Monday 3 August 2015

An Amazing, Scientific Comparison Test, honest. . .

Well, I had a thought the other day. A dangerous concept I know,
"You don't want to go messing around having thoughts" I said to myself, "You never know where it might lead. No good will come of it, mark me words. ."

Yeah, well, I needn't have worried, nothing much came of it.

The thought in question came upon me when I happened to notice that I had four different brands of white polymer clay lurking in my clay storage box. This same thought led me to suppose that I could do one of those super efficient, scientific, comparison type things you see online. I could compare how well different brands of PC cope with the image transfer process, and I could intelligently but casually point out the differences etc, thus adding to the sum knowledge of mankind, and keeping the polymer clay community informed and and forearmed against the vagueries of image transferring onto whichever was the clay of their choice. . .

Well. . it didn't really turn out like that.

OK, this is what I did. I rolled out a suitable sheet of four different clays,
Kato white, Fimo Pro white, Sculpey original white, and Cernit opaque white.

Then I did my usual - like everybody else does - water and rubbing technique, image transfer thing on each of them, using similar images from the same sheet of lazer printed paper.
Below is how they turned out. The image quality was pretty much identical. One 'interesting' point was that the surface of the Fimo pro, where the image wasn't, started to turn a bit grainy, a sort of floury texture as it was eroded by rubbing. The image bit was fine. Also Fimo white is 'whiter' than the others, just a bit.
The image on the Kato white felt slightly rougher somehow, as if bits of it were very slightly raised. None of these things had any bearing on the image quality at all. Even the much maligned Sculpey original performed well.

So then I baked them for about 20 or so mins at 135 degrees C. Below is how they turned out. Again, nothing frightening or unusual as far as I could see. The Sculpey orig seems to have moved slightly towards the redder end of the spectrum, but only very slightly. They all look marginally darker, but that is mainly due to the photo.

I cut the squares out, as I figured I might try to use them at least, as they didn't do anything exciting in my supposed experiment. I cut them out with scissors, which was novel, as I usually cut them out with a craft knife before baking.
Once cut out, I painted the backs and sides with 'Ginger' alcohol ink and treated the whole thing with Renaissance Wax and buffed them up a bit. 
Then I decided that they were too 'bendy', meaning they hadn't been baked enough, so thinking 'What the hell." I chucked them back in the Halogen oven for another 20 mins. 
Maybe a bit long, as they all bent up a bit as the image side seemingly shrank a touch. They were all suitably stiff and hard though. The odd one out was the Sculpey Original, it went a pinky purple! I 'think' it was the renaissance wax melting and dissolving the ink or toner and diffusing it across the surface. Very odd. (Ren wax and toner don't get on.) Might be something to play with in future and see what cool effects could be got. . . hmmmm. .
The Kato came out the hardest and stiffest, with the Fimo and Cernit being a bit bendy but v tough. The Sculpey was pretty strong, but would probably snap if you really bent it hard. But then, why would you do that?

So, my expert conclusion about which brand of Poly clay to use for image transfer is? . .
That it doesn't really matter. Sculpey Original would need to be a touch thicker or have a thin backing sheet made of one of the tougher brands to be useful in more demanding applications, but it is perfectly ok, as long as long as you don't rebake for too long after using ren wax on it. An unlikely circumstance, unless you are me. . .
Oh well. . . . Mankind's knowledge will just have to wait for another day for my input OK?
Jon x

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