I'm glad that I finally get to try the Japanese air dry clay~!
I've been browsing a lot of Japanese fake clay food blog and I'm amazed how these bloggers can create! Some of them look just like real food! That makes me wonder, if I can create something like that too?
I have lots of fun with polymer clay. However, since you have to bake the polymer clay, there's some ingredients I can't mix it in and bake with. Therefore air dry clay is good to try with different results~
I bought some resin air dry clay on Etsy. This seller has all the clay I wanted to try and the price is reasonable.
Here's the seller I bought it from Hong Kong:
Other than clay supply, they also have molds and other craft supplies~ I'll probably go back to this seller when I need to get some more~ (Unless I find somewhere has it cheaper lol)
Here I got 3 packs of Cosmos, 1 pack of Grace and 1 pack of Modena in yellow ocher.
Cosmos resin air dry clay
First of all, I'd like to talk about the Cosmos resin air dry clay.
This is 250g a pack. It comes with 2 tubes of clay. It's great the packaging is this way because you don't have to worry about the clay get dried out if you can't finish it all in one time. I'll talk about how to store the left over clay in a bit so you can keep the clay moist and we can work with it again for later~
Cosmos has this cute pink plastic packaging bag. You can see in this picture below, it comes with 2 tubes of white clay.
Texture & Coloring:
The texture of Cosmos is smooth and elastic. It's kinda sticky when it's fresh. It's a little bit hard at first, but it's not as hard as polymer clay. After kneading it awhile and warming it up, it'll start getting softer.
Mixing color with air dry clay is easy. You can use acrylic paint or oil paint to mix the color you want. Since the clay is originally in white, so the colors that come out are usually in pastel tone. If you'd like to get brighter, bolder colors, you'll need to keep adding acrylic paint little by little until you have the color you want.
Keep in mind that when the clay is completely dried, the color will get more vibrant. Also the size of clay will slightly shrink about 10-15% since the moisture in the clay will be evaporated.
Air dry clay also comes in primary colors too (Such as the picture below), like red, blue, yellow and green. They also have brown and black. Therefore if you want to save time mixing colors, you can purchase the air dry clay with primary colors.
I find the surface of this Cosmos resin air dry clay gets to dry pretty quick. Therefore, if you need to make texture on the surface, you need to make it fast (Such as cookie texture or strawberry seeds) I'd recommend to just get the amount you need when you work with this clay.
Also, this Cosmos air dry clay is quite elastic. It feels like dough. When you make textures on the clay, you will need to engrave on it heavy and deep. It's because if you make it too light, the clay will bounce back up and the textures will not be as cleared. So make sure you texture it well before it gets dried~
If the surface gets a little dry, you can start kneading it and it'll get softer again (Because the core is still moist) However, the longer you keep it out in the air, the less of the stickiness it will have as it keeps getting drier.
Cosmos is pretty good for molding I would say. Since it's kind of sticky, so you have to put baby oil or olive oil in the mold to help release the clay. You can use a cotton swab to dip some oil and swipe it evenly into the mold. Only a tiny bit would work~ Too much oil would make the clay so greasy.
This clay pick up all details from the mold. It'd be great to use for molds with a lot of fine details in it.
After the Cosmos clay is dried, it has a slightly translucent finish. It usually takes 2-3 days to dry completely. If you want a bold white color, you may want to put some white acrylic paint mix in it to have a whiter finish. In the picture below, the white cream part in the cake roll I've already put some white paint in it to make the color a little bit brighter.
With this clay, you can do a lot of different pastry items. Such as puff, cookies, donuts, cake rolls, macaroons.... Also, it's really great for making candies. It has a nice smooth finish that makes candies look so yummy!
When it's dried, it's very hard and durable.
I've tried 2 different ways to paint on this Cosmos clay. I tried using brush and sponge. Both of these methods worked great! Since this clay is not waterproof, it makes the paint so easy to absorb into the clay.
Using brush with acrylic paint:
To achieve gradient effect with paint brush, I like to thin acrylic paint with water, so I can build the color up layer by layer.
Using sponge with acrylic paint:
It's just the same as I paint on polymer clay using sponge. Dap a small amount of acrylic paint and build it up layer by layer.
I got this Cosmos air dry clay around USD$13/pack. (Excluded shipping cost) I searched on the internet from other places, it's around USD$10 - USD$20/pack. Also you will need to compare the shipping costs from different online stores. As long as you do your research, I'm sure you would be able to get a reasonable price~
Grace resin air dry clay
Here's Grace resin air dry clay. It has a mint green packaging with a big green color "Grace" on top. It's very similar to Cosmos air dry clay since they're from the same company. It comes with 2 tubes of clay as well. They weight slightly lighter though. It's 200g/pack, 100g/tube.
This Grace resin air dry clay is so so smooth and it's even more elastic than Cosmos.
It's quite sticky when it's fresh. It's also very soft too, like a dough. It stretches even better than Cosmos.
You can use acrylic paint or colored air dry clay to mix with Grace. Just like the same as Cosmos.
If you put texture on your creations, you need to engrave it deep enough just in case it won't bounce back up~
Grace is really great for making fruits / fruit canes. When it's dried, it's still a little tender. Therefore it's pretty easy to cut into fruit slices when they're dried~
This Grace has a very nice translucent finish when it's dried. (More translucent than Cosmos) It's also very smooth and elastic. It usually takes 2-3 days to dry completely. Also, after it's dried, it'll shrink about 10%.
Grace is easy to paint on too. Using either brush or sponge. Same opinion as Cosmos clay~
See~ It's really easy to cut and slice :)
I bought the Grace resin air dry clay on Etsy, from a seller in Hong Kong. According to my research, the price range is usually around USD$11 - USD$19 (Excluded shipping cost). Some seller on Etsy would provide wholesale option so it would make the price a slightly cheaper. Do your research and get the best price :)
Modena Color air dry clay (Yellow ocher)
I picked a yellow ocher color Modena air dry clay. It's tight wrapped with a yellow ocher plastic bag. It is 60g/pack. This Modena color collection has a wide range of color selection. It has black, brown, red, yellow, blue, green and white.
The texture of this Modena clay is very smooth. To me the surface feels like eraser/rubber. It'll get softer after kneading. It's not as sticky as Cosmos or Grace. If you are making your creations need to be assembled together, make sure you use glue to help secure them. It's not as sticky so it's not as easy to stick them together. Also the surface of this clay can get to dry fast, so I'd recommend only taking the amount you need when you work with this. Then storage the rest of it in a zip lock bag.
Since this Modena collection of clay has a wide selection of colors, it's easy to mix the color you want. And of course, you can also use acrylic paint to help~
As I've mentioned above, this Modena air dry clay is not that sticky. It makes it great for molding. With mold shallow like the picture below, I don't even have to put any oil in it to help releasing the clay. It comes out effortlessly. If you have a mold that has some depth, it's still better to use some oil to help pick it out.
This clay picks up great details from molds. You can see shapes and lines come out very nicely & clearly.
Engraving this Modena clay is easy. It doesn't "bounce back" like Cosmos or Grace, yet it's still quite elastic. You can see the picture below, the almonds I made have the lines on it clearly~
Modena is very smooth. When it's dried, it's slightly flexible. If your creation has some thickness, the flexibility will decrease. It is a little translucent when it's dried.
After it's dried, it will shrink about 10%. It takes about 2-3 days to be completely dried. The yellow ocher color I have pretty much stay the same before and after. So you don't have to worry about the color might change.
I haven't tried to paint on this clay yet. I believe it wouldn't have a big difference between the other 2 clays we've talked about. This clay claims it's waterproof. I'll try to paint on this in the coming future and update it on this blog post.
Pricing of Modena is in between USD$3 - USD$7/pack (Excluded shipping cost). You can find this on Etsy or you can order from Padico online shop.
Hearty super lightweight air dry clay
I got mine at Hobby Lobby. This is 149g/pack. It's different from the Japanese version packaging. The Japanese version comes in 2 different sizes, 50g/pack and 200/pack.
The graphics on the package is very similar. They have the same flowers design with a white background. The one I got from Hobby Lobby has a plastic/foil bag. The Japanese version has a plastic bag as packaging.
Hearty clay is really really light and fluffy! The texture is very interesting. It has a foamy sense of touch, like marshmallow~
This clay is very soft and moist when you open it but it's not too sticky~ Hearty is not as smooth as the other clays above though.
It's quite elastic and stretchy. This texture is really great for making ice cream and macaroons, or cookies~ Especially when you make the edges for ice cream and macaroon, it's really easy to sculp it with just a toothpick. Unlike polymer clay, it takes more steps to achieve such effects.
Coloring Hearty clay is easy. I like to use acrylic paint to do this. It also comes with different colors of Hearty clay (Colors ones only come in 50g)
Hearty clay already has some texture on it (Picture below). If you make some pastry items or ice cream, you don't necessary need to make extra texture on it~ (It makes the process easier~)
This Hearty clay is a little different from the other 3 clays we've talked about (It's not as smooth). As you can see the picture below, it has some little fibers in it~ It feels like paper texture.
Hearty clay is very great for molding~!
Since it's not that sticky, it comes off the mold really easily. It also keeps great details from the mold. I like this clay a lot!
Hearty clay is very light and fluffy. It's not translucent though. It takes 1-2 days to dry. When it's dried, it has a little bit of paper finish feeling. There's some tiny fibers in it. Also it'll shrink 5%-10% after it's dried.
It's very flexible and light. It's not as hard like Cosmos and Grace. It feels like foam.
This picture below you can see the the difference between translucent and not translucent~
It's really easy to cut even when it's dried. It's great when you make items like layered cake or pie, you can cut it into slices after dry.
With this clay I find it's easier to paint it with brush and acrylic paint. This is not waterproof so it absorb the paint really well. Make sure you start with very thin acrylic paint. Then layer it on to get the gradient effect.
The one that I got from Hobby Lobby was USD$9.99, and of course I used my 40% off coupon :) So it makes it USD$6/pack (149g).
The Japanese versions I found online are usually around USD$5 - USD$15 (200g) and USD$3 - USD$8 (50g). Shipping cost is excluded from these prices, so do some research before buying it online~ You can find this on the Padico online shop too.
This Hearty clay has more amount of clay comparing to the other clays above. Since it is super lightweight, you get more products in a same weight (Thumbs up!)
Storing these resin-based air dry clay is easy. You will need:
-Zip lock bag
When you have left over clay, it's better to storage it well to prevent exposing it in the air for too long.
You can wrap the clay with plastic wrap. Make sure you get all the air out and twist it tight. Then store it in a zip lock bag.
It's better to store it with some wet paper towel as well, so it can keep the moisture in the air dry clay. The wet paper towel can help to keep the clay moist for a little longer than without it.
Overall, I really like every single one of the resin-based air dry clay I've tried. They all work really great and I like the fact that you can mix and match them to have different texture~ (Such as mixing Grace with Cosmos or mixing Hearty with Cosmos etc.)
I like the smoothness of these air dry clays have. Sometimes polymer clay doesn't have that even and smooth texture.
I like the way Hearty and Grace that you can still sculp it after they're dried. You can mix different ingredients in it to get different effects (Such as silicone or painted items). Since polymer clay needs to go into the oven, there's a limit of elements you can put it in and bake with. Air dry clay can be used in this aspect~
Storing the air dry clay is easy. However, you will need to finish using it in a certain period of time. Polymer clay doesn't have this problem. Once you open your air dry clay, you still want to finish using them a.s.a.p.
Another down side is, pricing.
Actually the product itself isn't too pricy. The only problem is shipping cost. Most of these air dry clays are not available in the craft stores in US. It's better to find an online store that carries most of the products you'd like to purchase. This can save you a little bit of shipping cost~ Most importantly, like I keep saying, do some more research before you buy :) Save a little bit of money can always help~
There are some more air dry clay I'd like to try out (Of course~) I'll keep updating this post whenever I try something new~ Please stay tuned for that. Hope you all like this review and I'll be back soon. (Maybe a tutorial with air dry clay~?)
Here's another clay and molds review on our blog:
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