Let’s talk about different clay types and their pros and cons.
This is the clay I use for most of my projects. In my opinion, it’s the best clay, but I’m going to go through the pros and cons and talk about why I prefer this type of clay.
The first pro is, this is water-based clay. Which means it’s easy to smooth with water or make softer with water. Which makes working with it more comfortable; it doesn’t require chemicals. It also comes in a lot of different varieties. So, you can experiment with the different types and choose one that works best for you. My only suggestion would be to choose a low grit clay. That’s easier to work with for sufficient detail. And you may be interested in reading our blog to unleash the potential of this clay.
Another pro is, this clay is easy to manipulate. I can push my thumb all the way through it. It’s not too hard. It’s easy to make large shapes and general designs without heating the clay.
The next pro for this clay is that it has varying levels of hardness while drying, enabling control over your sculptural work, such as carving in detail and that sort of thing.
And the last pro for the ceramic clay is, it can be reclaimed and reused. So, once this is dry, you put it into a bucket of water, and you let it soften, and then you can bring it back out and reclaim it and use it again.
Okay. Now, for the cons. The first con for ceramic clay is, it does contain silica, which is glass. And when it’s dried and in a dust form, it is terrible for you to breathe in.
The second con is, it can harden too quickly. If you don’t cover your piece or keep an eye on it, it can get too hard. And then it makes the consistency challenging to finish the sculpture or to do detail in.
It also has the possibility of drying too quickly and cracking or breaking. And that’s also true if you’re combining pieces and that sort of thing. So, there are some structural things while it’s drying. This is avoided easily by just making sure it does not dry too quickly.
The last con is, for mold-making specifically, because this is water-based clay. Some rubbers do not mix with water and will not work. You have to make sure that you know what the chemicals are or what the warnings are for your mold-making materials before you use a water-based clay. And that’s it for the ceramic clay.
- Related content: Ceramic techniques.
Now, I’m going to talk about the plasticina clay. It is oil and wax-based clay, which means it doesn’t dry out. So, if you’re someone who spends a long time on a project, this might be good clay for you.
Something else I want to mention about this clay is pretty essential. You want to get sulfur-free clay. When making molds, sulfur can inhibit curing with some silicone rubbers. So, it’s an easy fix, make sure your clay is sulfur-free.
Pros and Cons
The pros are, it’s oil and wax-based, so it does not dry out. And it has a hard consistency, which is excellent for detailed work. Some cons are it’s sensitive to heat and needs to be heated to make it more workable. And because it’s oil-based, you will need mineralhttps://www.oakton.edu/user/4/billtong/eas100/clays.htm spirits or a paint thinner to smooth out your detail, which can be harmful to breathe. The last con is, they do come in rather small packages. So, if you need a lot of clay, or you’re doing a bigger project, it could be expensive.
This is an excellent clay, especially if you take a lot of time on a project or do a lot of small sufficient detail.
Next, I’m going to talk briefly about polymer clays, which are basically your sculpey clays. Polymer clays are popular. There’s tons of information online about making projects and that sort of thing. I don’t do a lot of polymer clay work. So, I’m just going to go over the pros and cons in my small opinion.
The first pro and the best thing about polymer clays is, you can bake them. So, there’s no need for a molding process or kiln. You can make original pieces with basically your kitchen table and an oven, which is nice.
Another pro is it comes in a variety of colors and brands. So, there’s lots to choose from, as well as tools. There are tons of tutorials out there, endless hours on YouTube. So, if you’re interested in doing polymer clays, there’s no end to your project list.
A couple more pros are the consistency is good for detail. And because it’s small packages of clay, they store easily. And the clay doesn’t dry out.
A couple of cons for polymer clay is it can be hard to blend, and rubbing alcohol is needed to smooth out any nicks and fingerprints and that sort of thing. Another con is the price, especially if you want to build bigger items. Sculpey clay or polymer clays can be expensive. And if you do want to build bigger items, they usually require some armature. And the last con I’m going to talk about is the market is pretty flooded with sculpey things. You need to be on top of your game and unique in what you build if you want to do markets and stores or sell online.
And that’s it for the pros and cons of these three different types of clays. Obviously, there are tons of other options out there. These three aren’t the only three. These are just some of the main ones you would pick up if you went to the store tomorrow.
They all have good pros, and they all have cons. So, it just depends on what you’re going to do with them and what your preferences are. My suggestion would be to try out just a few different kinds and get a feel for which ones work for you. And I would stick with that particular clay because it’s easier to build your skill when you’re working with something consistently. These pros and cons were just my experience with clay building. Of course, there’s a whole bunch more pros and cons for all these different kinds of clays, but that was just from what my experience with them was.