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You know that sample of Studio by Sculpey clay I won from Polymer Clay Productions? The one I said all those nice things about? Well, I liked it so much I decided to buy a whole bunch of the stuff.... and boy am I regretting it now!

How I Came to Own Every Color in the Studio by Sculpey Line

Studio by Sculpey Clay Packages I'm not usually an impulse buyer. I carry things around the store, trying to decide whether I really want to spend my money on them. Or I price-check every possible website to make sure I'm getting the absolute best deal once shipping's factored in. My momma taught me well.

But after weeks of not finding any Studio by Sculpey clay in my local stores, I decided to check eBay. And what do you know...? There was a huge lot of Studio by Sculpey clay -- one with every clay color, some antiquing medium, & all the texture sheets. I decided to watch the auction, do some cost calculations, & obsess about it a bit.

Except I forgot. On the day the auction ended, I was out running around all day. In fact, I got back to my computer something like 2 minutes before the auction ended. I panicked and did all the dumb things eBay likes you to do -- and with just seconds to spare, I placed a winning bid to become the proud owner of a whole bunch of Studio by Sculpey clay.

Well, maybe not proud. I was a bit ashamed to tell my husband, actually. But he was happy for me, knowing how much I'd liked that sample. And it wasn't a bad price per package -- more than the $0.99 sale price I normally pay for clay, but far less than the retail price on the new stuff. And, as he helped me rationalize, I'd definitely use it. (I like it when he helps me make excuses!)

Fast forward to last week. I got my clay and finally had a chance to sit down & dig my fingers into it. And guess what I found...?

It's Useless!

Studio by Sculpey Comparison The new packages I purchased are too soft to work with. They distort with the tiniest nudge. They're impossible to work with!

The first time this happened, I thought I had over-conditioned it. So I tried conditioning it less -- for only a minute, then only 30 seconds, then only 15 seconds. Even when I only conditioned it for 15 seconds, it was too soft to use in my molds without major distortion.

Molds were one of the things I tested my old sample with -- and it worked great before. In fact, I pulled out that old sample pack again and it still works beautifully in the very same molds that don't work with the newer Studio packages.

So What's The Deal?

I wish I knew. It's possible that they changed the formula after they sent out the sample pack that I got via last summer's CHA. If so, they really messed things up in the process.

I'm hoping that's not the case, though. I'm hoping it's an age thing.

My older packages of Premo (we're talking several years old) are much harder to condition now than they were originally. They're usually crumbly (a drop of mineral oil helps cure that), and they make the new packages of Premo I buy feel incredibly soft by comparison. When I pulled out my "old" Studio by Sculpey sample pack to test it again, I noticed it had already started getting crumbly. I've only had it about 5 months -- though I have no way of knowing how old it was when I got it. I'm wondering if perhaps this clay goes very quickly (faster than other brands?) through these consistency changes -- from extremely soft to crumbly.

If that's the case, maybe this too-soft stuff will be perfect in a couple of months. Here's hoping.

What I Still Like

The news isn't all bad. It still doesn't stick to itself & it runs through the pasta machine nicely. I think it'll be good for thin sheets -- allowing for the fact that when you cut it, it's likely to distort.

And of course, I love the finish. The Polyform folks are calling it suede-like, and I think that's very accurate. It looks (& feels) gorgeous without any sort of glaze.

In Other News, Strength

Studio by Sculpey Strength TestI was surprised to read on some of the forums that folks found their baked pieces became brittle -- not immediately, but after a couple of weeks. This was not my experience at all. I have several thin (4-5 on my Atlas pasta machine) ATC-sized (2.5" × 3.5") sheets I baked in September, and they are still as strong as they were originally. They're flexible like paper -- much more flexible than the Premo sheets I baked at the same time. They're certainly not brittle. In fact, they're more likely to tear (like paper) than break.

But those sheets were from my sample pack, so I can't say whether those results are consistent with the new off-the-shelf stuff. I've baked a new batch and will report back in a couple of weeks with a new comparison of their strength.

My Recommendation, Revisited

It appears this clay is a little unstable in its aging process -- or else Polyform may be running into variations in their production batches. Either way, it's probably a good "wait & see" clay for now. If you're wondering about buying some of the clay to try out, I'd say go ahead... but do so in moderation. :-)

More Thoughts from the Clay World

Here's a few more thoughts on the Studio by Sculpey clay from the claying community...

Course, I always love to hear your thoughts. Got anything to add...?

Update: My Studio by Sculpey Strength Test results are now available.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Studio by Sculpey Clay Revisited:

» Studio by Sculpey Clay Review from CraftyGoat's Notes
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... [Read More]


Hmm well maybe if you didn't want to wait for it to harden up a bit you could try mixing it with a harder clay that wont warp when you condition it??


Glad you mentioned that, Michelle. I forgot to say in my post that I mixed it with Premo for my latest batch of ATCs & was happy with the results... So if it doesn't harden up, that can be Plan B. Thanks!

Thanks for the updated comparison of older vs. newer SBS clay. I've made a mention of it over at www.CraftTestDummies.com, and am officially putting you on the blog roll. Your hints and reviews are excellent!-Jenny

Thanks for the add, Jenny. I've really been enjoying your blog as well -- keep up the good work!

I've used Studio for a great deal of my clay sculptures and have run into no problems with it turning brittle. I've been using it for probably 6-9 months now. I switched from Sculpey III to Studio, and had never tried anything but Sculpey III up to Studio. However, I sculpt (my own characters & some mini food), and I do not use molds and do not cane. Studio does tend to be on the soft side, but I prefer the colors and the strength of it over Sculpey III. And I like the look of it after it is baked, pre-glaze. Oh, and I love the price, compared to Premo! More bang for my buck. :)

So, I'd say Studio is probably better for sculpting rather than caning and molds.

If anyone has a bunch that you do not want, put it up on etsy under "supplies". I'm sure someone will snag it up! :)

Thanks for sharing your experience, Lisa. I'm glad to hear you like it and have found it durable. (Don't know if you saw my strength test update, but I didn't find it brittle either.)

As an update to this post, I should mention that a few months later, my Studio by Sculpey feels much better to me. I'm sticking with the idea that the batch I got was still too "fresh" and that it has now "aged" to a nice consistency.

I use ordinary Super Sculpey and really hate new clay because it is far too soft to work with - but I really need that "flesh" color - I strip new clay down to thinner chunks and stack it between sheets of computer paper to pull out as much of the oil as possible. It is always just about perfect when it is really almost too hard to work. Holds shape and detail so much better for those who don't use molds of any sort.

Thanks for the comment, Leslie. For those who might not be familiar with the process you described, "leaching" firms up too-soft clay by drawing out extra plasticizer.

Clayers have tried this with just about every brand out there. Still, I'd recommend doing some strength tests on any particular brand of leached clay before using it in an important project: you are modifying the make-up of the clay, after all, and that could affect the strength.

Hmmmm. The results of the thorough tests (breakage by tension, compression, bending) in the following link actually place Studio by Sculpey's strength well above that of Premo and Fimo Classic.


Hmmmmmm....I think I'll try it.

Karen: Thanks for the link to Garie's tests -- I hadn't seen his results with Studio by Sculpey before. Looks like it compares very favorably!

Hi! I happen to know that Sculpey was adjusting their formula by adding more elasticizer. To make it less "soft", roll it out into sheets with your pasta machine then stack the clay between pieces of paper. The elasticizer (sp?) will leech into the paper, leaving less in the clay. Recondition, and if it is still too soft for your liking, repeat the process.

Thanks for mentioning leaching, DJO. That's always an option for firming up soft clay (though it's actually the plasticizer, not elasticizer, that leaches out). I know a lot of people regularly leach their clay. Personally, I don't mind leaching small amounts of clay for particular projects, but I'm just a little too lazy to do it for my everyday claying. I prefer to use a brand that starts out close to my preferred consistency.

another way that I found to be acheap way for buying clay is creating your own.I work with a lot of polymer clay and would go out to the stores to purchase packs of different color clay each costing $2.00 the most it can get very expensive. so I learned that if you just buy white polymer clay and chalks you can create the color you desire as easy as that.

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