Pardo Colored Translucent Clay

I love color. And I love working with translucent clay. I’ve learned (and share in another article) how to create colored translucent polymer clay with alcohol inks. But I’ve never really had a chance to work with translucent polymer clay that comes pre-colored. Trish from Poly Clay Play asked if I’d like to try some of the new Pardo Colored Translucent Clay and I wasted no time in giving her an instant YES! Here’s what I found when I played with these new colors from Pardo. I’ll also give a quick run-down of the other brands of colored translucent clay, as well.

Summary:

  • Pardo has a new line of Colored Translucent Polymer Clay
  • The colors are bright, clear, and don’t fade with baking.
  • Just as with regular Pardo Translucent, baking the trans colors hotter gives better translucency.
  • You can mix colored translucent to create new colors.
  • In Pardo’s line, Pink and Aqua are the most clear, blue and red are more opaque.
  • Pardo translucent is extremely strong and flexible.
  • Fimo also has a line of colored translucent clay.
  • Premo used to have colored translucent clay, and it may still be available, but has been discontinued as of Spring 2015.
  • Fimo’s translucent colors are closer to true primaries than Premo or Pardo.
  • Cernit has a range of translucent colors that are very intensely colored.
  • Colored translucent clay allows colors not easily created with alcohol inks, especially red, violet, and a grass green.

Pardo Colored Translucent Polymer Clay

Pardo Translucent Art Clay now comes in a full range of colors. See the review at The Blue Bottle Tree.Colored Translucent Pardo acts identically to regular uncolored Pardo Translucent Art Clay. It can be crumbly and a bit hard to condition, unless you know the tricks for working with it. And it is quite clear when baked hotter than what is listed on the package, especially when rolled very thin. It’s also extremely strong and flexible. And when baked hot, a fine layer of wax will form on the surface, but it can easily be removed with alcohol, acetone, or even soap and water.

The new Pardo Translucent comes in white, of course, but also yellow, aqua, red, pink, light blue, lilac, and orange. For some reason I didn’t end up with an orange package, so it’s not included in my photos. Just imagine it’s there, okay? 🙂 In the following pictures, each line shows the clay raw, and then two baked circles, one rolled thick and one quite thin.

Color chart of Pardo colored translucent polymer clay, comparing raw, thick and thin slices.

Pardo colored translucent polymer clay, showing the colors and comparing raw vs baked and thin vs thick. Learn more at The Blue Bottle Tree.

As you can see, the colors are on the cool side. But they do mix nicely and I found that some yellow added to the aqua made a light spring green. While the red, purple, and blue are quite saturated (and not as transparent), the yellow, pink, and aqua are remarkably clear. When baked at 300°F (150°C), each of the Pardo Colored Translucent samples were far more clear than when I baked them according to label directions. You can click on any picture to make it bigger and see the details better.

Comparison of Pardo colored translucent clay, baked at 250 vs 300. It's more translucent when baked hot.
Comparing Pardo baked per package directions to Pardo baked hot. On the left are baked clay (thick, then thin) baked at 250°F, and on the right is baked clay (thin, then thick) baked at 300°F.

And if that comparison isn’t so easy to see unless they’re side-by-side, here’s a better diagram. You can easily see how the colors are clearer when baked hot. The samples baked cooler have far more inclusions and little air pockets in the body of the clay. These were not introduced during conditioning. They seem to be inherent in the way Pardo is. They’re even present if you take a slice directly from the block and bake that. Also note that Pardo doesn’t change color appreciably when it’s baked at a hotter temperature. I have found that alcohol inks can degrade when baked at high temperatures, leaving dull colors after baking.

Working with Pardo Translucent

Because Pardo Translucent Art Clay is clearer than other brands of translucent clay, and because it’s very, very strong, it means that you have more design options than ever before. I made a simple bowl using the flower cutters that I wrote about recently. How’s that for translucent? And yes, for some reason, there were lots of plaques. But at least they’re clear plaques. These are quite thick…thinner pieces would have less plaques and still be quite strong.

Bowl made from Pardo colored translucent polymer clay.

So…how strong is Pardo Translucent? These flowers were cut from sheets rolled on a #2 on my Atlas. So they’re not terribly thick. Maybe 4 playing cards? And look what I can do to this bowl. No, it doesn’t break or crack or shatter. Yes, it’s flexible. And yes, when I set it down on the table it unrolled just fine and was back to a normal bowl shape within a couple of minutes. So don’t fear using this clay for making jewelry and other items that need durability. This clay is up to the challenge! And for the record, I baked this at 300°F (150°C) for 35 minutes. Oh…always cover your clay when you bake, especially translucent polymer clay. Covering helps protect against browning. (Need more info about baking polymer clay? I have a whole series of articles on it.)

Pardo Translucent polymer clay is so strong and flexible that this bowl can be curled up in my hand without breaking, and it springs right back into shape.

Fimo Colored Translucent Clay

Fimo makes a line of colored translucent polymer clay. See more at The Blue Bottle Tree.Pardo’s line of colored translucent clay is new on the market, but Fimo has had colored translucent for a while. You can also buy Fimo colored translucent from Trish at Poly Clay Play. In addition to the red, blue, green, and yellow pictured in my photo, it also comes in purple and orange. Notice how the colors aren’t as translucent as the Pardo colors. Also, note that they’re far closer to the true primary colors than what’s available in the Pardo line. Each row shows a circle of raw clay, then a thick baked circle and a thin baked circle.

Fimo Translucent colors, showing raw, baked thick, and baked thin. This shows the colors and how translucent they are.

Premo Colored Translucent Clay

Premo had a range of colored translucent clay, but it's now discontinued. Learn about alternatives at The Blue Bottle Tree.Premo has also had a line of colored translucent clay. I say HAD, because Polyform recently announced that they’ve discontinued these colors. Since I already had them in my stash, I figured I’d include them here in case anyone finds it helpful. They’re similar to the Premo colors, but a bit more dull and washed out. They’re just kind of meh. There are better colored translucent clays, as I’ve shared above. Again, each row shows raw, baked thick, and baked thin circles.

Premo Translucent colors, now discontinued.

Thoughts about Colored Translucent Clay

Should you buy colored translucent clay, or should you color your own with alcohol inks or oil paints? It depends on the effect you’re trying to get. You can control the color intensity with alcohol inks and you have so many colors to choose from. But the colors can degrade with heat, especially the high heat that makes Pardo so clear. The range of colors in this line of Pardo trans is really nice. You can mix them to get a range of colors. However, I think the yellow is a bit too pale and the other colors are more saturated than I’d like. So make sure you get plenty of plain translucent so you can dilute the colors and get a more subtle effect.

Fimo’s range of colored translucent clay includes a very natural looking cardinal red and grass green, both of which are notoriously difficult to achieve with alcohol inks. But they’re not very translucent, especially when compared to Pardo. I might be tempted to use them to tint plain Pardo, in fact.

Thanks to Poly Clay Play for giving me the opportunity to play with the new Pardo Colored Translucent Clay. You can find the Pardo Translucent Colors here. Trish also sells the Fimo Colored Translucent Clay if you’d like to try it as well.

If you’re down under, you can find the full range of Pardo Translucent, including the colors, at 2Wards Polymer Clay.

21 thoughts on “Pardo Colored Translucent Clay”

  1. katstartastic

    Hello, I am just learning about translucent polymer clay and I stumbled upon your website. Good information!! I am curious though, you are able to roll up your bowl and then it bounces back to the bowl shape. Is the translucent clay not hard when cured? I am sculpting a three-dimensional creature and so if I go with the Pardo translucent clay, it needs to be able to hold it’s shape without armature inside. The dimension of the creature’s body is probably 3″ x 3″ x 6″ (think caterpillar shape) and I wanted it to be hollow so that it more resembles a ghost.

    1. Yes, polymer clay is fairly flexible and that bowl sits in my studio at the moment, good as new. Polymer clay is plasticized vinyl, so it is flexible and can droop under its own weight if you make it very thin.

      For your purpose, you would not want to use an armature (because it would be visible), but you would need to use some sort of removable support as you build it and during the baking process. The key is finding something that’s bakeable and that you can still get out if it. Packed paper might work.

      The best thing to do is pick up some polymer clay and experiment to see what the material is capable of. Then you’ll know if it will work for your project or not.

  2. Hello Ginger, how long did you bake the thin test circles of Pardo for? That is about the thickness of the test piece that I am trying out. 30 minutes seems like a long time for such a thin piece of clay.

    1. I typically bake everything for 40-45 minutes, and I always bake Pardo much hotter than is mentioned on the label. Polymer clay is not like bread, it will not overbake. Baking longer just makes it stronger, and in the case of Pardo, will make it more translucent, too.

  3. My box of the new Pardo translucent colors are sitting in my post office and will be here in my hands tomorrow. I can hardly wait. Thank you so much for the aweso me article regarding what you did and what you accomplished using these clays. It is my new guide as to how to use and bake the new clays. Awesome work!

  4. I finally got around to playing with colored translucent Pardo yesterday, made some nice faux Czech glass beads and tried some faux beach glass as well (from your tutorial of course!) The red and purple hardly let any light through the chunky beads, but the aqua was nice, as you pointed out. I do love the richness of the purple and red though, so might play with it more. I also found the colored translucents super easy to condition: almost like Souffle. There was none of the annoying crumbling I’ve seen with Pardo before.
    I’m intrigued by the idea of mixing translucent clays from other brands with Pardo translucent. I wonder if the colors will stay truer then? I might have to crack open a precious pack of Pardo to try this!

  5. Pingback: KatersAcres WIP Wednesday in My Polymer Clay Studio - KatersAcres

  6. That’s such a helpful and informative and well researched review, Ginger. I love translucent but haven’t had much consistency in my results – I’ve tried Kato and Fimo but both end up going slightly creamy-yellow in colour, and not very translucent. Having read this, maybe I’m not baking hot enough / not covering pieces / not making it thin enough. I’ve had one success with an aqua translucent colour from Fimo which made lovely pale blue translucent petals between solid white borders – really lovely – but I have tried and tried to recreate it without success! I have had a pack of Pardo translucent for a while so you’ve inspired me to get it out and have a play… Thanks!

    1. Kato and Fimo aren’t particularly clear translucents, and they both do turn creamy yellow when baked too hot. All translucents will turn color when they’re baked hot…you can even see it when you compare the Pardo in the picture in this article…the plain Pardo at 250 is white, but at 300 it’s slightly tan, albeit more clear. I did find that baking Fimo at 300 made it ever so slightly clearer, but the color darkened so much it would be unacceptable for most projects. You should probably stick to baking at the correct temp for Fimo.

  7. Robin Stevens

    Great article, Ginger, as usual! You said Pardo can be difficult to condition. I’ve never used that brand. Are there any tips available to make it easier?

  8. Thank you, Ginger! This is great information. Now all I have to do is find somewhere that sells it!

  9. Wow thank you Ginger for sharing this 🙂 I love translucent clays I am for ever mixing my own but now with this new collection this will save me a heap of time and already my mind is whizzing around with ideas 🙂 will have to see where I can get them from here in Aussie land 🙂

  10. OMG……I am going into clay heaven. Thank you for doing the heavy lifting for all of us. You always save me so much waste by doing all of this testing and posting. You are THE BEST!

  11. Thanks for this, I haven’t pulled out my clay for so long been much to busy with resin lately and making mini top hats.
    I will have to get some clay cabochons made soon though. Every time I get one of your posts it inspires me to get my clay out.
    Thanks
    Lynn

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