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Monday, July 25, 2011

Michael's Craft Store Replacement of Artmind Clay Mache v.s. Creative Paperclay - a review.

As many fans of Creative Paperclay know, Michael's Craft Store has decided to discontinue carrying Creative Paperclay. Last weekend I found my local store was already transitioning from Creative Paperclay to the new product: ArtMinds Clay Mache. My first reaction was to reject the new product line, and remain loyal to my beloved Creative Paperclay. However, there were three reasons for trying to new product:

1) I use Creative Paperclay as a hobbyist, not to create and sell my art. Therefore buying in bulk directly from Creative Paperclay doesn't make sense for me financially or for storage reasons.

2) I consider myself to be a fair person and a wise consumer. Given those facts, I had to purchase a package of ArtMinds Clay Mache along with my Creative Paperclay in order to make a good comparison.

3) The price was the same at $6.49, however, Creative Paperclay was 8 oz. verses 14.8 oz. of ArtMinds Clay Mache.

Testing Began:
Upon opening the packages, there were three differences I noticed right away:

1) The color - ArtMinds is slightly whiter than CP
2) Texture - ArtMinds is stickier and moister
3) Scent - ArtMinds seemed to have a marshmellow scent (personally the scent made me feel sick to my stomach).

Then I took a ball of Creative Paperclay out of the package and started to knead it. It was the familiar texture I have grown to love: smooth and easy to form. After about a minute of kneading it my hand looked like this:

Then I took a ball of ArtMind Clay Mache out of the package and started to knead it. It was moister, stickier and harder to form. After about a minute of kneading it my hand looked like this:

Due to the noted differences, I quickly concluded ArtMinds Clay Mache would not work with molds the way Creative Paperclay works with molds and embossing tools, like Walnut Hollow's clay embossing kit.

Also the back of the package does not indicate whether ArtMinds can be sanded or not.

Both my hands and my tools were much harder to clean than they are after using Creative Paperclay. ArtMinds left my hands feeling dried out and in need of moisturizer.

After a little speed testing Creative Paperclay WINS!

That's the down and dirty of my review of Creative Paperclay v.s. ArtMind Clay Mache.

I try not to berate products as I'm sure there are hobbyist, and artists, who will have a totally different view on a product. Keeping this in mind, I decided to test another possible application for the ArtMinds Clay Mache - what I call 'smear coat'.

I've been working on a project using recycled items and Celluclay. The Celluclay wasn't giving me the final texture I was looking for so I decided to try ArtMinds Clay Mache as a smoothing agent. The Celluclay was completely dry, as it had been curing for about 2 weeks. I filled a cup of water so that I could dip my fingers and add water along the way. I applied a 'smear coat' (pressing out the clay to a very thin layer) of ArtMinds to the face of my piece just to see if it would smooth out the texture. Note the texture on his hat compared to his face after using ArtMinds as a smooth coat. The photo of his chest is the wet version of the smear coat. Overall it worked well in smoothing things out, and it dried fairly fast after being applied. The dry surface had a finish similar to drywall mud or plaster. I could see using ArtMind Clay Mache in this application but I would certainly use rubber gloves and keep a container of water handy to dip my tools in for easier cleaning later.

Take my advise and avoid the ArtMind Clay Mache if you expect it to behave like Creative Paperclay. Or buy a pack of ArtMinds Clay Mache and do your own testing.

In my opinion, with a speed test and a larger project test, Creative Paperclay WINS!!! WINS!!! WINS!!! and is the superior choice!

I certainly wish Michael's Craft store would rethink their decision to discontinue Creative Paperclay. Perhaps they could carry Creative Paperclay and ArtMinds? Perhaps they could sell 16 oz. packages, or some other size of Creative Paperclay if it's a matter of profit margin. How about doing some in store promotion/demos if the product is moving too slowly? If they want to streamline the clay line, I'd suggest they ditch the Crayola air dry clay which is a complete waste of money (a review on Crayola is planned for another time) and takes up more shelf space. Just thoughts.

I'd also like to see Creative Paperclay branch out to Joann's, Walmart, Kmart and other major stores so that the smaller sized packages, 8 oz or maybe even 16 oz., of Creative Paperclay are more readily available for hobbyist, like myself, who can't see buying in bulk.

It is my sincerest hope that you found this review helpful.

Have a creative day!


  1. Thank you for your comparison. It is very helpful to read what others think of a new product. I, too, like creative paperclay. Because of it's versatile nature and ease of use I think in many ways it's even better than polymer clay although PC is a little messier.

  2. Great post and I totally agree! Couldn't believe how much Clay Maché stuck to my hands either!

  3. Thanks so much for your review! I'm sitting here with both clays and will agree about the messy hands!!! The scent is too much. Creative Paper Clay wins in my book too! xo-Lolo

  4. Thanks for the review. I bought some of the Clay Mache and was disappointed at how difficult it is to work with. I hoped it would act like a regular clay and be easy to mold, but it was just a pasty mess. I googled it to see if there were reviews out there and found this. Now I know it's not just me...Mache Clay isn't working for me.

  5. i just opened and tried the Clay Mache. Wow! I felt I was working with pizza dough. After kneeding half a block for ten minutes, I hoped to have reduced some of the water content. I attempted a pinch bowl but the clay stretched way too much. So I drapped it over a small.plastic wrapped glass (as a hump mold) in hopes I can have a small bowl. Next up Activa Plus air dry clay.

  6. Thanks for your fantastic review of these two products. I'm not much of a blog reader but yours came up front and center on a google search for Clay Mache. I was trying to find out if it works in the Amazing Mold Putty molds and I think you've answered my question ..it doesn't. Oh well, maybe I'll find a use for the pkg I bought or perhaps resell it.

    You might get the ear of Michael's if you and others of the same opinion post your thoughts about bringing back Creative Paperclay on Michael's facebook page. It's amazing the results some gently urging can do in the social media forums. I recently read about an ice cream company who's customers were so disappointed when they discontinued a popular banana flavor that they all began posting on facebook, urging the company to bring it back. It got the attention of the company and the banana flavor was put back into production. I have to wonder whether their decision was based on customer loyalty or profit. Perhaps a bit of both?