Monday, June 1, 2009

Tips: Starting out with Polymer Clay in Singapore

LAST UPDATED: 18 April 2011

I no longer purchase clay in stores in Singapore. stocks are unreliable, limited and not fresh (very stiff and hard to work with). if you are keen, you can check out polymerclayexpress.com or clayalley.com.


as to food props such as plates, glasses etc, you can do a search on ebay, etsy, cdhm etc. prices vary greatly depending on quality and quantity. i myself am, looking for a good quality supplier...:( most of my plates i got either via swaps with friends or teammates on TeamMIDS (etsy team).

Also, i do not offer classes currently (but will after Aug 2011) please read this post carefully, most of the commonly asked questions are answered here. for general clay techniques, questions etc, please refer to links on the right, or go direct to

http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm

thanks for looking ^ ^
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I have had quite a few Singaporeans ask me where to get clay, what to get, etc, and I thought I'd just share with whomever cares to read this my experiences so far...



Polymer Clay, Where to get, What to get that's suitable for us in this climate


Daiso polymer clay

I've tried the cheap Daiso type, which is quite rubbery after baking and might actually be desirable depending on what you wish to do, but i hated it. it was tough to condition, and the end results weren't that great. and it stuck like a )&@$*&@#$*@# to my pasta machine (which i'll touch on later if i remember)

Sculpey III

i hate Sculpey. it's too soft and sticky, and gets into my pasta machine, it doesn't cane well due to it being too sticky. if you're working in an air conditioned room (i believe thehappyqueen mentioned she likes Sculpey better) i guess it's ok. but i hate it to the core. if possible, i never ever want to use it again.

FIMO soft/effect clays (my fave by far, highly recommended)


i have very warm hands, and FIMO clay works great with me. it's a little harder to condition than Sculpey (which requires close to no conditioning) but i find it totally worthwhile. i initially purchased quite a few colours, like black, translucent orange, translucent red, white and caramel, but after working with more colours and pastels and learning to mix my own colours, i've only gotten white, translucent and some special effects blocks.

Kato Clay


i tried making some teapots and teacups, and they turned out disastrous cos the clay was too soft (i used Sculpey....i guess that's the problem). I know some places tell you to leach the clay if it's too soft, but i've found that once i've leached it to the consistency i want, it sometimes cracked when i'm trying to make curved surfaces, and that sucks bad. so i tried Kato clay, which is said to be the hardest of the clays...and it worked great! pity it's hard to find in SG too...and the shop that carries it is clearing back stock since they don't carry it anymore...


Where to buy polymer clay in Singapore?


Creative Hands - Orchard CLOSED DOWN :(
4th floor takashimaya

i got myself a membership with them, iirc it's $10 for 2 yrs, and you get 10% discounts off regular priced items. the orchard branch has some backstock of Kato and FIMO on sale, and some specials on Sculpey, so it's worth taking a look. be warned though, the sale stuff has limited range, and when i last went a few weeks back they were out of white/translucent FIMO. also, if you purchase a certain amt (not sure how much) of FIMO clay from them, you get a complimentary FIMO introduction disc. i don't know what's on it though :P

Art Friends - Orchard
Art Friends - Bras Basah

i've seen them stock mostly just Sculpey, they are slightly pricier here than at Creative Hands, but they are very well stocked.


Popular - Bras Basah
- NO LONGER STOCKS FIMOYay they seem to have restocked!
where I got my first bunch of polymer clay. their range isn't very wide nor well stocked, but i get 10% discount with my membership card, so i get whatever i can :P
oh. and get your liquid FIMO here, it's the cheapest i've found, at $14.15.

Urban Write - (under Popular management) - Tampines One/Orchard Central
Prologue - ION Orchard

decent range of FIMO and FIMO products including liquid FIMO. POPULAR discount card applicable in both places.


Garie International - East coast area?
Tinklearts - redhill area?
i've never been or purchased from either place, but i think they both sell FIMO at 4.20 per block too. you can probably google for them to get the addresses (it's late and i'm tired sorry)

What tools do i need?


http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
before i continue, please go through the website as indicated above. it is EXTREMELY useful, although wordy. i spent a little more than a month doing research online before i even touched my clay, so please put in some of your own effort, i don't mean to seem unhelpful or unfriendly, but i'd rather focus on what's pertinent to those living in Singapore (or similar climates) than re-hash whatever information is easily available on the net.



Rolling pin

for conditioning and rolling out the clay. i use a glass bottle that i got from a vending machine (vit-c drink) haha. please note that polymer clay eats up some plastics, so it's best to get an acrylic roller. you can read more at http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm i didn't get the acrylic roller cos 1) i have a pasta machine, 2) i'm a cheapskate :X

Pasta Machine


i had to stop knitting and tatting due to RSI on my wrists, and conditioning the clay was so painful my hands swelled up all the way to my elbows. so my bf bought me the pasta machine :) you can get one at a neighbourhood homeware/hardware store (the ones that sell woks, bowls etc) for about $30, but it's made in china which means it's not very durable and has a tendency to spoil easily. but i don't care. it's cheaper by about $10 compared to the one you get at art friends. and back then, art friends didn't even carry it, so....

clay gun

only about $6 at art friends. i don't use it much, but when i do it's pretty fun, although a real *)@#$*# to clean. buy it if you can spare the $ and want to try out new stuff! i recommend it cos i like trying out new stuff ^ ^

sculpting tools

pretty much anything can be a sculpting tool, but my fave ones to use are the needle tools from a basic toolset i got (about $5 for 5 different tools)

also, the stylus tool is cool, art friends has a set of 5 different sized ball stylus(es?) in a pack, i think it was quite cheap, no more than $5 iirc.

toothpicks are also one of my fave tools. don't bother getting any fancy tools, i've found my fancy tools are just taking up space...but hey, you'll never know when i'll need them, right? :E


cutting mat

one of my fave buys, i got mine at 2 for $1.05 at the value dollar shop at hougang mall. it's slightly clear, polymer clay doesn't melt it (or stick to it, not much anyway) and it's clear enough for me to stick graph paper or cutting mat underneath for handy measurements! you can thank me later for this tip ;)

OVEN

ok. super important (duh). i bought one specially to bake my polymer clay with, it was on offer at carrefour for only SGD$29, and it had temperature control which is SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT. you don't want to breathe in toxic fumes when your clay burns, which is worse than throwing away hours of work on your clay and seeing it char. i would recommend getting a thermometer too (approx $10 at phoon huat or popular bras basah).

so my tip is to set it about 10 degrees lower than stated, and bake for longer. but since i work with minis, i don't have to bake it too long as my items are sooo tiny.
above tip is idiotic. i had read somewhere some artisan baked at lower temp for longer, and that's a NO-NO. bake according to instructions on the back of the packaging. these days i bake at slightly higher, as long as it doesn't char i'm happy. :X but be careful, translucent clays tend to discolour, so bake according to the instructions of your brand!

have fun with clay!

37 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your article on polymer clay. I thought it was very imformative and funny! You have a good sense of humor.
    I also liked your eclair tutorial.
    thanks for sharing.

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  2. You cleared alot of my qns!

    1 2 3
    3 2 1
    Snowfern zeh zeh number 1!!!

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  3. that's very informative!! super generous and kind of you to share all this information! :) Thanks Cindy! :)

    -jocelyn.

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  4. You can get good quality polymer clay from Mdm Ang's shop located at SunShine Plaza, #01-75 bencoolen street too..email her @ mdmang@yahoo.com for more info

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  5. Hey Cindy, this is a fantastic article for us residing in Singapore. So you took 1 month to research huh? I am in research mode still and it has been my 8th month! lol. I have bought packets of clay from Daiso and Art Friend but no oven. Can you give me the brand of your oven and make? Thanks!!

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  6. thanks everyone! glad to help out, it was a really rough start for me, polymer clay just doesn't seem to be the clay of choice for Singaporeans it seems.....

    Anonymous, Madam Ang doesn't sell polymer clay, she sells air dry clay :)

    Sans, the oven i use is Bluesky brand found in Carrefour, they are having a sale on it at $19.90 now :) it has a temp control too!

    keep on practicing! clay needs play to get better! i'm still learning everyday :O

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  7. Hi,
    thanks for your information. But i cant find the cutting board at Hougang Value shop =(

    and right now im looking for cheap oven. I wonder carrefour Bluesky sale is still going on or not =((

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  8. i've seen the cutting 'board' (it's just 2 flimsy pieces of plastic) at various other value dollar shops too, just take a look around :) they're all over singapore!

    as for the oven, just give it a try, lately there are many many sales during the great singapore sale! :X

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  9. Hi i would like to ask if FIMO clay can i just leave it dry instead of putting in an oven?
    Because my house doesn't have one ):

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  10. thankful ^^, as far as i know, FIMO has only produced oven-dry polymer clay. it will never 'dry', you will have to follow the instructions as stated on the packaging for the clay to cure.

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  11. Hi, i would like to ask can i add acrylic paint/poster paint to white fimo clay to mix and change the clay colour?

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  12. Anonymous, http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm is where i got almost all my information on polymer clay from. I have never tried adding acrylics or poster colours to polymer clay before, so i can't say if it's recommended. perhaps you might find it more useful to peruse that polymer encyclopedia for all your questions. :)

    good luck and have fun!

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  13. Just a lil' update (Nov 09):
    - Creative Hands @ Orchard Taka has closed. Habour Front store still ard, and still having discount on some Kato & Sculpey clay.

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  14. Hi Tom again! thanks for the update! ^ ^

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  15. Hi... Do you know online polymer caly shop in Singapore? I'm from Indonesia. It's a bit hard to get Polymer Clay here.thanks..

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  16. hi Erih, i'm afraid i can't help you there, i've not purchased any polymer clay online before.

    i plan to purchase my future stocks from polymerclayexpress.com or clayalley.com, but i want to see if there's demand for my work before i invest anymore :)

    yea it's hard to get polymer clay here too :(

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  17. Hi,
    i would like to know where can i get those mini pastry mold. can you tell me where can i get it at cheaper price in singapore?

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  18. aiBi, i have no idea really since i don't buy molds anymore (i make my own since the ones available are usually off-scale)

    you can try either Madam Ang's or the craft shop at Liang Court (i always forget the name) but IIRC, only Madam Ang's has steady supplies of molds. i seldom go down to Liang Court anyway.

    good luck with your hunt. :)

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  19. hi,
    cos i want to try out some mini molds myself, can i use sculpey flex or kato clay to get a flexible and elastic result?

    totally agreed with off-scaling of the mold selling outside.haha!!

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  20. aiBi, i have never tried sculpey flex, i've heard there's even a bouncing version LOL i've seen eraser clays around, that turn into working erasers after baking, but i've never tried it either. i'm guessing they wouldn't work very well for making realistic foods? as for molds, i use alley goop, it's rather expensive but at least it's silicon, you can bake it with the clay and it's rather flexible.

    all i've tried i've posted in my blog, if i try anything new, i'm sure there'll be an update :) if you want some ideas on making your own molds, check out the glassattic link to the left.

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  21. Hi, i'd came across a type of clay where it doesn't need to be heated or baked to dry. Leaving it to stand for a short period of time will do. Do you have any idea what type of clay this is? i feel the texture of it is better than polymer.

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  22. i take back my earlier comment, i refuse to order from polymer clay express from now on. read

    http://snowfern.com/2010/01/i-am-really-angry-right-now.html

    for details.

    Hi Anonymous, i do not use air dry clay, and polymer clay requires baking as it will never cure if left open in the air (provided you don't stay in places that go up to 120 deg celcius XD)

    you can read more about polymer clay in the resources links to the left of my blog.

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  23. hi!
    I just tried going to popular at Bras Basah. but they dun carry fimo polymer clay and liquid fimo anymore. :( Do you know if there's anywhere else i could get the liquid fimo??

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  24. hi esther!

    ahh, regrettably, i'm never up to date on purchasing clay in SG seeing as how i seldom go out XD

    i think the last time i saw stocks of liquid fimo was at Prologue at Ion Orchard. but i don't know if they'll continue stocking it. i'd better go update this post, thanks for informing me! :( sad that bras basah doesn't stock any fimo anymore. :(

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  25. Hi ! Would appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction on where I could take polymer clay classes in Singapore ? Ones that specialise in making people or animals ? Thanks :)

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  26. Can u get fimo liquid at habour front creative hands???

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  27. Dear Cindy,

    Hello! I truly appreciate your effort to tell us where to buy polymer clay as I am so desperate!
    I would like to ask you where can we get our supply of miniature wine glasses for clay? Or maybe you made them yourself? I have so many questions to ask! Thanks for your help!

    Li MIn

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  28. oh man, i hadn't realised there were still comments on this post after so long.

    Heather, sorry, i have no clue. i am wholly self-taught and am unaware of who's teaching what in SG. you can try to do a search online, i'm sure most craft supply stores would have some form of instructor in-store.

    Cherynne Burger, i'm not a representative of these stores i've mentioned, i simply know i come across supplies there and pass on the info. info here might be updated, perhaps you could give them a call to find out :)

    Soh Li Min, sorry, i don't really shop around for them as i only purchase for personal collection, and majority of my tableware are from trade/swaps with friends. you can try Madam Ang at sunshine plaza, #01-75, or search on ebay/etsy.

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  29. i meant to say, info here is not updated LOL haven't been out shopping in a loooong time :(

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  30. Hi!

    I've been getting my white air dry clay (super lightweight modeling air drying clay) from Daiso all along and they just ran OOS!!!! They told me they MIGHT not even bring back stocks or maybe, just after 2months, they might! So angry! :(

    Do you know where else can I get anonymous brands of good air drying clay? Not into the Hearty clay cos it's pretty expensive (like SGD$4 for a small 50g packet)!

    Thanks! :)

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  31. Hmmm.. For those who realllllyyyyy dont want to spend hours going to Bras Basah etc,
    Jurong Point Popular outlet sells Air Dry Clay. I think its called jumpingclay or something, the gift pack is $29.90SGD (P.S. I forget if they have others cuz I just saw and read the label. My friend likes it though,but she says its not waterproof ): )
    Takashimaya Artfriends(Haiz still damn far for me T_T ) sells Bake Shop at $2.17 SGD per 57g block I think. Located at 4th floor. And they sell the tools,eyepins,some air dry clay,i think its called Super Dough? And they have Sculpey Satin Glaze, TLS.. I love that place. AND Books Kinokuniya (Pardon spelling) ITS RIGHT BELOWWW~~!!
    Ion Orchard { Prologue } sells FIMO clay at $4.20 per 56g block? Hmm Prologue has 2 floors,FIMO clay is sold at the upper floor. Just saying so that you dont have to walk through the whole place x.x
    Hmm lets see thats it for now. Next week,or maybe this saturday/sunday I'll be going to IMM mall, West Mall and probably Causeway Point to meet friends,will check if theres any there :)

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    Replies
    1. You can try buying at west mall 3Rd floor box boss for new product light weight air dry Taiwan at $3.80 50g student price . I bought a few and it work well for me . Cheers

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  32. Nex popular sells fimo clay for $4.20 a block. I've bought my clay online from tinkleartncrafts.com. They came nicely in bubblewrapping and were fast. It's a freaking helpful and useful and reliable website. If you're looking for decoden stuff like whip cream clay or chocolate sauce etc, you can try www.sophieandtoffee.com They sell their whip cream clay and coloured sauces slightly cheaper than tinkleartncrafts.com
    I would recommend getting your clay tools from daiso, varnish probably online( i got triple thick online). Try not to buy your polymer clay from spotlight, they sell it much expensive over there (one block $9). Thought i could help share abit :)

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  33. You can try buying at west mall 3Rd floor box boss for new product light weight air dry Taiwan at $3.80 50g student price . I bought a few and it work well for me . Cheers

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  34. Hi what varnish works with daiso clay? Most of the laquer and varnishes i tried gets absorbed into the clay and doesnt make it shiny and protected against water and stains.

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  35. Boy am i glad i found this, as i'm a new clay wannabe lover! Going to try some air dry clay soon and thanks to all the comments, i know where to go to get some!

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Thank you for taking the time out to comment! :D