Polymer clay: Brand Pros and Cons

I like to get to the point as quickly as possible, so this is not a terribly detailed post. It’s basic information to help you make a decision.

Brands

So there’s a few different polymer clay brands that are common. I’m sure there is more but I’m going to touch on the 4 main ones that are easily accessible.

Premo! Sculpey, Cernit, Fimo and Kato Polyclay.

I’m a lover of Premo! and Cernit but I have some Fimo and Kato so I can show you the differences.

Fimo, Kato PolyClay and Cernit probably shouldn’t be purchased on Amazon. The pricing is all over the board and way too high. If you can find a multi-pack, cool. But I find that buying those clays from an art retailer is best.

Okay let’s go!

Sculpey

  • Premo!
    • Pro: Soft but not super soft. This clay has good pliability, and holds details well.
    • Pro: The manufacturer specifies more clear baking instructions. This makes it easier to prevent burning, and saves you from having to google it.
    • Pro: Available at major art stores
    • Con: Because it’s softer than the other 3, you need a softer touch when manipulating it.
    • Bake time: 275F for 30 minutes per 1/4 inch (6mm) of thickness
    • Price: $2.79 on average for a 57g package
  • Sculpey III
    • Pro: Softest clay, most pliable
    • Pro: Really great for those who want to work with clay and have hand and joint issues.
    • Pro: Available at major art stores.
    • Con: Fingerprints are really visible.
    • Con: Doesn’t do well with thin details (becomes flimsy)
    • Bake time: 275F for 30 minutes per 1/4 (6mm) inch thickness
    • Price: $2.79 on average for a 57g package

Fimo

  • Pro: Clay hardens pretty fast when it’s just resting. This is good if you want to preserve details before baking.
  • Pro: Available at major art stores.
  • Con: Harder than Premo!
  • Con: Hurts your hands at first
  • Bake time: 230F for 30 minutes (thickness not specified)
  • Price: $3.49 for a 57g package

Kato PolyClay

  • Pro: Clay hardens pretty fast. Again, good if you want to preserve details before baking.
  • Pro: Color saturation is great. Blends well.
  • Con: I haven’t seen this clay in any art store near where I live.. doesn’t mean they’re not carried, my locale just doesn’t have it.
  • Con: Harder than Fimo (at least it feels like it to me, though they’re pretty close)
  • Con: Also hurts your hands for a bit when you first start working with it
  • Bake time: 300F for 10-30 minutes (thickness not specified) <– I don’t like this. 10 to 30 minutes is too broad in my opinion. Burnt clay stinks and it’s not an ideal situation to end up in. It can ruin your final product.
  • Price: $2.79 for a 56g package

Cernit

  • Pro: Great for natural textures and colors.
  • Pro: Holds details really well
  • Con: Also haven’t seen this clay available in art stores around where I live.
  • Con: Has a tendency to crumble before it becomes soft enough to mold.
  • Con: Much harder to work with than the other 3 brands.
  • Con: Can be really hard on your joints. I don’t recommend this brand if you have arthritis or other joint issues. Or at least use a clay softener.
  • Bake time: 230-265F for 30 minutes (thickness not specified) <– I find that baking it at the same temp and time as Premo! works really well.
  • Price: $4.19 for a 56g package

I made a simple rose with each clay so you can see them side by side.

Cernit, Kato, Fimo, Premo!

Conclusion

They all appear the same visually. The Premo! and the Fimo were the easiest to work with. The Kato and Cernit required more work to make the clay pliable to the point I could mold it, even this simply. Now… all of that being said… if you want really stable detail before baking, my recommendation so far would be the Kato.

I’m going to continue to work with these clays and see if my opinions change. I only used them briefly in the past so this will have more intent. I will update this if I need to. but for now, I hope this helped!

I’d love to hear your opinions on which clay you prefer and why!

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