'I was wondering if you could tell me why Sculpey is not recommended? What is wrong with it? I am planning on buying a Sculpey III 12 pack. Do you think that is a good product to start with? I saw another type of Sculpey called Bake Shop that is made for kids. Is that a softer clay, or is it poor quality?'
Hi Brickle Bears, In my opinion Sculpey III polymer clay is an OK choice for beginners, or children, because it is easy to condition, to work with and is readily available. On the downside, many people find it too mushy to work with, it doesn't hold fine detail, is nearly impossible to cane with, and once cured (baked), it tends to be very fragile if dropped. It is not usually the top choice of most of the PC-ers I know.
I have been a loyal fan of Sculpey's PREMO brand clay for nearly 20 years. It's quite versatile and it's the clay I recommend right from the beginning for most work.
I find Kato clay GREAT for canes because it holds tiny details, but a bit stiff to condition and work with, can look "Plastic-y" and shiny and is harder to HAND sand and Hand buff once cured. Love the ability of PREMO to be hand sanded and buffed to a fab sheen.
Others use Fimo, but I find the majority of users to be located outside the USA and it's harder to find in the USA.
Sculpey's Bake Shop (URL to review below), is targeted to kids and VERY soft to work with.
Your choice depends on what you want your clay to be able to do. It's a super versatile medium. Though Sculpey III would be an OK choice to get you started if you already have some, if you are putting in a lot of effort on your work and want to make sure it has the best chance of lasting I would not recommend ultimately using Sculpey III long term.
Anita in AZ