL.

    “…the great thing about PC is that I can stop at any point and go lay down. When I feel good enough I can get right back to it. Such a fun and forgiving medium!” ~Phaedrakat

    I completely and whole heartedly agree! Welcome again!

  43. Robin Elsey, 15 March, 2010

    Cindy has kindly sent back to me the lost file – very thoughtful and helpful. My background was in precision photography for the electronics industry- when I’m among scientists I’m an artist- when among artists I’m a techie!
    Got involved with etched precious metal jewellery -and jewellery has remained an interest during my so far,20 year retirement! Dichroic glass engaged my interest a year ago but the results are very much serendipty dominated! I wanted to be able to design motifs and get them accurately incorporated in decorative objects including jewellery. I thought I had the answer in the metallic foils similar to the Lisa Pavelka foils – using them as originally intended – transfering on to Xeroxed art(in negative form) but using the transparent foil (normally discarded) to then transfer on to polymer clay. Initial results were very promising but there is a serious reliability problem. Consistently good results elude me and I’ve virtually given up. I now expect to get the use of a laser engraver (Red Sail ‘Rabbit’ 40) some time in May. This means I could in theory etch designs on dichroic glass. If anyone is thinking ‘Why not laser etch on polymer clay?’ be warned – the burning process will release hydrochloric acid gas – very reactive and could damage the machine and get you coughing too! There are other uses for the Rabbit that are relevant to polymer clay but I need to do tests before I say any more. I shall post pics of my bas relief flowers on jewellery boxes when I’m happy with the results. At moment preparing for trip to Frankfort, Kentucky but that’s another story.

  44. Phaedrakat, 31 July, 2010

    @Robin Elsey: I’m sorry, Robin–I seem to have missed your comment somehow. Your scientific art (or art-y science) sounds really exciting. I can’t wait ’til you get to a point where you get results that are consistent enough to share. I’m so glad Cindy was able to get you your file—that’s horrible when you suffer data loss. Those dastardly viruses! (I know, there are better adjectives for them!) Please do share with us your bas relief flowers and etched pieces (whatever fun stuff you come up with using the Rabbit.) And do be careful with the laser—we don’t want you inhaling any harmful gases!

    You mentioned a trip to Frankfort, Kentucky. Are you still there, or are you in the UK? (I thing that’s where you said you were from…) Anyway, I hope you’re having a wonderful summer… [:~D]
    ~Kat   Riverside, CA, USA   –Where are you from?

  45. Robin Elsey, 31 July, 2010

    Let me try to answer your note of july 31st (that’s today I think- yes!)
    Ah yes! Firstly the Rabbit I sub-contracted it’s installation and operation to my eldest son who lves near Manchester(UK). Unfortunately he is just too busy earning a living and still hasn’t completed the enviroment alterations and installation.
    Meanwhile I have diverted to another form of polymer clay – made of PVA white glue and glass powder and baked – or fired at about 700 deg. C. -a process akka ‘Pate de Verre. It’s been arround for two and a half millenia although the use of PVA is a recent improvement. I confessed this all to Cindy a couple of days ago – I expected to be excommunicated from her community – I was given the thumbs up – but I guess my card has been marked!
    Anyway PdeV has some benefits – it is possible to get bright metallic effects. The surface finish is glass hard (as you would expect with glass) so it’s pretty permanent (There are many artifacts from ancient times in museums to prove it). The down side, compared to PC is that one’s work space must be a no go area for children -and cats. There are safety considerations. Oh yes! And there is no equivalent of caning!
    The possibilities of ‘multi media work is intriguing and has not been fully explored to the best of my knowledge.
    My work with PdeV is very tentative and recent. I have kept a diary of my efforts which is on file. It could- with a few pics, form the basis of a magazine article or even be incorporated into someones book – too old to write one myself. If you wanted I could e mail it to you – it’s an Open Office doc but I could save it as a MS ‘doc I suppose. Now I’m not sure of the protocol about sending you a doc by e mail – some chat groups frown on it. I am a bit uneasy about publishing it here because it might stop me from publishing it elsewhere. (Cindy -I’m sure you understand)’
    Was expecting to go to Frankfort(KY) for a concert in aid of a fund set up to remember my youngest son Paul. Unfortunately the Icelandic volcano errupted in April and cancelled my flight.
    I live in Surrey (UK) in a little village called Wotton outside Dorking it’s only claim to fame is that it was the home of John Evelyn the diarist who wrote about the great fire of London and the subsequent plague. Also where most of Vaughn Williams family is buried (he himself buried in Westminster Abbey with other famous English composers). Sorry to prattle on ( Cindy -please edit if necessary)

  46. Phaedrakat, 31 July, 2010

    @Robin Elsey: Hi Robin, I googled Pate de Verre, and it sounds really cool! Yep, with those temperatures, and the powdered and small bits of glass; it’s definitely a no-go for kids. Don’t worry about “prattling on;” I find the history of your home very interesting! I’m sorry about the cancelled flight due to the volcano erupting (that’s a story you don’t hear often!) I’m also terribly sorry about your son.

    I suppose your card might be punched, [;~D] but you’re still quite welcome here! You might very well find a way to use the P de V with polymer clay somehow—and wouldn’t that be gorgeous! Not to mention all of the other medias that you can mix in, like metals for instance. But for now, the high fusing temperature is what holds you back from using it with other medias like PC, right?

    I looked at some photos of P de V, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I would love to read more about your experimentation with this, as well as see some pictures–if possible. You could contact me on Facebook (friend me–Gianna Spelling, Riverside, CA–and I’ll message you back.) Then you could send me the file to “take a look.” It sounds really interesting—I’d be thrilled to learn more about it! Then I could be on the lookout for other glass artists, too, and then let you know so you could see if they’re willing or even able to publish your work in their book/article. And perhaps someone here at the blog will have some better ideas for getting your work published… I wish you the Best of Luck with your new “love!” ~Kat

  47. Martha L, 27 July, 2010

    Cindy, I want to know where you buy the large packages of Premo that I see in some of your videos!

  48. Phaedrakat, 31 July, 2010

    @Martha L: Hi Martha! You can buy the 1 lb. bricks of Premo (or other clays) from just about any online source. I haven’t seen them in any of my local craft stores, but you might—depending on where you live. I think Hobby Lobby carries them online, but I’m not sure if they carry them in-store (we don’t have H.L.’s on the west coast.) Try,, or for starters. If you’re not in North America, there might be a better place from which to order. Let us know where you’re from, and we’ll try to provide you with some tips on where to shop locally.

    You can also use the search box at the top of the page to find shopping info (or anything else!) Just about every question has been covered at this blog at least once. Type “where to buy clay” or “buy clay in UK” or something like that to get a list of articles where the topic was discussed. Then search the article and/or the comments below it for the info you’re looking for. Happy to have you here—and good luck with your bulk clay purchase!
    ~Kat   Riverside, CA, USA   –Where are you from?

  49. Jan Neff-Sinclair, 10 January, 2012

    @Robin Elsey

    I came in rather late on this discussion, but if you are still around,
    I would love to get a copy of the .PDFs on your dip coater and on
    finishing methods. Is that still possible?

    Thank you,


  50. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 10 January, 2012

    Hi Jan – I just emailed the pdf to you :-)

  51. Rhonda S, 07 July, 2012

    Dear Cindy,
    I fairly new to the polymer clay world as I have only been involved with for less than 2- 21/2 years. When I first wanted to play with polymer clay to craft beads for jewelry designs as girlfriend told me to try Kato.That it was in her opinion one of the best products on the market. Well I did and frankly it was a total nightmare. I had to order it online and it took a week to get to me. I found out later that the clay had been exposed to high heat indexes and suffered damage but needless to say my first experience was a horrible one. I returned all the Kato and was then turned on to Premo. I absolutely loved it. I tried several other polymer clays and found Sculpey’s and Michaels brand extremely soft and could not work with it.
    For the last year to a 1 1/2 years been working with a local bead store selling my bead creations. They became a huge hit over Halloween- Christmas holidays and I continued working on various designs and additions as time passed. When Premo changed their product to make it more GREEN friendly was the worst day ever. I was so excited over the other new colors that were added to their line but also extremely upset over their choices to discontinue colors that I loved and worked into other colors I created for specific pieces/ beads I make. I have had nothing but headaches and heartaches from their new GREEN friendly clay. Now when I created my canes and bake them, upon taking them out of the oven to cut the canes into beads….there are always cracks in the beads, stress lines in the clay, holes that look like air bubbles where there but I know that I throughly worked everything out of the clay and not to mention the disappointment with how the colors actually have looked when they are baked. Pinks are purple! Purples look almost black…..they whites have to be toned down or they show everything…..fingerprints on the clay…..I am so frustrated and upset I am about ready to take everything I have and throw it away. I have so much Premo clay that I have purchased sitting in my dinning room and every time I want to work on something I feel sick to my stomach knowing that it will only end in disaster. I can only apologize but so many times for not having beads for the store when I am there. I feel like a failure but my husband keeps telling me that there is a huge issue with many with Premo right now and its not just me. Sadly, I am losing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each time I work with it now. I am throwing everything I make away because of the issues described above. I loved Premo and I dread having to find a clay that I can once again enjoy using like Premo. I have also heard that Kato is now a much “user friendly clay”. I have never used Fimo before but have not heard positive things about it. Please help with information for this youngster to the clay world of polymer clay so that I am not continuing to take my hard earned money and peeing it into a empty hole.
    Thank you!
    Twisted Beads

  52. Cindy Lietz, 11 July, 2012

    Hi Rhonda, sorry to hear that you are having trouble with the Phthalate – Free Premo formula. It did take some getting used to for me as well, but really I don’t have that much of a concern about it.

    Each of your issues like it being too soft, or getting air trapped in it, and cracking,, etc. have already been answered at one point or another on this blog and in my tutorials. If you do a search, using the search box at the top of the page, you will find a list of articles and tutorials that will have you working with that new clay and getting great results in no time!

    Don’t worry. We can help. And definitely don’t throw out any more clay. Just start reading those articles and everything will start working for you again!

  53. Kristy Z, 12 September, 2012

    Hi Rhonda,
    I was relieved to see your email as I am having the same problems with Premo and Cernit.
    I have supported my family for over 20 years with my clay creations and this new phthalate-free clay is garbage. It breaks, fissures, cracks…and it isn’t as pretty either.
    I’m having to put elaborate miniature stainless steel armatures in my pieces and they STILL break.
    I’m even trying to remake my line out of resin clay, but it’s sticky and not as pretty or versitile as polymer clay.

    Right now I’m experimenting with Ice Resin and coating the pieces with it…but it runs down the sides and there is a 3 day wait between coats. Have you come up with any solutions?
    Distributors and manufacturers aren’t any help as they just want to make $.

  54. Ka Lee, 21 November, 2018

    Hi Cindy!

    This is an old post, but very informative, so thankful I found this blog post. I’m just starting out with polymer clay, and I have been having 2nd thoughts about even touching it, since I was reading about the pvc in them. Here I am some 10 years later, and the formula has probably changed a lot since. My question is, are all polymer clays now phthalate free?

  55. Cindy Lietz, 22 November, 2018

    Yes they are all Phlalate Free now. If you don’t want to throw out your old clay, and are worried about the Phlalates that might be in them, then I would just wear gloves. No sense throwing it out to just go into the environment.

  56. Ka Lee, 22 November, 2018

    Thank you much Cindy! I’m just a beginner, and have been doing a lot of research on polymer clay, many of the posts have either scared me to the point of throwing my polymer clay away, and some building my courage to working with the clay. I have small children who would love to use polymer clays for crafting, but after reading about the chemicals I am iffy about it. I’m not sure what has changed and what still remains with the clay. Thank you so much! Please give me a word if encouragement.

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