A couple of posts back, I shared my thoughts on Pluffy Clay — a clay that's marketed for kids but also has some potential uses in a clayer's studio. Now I want to talk about a couple of Polyform's other "for kids" products. I'm reviewing them from a clayer's perspective — things I think they do well or could improve on. Since my little one's not quite old enough to help me review these, I'm having to guess about what the kiddos would and wouldn't like. If you've tried any of these products with your own kids or grandkids, I hope you'll add your experiences in the comments.
Fun Forms Piggy BankAs I mentioned in my previous review, the Pluffy clay I tried was part of the Firefly Pluffy Fun Forms Piggy Bank Polyform sent me a while back. Unfortunately I got caught up in book-related things and didn't review this kit when I should have — and it's possible they've discontinued it in the meantime. (It is no longer listed on Polyform's site.) It's still available in my Michael's, though, so check on the clay aisle there if you're interested.
The kit creates either a cow or pig "piggy bank." I'd considered making a polyclay-covered piggy bank before, but had a little trouble finding a form to cover. So this seemed ideal. The kit comes with the form, four colors of clay (pink, black, white, and light blue), a roller, and a kid-friendly tool.
What I Liked
- The form is made from some sort of oven-safe plastic-ish material. It's a light pink — the base color of the cow or pig — so you don't need to cover it with a base layer of clay. Covering the base is generally the hardest part of a project — and the least artistically satisfying — so it's nice that the kit lets you skip that.
- The head of the form is re-positionable up until you bake it... so you can make your pig look to the side if you want.
- The instructions have illustrations showing the size of each clay piece you're supposed to add to the form.
What I Didn't Like
- With just four colors of clay, your options for embellishment are a little limited. I'd also like to see some alternate photos that give ideas for creative embellishments — perhaps a striped pig or a cow with flowers instead of spots.
- The beauty shot on the box doesn't use the form that's included. Maybe I'm just being picky, but it kinda made me mad. The beauty shot uses a pig with short squat-y legs and a larger head. He's cute. The form has longer, skinnier legs and a (too-)small head. Here's what I think happened: They originally intended the kit to be just a pig (like the horse, dog, teddy bear, etc. kits in the series). They made the original beauty samples for the box based on that. Then someone said, hey, we could make the pig into a piggy bank. They discovered the squatty legs wouldn't allow for the coin plug in bottom, so they adjusted the form's shape. But they never went back and updated the box. This all matters because, if I'm a kid and I'm following their exact instructions (making the eyes and ears the same exact size as the illustrations), then I want my pig to look just like the one on the box. And that won't happen, because the box photo is wrong. Not nice. (Okay, rant over.)
- The clay sticks to my fingers, but it doesn't stick to the things it's supposed to stick to. Like the other clay. Or the pig form. The pig form seems to chemically bond to the clay during baking, so you don't need glue to get pieces to stick. But this doesn't help before baking. I kept making the perfect round little clay spots for my pig, then when I tried pressing them on, they would stick to my finger and distort. The only thing that helped was dusting my fingertip with cornstarch before pushing the spots onto the pig. That, and using larger and thicker clay pieces instead of the small delicate pieces that were more prone to sticking to my fingers.
Overall, though, I had a cute enough little pig when I finished. Sam's a budding Toy Story fan, so he was excited that mommy had made a "Ham." After baking the pig and taking the photo, I decided to let Sam give it a "durability test." It survived a good 2 hours, complete with lots of falls to the floor, before its little tail broke off at the base. That was a thin piece of curled clay, with very little contact to the pig form. The ears that had more contact with the form survived the falls just fine. I consider anything fairly durable that can hold up to a 2-year-old boy's rough treatment!
- The Firefly Pluffy Fun Forms Piggy Bank sells at Michaels for $9.99. The package indicates it is for kids ages 8+. Other kits in the Fun Forms series include Horse/Zebra, Funky Creature, Dog/Lion, and Bear.
Stay tuned for a couple more reviews in this series, including the Bobble Buddies and Keepsake Clay Frame Kit... and a giveaway!
Reviewed Materials Source / Disclaimer: The Firefly Pluffy Fun Forms Piggy Bank kit was provided by the manufacturer, Polyform Products, for review purposes. No further compensation was received. I always strive to be honest and unbiased in my reviews, but your results with this product may vary.