|Cloud Clay snowmen, approx. 3" tall|
I recently tried another new air-drying clay called "Cloud Clay". When I first started working with it I ran into a number of problems but after a week or two of practice, I grew to like the clay. The snowmen shown above were created after stumbling through a few hit & miss projects!
Cloud Clay is soft and easy to form. I like it because it is easy on my hands (I have Arthritis) and I also like the vibrant colors. Cloud Clay is marketed to children but all ages should enjoy. Adults who like crafting cute chracters or who have problems with their hands (like me) will like it's soft texture. It is available in 4 oz packs in a smiliar price range as Model Magic and Makin's Clay. (Large classroom packs are also available.)
Amaco introduced Cloud Clay in 2009.
This is manufacturer's description:
NEW! Super light modeling clay for ages 3+, available in 10 colors** in 4 oz packages. Cloud Clay™ is as light as air … AP certified non-toxic and safe to use! This soft, puffy, and pliable modeling material is fun to squeeze, shape or mold. Cloud Clay has more ‘stretch’ than other brands, so fibers won’t break when pulled apart. Projects are more durable, even for the smallest of details.
This clay sticks to itself and not to hands. Colors blend well and mix with acrylics. Shrinks very little, so it can be used over an armature including balloons. This colorful clay dries overnight and decorates easily. Reusable when stored and sealed properly.
Crafters and kids can rubber stamp or press Cloud Clay™ into molds, model super heroes and fantasy creatures. Shape the sun, moon, and stars. The sky is the limit for creativity with Cloud Clay™.
|Bear made with Cloud Clay (approx. 2.5 inches tall, seated)|
Cloud Clay is a soft, puffy, lightweight clay similar to Model Magic and a few other brands of very soft air-dry clays. It's pretty stretchy too. We pulled a piece to see how far it would stretch before breaking and it stretched the width of the table. This stretchiness can be annoying when trying to pull a small piece of clay from the package because it doesn't break off easily. I found it worked better to use scissors to cut off the amount I needed, which is not really a problem.
Cloud Clay dries fairly quickly and pieces can be handled (gently) without any damage within a very short period of time (varies, depending on shape & thickness). It appears to be completely cured after drying overnight, but it remains a little soft (seems to get harder with more time). Once dry, it is lightweight and has a matte, velvety finish which I really like.
|Wrinkling occurs in 'skin' if figure gets bent or squished when partially cured.|
Here's some of the pros and cons I observed.
On the good side.....
- Reasonably priced and readily available. Great for children and those who find the stiffer clays too hard to work with. **Cloud Clay is available in the 3 primary and 3 secondary colors plus white & terra cotta. No black.
- As I said previously, I like the vibrant colors. The red is a true red. When placed next to each other, the Model Magic red looked pinker than the Cloud Clay red. Green and other colors are pleasing and there's a nice shade of brown that's good for making animals and such.
- It was easy to mix and create new colors. It only took a little kneading to blend colors. I mixed a satisfactory flesh tone quite easily and also mixed the purple used for the violets shown below.
- Hands stay clean, clay is dry to the touch and doesn't stick to hands, work table, or tools and there's minimal color transfer. Except if you wet it! If you try smoothing surface by adding a little water (as is often done with air-dry clays), the color will transfer to your hands and the clay becomes very sticky. This, however, could be used to advantage.
- My 6 year old grandson enjoyed working with Cloud Clay a lot. He didn't have any problems rolling this clay into balls and making simple shapes. Other clays I've used with him weren't as easy for his little hands to manipulate.
- I love the texture when handling it and also the finish texture when dry, which is soft and velvety-looking. It's lightweight and thin pieces are a little flexible.
- Even though it sticks to itself quite well, it doesn't stick to scissors and is easy to cut.
- Goes through pasta machine without sticking. I didn't try making it really, really thin (because I thought it'd start stretching) but I did roll it thin enough to make the miniature violets shown below. No problems at all working the clay this small.
- I used a small petal cutter for the purple petals and it worked just fine. Didn't stick, even without using powders as a release. I also tried clay in a push mold and it released easily.
- Clay doesn't shrink much at all. I wasn't able to measure any noticeable difference in height of the snowmen or bear after they had dried.
- Additional color can be added to a project with markers and paint.
|Miniature violets (less than 1 inch high)|
The not-so good......
- Sticks to packaging.
- Packaging is not resealable or reusable. Properly sealed storage is important. Just putting it in a baggie would probably not be enough to keep for any length of time. I had best luck wrapping it in aluminum foil first and then putting it in a zip lock bag.
- Sticks to itself, which is good, but if you accidentally bump a fresh clay next to what you're working on...it'll stick right away! Attempts to re-position will leave residue behind.
- The stickiness makes cutting with a knife and some tools difficult ..too gooey...it just stretches....but scissors work fine, no problem at all.
- It doesn't stay pliable very long. Once exposed to air, the outside layer starts to dry very quickly. Doing things like trying to re-shape a form into a ball must be done before that outside layer dries or it will crack and wrinkle (see bear close-up above). This "skinning", however, is helpful and allows damage-free handling of your project as you work.
- It won't keep it's shape if there's any weight pressing down on it. Example, legs will collapse under the weight of a body. Either use a toothpick or some other armature to reinforce the legs (or other parts) or create figure in separate pieces and glue together after dried.
- Like all the soft clays, cracks and wrinkles are difficult to smooth out and seams don't blend easily after the first few minutes of working with it.
- Kneading 2 colors together is easy, but it has to be done quite quickly. Too much kneading or exposure to air and clay will start to become noticable dry.
- Too bad there's no black. Mixing a black was difficult, all I could get was dark brown. Paint (or another brand of clay) would have to be used for anything black.
- After 24 hours the figure will be dried firm, but still a little soft. Fingernails can easily indent.
- I tried using a push mold with the clay. It didn't stick to mold at all but it didn't hold fine detail well. The clay has a tendency to "puff up" as it relaxes and distinct lines just disappear into rounded profiles.
|Harry's Dinos...one of the first projects with Cloud Clay|
Conclusion: Cloud Clay is a nice budget-priced clay suitable for cute, simple figures and artists of all ages. Kids will especially love it.
For further information on Cloud Clay visit www.AMACO.com .