I was happy to see that Polyform posted color recipes for their discontinued Studio by Sculpey (PDF) and Premo (PDF) colors. To be perfectly honest, it bugged me that Polyform's changes meant my book was outdated even before it came out. I've been eagerly awaiting these color recipes so I could at least update the errata page on the book website.
One thing I found really interesting is that the Studio by Sculpey color recipes recommend using a mixture of Polyform's Pluffy clay and Premo to recreate the texture of the Studio by Sculpey clay. The ratios vary — it's usually about a 50/50 mixture, but they sometimes use more of one brand or the other depending on the color they're trying to create.
I'd kind of ignored Pluffy clay since it was marketed for kids, but I figured it was high time I gave it a try.
I'd always thought Studio by Sculpey was kinda like a mixture of Sculpey UltraLight (a lightweight clay available only in white) and Premo, so the color recipe thing made me wonder if Pluffy is just colored UltraLight.
I think the answer is yes.
For one thing, check out these similarities in the marketing write-ups for the two clays:
- UltraLight: "bakes so hard that it won’t crack or break, even in larger pieces. However, UltraLight remains flexible when rolled thin. This versatile new product even floats."
- Pluffy: "thick pieces bake so hard that they won’t crack or break, even in larger pieces. Thinner baked pieces are durable and flexible. AND after baking PLUFFY even floats."
After playing with both clays, I'm even more convinced they're the same. Both clays have that same soft marshmallow-y feel. They both stick to your fingers as you work. Both react poorly to water. (To avoid problems, try baby powder instead of water if you need a mold or texture release.) Both bake to be durable, but lightweight, with a nicely-textured finish. Once baked, these clays readily absorb paints and inks that seem to just sit on the surface of clays like Premo.
I've always had kind of mixed feelings about UltraLight. It definitely has its pros — which now extend to Pluffy, too:
- It's a good lightweight armature.
- It seems to hold its shape in the oven without as much need for support as Premo.
- It's an economical option for large pieces. (The lightweight factor makes it difficult to do a direct price comparison to Premo, but I'm pretty sure it works out to be cheaper than non-sale clay prices, especially since you can use a 40% off coupon to buy a larger amount.)
- It works great as a mixer. I've often mixed UltraLight with Premo to get a workable clay that has a less plastic-y, more natural-textured finish (makes a great faux leather). I've also mixed it with clay softener to get a spreadable clay grout for mosaics.
- And if you happen to need something that floats, UltraLight is your clay.
All that said, I don't like UltraLight (or now Pluffy) by itself:
- It gets too sticky as you work with it. I don't know if this is because of the warmth or the moisture from your hands, but once it starts sticking to your fingers, it becomes impossible to deal with.
- The extreme softness that makes Pluffy kid-friendly means it's hard to get it to hold any detail. One inadvertant brush with the side of your hand, and your piece is smooshed. Try to push it out of a mold, and you get major distortion. Thin sheets may pull and distort when you use a knife to cut them. Even moving a piece from a work surface to a baking surface without stretching or marring it can be difficult.
Still, I'm glad to know about the Pluffy option. I've thought more than once that other colors of UltraLight would be useful — especially black or bold colors that would be impossible to mix. I can see using this for armatures, mosaic grout, and paper crafts, among other things. It definitely has a place in the clayer's studio.
I just wonder this: if Pluffy is essentially colored UltraLight, why doesn't Polyform get the word out to crafters that that's what it is...?
Additional Product Details
Pluffy Clay is available in the following colors: Red, Black, White, Green, Pink, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Gray, Beige, Lime Green, Aqua, Hot Pink, Dark Purple, and Glow in the Dark. Michaels sells 4 oz packages for $3.99 (compare to 10 oz of UltraLight for $9.99). You can also buy starter packs (available in primary, pastel, or tropical) that have smaller packages of seven different colors of clay.
Reviewed Materials Source / Disclaimer: The Pluffy clay used for this review was part of a Firefly Pluffy Fun Forms Piggy Bank kit (to be reviewed in a later post) provided to me by Polyform Products. No further compensation was received. I always strive to be honest and unbiased in my reviews, but your results with this product may vary.