You might have seen this luscious video by Ana Belchí showing off an exquisite new line of clay by Cernit. Brilliantly colored, glimmering, and glowing, the new Cernit Metallic seemed to be unlike anything else on the market. Already happy with the Cernit that I reviewed previously, I was eager to give this clay a try. Here’s my resulting Cernit Metallic review.
Let me take a moment and say that you’re going to want this clay. So go ahead and buy some. Just go. Here’s where you can buy Cernit Metallic.
Where to Buy Cernit Metallic
- In the US, buy Cernit Metallic from Poly Clay Play, Blueberry Beads and Clay Factory, Inc.
- If you’re in the UK, buy it from Clayaround and EJR Beads.
- Hobbyrian is your source in Sweden and Scandinavia.
- In Australia, go to 2Wards Polymer Clay.
- Cernit is readily available in Europe, with many sources. Check out Happy Things and Polystudio.
- In Canada, you can get your fix from Do Creative or Shades of Clay
Okay, now that you have some on order, let’s get on with the review, so you know what to expect when your clay gets here. 🙂
Cernit Metallic Review
The Clay and Paint Factory in Belgium makes Cernit polymer clay. While this brand is commonly available in Europe, it must be ordered online in most other places around the world. Years ago, Cernit was available in the US in craft stores and tended to have a rather unsavory reputation for being difficult. Let me assure you, the Cernit that’s currently on the market is not that clay. The new Cernit is great. I’ve had the pleasure of working with this brand of clay quite a bit, and it’s lovely stuff. Have you read my Cernit Review? In that review, I discussed its characteristics and explored how it compared to the brands you already use.
Cernit Metallic First Impressions
I ordered all
14 colors (there are now 21 colors) and they are luscious. Even through the package, you could tell how there’s much more mica density in this brand of polymer clay than in other metallic polymer clays. (Curious about other metallic clays on the market? Read my comparison of them here.) Because this clay is brand new on the market and fresh from the factory, it was very, very soft and somewhat goopy. (Note, goopiness seems to be a feature of all metallic and translucent varieties of Cernit.) You can see both the density and the goopiness in this video and picture below.
You can quickly deal with goopy clay by leaching it for a few minutes, leaving it well-behaved and easy to handle. (To leach your polymer clay, roll it into sheets and layer between plain paper for a few minutes. 15 minutes was perfect for this clay.)
Colors of Cernit Metallic
All other brands of metallic polymer clay have a small range of metallic colors. (See my article here comparing the brands of metallic polymer clay.) Cernit Metallic has
14 colors 21 colors and while they’re technically versions of metal colors, several of them are “fun colors” like green and blue. Metallic colors of polymer are identical to pearl colors in that they contain and are colored with mica. Pigments can also be used to tint the base clay to make them essentially color with a different colored mica shimmer.
The gold colors of Cernit Metallic appear to be richly, deeply filled with mica and no other color beyond the mica. But the rest of the colors seem to have a colored base clay with either a gold or silver mica. Note that colors such as green or blue don’t contain green or blue sparkles. The sparkles in the “colored” bars are either gold or silver/pearl.
What are the Colors of Cernit Metallic?
There are the usual metallic colors that most brands of clay have. The Antique Gold isn’t a dull as some brands, and the Rich Gold has a luminosity that is unlike anything else out there. Here are the metallic colors.
But in addition to the standard metal colors, there are also these orange or pink colors. I didn’t include copper in the photo above because it was SO orangey red-colored and not at all copper-colored. It also left a red stain on the paper when I leached it, so it apparently has some pigment or dye in it and will likely stain things you work with.
And finally the cool colors. Though, they’re relatively warm as blues and greens go. The green is magnificent, and I can’t wait to work with it more. Very unique. Much more luxurious than Premo’s Bright Green Pearl.
You can mix together any colors of Cernit Metallic. The new second-generation jewel toned colors are perfect for color mixing and you will be able to create any color with a pearlescent metallic shimmer. You now have the richly colored primaries, with mica shimmer, that is needed to duplicate the much-lamented discontinued pearl colors from other brands.
If you want to explore working with the color-theory aspects of these clays, color theory expert Maggie Maggio has a new workshop where she teaches her famous colorwashing technique with the Cernit Metallics. She uses the golds as a yellow, the oranges and coppers as a red, and the blues and silvers as blues to be, in effect, primary colors for mixing. There are now true cyan, magenta, and yellow primaries in the Cernit Metallic line.
Working with Cernit Metallic
Aside from the softness due to the freshness of this clay (which was easily remedied by leaching), Cernit Metallic is an absolute dream to work with. It was soft and easily handled. The clay didn’t stick to my hands any more than any other type of clay. It was easy to handle, it didn’t crumble or behave oddly. It was similar in feel to Premo. I found it easy to slice when doing mica shift (learn about the different clays for mica shift here).
Cernit does get sticky when you use water as a mold release, so make sure you blot it immediately with a dry tissue when making impressions for mica shift and mokume gane. Water is my preferred mold release, so I didn’t compare with cornstarch or Armor-All. I’m sure you could use them just as well.
And while the color doesn’t come off on your hands or tools, the mica does. So be aware that you will need to thoroughly clean everything when moving to non-shimmery colors.
Baking Cernit Metallic
I don’t notice much smell with Cernit, and it bakes nicely at 265°F (130°C). I did, however, bake it right along with Premo a 275°F (135°C) when doing my metallic clay tests, and it does just fine. Just make sure you cover your work during baking and can trust your oven. (Need baking help? Read my baking articles here.)
Unlike regular Cernit colors, this clay doesn’t darken during baking. In the photos of all the colors above, the small circles are unbaked clay sitting on larger circles of baked clay. You can see there’s very little if any darkening. Any change you see is an “intensification” that reveals more of the mica’s luxurious effect.
Tinting with Alcohol Ink
I’m sure you can tell that adding a drop of alcohol ink would tint those gold colors to whole new vibrant colors. Yes, it works. Go for it! But do make sure you’ve leached your clay first. I didn’t have it happen, but others have reported the color and dye can ooze out goopy clay if it’s run through the pasta machine.
Why is Cernit Metallic Different?
There are lots of metallic clays, why does Cernit Metallic look so much brighter and rich and intense? It’s because they’re not using the average run-of-the-mill mica powders to tint their clays. They’ve invested in the newer synthetic micas which give brighter and clearer light reflections.
Cernit Metallic and Mica Shift
Mica shift is the name for the way the clay gets weird patterns on it depending on how the mica particles are lined up. You can use this for creating illusion designs (see below). Not all colors of Cernit Metallic have the same impressive light/dark patterning when the mica shifts. The brightly colored (2nd generation colors) bars are still beautiful, but they don’t have quite the richness that the gold metallics do. The red, however, is a challenge and has a barely visible mica shift.
Creating with Cernit Metallic
First, let me say…I am in love with Cernit Metallic. Look what happened when I made a mokume gane sheet with Turquoise Gold, Green Gold, Gold, and Hematite. I knew enough to put the dark color between the other colors. But still, the whole thing came out looking muted and dull. This one even includes metal leaf to give it more definition between the layers.
But when I selected the blues from Cernit Shiny and used Fimo’s Black Graphite Pearl for a dark, look what I came up with. I am in love with this effect! (Note: Now that there are bright jewel tones in the Cernit Metallic line, there’s no need to use colors from the Shiny line.)
I also learned that this lack of contrast with the Cernit Metallic colors means it works best if you don’t reduce your mokume gane layers too many times and leave them thick. I made this dome with Copper, Hematite, and Antique Gold and then sanded and buffed it.
Speaking of sanding and buffing, I was dumbfounded at how brilliantly this clay performs. It shined up marvelously with little effort. You do need to know the secrets of sanding and buffing, though, so if you find shiny clay to be intriguing, you’ll want to get the Sanding and Buffing eBook. Look at what happened when I made a mica shift pendant with a 3-color blend of Cernit Metallic and then sanded and buffed it. Magic!
Sand better, not harder
Everyone loves a perfectly smooth, glassy finish, but it seems to be elusive. Does your polymer clay look scratched and rough after sanding? This course will change everything.
But you don’t have to put a shiny finish on your pieces made with metallic clay. They’re also astonishing just matte. Cernit Metallic doesn’t look plasticky after baking. It has a luminous quality that makes you want to touch it. Here’s a brooch made with the same blended sheet as above, but left matte and decorated with a leaf molded with Green Gold clay.
So, have I convinced you yet? If you ever use metallic colors in your creations, then picking up a couple bars of Cernit Metallic will be a wonderful treat for you. What will you make with yours?
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