Polyform has announced that their new clay, Studio by Sculpey, is now available. Thanks to a wonderful giveaway by the gals over at Polymer Clay Productions, I got an early chance to try out a block of Peacock-colored Studio by Sculpey clay, and I have to say I'm impressed.
To give you an idea of what I'm basing my comparisons on, here's my clay preference history in a nutshell. I've used Polyform products for most of my claying life, starting with Sculpey III in the early days, then switching to Premo as I learned about the difference in strength. In the past year or so, my "preferred clay" has been a Premo/UltraLight blend (approx. 2:1) because I like UltraLight's texture but find it hard to use by itself.
Here are my thoughts on using the new Studio by Sculpey clay:
- Conditioning: Straight out of the package, the Studio clay is easy to handle -- similar to Premo, or maybe a little softer. But it feels so much nicer than Premo to the touch -- it's got a softer (as in fabric-y, cotton-y soft) texture.
- Stickiness: It's NOT sticky like Premo can be. In fact, it feels almost like it has corn starch mixed in. It doesn't stick to your hands. It doesn't stick to your work surface (which makes it easy to lift thin sheets and move them to a baking surface). It doesn't stick to those yucky, crumbly bits in a dirty pasta machine. And while I like the non-stickiness is most cases, it does make it harder to get the clay to stick to itself when you want it to, like for sculpting.
- Molds & Stamping: The Studio clay worked nicely in my clay molds. I thought it worked better than either straight Premo or straight UltraLight -- more like my favorite Premo/UltraLight mix. It also worked nicely with rubber stamps. If you've used UltraLight much, you've probably learned not to use water as a release agent for rubber stamps (you'll end up with a crumbly mess!). That rule doesn't apply to the Studio clay though -- it works fine with a water release.
- Transfers: I tried a laser toner transfer on the Studio clay, and it worked great... I thought it did even better than my previous transfer choice, Premo!
- Cured Clay: Premo feels and looks more plastic-like after baking. The Studio clay seems softer, more like paper or leather. It could also be that Studio's lighter colors make it seem more organic. It just felt more natural to me, both before and after baking. It also seemed very durable: it stood up to my bending & dropping tests just as well as Premo.
- Surface Treatments: I've found UltraLight too absorbent for my tastes when using alcohol inks or distressing with acrylic paints. The Studio clay doesn't have that problem, though -- it behaved similarly to Premo on the surface treatments I tried.
There are 34 colors available, with a retail price of $2.99 for a 2.8 oz package. That seems comparable to the regular $2.50-ish price-tag on the 2 oz Premo clay (I wonder what the sale price will be!). From what I've heard, the clay will be available at Joann's but not Michaels. If your local store doesn't carry it, check out Munro Crafts -- they appear to be carrying the whole line of clay & tools. Speaking of which, their new line of clay tools looks awfully nice. I haven't tried them, but they look like the sort of things that would've filled up my Christmas list if they'd come out a few months earlier!
I really like this new clay. I think it combines the best features of Premo with the best features of UltraLight, and the resulting product seems like a winner. It's too early to say that this is my new clay of choice... but it will definitely have a place in my clay box.
A few of my fellow polymer clay bloggers have also shared their thoughts on the Studio by Sculpey clay:
- Lindly’s Blog: New Clay Colors
- Geraldine Newfry: Do-Over
- And Polymer Clay Productions' Post-CHA Report
Anybody else tried it? If so, what do you think?
Update: After purchasing more of this clay, I'm a little less enthusiastic. Check out my new review.