Translucent Pardo Art Clay

Package of translucent Pardo Professional Art Clay
Have you heard the news? Translucent Pardo Art Clay is the clearest translucent polymer clay on the market. Unlike other translucent polymer clay brands, Pardo trans doesn’t impart and yellowish color as it bakes. It’s also remarkably clear. It is a very soft clay that is somewhat difficult to sculpt because it tends to sag. It’s not mushy, so it’s good for caning, but the clay sort of “flows” a bit and that makes it hard for it to hold a shape in three dimensions.

How translucent Pardo Art Clay cures

Once cured, translucent Pardo Art Clay does feel like plastic, perhaps even more than other polymer clay brands. I found that thin sheets of it did remind me a bit of working with cut pieces of milk carton. Sanding the rough edges off my cured Pardo sheets was a bit futile. It doesn’t sand off cleanly, much in the same way sanding a milk carton would be. It has a very different feel than Premo or Sculpey III. It’s not a bad feel at all though. It’s not rubbery in the way that Kato Polyclay is.

Making Pardo translucent even more clear

But Pardo has a secret. As discussed in Lynda Mosley’s blog, you can bake translucent Pardo Professional Art Clay at higher temperatures than the manufacturer recommends.

Faux Jade beads made from Pardo Translucent Art Clay by SCDiva
Faux Jade Asian Kanji Tower Beads by Diva Designs, Inc  (Lynda Moseley)

And when you do, it seems to intensify the color and make the clay even clearer. I’ve previously shown how Pardo trans can mimic cobalt blue glass, in fact!

Cobalt blue bracelet made with Pardo Translucent Art Clay.
Cobalt blue bracelet made from Pardo Translucent Art Clay by Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree (that’s me!)

I have found that 315°F in my oven gives the results I want and the clay does not burn. It does, however, smoke just a bit so I always bake the clay covered in a foil pan and open the pan outside. Pardo clay contains beeswax and I believe that baking at the higher temperatures liquefies the beeswax, driving it out of the clay. So when I bake at this temperature, there is always a waxy residue on the surface that I must rub off. I should add a disclaimer here, though. If your oven (or mine) isn’t accurate, then your results will be quite different. This is so close to the burning point of this clay that you really need to experiment in your own oven before you commit to making a project. And remember that burning polymer clay does release irritating fumes, so please use caution and your own judgement. It’s a good idea to get an oven thermometer so that you know exactly what temperature your oven is running at. I have seen these for sale at many grocery stores (in the cooking implements section) and definitely in WalMart.

Getting Pardo Professional Art Clay

Pardo Translucent polymer clay used to be fairly difficult to find, but that has all changed now and there are many distributors in both the US and around the world. Refer to my more recent post “Where to Buy Pardo Translucent Art Clay.”

Shelf Life of Pardo Art Clay

Another thing I’ve noticed is that this stuff does not seem to have an overly long shelf life. I have one package that I purchased from Hobby Lobby in May 2012, before they discontinued the line. I used it in August and it was fine, but the other day I tried to make something with it and it’s turned crumbly and hard. Just that fast. Others have said that once it goes crumbly, unlike other polymer clays, it is very hard or even impossible to condition and make it soft again. At the very least I’d be sure I was ordering from a fresh supply. Lynda Moseley has said that an order from an Amazon seller was hard and unusable, so be forewarned.

Translucent Results with Pardo

But look how clear it is! And it’s also quite strong, allowing delicate shapes to be created from thin sheets of clay. Agnès, aka Primatoide on Flickr, has created the most wonderful little jellyfish out of Pardo Art Clay. Those little tentacles would not be possible with a more brittle clay.

Three Little Jellyfish by Primatoide
Three Little Jellyfish by Primatoide

And look at these lovely butterfly beads made by Claire Maunsell. Those projections would break off with a more brittle polymer clay.

Pink Veiled Butterfly Bead by Claire Maunsell
Pink Veiled Butterfly Bead by Claire Maunsell

With Gilladian’s Leaf necklace, you can see just how clear that Pardo Translucent clay is. Amazing!

Leaf Necklace by Gilladian
Leaf Necklace by Gilladian

And I just found this heavenly Fairy Breath Pendant by Pat’s Paraphernalia. Can you believe how delicate this is!

Fairy Breath Pendant by Pat's Paraphernalia

If you’re interested in more inspirational pictures of Pardo Professional Art Clay (both translucent and colored), then check out the Flickr Group.

My Flake Necklace made from Pardo Trans

I’ve participated in Art Every Day Month for November and my Day 25 entry is my Flake Necklace created from this wonderfully translucent polymer clay. Although it looks quite delicate I can assure you it’s not! Now I just need to get my mind around this clay’s unique properties and figure out more ways to use it.

Necklace with translucent leaves created with Pardo Professional Art Clay.
Both strong and translucent, Translucent Pardo Art Clay has changed the limits of what’s possible with polymer clay. Necklace by Ginger of The Blue Bottle Tree.
Close up view of necklace made from Translucent Pardo Professional Art Clay, showing how clear the thin leaves are.
Close up view of necklace, showing how you can see right through the sheets of cured clay.

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