This is phase two of comparing the three major brands of liquid polymer clays: Fimo Deco Gel, Kato Liquid Polyclay, and Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS).Â Phase one consisted of checking out viscosity, odor, and results after one layer was applied and baked in the oven.
Since I’m interested in building up multiple layers for dimension, I thought I should test the 3 products and cure them by hand with a heat tool. For reference, I have one that has only one heat setting. (And I don’t even know exactly what that is!) To compare, I used small tiles I made by running the clay through the thickest setting of the pasta machine. I added mylar to the raw clay and stamped on it with pigment ink, and them cured them before adding liquid clay.
The first photo shows cured tiles with the liquid clay spread on. To recap, TLS is thick and opaque, Kato is thin and opaque, and FDG is thick and traslucent. The second photo show how they turned out after curing with the heat tool , about 5-10 minutes each. The last photo here is with a flash so you can see the “gloss factor.” Round one really didn’t show any discernible difference in the result.Â (For discussion on viscosity and odor, read my post on Test #1.)
After 2 layers, (here seen with and without flash) I noted that the TLS took longer and more effort to clarify. I had to really heat it intensely for a while to make it glossy. Kato and FDG both cured easily and were very clear.
ROUND THREE: Stamping with Archival Brilliance Ink
For this round, I stamped on the cured liquid clays with Archival Brilliance ink (it’s that pink-ish spiral) and then heat-set it just for a minute before spreading on the liquid clay and curing again. Again, no real discernible difference between how the ink looked on the clays. But it did start to make a very dimensional effect! The TLS one is starting to look cloudy, and I actually scorched it on the top left area trying to get it to clarify. The Kato and FDG are both doing well with multiple layers. (Photos shown with and without flash to show surface effect and “gloss factor.”)
ROUND FOUR – Micro bead inclusions
So this time I spread on my layer of liquid clay, and then sprinkled some glass micro beads into the liquids. I then cured with the heat tool as before. Because the TLS and FDG are thicker, the beads stuck on easily, and moved only a little during curing. However, the Kato is so thin that the beads actually started to slide off with the force of the heat tool. I had to quickly change my approach, and use a circular motion around the perimeter to set the outside edge of the clay, and then work in toward the middle. Again, the FGD and Kato cured easily and clear. The TLS is getting cloudier, though, and it’s harder to see the designs on the tile.
ROUND 5- Last layer
This is the last layer, just one final coat to seal in the micro beads. So here’s where the proof is in the pudding. The TLS has gone opaque, especially where there are beads. The Kato looks clear and shiny, and the FDG has also held up OK, but the clear winner for this technique is the Kato. I probably wouldn’t regularly use the micro beads because it’s so thin, but maybe a base coat of TLS to lock down the beads and then Kato on top of that to keep it clear.Â
IÂ still don’t like the Kato odor, but I can put up with it for these results. I’ll still use FDG when I want to use one thicker coat, but use Kato for multiple thinner ones. And I’ll still use the TLS for bonding and holding down bigger inclusions, when I need that viscosity.Â
I guess there are very salient reasons to have all three on your worktable. After all, oneÂ glue won’t serve you for every application you might need, so why expect that from your liquid clay?
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