While shopping at Michael's the other day, I was surprised to see that they are now carrying their own brand of polymer clay.
I was impressed with the cost of their clay; at $1.29 for 2 ounces, it's half the price of Fimo and Sculpey. I purchased 9 different colors and thought I would give it a try.
The clay is very pliable and soft, making it easy to create little figurines. The colors are nice but I felt they are not as vibrant and rich as Premo, Fimo and Sculpey III. I didn't care for the deep ridges left in the clay (probably from the cutting tools they use to manufacture it).
I made a simple cane with the clay, but, since I don't do complicated canes, I'm not sure if this soft clay would be a good choice.
After the clay was baked it was fairly durable, similar to sculpey III, but not nearly as strong as Premo.
In my opinion, this would be a great clay for beginners and children. If I were in a bind, I would use it. But as long as Michaels and Joanns continue to have Sculpey and Fimo at 50% off, those are the brands I will buy.
Kudos to Michaels for trying!
Last year I purchased a Makins Pasta Machine. Within a few minutes of rolling out my piece of clay, it jammed inside the machine. A metal strip on the underside of the rollers fell off also.
I contacted Makins and they sent me another machine. I was pleased with their customer service. However, it hasn't been a year yet and my machine is falling apart. The metal screws on the bottom platform have fallen out. The knob that controls the thickness of the "pasta" is starting to malfunction. It's time for me to start looking for another pasta machine.
I've tried the Amaco Pasta machine in the past, and it was very poorly made, jamming up and causing ripples in the clay. I went to a teaching seminar two years ago and several of the brand new Amaco pasta machines jammed up or wouldn't turn after only a few minutes of using them.
The best pasta machine I ever used was an Italian made machine that cost me around $60.00. I used it for 5 years before it gave me any problems. I guess I need to go to my local Italian market and check out their machines, because the Makins and Amaco machines, in my opinion, are poorly made. (Makins does suggest that you only use their brand of air drying clay in their machines, so heed their advice.)
If you have any suggestions for durable pasta machines that you would recommend, please drop me an email or leave a comment.