Saturday, January 9, 2010

Review: Polymer Clay vs Air Dry Clay

horrific mess and wastage
still learning how to handle slicing the clay. must learn to be patient and wait at least 2-3 days (depending on weather) before attempting slicing. also must learn how to minimize wastage :(
another try, i don't give up easily
all that, and only 2 'decent' slices LOL but i shall persevere!
was a semi failure
a semi-failure.
lessons learnt:

- although the cake art goes on beautifully, after it has dried fully it 'flattens'/shrinks down to the base, revealing all the cracks i'd been trying to hide XD but it's ok if the cake base is flat.

to try: NAIL POLISH! XD (thanks readers! i will experiment on that next!)
wahey it's here!
MY CLAY IS HERE!!!! ok i guess i should give PCE another least they didn't mess up my order, and the clay arrived quickly. the order was placed on 22nd Dec 2009 and arrived 08 Jan 2010, during the busy holiday/festive period too!

lessons learnt:

- always ask for a quote on shipping/items BEFORE making payment
- don't be too quick to anger. mistakes happen. XD


DISCLAIMER: i can't rightly say that i've enough experience with air dry clay to be objective. don't take my word for it. try it out for yourself, then decide.

Polymer Clay vs Air Dry Clay, GENERAL differences

Polymer Clay Air Dry Clay
can be stored indefinitely quality deteriorates over time, might even get moldy
storage is easy, keep away from hard plastics
 and dust, cool place
needs to be stored in air tight containers, even while working with it
no shrinkage possible shrinkage dependent on brand/type and manipulation (i.e. amount of water/white glue added)
fast curing time, just bake and let cool long cure time
does not require sealant requires sealant since it is not waterproof
can be used for caning not impossible for caning, but different techniques required with not as good results as with polymer clay
requires deliberate manipulation to obtain textures excellent inherent qualities for cake textures
more detailed textures limited time frame to texture surface
bakes hard, almost like plastic with little resistance
 (just don't go pressing hard into it with your fingernails)
depending on type of clay, can dry a little soft
depending on brand, non-sticky if too wet, sticks to hands unless barrier cream is used
requires conditioning no conditioning required
might burn in oven curing time extended in humid conditions
needs baking/specialized oven dries when left in open air
can't use certain plastic tools plastic tools can be used safely
needs more specialized materials i.e. liquid polymer clay,
 dliuent etc all of which are expensive although there are
alternate sources (risky results)
everyday materials like white glue, water, paints can be incorporated easily
need better understanding of what plastics can be suitable
 to store the clay
can be stored in pretty much any container
basically only 1 type, POLYMER CLAY, different
 brands have slightly variant properties
 (level of translucency, hardness etc)
wide variety of types of clay, resin, stone, paper, wood, wheat etc, each with different properties, shrinkage, effects etc. some better than others for flowers vs cakes etc.
harder to clean, older batches of clay might contain toxic
cleans up easily with water, non-toxic (i think?)
cures somewhat matte, depending on brand (KATO
bakes to a sheen)
dries matte
raw clay surfaces pick up pastels very well, hence easy
 colouration for realistic detailing
requires pretty decent paint techniques to achieve more realistic details

better for baked goods, breads etc cos it can pick up pastels better for RICE, sprinkles, cake slices, stuff that doesn't require too much surface detailing
does not require sealant, i'm lazy, ha! do not like having to seal it as details can be lost, sealant/paint details may rub off
FAST CURING TIME! I can finish a project within a day have to wait and plan out projects over a few days to complete
lack of availability is frustration pretty easily available in Singapore
messy sticky, needs special cleaning materials like baby
wipes, baby oil, lots of tissue
cleans up easily with water, non-toxic (i think?)
have to be careful of which surfaces that come into
contact with it
not so many worries XD just don't get it wet
creams, cake art can be easily manipulated with
 liquid polymer clay
have to work with specialized mediums ('cream' clay, texture pastes etc) to achieve results
personally find it picks up dirt faster than ADC not as 'dirty' but still does pick up dirt (ok i'm a dirty girl XD)
colouration, graduation of colours using
skinner blend makes for realistic transition of colours
HAVE TO PAINTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT, am TERRIBLE at painting, washing brushes not a fave thing to do either
hurts when i have to condition it no need to condition. Less resistance than polymer clay
easier for me to add details without worrying about
too soft, shape difficult to maintain when adding textures
more difficult to work with molds, molds might react with clay easy to work with molds. Just let dry and remove


I LIKE BOTH. i am thinking of experimenting a little more to incorporate the 2. feel free to add your comments on your preferences ^ ^


  1. Thanks for your very detailed take on air dry clay vs. poly clay. I will take that into consideration.

  2. Glad that the clay came! :) I thought of ordering from PCE before for cutters, seems like I can give them a try.

    That's a wonderful comparison on both clay-types. Very enlightening :)

  3. Coucou Cindy,

    How are you doing? :D
    It's interesting as usual to read your blog and see so many essays...

    I have slept for 3 months and finally "wake up" today. Hope I have more power and inspiration in the coming days! XD

    Happy 2010!

  4. Thank you Cindy for sharing your experimentation. It is so interesting!

    Thank you also for the amazing prize on your blog give-away! The package arrived today and I'm in awe. Like ok, the fish have eyes and mouths! Like the virtual pet-thing has a screen! You are amazing, you know.

    Hugs, Hanna

  5. thanks everyone!

    Betty, glad i could help, i know you've got some that's waiting to get out of the package right? remember there's a 'deadline' on the ADC...use it fast!

    nyann, glad you liked the post..i'm sure there're plenty of other places that compare the two, but i was feeling bored and well..yea :P

    Oiseau!!!! SOOO glad to see you're back! hope to see you update soon, i'll write you tomorrow ;)

    Hanna! so glad you liked it! the tamagotchi was your suggestion XD i am not so good at non-food items, so i'm glad you gave me an opportunity to practice! <3!

  6. I have tried both air dry and polymer and I prefer polymer. Its well worth the higher cost over air dry because you can get more detail sculpting figurines and it doesn't shrink after baking.
    I found the air dry to be too mushy for making figurines. Most polymers are sculpting friendly. You just need to find the type thats right for you.
    I also found polymer to be sturdier than air dry. Whenever I tried to ship my completed air dry figurines to friend and family, they would arrive broken. Not so with the polymer ones


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