Pardo is the brand name for the various lines of polymer clay made by the Viva Decor company. The clay is made in Germany and must be imported to various countries around the world. Because there aren’t always importers and distributors for this line of products in a specific country, you might have to order this brand from another country. In the US, availability has been spotty but is now being carried by several companies. Blueberry Beads and Poly Clay Play both carry this brand of clay in the US and 2Wards Polymer Clay has you covered in Australia. I’ll share more suppliers below. (Let me know if your shop carries Pardo.)
Introduction to Pardo
Pardo is not a new brand of clay. It’s been around a while. But I think it’s suffered a bit from a lack of brand identity. People didn’t really understand what it was and how it differs from other brands of clay. That’s unfortunate because it’s a very nice brand of polymer clay. Thanks to the folks at Blueberry Beads, I’ve had a chance to explore the various lines within this clay brand. Here is what I’ve found.
The Pardo brand is made of five lines of clay with two different types of “body”. The Professional clays are stiffer while the “regular” lines are softer and easier to work.
Pardo Professional Art Clay
Stiff clay in 14 colors, supposedly for “pros”. The colors are all plain opaque, basic colors with no metallics. The range includes moderately good mixing primaries, though I’d like to see a more neutral yellow. There is one translucent, a colorless one simply named “Transparent”. (More on this below.)
Pardo Professional Mica Clay
The Professional Mica Clay line is a metallic line of clay that comes in five metal-named metallic colors, and as part of the “professional” line, is fairly stiff to work with, but not terribly crumbly.
Pardo Polymer Clay
Formerly called “Jewellery Clay” and still labeled as such in some places, this easy-to-use clay comes in 39 great colors. This line’s color names are all gemstones and some (but not all) of the colors have a whisper of fine mica in them, making them every so slightly pearlescent. This is an excellent and easy-to-use all-purpose polymer clay. The range of colors is very nice, with nice colors not found in other brands. There are good mixing primaries, but the yellow is a bit too orangey for making bright lime greens.
Pardo Translucent Clay
This beloved translucent line, comes in 8 colors, including one without color tint. In the US, this line is packaged in the Professional Art Clay label, but is made from the “regular” clay body. The uncolored clay in this line is called “Agate” and makes a fine all-purpose translucent (more on this below).
Pardo Jewellery Clay
This line of clay is identical in body to the regular line of “Pardo Polymer Clay”, but they are metallic colors that contain mica. They’re softer and easier to work with than the Professional Mica Clay. There are eight colors of Pardo Metallic Jewellery Clay, which match the Professional Mica Clay, plus three more.
Pardo polymer clay has somewhat unusual packaging. Instead of the bars being wrapped in plastic like other brands of polymer clay, they come in rigid plastic clamshell boxes. This is super handy for storing partially used bars. Just pop the bits back in the box. It also means you can stack the blocks fairly well.
Made with Beeswax
Pardo’s marketing states that it’s “made with beeswax”, which leads people to assume that it’s more natural than other brands or somehow is substantially different than other brands of polymer clay. While I don’t doubt there’s beeswax in the mix, the manufacturer doesn’t state how much. It’s still polymer clay and is made with the usual plasticizers and PVC that make up all polymer clay. Pardo can be mixed together with any other brand of polymer clay.
This beeswax tends to bake out of the clay a bit, especially if you bake it a little hotter, and you’ll see a coating of wax on the surface of the baked clay. You’ll need to remove it for best results, especially if you’re going to be adding surface treatments or varnishes. You can easily remove it by scrubbing with a toothbrush and rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Another approach is to scrub the pieces with Goo-Gone or other citrus label remover. You can then remove the oil by scrubbing with dishwashing liquid. These are annoying steps, but they solve the problem nicely.
A Tale of Two Pardos
Many people only know Pardo because of their translucent clay, which is exceptional. I recently found out that there are TWO DIFFERENT uncolored translucent Pardo clays. It took many emails with Viva-Decor and suppliers, much back and forth, lots of non-specific answers, and finally getting my hands on these two clays to fully understand the differences. I will do my best to explain the difference between these two types of Pardo and also help you know which you have. Many thanks to both Blueberry Beads and 2Wards Polymer Clay for their assistance!
You’d think this would be easy, right? But no. Turns out that there is MUCH confusion about the difference between these two clays, and you might need to contact your supplier directly to know for sure which one of these they’re selling. If they’re only selling a single type of translucent, don’t trust the picture in the listing without more information. This confusion is compounded by the fact that Viva Decor mis-translates the words “Translucent” and “Transparent”. While the words themselves have different meanings in English, I think it’s less distinct in German, and the company tends to use the terms interchangeably. Don’t assume they mean different things in the Viva Decor world!
Pardo Professional Art Clay – Transparent
The Professional Art Clay line has 13 opaque colors and a single translucent color they call “Transparent”. This uncolored clay is the super clear clay that I’ve written about in my previous articles here and here. This is the one that I recommend in my Faux Glass Effects tutorial.
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Pardo Professional Art Clay Translucent/Transparent can be quite crumbly when it’s older. It’s what I call a “fracturing” clay because the unbaked clay tends to shatter and crumble when you move it quickly, as when you’re extruding or conditioning it. (Learn about “fracturing” here.) The conditioning of this brand takes patience. After baking, however, this clay is very, very strong, even when paper-thin. It’s possibly the strongest clay that I’ve used when it’s baked hot.
This clay also contains a hefty dose of optical brightener, making it glow quite brightly under UV light. This dye can make projects made with this clay have an odd violet glow in some light. Learn more about this phenomenon here.
It’s the Clearest Polymer Clay
Of all brands of polymer clay, Pardo Professional Art Clay Translucent is the one that’s the clearest after baking. And it’s even more clear when it’s been baked at a higher temperature (see a comparison here). It’s remarkably heat-tolerant and can be baked much hotter than you’d expect. (Always test your baking setup, monitor the temperature, and use good ventilation!) If you’re struggling to optimize your baking setup, save time and frustration by getting this tutorial.
Get the Right One
If you need the ultra-clear nature of this brand of polymer clay, be sure that you’re getting the right one from your supplier. Unless they have been clear (hahaha…clear!) about which one they’re selling, don’t assume the listing photo is correct. If in doubt ask them to check the stock number.
Pardo Translucent – Agate
The Translucent line of clay has 7 translucent colors and a single uncolored translucent color they call “Agate”. This is a softer clay that is easier to handle but is not as translucent or clear as the Transparent from the Art Clay line. The Pardo Agate slices and conditions easily and doesn’t have the handling frustrations that the Translucent Art Clay has. And if you’ve ever been frustrated with the stickiness and goopiness of Cernit Translucent, you’ll love this brand. I recommend this brand highly for my Watercolor Agate tutorial!
Pardo Translucent Agate is not as clear as the Art Clay translucent, however. But as with the Art Clay, it does get a bit more clear when it’s baked hotter. You can see the comparison here.
Pardo Agate also differs from the Pardo Art Clay Translucent in that it does NOT contain an optical brightener. This is important when you are creating items with warm colors and don’t want the eerie violet glow that optical brighteners can have in natural light. Learn about this issue here. In fact, Pardo Agate is the only uncolored translucent on the market that bakes without yellowing and does not have optical brighteners.
If you’re looking for Pardo Translucent Agate, here’s the package you should be looking for. Again, don’t necessarily assume the photo on the listing is correct. Look for the word “Agate” or ask the supplier to verify the stock number below.
Which Pardo Translucent Should You Buy?
It depends on what you are making. If you just need an all-purpose translucent polymer clay for making faux stone, Watercolor Agate, if you’re using my Faux Lampwork technique, then Pardo Agate is perfectly fine and you’ll enjoy using it. If you’re frustrated with the goopiness of Cernit, the beige color of Premo, or the lack of translucency of Kato, you’ll enjoy working with Pardo Agate.
But if you need your item to be the clearest possible, then Pardo Professional Art Clay in Translucent/Transparent is the one you should choose. This is the one that I recommend strongly for my Faux Glass Effects tutorial.
Where to Buy Pardo Polymer Clay
If you’re looking for Pardo Professional Art Clay Translucent, I maintain a page specifically for that product, and the most recent vendors that I know about are listed here on this page.
But for vendors who more generally carry the entire line of Pardo Polymer Clay, here are some that I recommend highly!
Australia: your source for the entire line of Pardo Polymer Clay is 2Wards Polymer Clay.
Russia: IN clay
Indonesia: Wimpy Craft
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Disclaimer: I received packages of Pardo Polymer Clay from Blueberry Beads and from Poly Clay Play. I’m sure you know by now that my opinions and observations are mine and gifting me some clay does not buy me or my opinions.