Comparison of Liquid Polymer Clays – Part One

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Recently I’ve heard alot about the three main polymer clays – Kato Liquid PolyClay, Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS), and Fimo Deko Gel. What are the pros and cons of each one? Well, in true Craft Test Dummies fashion, I decided to do a little comparison and check them out.

I did look and find one person who compared the three brands by making a structures and then filling them up with the liquid clays and then analyzing the results. Well, that’s not the application I would use them for anyway, so my not-so-scientific study was to use them the way I’m most interested in: as a high-gloss top coat that mimics glass. So for my first round of tests, that’s what I did. Here’s how the first round went.

Batch o' Test SamplesI made a big batch o’ samples, using Premo Translucent clay with some flake inclusions. I added a layer of mylar foil, and then stamped on top of that. Just to make it interesting.

My first test set (Test Set #1) went into the oven to cure. I used a standard 275 degree oven, and put them all in for 15 minutes. I know this isn’t exactly to manufacturer’s specifications with the Kato clay, but I’m kind of testing it like most folks would use it… without adjusting their oven temp after curing their clay.

Also following conventional wisdom, I applied the liquid clays with my fingers. You probably could more precise or scientific with this part, but again, I’m practicing conventional wisdom. Why use a brush when a finger will do?

Here are a few pictures…

Test Set Number ONE

Clay, Baked.

Test Set #1 w/ liquid clays applied.

Test Set #1- Baked

Test Set #1- Baked

So after 15 minutes the TLS scorched pretty badly. The Kato version yellowed a little, but Deko Gel came out clear and glassy. Hmmm. I’m not sure why the TLS burned, because it was on it’s recommended temperature. Something I’ll have to watch.

Some notes about the three brands and general notes:

  • Translucent Liquid Sculpey – Very thick, almost a ketchup-y consistency. It’s sticky quality makes it good for rounded surfaces, or for holding inclusions, such as micro beads. Will get nice and clear in thin layers, but needs to be hand-cured with an embossing gun (in my opinion) for best results. Of the three, it’s the most prone to burning/scorching. Good for 1 layer to add gloss, and works great as a clay “glue” holding pieces together. The odor is distinct, but not too bad.
  • Kato Liquid PolyClay- Thinner consistency, almost more like heavy cream. In other words, kinda runny! I found that it slid right off of my cabochons. This did not make me happy. However, on flat surfaces I got up to eight layers that all remained clear. Really the bets for glass-like applications. But then there’s the smell. It’s like a brand-new red rubber ball plastic smell. Not pleasant at all! But I’m willing to put up with it when I get those great glass-like results!
  • Fimo Deko Gel – Also very thick, maybe the hardest to use out of the bottle. It’s the same consistency as honey when it’s all but crystallized. But it goes on fairly clear, and cures clear. Since it’s so thick, I’ve used it as one thick layer to encase pieces, and it worked great. Probably the least stinky of the three, too. Works great on curved surfaces due to it’s high viscosity. A little rubbery when it’s thick (and it stays flexible) but that doesn’t bother me.

I have reasons to keep all three on my worktable, depending on what the application is. I’ll be posting again on my test set #2, which is hand-curing multiple layers. Stay tuned!

In the meanwhile, Glass Attic has some good info on the liquid clays, too. if you’re interested!
If you need to buy liquid polymer clay products, I hope you’ll consider using my affiliate links:

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About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.

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6 Responses to “Comparison of Liquid Polymer Clays – Part One”

  1. Laura Says:

    Hello!

    I was wondering what heat did you cure the liquid clay at? I tried out Fimo deko today and thought it was terrible. It was patchy – thicker in some areas and barely there in others. Nothing compared to a coat of resin.
    The Kato came out mildly translucent with opaque edges around the pendant. I am completely miffed as to how people achieve the class look with these mediums. I cooked it at 130 degrees for 20 minutes. WOuld a heat gun solve my problems. Your results from the photo look pretty good.
    Any help would be welcome.
    laura

  2. Jenny Says:

    Laura- with the Kato Liquid clay, it’s all about a shot of higher temp. The clay cures at 325 or so…but I have only been able to get that nice, glossy look by using a heat gun. Make sure you keep the heat tool moving so that it doesn’t scorch, and be away that while the LOOK is glassy/glossy, the feel is rubbery/soft. Hope this helps! -Jenny

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