Many of you have known DAS as a brand of air-dry clay. But did you know that they also have a brand of DAS Smart Polymer Clay? Made by the FILA group, this clay seems to be readily available in Italy, but recently it’s been seen in stores here in the US. Imported by the Dixon Ticonderoga company (yes, the pencil company), DAS Smart Polymer Clay is now being sold in Joann Stores in the US. (Have you seen it elsewhere? Leave a comment!) This DAS clay might be available in other countries, too, but I’m not sure. Anyway, if you’re looking for a DAS Polymer Clay Review, here you go. Here are my thoughts on this interesting clay.
Packaging of DAS polymer clay
I’m not sure if this brand of clay is available in individual packages elsewhere, but here in the US it seems to only be sold in multipacks of twelve 1 oz (28.5g) packages. These are packaged in a clamshell that hangs on store displays. It appears there are several multipacks, in Primary Colors, Pastel, Harmony, and Warm & Cold Collections. The colors in the two packs I received (Primary Color and Warm & Cold) aren’t meant to be artists colors, so I can’t evaluate their primaries or the color range of this brand. You can see what’s in the various packs here.
The clamshell multipack makes it appear that each pack has 12 full-size bars. But be aware, the packages are only half thickness, meaning each bar is the same as the mutipacks in other brands such as Sculpey or Craftsmart. Definitely take that into consideration when costing this clay. The few metallic colors didn’t appear to be very sparkly. The silver color actually appeared to be gray.
Handling DAS Polymer Clay
Because this polymer clay doesn’t have much distribution, it’s difficult to find much information about its quality. Is DAS Polymer Clay any good? Well, as with all brands, it depends on what you want to make with it. DAS is what I call a “fracturing or shattering” clay. This means that you might find that bars are cracked before you open the package. This doesn’t indicate that the clay is too dry. I found DAS Polymer Clay to be fairly soft with a stiff body feel. It’s easy to manipulate and softens considerably after it’s conditioned.
Sheeting DAS Polymer Clay was interesting! It’s unlike any other brand I’ve tried. A thin sheet of DAS has a lot of body to it and feels a bit like a sheet of vinyl. It doesn’t readily stick to itself. In fact, you can wad up a sheet of this clay, making folds and ripples, and then flatten it back out again! It would be an absolutely phenomenal clay for the fabric effect that Make Small Talk made popular.
Aside from that, it’s pretty much as you’d expect. Roll it, sculpt it, stamp it, and play with it just as you would with any brand of clay. Then bake it at 265F (130C).
Baking DAS Polymer Clay
When your projects come out of the oven, you’ll notice that they’ve got a bit of a sheen to them. Definitely one of the shiniest brands I’ve tried. There’s no waxy coating, though, the way that Pardo can have.
Baked DAS Polymer Clay is less stiff than Kato or Fimo, but not as floppy as Premo or Souffle. It’s strong enough to withstand some bending and it didn’t snap when flexed. But it DID tear when I bent it sharply.
The colors I baked did appear to darken during baking, but they lightened up as they cooled. The red (a color that often darkens during baking) did darken somewhat, but I wouldn’t expect this to be a serious issue with this brand.
What About Bubbles?
Reports online have suggested that bubbles are an issue for this clay. I don’t generally blame a clay for the presence of bubbles. Bubbles are nearly always caused by poor habits or if the clay is too soft. Baking too close to the element can be another cause of bubbles. But I gotta say — this clay had a lot of bubbles. I’m not sure why they’re happening and didn’t take the time to experiment. But if you use DAS Polymer Clay, plan on using some sort of surface texture to disguise the bubbles. If you need a flawlessly smooth finish, this clay will just frustrate you.
Making a Pinch Pot
In Blue Bottle Insiders, our polymer clay learning community, we have a Discovery Challenge unit on making pinch pots. It’s a great way to evaluate the way a specific brand of clay handles. DAS Polymer Clay did surprisingly well! It was one of the easiest brands to use. The clay is soft enough to shape with your hands but has enough body to hold its shape. It also doesn’t crack as you shape it. But after the vase sat for a day, I did notice cracks around the neck. So this clay MAY crack while it sits.
DAS Polymer Clay Recommendation
So, do I recommend this clay? Hmm. It’s a perfectly nice clay (with quirks) and I’m very glad to have it on hand. I think it has some unique qualities. I don’t think it’s going to replace Premo or Fimo as your all-purpose brand of clay. But if you need some clay and find it at a good price, give it a try. It’s certainly not a bad clay. It’s just not Premo.
The Connection you've missed
Be part of something special.
Join Blue Bottle Insiders
Insiders is a members-only platform where hundreds of clayers “learn by doing” in an engaged and inspiring culture. We support exploration and excellence through discussion, live meetings, and a full archive.
The Connection you’ve been missing
Ready to level up?
Join blue bottle insiders
Join our members-only platform where hundreds of clayers “learn by doing” in an engaged and inspiring culture. We support exploration and excellence through discussion, live meetings, and a full archive.
Disclaimer: Many thanks to the FILA group and Dixon USA for providing me with this clay so that I could give it a try. As always, providing me with sample product does not influence what I write. My opinions, both good and bad, are all mine!