NOTE: This article may contain outdated information. Please refer to the much more recent article about colored translucent polymer clay here. In particular, the Pardo colored translucent seems to have changed somewhat and I have new photos of the current colors before and after baking. There is also more information about the variability in packaging depending on your location. Additionally, there is now Cernit translucent in colors, and you can read all about it in the newer article.
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.
- Pardo has a 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. Update: Cernit also has one. See here.
- 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 traditional 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
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 rubbing alcohol or a squirt of GooGone or other citrus label remover. Follow up with a scrub with dish liquid.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.)
Fimo Colored Translucent Clay
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.
Premo Colored Translucent Clay
Premo has also had a line of colored translucent clay. I say HAD, because these colors have been discontinued for years. 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.
Cernit has a tremendous, gorgeous line of translucent colors. They’re highly recommended. You can see the full line and see samples of each color both baked and unbaked here.
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 Cernit. I might be tempted to use them to tint plain Pardo or Cernit, 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. You can also find both Cernit and Pardo translucent at Blueberry Beads.
If you’re down under, you can find the full range of Pardo Translucent, including the colors, at 2Wards Polymer Clay.
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