Saturday, August 15, 2009

Michael's Clay and Makin's Pasta Machine Reviews

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!

Pasta Machine

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.


Arlene Harrison said...

I use an Atlas Mercato and haven't had any trouble with it. I ordered it with a motor two years ago because of arthritis in my shoulder. I use it and abuse it on an extremely frequent basis and so far it has not failed me!

garritygal said...

Thanks, I'm going to look this up..Debbie

Eugena said...

Thank you posting your clay review. Very informative!
As for the machines... I have two of them, Atlas and Amaco. I've had them for a few years, and I use them at least once a week. Never had a problem... Maybe I am just lucky? There are some tricks that make pasta machine work longer, although they would not help you with a new machine falling apart. The most important one: never feed too thick of a clay piece into your pasta machine.

cakes80 said...

I am looking for a new pasta machine. I do lots of cake toppers of brides and the Amaco topper leaves streaks on the white clay no matter how well I clean it before use. Does anyone have a good machine that keeps the clay clean. Thanks. Love this blog by the way. Here's my website if anyone wants to take a peek.

Jane said...

Don't bother with the Makins clay machine,it is a total waste of money and time, stick with the old pasta machines like Atlas, mine was over 30yrs old and did well for all the use it got.

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