Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review of Hearty Clay

Fetcher, from Chicken Run
my first Hearty Clay project
A while ago I purchased a few packages of Hearty Clay because it was soft to handle (but dried hard) and because it was suppose to have true primary colors for color mixing. However, the thing that interested me most about Hearty Clay was the fact that it dried to a matte, velvety-like finish that has a unique feel.

Manufacturers description:
Hearty Air Dry Clay is super lightweight and air dries to a firm consistency in 24 hours or less. When dried, Hearty has a soft suede-like feel that is pliable. It is suitable to make delicate objects like flowers as well as jewelry, pins, sculptures, magnets and other crafts projects. Hearty does not stick to fingers and it is easy to work with. It comes in 13 colors (including flesh) that can be mixed together to create infinite varieties. Color pigments used in our primary colors of Hearty Air Dry clay are faithfully reproduced for consistent color mixing results.

Cured Hearty is lightweight, firm and a little flexible. The package label says "no kneading" is needed. The clay is "ready to use" right out of the package.  But...if you plan on mixing the'll have to knead to mix or use a pasta machine to blend colors..

Hearty feels quite different from Creative Paperclay or LaDoll. Out-of-the-package it has the consistency of soft pie dough. I didn't find it specifically written anywhere, but I believe that Hearty Clay is a polymer-based clay and has many similarities to other polymer-based soft clays (the air-dry polymers...not at all like the oven-baked polymers).

Using Hearty's cyan, magenta and yellow (plus black and white) you can make any color on the color wheel.  I was very interested in being able to mix my own colors from these the 3 primaries, but, because of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) in my hands, kneading is painful for me, so I tried sending the Hearty Clay thru the pasta problems at all!  It went thru without sticking and colors mixed well. Before I tried that, I had heard you couldn't use the pasta machine with air-dry clay. Well, that may be true for some brands which are really sticky....but you can use pasta machine with Hearty Clay. I can vouch for that!

I found Hearty soft, pliant and easy to work with. It's a bit softer than cold porcelain, if you're familiar with CP.  Except for color mixing, no kneading is needed, which is good news for those with arthritis in their hands or other problems that make kneading of some clays difficult. However, because of that softness, Hearty does not hold fine detail well and realistic figure sculpting would be difficult.  It's great, however, for simple, whimsical figures.  Hearty can be pressed thin and it's pliable when cured, so works well for making flowers. It also works well in small press molds, which makes it suitable for jewelry, pins, magnets, scrapbooking and other crafts projects.

Hearty sticks to it's packaging (mine stuck quite a bit) and will stick to itself but does not stick to your fingers when modeling. However, if you use water with the colored clay to keep it moist or to smooth the surface, the color will come off on your hands and also smear onto adjacent clay pieces. This characteristic could maybe be used to your advantage to create blended colors for flower petals...I've haven't tried that yet!

I didn't see any color transfer on my hands from clay out-of-package, just when water was added. To avoid this, use cold cream instead of water. 

Hearty shrinks quite a bit when cured and cracks can appear. However, I didn't have any trouble patching these cracks with some new clay. Mixed colors stay true and it's hard to tell the difference in color between 'wet' clay and cured.

Un-cured balls of clay on top of cured
figure....comparing wet & dry colors
Hearty is readily available...carried in many craft stores and can be purchased online at a number of sites, including Amazon. Hearty may be a similar formula to Artista in Europe and Angel in Asia. It also has a similar consistency to Claycraft by Deco but they're not exactly the same.

I'm a little confused about this Hearty Clay and who in the heck manufacturers it. Project tutorials for Hearty Clay can be found on both websites for 'The Clay Company' and 'The Mountain Idea'. The website for The has a bunch of tips for using and coloring the clay but doesn't say much else. Hearty Clay is also shown (on website) as one of the products for 'Padico' (makers of LaDoll) but the package label says 'Venture Crafts' (Japan). Recently it has been advertised as Activa Hearty Clay and is also on their website!

Next post I'll share photos of work in progress of a small figure made with an armature and Hearty Clay and the problems I ran into...but satisfactory results in the end. That would be "Fetcher" (who is shown at top of this page).



  1. AMACO has a new air dry clay called Cloud Clay. Would you like to try it? It comes is 10 colors, colors are mixable, and it's very soft, lightweight, and puffy with the feel almost of foam. And it shouldn't crack.

  2. Of course I'd like to try Cloud Clay! Sounds very interesting. Contact me at

  3. I love him, Mary! I like the matte look. Thanks for sharing your experiences with Hearty.


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