Friday, June 29, 2012

Meet a New Clay: LaDoll


I just realized that we've never done a "Meet a New Clay" for La Doll clay.   This is one of my favorite air-dry clays, so shame on me!  ;-)   

LaDoll, distributed by Activa, is the doll artist's choice for excellence with its mixture of pumice, talc, small amounts of paper pulp, and additional binders. Extremely pliant, it can be worked indefinitely by keeping it moist. It will adhere to any core material (wire, mesh, rigid wrap, paper, glass, plastic, wood, Styrofoam, and more) and can be stamped, carved, or sculpted with exceptional detail.  It can be drilled,
sanded, or sculpted when dry. This clay will accept acrylics, oils, water based paints, as well as dry finishing powders. Additionally, the clay can be dissolved in water and used as a finish coat or soaked with paper or cloth to form into shapes. Dries with minimal shrinkage and a fine smooth texture.

The above paragraph is taken from the manufacturer's description, but I will agree with all those statements.  In my experience using the clay I haven't had any problems using it as described.  It's a wonderful clay to work with if you are interested in sculpting with fine detail.   That's why La Doll is the clay of choice for many doll artists worldwide.  The late Hannie Sarris was well known for her finely featured dolls sculpted from LaDoll.

Innocence by Hannie Sarris  

La Doll clay is a bit stiffer than Creative Paperclay and a whole lot stiffer than cold porcelain and the soft clays such as Deco ClayCraft.   This stiffness makes it a little more difficult to model than the softer clays but also allows for great detail.  The natural stone formula dries to a hard finish and can be sanded very smooth.   With a little extra effort on the artist's part, the final finish can be as smooth as silk.

After the clay has cured and dried, you can still add fresh clay to the sculpture by re-wetting, attaching small pieces of new clay and blending in.   That means you can work on it for a very long time and can work very detailed.  One of my favorite benefits of an air-dry clay like La Doll is that fact that your work is not prone to attracting dirt and tiny bits of whoknowswhat that floats in the air, which always seems to happen with polymer clay.   The other major benefit is, of course, no need to bake.  No more scorched noses!

La Doll is available in 3 formulas.  The original, which is sometimes called 'Satin Smooth', plus Premier and Premix.


La Doll Premier is like La Doll Satin Smooth, but with a finer body, allowing for greater detail, exceptional strength, ultra-lightweight pieces, and a bright white finish. LaDoll Premier is a stiffer version than original La Doll but it works well for small, delicate areas such as fingers. Premier can be blended easily with La Doll Satin Smooth.


La Doll Premix was developed by Hannie Sarris and is a combination of La Doll and La Doll Premier.  It has combined all the benefits of both clays.   Premix is stronger, better to work with and better to sand. It is a superb clay for the most delicate figures in air dry clay. The clay is fine textured with almost no fibers in it, very pliable and easy to work with.  It hardly sticks on your hands. It is simply wonderful clay!


               

33 comments:

  1. Thank you for explaining the strengths and differences between the clays. I always wondered.

    Elaine Allen

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  2. Hi Elaine, You're welcome and I hope the "Meet a New Clay" series of posts are helpful. I haven't tried every single brand of air-dry clay yet but I'm working on it! ;-)

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  3. I found this great site, and I'm wondering what clay would you recommend, if I'm doing only those quite small charms ? I have that das-clay but i think that out there somewhere is better clay than that ... :) (sorry my bad english, I'm from finland :D)

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  4. Hi Fanni, Thank you for compliments. Das is a heavy, dense clay and is probably not the best clay for what you're making. In thinking of what may be readily available in your area, I checked at http://www.heins-hobbys.nl/ and, in addition to LaDoll, they carry Artista and Modena, 2 brands that you might want to try. Check the descriptions. It says that Modena is "extraordinary for the creation of ...jewelry, trinkets and other handicrafts." Artista is said to be similar to Hearty and you can search this blog for a review of Hearty.

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  5. Mary, I just wanted to say thank you and I love your site! I have worked quite a bit with polymer clays, but when I moved and started using a different temperamental oven, I had tons of issues, and as a result, I put my sculpting aside and concentrated on other things.

    A friend of mine told me that I may want to consider ADC, but I had no idea which one to buy! While browsing a few days ago, I found your site, which has been so helpful!! You answered so many of the questions I had! I just ordered a big batch of Premier clay, and am so excited for it to arrive! Thank you again!!!

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  6. Thank you Edie! Your comments are what this whole site is about. When I first started with air-dry clay, information was pretty sparce...so I began collecting tips!

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  7. Well, I just subscribed, and I have bunches of ideas as far as coloring goes (for instance, mixing face powder into the clay before sculpting in order to add a nice flesh color). If any of it works, I will let you know!!

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  8. Edie, I'm curious to hear your results. I've only used makeup to "paint" on a cured figure, haven't tried mixing into clay yet!

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  9. I used to use the powdered mineral makeup on my polymer clay dolls before baking, and it worked very nicely. I was using a flesh-colored clay, but used the makeup for blushed areas. It turned out looking much like china paint does on bisque dolls. Very natural. That is what made me think it might work as a mix-in for white ADC.

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  10. I haven't fully tested the makeup as a mix-in, but tried a couple of small tests, and it seems as if it may work pretty well. Will keep you posted on that. Doing my first couple of projects in white and will paint afterwards.

    I did want to make another observation about the LaDoll, though. I got both LaDoll and Premier, but my experience was the opposite of what you described. My package of LaDoll was a LOT stiffer and firmer than the Premier, almost to the point of being difficult to work. I even tried mixing it with a bit of Premier, and it didn't even want to mix. I finally did get it worked into my current doll body by wetting it (which was kind of sloppy). Maybe I got a bad batch?

    Loving the Premier, but sometimes I need something a little firmer. Thinking of trying the Premix next, because I don't want something as firm as the LaDoll I tried.

    Thanks again for all you do!

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  11. Hi Edie, Thanks for the update. Sounds like you DID get a very old or dried out package of LaDoll. Try returning it. Sometimes package will get exposed to excess heat in warehouse or during delivery to store. It should be firm but should not crumble.

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    1. Thanks for the info, but I already used it. I wet it down and used it on the body I am working on. The water helped somewhat, but it still wasn't the texture I wanted. No biggie though. I will try the Premix next and definitely continue to use the Premier!

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  12. Have to say that I love the Premix! It will be perfect for times when the Premier is just too soft. Glad I found a US supplier!

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  13. Edie, have you tried any more makeup mix-in's? What kind of makeup are you using, if I may ask? I had been considering maybe using lipstick, since I thought powdered stuff would make the clay work incorrectly, like using pearl-ex pigment powders. Adding it to mix in the clay just made the clay not stick to anything, even itself. I confess that I don't have much knowledge of makeup products or their consistencies since I rarely use it in real life.

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    1. I have tried just a cheap drugstore brand loose powder, actually. It didn't make the premier too dry, but I haven't had time to test it further yet.

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  14. Thank you for this site, I was just searching for info about La Doll, and magically you have answered almost all my questions..the last being, is this a non-toxic type clay? What are the binders that they use? I've been using paperclay for a long time and the reason I switched from a polomer clay was because of the cancer risk. Is
    La Doll free from any potential cancer causing elements?

    thanks, I otherwise love the clay!!
    Betai

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    1. Hi Betsi, Sorry, I can't answer your question about whether clay is free from any cancer risk. I'm not a scientist or a doctor or cancer expert. However, most air-dry clays say "non-toxic" on the label. If you're really concerned, you should contact the manufacturer of any clay you plan to use.

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    2. Thanks Mary, I will check with the manufacturer, good advise! betsi

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  15. Can someone tell me where I can find the LaDoll Premix in the southern U.S. or from a supplier online in the U.S.?

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    1. I ordered some from Clay Alley online. I live in Louisiana and couldn't find it locally.

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    2. Clay Alley http://clayalley.com/ is a great source for LaDoll clays. A friendly and efficient supplier. If you don't want to shop online, Michaels Crafts carries LaDoll.

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  16. I found original LaDoll and Premier at Michaels and Hobby Lobby here in Louisiana, but not the Premix. But that's ok, because I am fine with doing business with the owner of clay alley.

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  17. I am making a ball-jointed doll using Activa La Doll Satin Smooth Air-Dry Clay. I've read that many people that use Polymer clay like to clean their dolls after they're cured using acetone. I was wondering if I could use the same technique with my air-dry clay or if there is any other method for cleaning this type of clay.
    By the way, LaDoll is fantastic, I love it!

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    1. I would NOT use acetone with air-dry clay. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "cleaning" the doll. If you mean polishing and finishing, I get a very smooth, silky finish with cured LaDoll by sanding using different grits and ending with very fine grit.

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    2. PS. I meant to emphasize "hand" sanding. (I prefer sanding sponges) Using a Dremel type power tool can be hard to control and can gouge the clay but if you're careful you can use it on larger body parts. I've heard some people re-purpose an electric toothbrush for this...I haven't tried it.

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  18. I have tried Das, Sculpey, super sculpey, premol and fimo to try and make a doll and while I have learned a lot with each new experiment and experiance. I have yet to try stone clay. I actually am about to go out and get some but my main question is can I bake it? I haven't found any information on that topic so please help me out here. Thanks and the review was most helpful.

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    1. NO! You do NOT bake air-dry clay. This is NOT the same as the oven-bake clays such as Sculpey, Premo and Fimo. Some people are impatient and will heat air-dry clay to make it dry faster but I don't recommend it. The beauty of air-dry clay is that you can work on it for a while, let it cure a little so it can be handled without damage and then continue adding more clay and more details. No worry about scorching or over-baking when placed in oven over and over.

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    2. I am looking for a clay I can incorporate into wind chimes .... Something that can be outside. I have tried polymoar but didn't get it right.. It looked beautiful but broke easily... Would the air dry work for this? Thank you

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  19. Hello! New subscriber, great blog! You give a good amount of information, thank you! I was wondering if you could suggest a clay- I make small beads and flowers for jewelry. I want to move away from the Sculpey and use a natural white or light clay that I can bake dry. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

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    1. Hi, You're on the right page. LaDoll is one of the strongest air dry clays with a fine grain. It is often used for dolls, so it's durable. It is however, meant to be air-dried, not baked. Lumina is another air-dry clay often used for jewelry. Check the 'brands" page for more info. http://newclaynews.blogspot.com/p/adc-brands.html

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  20. coldmix binder Asphalt by Highway 1 is an ideal product for fixing potholes or making asphalt repairs in your driveway or carpark.

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  21. May I ask to conform something? Can u mix colors with LaDoll clay before u work with it, or do u have to wait until it's dry to color it? Thanks..

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  22. This site is great! Yesterday I discovered a doll making artist at Instagram an saw that she uses la doll-clay. But on Ebay there where a lot different la doll-clays, and so I googled some and came across your site! Now I know why I should buy la doll and that it will suit my needs, and which type to buy too!

    Thank you so much!

    Benedicte

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Thank you very much for taking the time to comment! ;-)
Sorry I had to re-instate the 'word verification'...I'm getting far too much spam in the comment box.

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