So Many Types of Polymer Clay -
What a Dilema!

Trying to figure out which one of the many types of clay YOU should use can be such a trial!

So what should you do?

The information below are the opinions of Doll Maker Amanda Day. She has been sculpting dolls for many years.

Polymer Clay comes in many different brands that can be useful for the beginner sculptor. It does not air dry; instead it is cured in a standard oven. This lends new doll makers to be able to take their time sculpting and fix mistakes long after they were made. Using a good fan-forced oven wields the best results for baking your OOAK dolls, however any kind of household oven can be used. Do not microwave polymer clay.

Cernit: Dolls Collection


Cernit lends to being sculpted in fine detail yet is still very sturdy. Delicate features such as fingers tend not to shatter as easy as some other brands of clay. It is not as flexible as some clays, so it can still break if fine details are bent.

Fresh out of the packet, Cernit can be very firm and sometimes even a bit crumbly. However, with some kneading and working of the clay, it becomes very pliable and stretchy which is a great asset when sculpting a doll. It can be shaped with ease, and can be flattened or rolled very thin and still hold relative strength. It’s great for making impressions and stamps as the finished product is very smooth and strong. Further surface smoothing can be achieved by rubbing cool water over it- reducing fingerprints.

Cernit needs to be kept very clean as black smudges seem to be more apparent in this brand, especially when blending a slightly dirty piece of clay into a clean piece.

Cernit for Doll Making comes in a large variety of skin tones: Almond, Biscuit, Caramel, Flesh, Nougat, Suntan and White. Great for any nationality.

Cernit is cured at 265 degrees Fahrenheit, or 130 degrees Celsius.





FIMO: Puppen


Puppen is one of the more flexible types of clay even after baking. This has the advantage of not snapping as soon as fine details are bumped or bent.

You can achieve ultra fine detail; however it’s translucency can make it difficult to spot mistakes or flaws in the clay. It is a very soft clay and is not recommended if you have to work in a hot environment as the clay becomes like a marshmallow and details can be easily ruined. This can be mostly remedied by using some special sculpting techniques to ensure you never actually hold on the doll while sculpting it. You can also work in a cooled room. It's softness is beneficial for people who find it difficult to knead firmer clays, as this one requires minimal effort to hand knead and blend.

Puppen Fimo does not get smudges as easily as other types of clays but it still can collect a lot of fluff. Take precautions to ensure your clay does not collect too much dirt.

Puppen comes in 3 different skin tones: Natural, Porcelain and Rose.

Puppen Fimo is cured at 230 degrees Fahrenheit, or 110 degrees Celsius.



Super Sculpey


This polymer clay is more fragile, not holding as much flexibility as some other clays. It becomes soft and mailable fairly quickly, being easier to blend than most clays. Moonies tend to be a problem with Super Sculpey, and so are cracks if you are not particular with your sculpting process.

Sculpey has a nice skin appearance, not holding shine like some polymer clays. It tends to look very realistic.

Super Sculpey has a tendency to get gray smudges on the surface and can collect a lot of fluff. Take precautions to ensure your clay does not collect too much dirt.

Super Sculpey is cured at 130 degrees Celsius or 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes per 6mm (1/4") of thickness.

Some artist bake Super Sculpey at 129 degrees Celsius or 265 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it in the oven for 10 minutes longer. This is because when baked at recommended specifications, the Super Sculpey tends to darken or sometimes scorch. Baking the clay at the lower temperature tends to improve this problem. Always test a piece of clay before experimenting with temperature changes as it may compromise the strength.


Prosculpt


See “Super Sculpey”. Prosculpt is also one of the few types of clay that are very fragile. All the pros and cons are very similar to Super Sculpey. The baking temperature is also the same. Prosculpt comes in 1lb bars in varying skin tones: Light, Baby, Caucasian Flesh, Ethnic Brown. It was created by the well known doll maker Jack Johnston.

It is popular with many doll makers, however if you intend to ship overseas its fragility levels call for very safe shipping measures. The skin tones are very beautiful, giving off a very realistic effect.





KATO Polyclay


Kato is one of the more firm types of polymer clay, holding a lot of strength but not a lot of flexibility. This is not a common type of clay used by doll makers but certainly does have it’s place.

Kato does not offer a lot of variety regarding flesh tones, but I have seen it used and look extremely effective. Kato often comes in small packs, so it tends to be more ideal for jewelry makers rather than doll makers.

It can be very difficult to knead or condition; most artists pass it through a pasta machine to try and get it workable. Not recommended to people with delicate hands.

It bakes at 135 degrees Celsius 275 degrees Fahrenheit 30 minutes per 1/4" (5mm) thickness.

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