Understanding Sculpey’s Liquid Clay Brands

Understand Sculpey's liquid clay brands in this informative article

It seems that there’s a lot of confusion about the Sculpey’s liquid clay brands. Sculpey Clear? Transparent? Bake and Bond? Oven-Bake Clay Adhesive? What are those? So here’s a quick article to help clear up the confusion.

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Sculpey’s Liquid Clay Brands

Sculpey has a lot of brands of liquid clay, and because of frequent labeling changes and name changes, there is a lot of confusion about these various liquid clay brands. TLS, Bake and Bond, Sculpey Clear and a whole array of colored liquid clays are all part of the Sculpey line of liquid clays. While they all have much in common and can be used similarly in some cases, they’re not the same thing.

The most recent packaging change brings us a nifty screw-top cap (similar to what’s on Elmer’s Glue) that can be closed and sealed. Both the Translucent and the Clear Liquid Sculpey bakeable medium come with this nice bottle cap. The small bottles of black, white, pearl, gold, and silver also come in sets with this new packaging and cap.

Sculpey liquid clay brands are now available in sets of three small bottles.
Liquid Sculpey bakeable medium comes in two sets of three small bottles. This one has clear, black, and white. Another version comes with pearl, gold, and silver liquid clay.

It All Comes to Clear vs. Translucent

In English, the worlds clear and translucent do not mean the same thing.

Clear: free from darkness, obscurity, or cloudiness. Transparent.

Translucent: allowing light, but not detailed images, to pass through; semitransparent.

So something is clear when you can see through it, similar to glass. But if the item is slightly cloudy, with light passing through but not clear images, then it’s translucent. Keep these terms in mind while we learn about the difference between the various Sculpey brands of liquid clay.

The main non-colored Sculpey liquid clay brands are Translucent and Clear Sculpey Liquid bakeable medium.
Liquid Sculpey comes in translucent and clear. They are not the same thing. Note how the labels are slightly different colors. Read below to learn the difference between these two materials.

What is Liquid Clay?

Before we talk about the difference between Sculpey’s liquid clays, let’s take a minute to talk about what liquid clay is.

Liquid clay is PVC resin mixed with a plasticizer (among other things). Liquid vinyl. Liquid clay is essentially the “goop” that polymer clay is made of, but without the fillers that allow it to be in putty form. I wrote about liquid polymer clay previously, so please take a moment to read that article if you’re new to learning about liquid clay and not yet sure what makes Kato Polyclay and Fimo Liquid different from the Sculpey Liquid Clays.

Liquid clay is essentially the medium of polymer clay in the same way that acrylic gel medium is the medium of artist’s acrylic paint. So, not surprisingly, Sculpey has chosen to name their most recent versions of liquid clay “bakeable medium.” The product has not changed. It is still the same product we all call “liquid clay.”

How are Liquid Clays Used?

All liquid clay can do many of the same general things, and it doesn’t matter which brand you use. But all brands are not interchangeable, and there are some specialized techniques where using the right brand matters. The main difference between the brands of liquid clay is in how clear they are and what color they are.

Liquid Clay is Used For:

All brands, colors, and types of liquid clay can be used for these general functions.

  • “moistening” crumbly or dry clay
  • attaching raw clay to baked clay
  • filling in the spaces to avoid bubbles when attaching a veneer to another piece
  • adding “stickiness” to allow raw clay pieces to hold tight as you’re building
  • thinning clay to make it runny or soft for syrup or painting effects
  • repairing broken polymer clay items
  • attaching or securing other materials that will be baked into your project

In addition to this, specific brands of liquid clay have specialized functions that make each of them a valuable addition to your polymer clay “toolkit.”

Sculpey info continues below the jump…

Translucent Liquid Sculpey

Translucent liquid Sculpey TLS has had many labelling changes over the years.
This is ALL Translucent Liquid Sculpey, aka TLS. It’s had many labeling changes over the years (this is a small selection), and the name has changed, too. But it’s all the same stuff.

A favorite liquid clay brand since the ’90s, Translucent Liquid Sculpey was the first Sculpey liquid clay brand and has been known by many names over the years. But most polymer clay people have called it TLS for “translucent liquid Sculpey.” It’s a drippy, syrupy liquid that’s slightly grainy and cloudy. It does not bake clear and can be quite opaque when thick. It’s a great all-purpose liquid clay. TLS bakes with matte surface in the oven, so it makes a good matte finish when sponged onto a surface. Unlike other brands, using a heat gun on TLS won’t make it more clear. But it will make it shinier.

Retailers might not yet have the new packaging, or their online listing photos might show an old label. Regardless of the packaging you have, to get TLS, look for the word “translucent” on the label.

Liquid Sculpey Clear

Sculpey Clear liquid clay medium has had several packaging changes.
Sculpey clear hasn’t been on the market long enough to have many label changes, but there are a variety of labels you might encounter. Look for the word “Clear” on the label.

Brand new on the liquid clay scene in 2017, liquid Sculpey Clear is remarkably clear. The syrup-like liquid is white and looks a lot like white glue. It can be used the same way as any liquid clay, but the unique feature of Sculpey Clear is how clear it is. When poured into a mold and baked, it can be very clear. It makes an excellent glossy coating when applied thin and cured with a heat gun. Sculpey clear bakes to a satin finish, but will become glossy when a heat gun is used.

Sculpey Clear is very comparable to Kato Liquid Polyclay when making glossy coatings with a heat gun. But Sculpey is a tiny bit less glossy, a bit harder to clarify when applied too thick, and less likely to burn. (Are you new to making glossy coatings with liquid clay and a heat gun? Don’t miss Debbie Crothers’ tutorial here.)

One thing to note about using Sculpey Liquid Clear is that you have to stir it before EVERY use. It separates and settles very quickly, and your result won’t be as clear if you use the top-most part of the bottle. Also, for some frustrating reason, the bottle tends to ooze and leak.

Sculpey Bake and Bond (aka Oven-Bake Clay Adhesive)

Bake and Bond is not the same thing as TLS or Sculpey Clear.
Sculpey Bake and Bond (now called Oven-Bake Clay Adhesive, shown with new label below) and TLS are often confused. They’re not the same thing, but they do have an overlap of functions.

Although it’s not advertised as a liquid clay, I’ve included Sculpey Oven-Bake Clay Adhesive (formerly called Bake and Bond) here because it’s so commonly confused with their liquid clays. Bake and Bond is a bakeable adhesive for polymer clay. Don’t let that fool you, though. Bake and Bond is not glue. It’s just a thick version of liquid clay. It’s used to attach unbaked to baked clay (or baked to baked), and it must be cured for the bond to cure. The thickness of Bake and Bond is useful because it keeps things from slipping around while you’re constructing your piece.

Bake and Bond Sculpey Oven Bake Clay Adhesive

While any liquid clay can be used as a bakeable adhesive, Bake and Bond cannot be used in all the same ways as liquid clays. It’s thick, so it doesn’t make a very good “juice” to moisten dry polymer clay. It’s also quite cloudy and will not be completely invisible after baking. Make sure to use small amounts of Bake and Bond to create your bonds and try to use it inconspicuously.

Sculpey Colored Liquid Clays

Sculpey’s line of bakable mediums includes colored liquid clays. Black, white, pearl, gold and silver are great fun to use for a variety of special techniques. They’re great for pouring into shallow molds to make lacy decorations. Sculpey has produced two molds (a mandala and a butterfly) just for this purpose. Sculpey’s star extraordinaire, Syndee Holt, suggests mixing the liquid clay with a bit of Sculpey Clay Softener and then baking this mixture in these molds. The result is a strong and flexible design you can apply to your polymer clay work. Give it a try!

Where to Buy these Products

Sculpey’s products are available at your favorite craft stores, but for the best selection of a variety of products, you’ll likely have to shop online. Amazon in the US will likely have them of course. But I also like to order from Poly Clay Play, who has a fantastic selection of products, including all of these liquid clays mentioned.

In the UK, I like Clayaround. In Scandinavia, head for Hobbyrian. In Australia, don’t miss 2Wards Polymer Clay.

Disclosure: Sculpey provided me with their liquid clays and molds as a courtesy and to use in my experiments. Linda’s Art Spot has helped me out when I was running low on liquid clays, too. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links which means I get a tiny sum if you order something from Amazon. But as always, you should buy products wherever it makes sense for you in your location. And of course, my opinions are my own, and you can’t buy me with liquid clay. 🙂 Liquid refreshments, on the other hand, will likely get you a better result. 🙂

31 thoughts on “Understanding Sculpey’s Liquid Clay Brands”

  1. Hello,

    I hope you are doing good. I wanted to clarify whether Sculpey translucent liquid and Sculpey transparent liquid are the same? I have ordered a set that has 1 oz gloss glaze, 2 oz bake & bond adhesive, and 2 oz translucent liquid but they have sent me transparent liquid instead of translucent. are these both the same?

    1. If you’ll look on the bottle that says “transparent”, you’ll see that they’re using it as a translation for “Clear”. So what you have is the Sculpey Liquid Clear. That’s not the same thing as the Sculpey Liquid Translucent (aka TLS).

  2. Shoshana Weisberg

    Hi Ginger!

    If I use the lace mold with liquid clay and bake it, would I be able to use the baked design to lay in top of unbaked clay, cut into shapes for earrings, and then bake again? Wondering if it would stick and adhere to each other? Or would I need to use bake and bond to adhere the two together then bake?

    Thank you

    1. Yes, you can do that. I would always recommend using liquid clay or bake and bond when adhering baked to raw clay. BTW, you can cut the cured “lace” with scissors.

  3. Hi Ginger! I’m very new to polymer clay and so i’m still learning a lot. I have 2 questions though that I would really love for you to answer. 1) You mentioned that the bake and bond can be used to bond raw and baked clay and also baked and baked clay. Can it also be used when both (or all pieces being bonded) are raw? 2) I see people use bake and bond for earrings post, is that advisable? What would you recommend and please link me to any of your article on adhesing earring posts. Thank you
    – Diuto x

    1. I do have articles on both of these subjects. You can find articles on specific topics by searching the site using the search function. As for earrings, there is an entire section on earrings.

  4. Good info as always Ginger! Here’s my problem/question. I had been using an old bottle of what I thought was liquid Sculpey translucent. The label was so raggedy I didn’t realize it was Bake and Bond! I was using it to seal mica powders and pan pastels on my trinket bowls I’m planning to sell. It doesn’t look bad, a soft matte finish, but once I realized what it was I looked it up on your site and found this. Should I now add liquid polymer clay or Fimo Decorating Gel for added durability? Thanks!

  5. I used shallow molds and filled some with Clear liquid Sculpey and a few I filled with Premo(pressed it in) after baking the clear pieces felt rubbery and the premo were harder. My question is: can you get the liquid clear to harden like the premo – did I not bake it long enough?

    1. No, liquid clay will always be softer and more rubbery because it lacks the fillers that make Premo into a putty (as opposed to a liquid clay). Keep in mind that liquid clays are the same material as the regular clays (such as Premo), but the solid clays have the fillers.

  6. I see folks using bake and bond for a secure post attachment. Does Poly Paste by Kato have the same functions as Bake and Bond? Could it be used in the same way to attach posts?

  7. Hello! I hope you are still reading these comments.
    I want to use plain cotton fabric as a base for a polymer clay project and then glue it on a wood or canvas or hard acrylic base. I was thinking of using Bake And Bond but, after reading your article, now think the liquid clay. Which is better for a fabric- to-clay bond?
    Thank you very much.

  8. Hi! I’m wondering if it’s ok to use bake and bond to attach posts to the back of polymer clay earrings!

    1. Bake and Bond can be used to stick the post pad to the back of the earring to keep it in place before you add another layer of clay. It will NOT hold the metal against the polymer clay.

  9. Hi Ginger! I’m wondering if I need to work swiftly when using liquid Sculpey so it doesn’t dry out before I bake it? Or can it sit overnight on/in my pieces and be good to go in the oven whenever? Thanks! Love your site!

  10. Hi Ginger! Please help me: I make polymer clay earrings, using Cernit polymer clay, and I’ve had problems attaching the posts to the polymer clay. I’ve used some types of glue and never felt confident about this method, then I started embending the posts into the clay but it still didn’t work out for me, so I bought some TLS and, after baking the polymer clay earrings for 30minutes at 135ºC I waited for them to cool, placed the posts and “glued” and covered them with a thin layer of TLS. Then, I baked the earrings – polymer clay, TLS and stainless steel posts – for 15 minutes at 160ºC, as the package of the TLS says, but the color of the polymer clay changed a lot. I was using a really pale pink that turned yellowish. Should I bake it at a lower temperature and for more time? Or will the colors still change?

    1. Well…I would not use liquid polymer clay this way. Baking hot enough for the liquid clay to be strong is causing your earrings to change color. But keeping to a lower temperature means the liquid clay won’t fuse fully and will be weak. I suggest embedding earring posts in the earrings. I do sell a tutorial that goes over this process in detail. You might find that it solves your problem. https://learn.thebluebottletree.com/product/contemporary-polymer-clay-earrings-with-shape-templates/

  11. Does Sculpty Liquid Clay contain toxins? Is it necessary to use respirator and gloves when working with this product (as is recommended when using UV Resin)?

  12. I have an old-ish bottle of unopened liquid clay that appears to have partially solidified. Is there any way I can revitalize it? Or has it gone bad?

      1. I have the same problem – a bottle of Transparent Clear that sat unopened for a couple of years (my bad, I know). Half the bottle was solid and quite hard, too – in the end I stabbed it with a knitting needle until I could break it into chunks, then mixed every chunk with a bit of the liqiud part, one by one. I have no idea how the end result is going to look but I know for sure I’m never letting that happen again – my hand still hurts from all the stabbing and stirring!

  13. Thanks so much! I’ve been use Sculpey Liquid Clear to try hold pieces together and it slips all over the place so thanks to your article I’ll be sourcing me some bake and bond!

  14. Hello
    Thank you for the article – very informative. My question is, would any of these be good for adhering glitter to beads prior to baking? I’m new to clay work & have found some great beads for lanyards with glitter but would like to know the process for adding both the fine glitter & the chunky glitter.

    1. Sure, it works great. You can do it any way you’d like. Mix the glitter in and brush it on, or coat the raw bead with a tiny bit of liquid clay and roll in glitter. Then bake. The more liquid you add, the gloppier it gets and it might run off, so go sparing with the liquid clay.

  15. Thank you Ginger for clarifying these products! I get a brain freeze trying to figure out the differences and nuances. By the way, I read a great tip you wrote in a previous article, add a little bake and bond to a hot fix flat back for a permanent bond. Thanks for the incredible effort you show in educating all of us! Have a wonderful holiday season!!

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