Super Sculpey Firm from Polyform is not the polymer clay for everyone. In fact I was thinking about not writing about it at all. Then I saw some of the eye-popping, amazing sculptures that have been done with this modeling medium (see Alex Nicol's piece below!). Like the name says, it's primarily used by sculptors and sometimes animators or miniature artists. This review will help you discover if this is the clay for you by quickly outlining the baking directions, best working tips, and the differences between this clay vs Super Sculpey.
Time in Oven? Bake 15 minutes for each 1/4 inch (6mm) thickness of uncooked clay. Don't make your layers thicker than 1/2 inch. Thicker layers are prone to splitting or cracking. Read on for tips on how to fix cracks if you get them.
Baking/Curing temp? 275F (130C)
Colors: Only comes in dark gray
Package Sizes: 1 pound.
How Expensive Is It? It's a mid-priced clay in the Polyform line. You can usually find it at around 62 cents per ounce or about $10 per one pound box. But I've seen frequent sales on Amazon, so check here for Super Sculpey Firm first.
Super Sculpey Firm vs. Super Sculpey: The main differences between this clay and Super Sculpey are in the colors that they come in and the firmness of the material. This is a denser, harder clay. And it holds detail even better. It is great for sculpts which will be painted or made into molds. Super Sculpey is more often used by doll-makers due to its slight translucence.
Pros: It holds extremely fine details (see Alex Nicol's sculpture above) and is fairly sturdy and resistant to breaking and shattering if dropped. It also can bear its weight better than any other Sculpey clay, but if you're uncertain about a bit staying in place while curing, be sure to support it with some poly fiber fill or another support that won't stick to the clay like paper or cardboard.
Cons: This is an extremely firm clay, probably the stiffest one in the entire Polyform product line. And the way its packaged doesn't seem to help any. It's just a cardboard box. I've often wondered if it would be easier to work with if it was wrapped in clear plastic wrap. For whatever reason, sometimes this clay's dry and crumbly right out of the box. You definitely need to recondition it. Keep a bottle of clay softener, olive oil or mineral oil on hand to make it more workable.
Very Limited Colors - It only comes in dark gray. You need to paint it after baking to get more color. However, the natural color is great if you're taking photos, it highlights every little detail. And sculptors who make miniatures appreciate the soothing color and its lack of reflectivity. But if you want color out of the box in a professional level clay try Premo or Premo Accents.
Fixing Cracks - If you make the layers too thick you will probably get some cracking during baking. Don't worry. Just wait until the piece is cool. Then put a very small amount of liquid clay in the crack and wait about 10 minutes. Then just fill in the crack with more clay, smooth it and bake it.