Brand comparison

For years I used Fimo polymer clay which is readily available here in the UK. Recently I found Cindy Leitz and having read a lot on her blog and seeing her beautiful colour mixing recipes I decided I ought to try Premo clay. There are some discussions about brands on Cindy's blog here. Being a fan of Donna Kato's work and having her excellent book I decided to try Kato polymer clay at the same time.

Here are some photos and notes about the different brands of polymer clay I tried;Kato, Premo, Fimo Soft and Fimo Classic.

First findings:
Kato - Very crumbly as it came out of the packet. Had to work it to warm it up before I was able to run it through the pasta machine. Firm, more difficult to shape. This polymer clay has quite a strong smell.

Premo - Very soft from the packet and was able to put it straight through the pasta machine. Soft to work with.

Fimo Soft (my normal brand) - Soft from the packet was able to put straight through the pasta machine. Very soft to work with.

Fimo Classic - I found this much the same as Fimo soft which surprised me. It wasn't quite as soft when first out of the packet but after being passed through the pasta machine a few times is was just as soft as the Fimo soft.

Flower Cane
First of all I made a Spliced Flower Cane in Blue, White and Green. I tried to keep the colours  the same as possible but didn't go to great extremes of colour mixing (I'm not that good at it - yet!)

Kato, Premo, Fimo soft and Fimo Classic (from left to right)
The top row was a slice cut with a tissue blade just after the cane was finished and the bottom row is the same brands cut after a rest (overnight).

I realised that my blade wasn't as sharp as it used to be but this didn't seem to matter for the firmer Kato clay. I am sure I can improve my cane slicing technique (and I have also since bought a new blade).

I can see very clearly that it pays to leave your clay to cool down before slicing what ever brand you use. I know many people recommend putting it in the fridge for a while - I must try that.

Wow the difference shocked me - the Kato one (made in exactly the same way) looks very different. I accept there may have been a slightly larger area of white in the middle but even so the definition that the cane retained is far superior.

A closer view of the Premo and the Kato flower cane slices

Geometric Cane
I realised that the spliced flower cane wasn't a completely 'repeatable' cane so decided to make a simple geometric cane to see how that turned out.

From left to right Kato, Premo, Fimo Soft and Fimo Classic
Again top row was cut straight away and the bottom row was cut the next day.

As I was making them I thought the fimo looked different but couldn't work out why - hmm I realise now I only did half the job. Not sure what happened to the next day kato sample but needless to say it looked much the same, insignificant deformation.

Although the difference wasn't as marked as the spliced flower cane - I still much prefer the results of the kato. I like the feel of the baked kato too.  The Kato white is more white and I think part of this is being firmer it stays cleaner.

 A close up of the Kato and Premo canes


As I was working the  spliced flower canes I thought I would prefer the Premo. I didn't like the work needed to condition the Kato clay and it was much firmer to work with even when thoroughly conditioned. The firmness is sometimes a disadvantage and sometimes an advantage. It was a disadvantage making the splice flower cane in the pinching the sides down. Also squashing the cane stacked quarters into a flat piece was quite physically demanding with the kato clay. At other times the firmness was an asset, cutting the bullseye canes into quarters was easier, less deformation. Things held their shape better and weren't floppy as they were with all the other brands at times. There was much less waste with the Kato et every stage. Even making skinner blends there was less waste from the Kato as it distorted less.

It is very much a personal preference and all sorts of things will effect your choice from where you live (temperature and also I gather some of the brands have slightly different formations in the states to UK), how you buy your clay (I have to buy Kato online can't get it in any local shops in the UK), the strength of your hands, what you like to make, how you work etc. Also if you don't want to mix colours the Kato range is rather limited.

However after I had seen the sliced and baked canes my mind was set - I'll give this Kato clay a go. I will probably invest in a little chopper to aid conditioning it isn't something I enjoy but I would say the results make that extra effort worthwhile.


  1. What a great comparison Cara! It is excellent to see your results. I knew Kato was better for canework than Premo, but seeing your results really shows it.

    I wish Kato clay was more widely available, since many of my members have difficulty in getting it. (Especially overseas where shipping and duties costs can make it prohibitive.) Then there is also the conditioning difficulty for beginners and people with hand/arm strength issues. Otherwise I would make the switch over to Kato clay for all cane work on my blog.

    Luckily Premo is acceptable for caning and perfect for all other polymer clay techniques and is widely available, which makes it a great all purpose polymer clay. This is why I use it for my tutorials.

    Thanks for the mention of my blog and tutes btw! That was really sweet of you. I love what you are doing here with your blog. Keep up the great work!

  2. Cindy I think there would be a lot of complaints if you swapped to Kato for your tutorials as I understand it isn't the best for everyone. I hope some more people start to send in Kato colour recipes though.

    Finding your blog and buying Dona Kato's book were what inspired me to stop playing about with polymer clay and start learning about how to do it better. Already in a matter of months I can see I an improvement in my results. I need to get to grips with some other things - storing and organising things effectively, sanding and varnishing and putting beads together to create jewellery instead of just lying round in a box of beads that I pick up now and again and admire.

    This blog has made me think a bit more logically and find out answers so it has been useful for me - and hopefully some others will find it useful too!

  3. Hi Cara,
    thanks for the comparison of the clays.
    Kato is sure the clearest.
    I have got a small amount , but have found it a bit hard to condition, so dont use it for that reason, another being I would have to send away for it.
    We only have Sculpey in our town. Your spliced Canes were great, and exactly as Cindy taught them, so much better than mine, as mine were blurry , being the Sculpey, but I got the idea.
    Love your blog.
    See you in Cindys, March is going to be a great Month with her, I cant wait to do the Faux Opal.
    Bye Love
    Elizabeth XXX

  4. I have tried all the clays. I like Kato the best! Here are a few resources for color mixing. I've posted on my blog about some of the tools I use. (expensive, but really handy) (I love this!)

    Hope this helps :)

  5. Wow great link Doreen thank you! I have posted them as a post on my blog so other can use them too (just in case they don't read this far...)

    I had come across the top two myself but hadn't see the others. I had a good read of your blog this morning but obviously not quite good enough as I missed those posts. I am off back to your blog to see what else I missed!