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Air Dried Clay - Eva's Insights on Air Dried Clay - 001: ADC and Apoxie Sculpt - Alternatives to Polymer Clay


I had to stop using polymer clay last year (or maybe it was the year before?)
because I'd developed an allergy to it (pretty mild but I decided not to push my
luck with my health) so I switched over to air-dry clays and Apoxie Sculpt
(which is a two-part sculpting compound). It's definitely a little messier than
polymer but, as you know, doesn't need to be cured in an oven. I tend to use
Darwi the most and I think you'll like it a lot--it's not as fibrous as
Paperclay although many of the methods for working with it are the same. I've
used Darwi (which is my preferred air-dry clay because it's smooth with a creamy
texture while working with it), LaDoll which is also smooth but has a kind of
marshmallowy texture, Premix which is similar to LaDoll although a bit smoother
even, Creative Paperclay which is fibrous but surprisingly easy to smooth and
lightweight, and Das which is very fibrous and very heavy. The only one I don't
recommend at all is Das because of its texture and weight. Das also doesn't take
detail at all but the other air-dries can provide some amazing detail as long as
you don't over-wet them and erase it while you're working on your piece. They
can also be sanded and buffed to smooth them once dried.

The aspect of air-dry clay that made me most nervous was the lack of color and
the fact that I would have to learn painting and coloring techniques.
Surprisingly, some of my experience with accenting polymer clay pieces (ie,
antiquing, blushing, etc.) helped and it didn't take long for me to really start
enjoying the process of painting and blushing my figures. I also personally
found it easier to move into mixed media with the air-dries, using fabric and
fiber for clothing and hair. You can, of course, use the air-dry clays to make
costumes and hair for your figures but I was more willing to try working with
fabric and cloth because air-dry clay doesn't provide all the vibrant colors and
designs that you can get with polymer clay so I was inspired to start looking at
fabrics for some of the luscious and vibrant designs and colors.

Apoxie Sculpt is a two-part epoxy clay that takes some getting used to but holds
detail as well as polymer and gives you a very strong finished piece. It's a
chemically cured clay, meaning that once you mix it, it begins to cure so you
only have a limited working time (around 3 to 4 hours) while it's still soft
enough to model and pose but even this has it's benefits. I've been working on a
Pumpkin King figure and I made his head of Creative Paperclay, his hands and
lower/legs feet are being made out of Apoxie Sculpt. AS comes in a few different
colors (more basic than pc, colors like red, green, blue, yellow, orange, pink,
white, black, etc.) so you can play around with colored clay, as well but I've
noticed that many people who sculpt with it tend to use a single color and then
use paint to add color to their figures. I wanted to play with the different
colors so I chose brown to make his lower arms/hands and textured them to look
like vines. I made his fingers extremely long and thing and, after they'd
partially cured, I decided I didn't like their position. I found that with the
AS, once the clay had cured enough to be handled but not fully cured, I could
actually gently reposition his fingers, permanently, without damaging the sculpt
or the texture on them. It definitely has some qualities that other clays don't
have but it also requires rather different methods to work with it. It is,
however, a bit less messy than air-dry clay, so you might want to consider
investing in a small amount and playing around with it, too. They do sell sample
sizes (4oz total) which have enough clay in them to make a couple of small

Whichever clays you work with, have fun :D

This is where I asked Eva is I could put her insights on my site, she said, ok. NJ


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