Polymer Clays – Are they safe?

 

In this blog I am going to have a look at the history of Fimo, where it’s made and the ingredients so that you can make an informed decision whether to use it as one of your materials. This applies to whether your a hobbyist or a professional craftier or maybe even a prospective customer interested in buying my jewellery.

I’m still busy building my venture and rather than posting just pictures of my products I thought I’d also take you on a journey and show you the story behind the building of my own brand. This is a brand new venture and I’m currently having professional photographs done of my products so I can open my own online store. It really is a work in progress so I’m going to use my blog to walk you through the process and hopefully inspire you to take up this wonderful craft as a hobby or even help you along in your own venture.

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My favorite clay

Although I like to work with a variety of clay  Fimo has always been my favorite. So where did my passion first start for this colourful easy to use material. I first discovered it in my very early 20’s about 23 years ago when I was browsing an art and craft shop. I was drawn towards the bright vibrant colours and just had to buy some. Why should the children have all of the fun I remember thinking and felt like a child in a candy store. I think I must of bought every colour in the range and even back then they stocked an extensive range of colours.  I’d spent hours as a child playing with play dough, even making my own so to find that they actually had a kind of adult professional version (different ingredients but same principle) was an amazing feeling. And that was it, I was hooked as everyone in my family would tell you as they’d get a stack of my jewellery or figurines at every opportunity.

25 years later I’m still using it to make my figurines and jewellery.  And because it can be cooked in your oven at low temperatures and not in a kiln the financial out lay is considerably cheap compared to the latter.

Is Polymer clay safe?

I like to research all of my products that I use to make my jewellery to ensure that  they are non toxic to myself and my customers. Plus it is questions that customers may ask you so you really need to know what your working with. Hidden hazards have been discovered in the polymer clay’s in the past that posed health risks.   Naturally I was concerned about this for myself and my customers so I decided to research a little more about the brand that I use which is called Fimo.

Fimo decided to change its formula and taken out all of the phthalates which have been associated with causing a number of health issues. Phthalates are found in shampoo, nail varnish an perfumes to name a few. Although a step in the right direction – taking this ingredient out of the Fimo clay has resulted in a a product that is easier to work with,safe but not as solid as it used to be. Hobbyists and professional doll makers have said its no longer suitable to make miniatures with because it is too soft. I’ve tested the fimo clay with my small faerie and mermaid necklaces. And although durable I have found that it is not as solid as it used to be when I first began to use it 25 years ago but it does suffice for what I want it to do. I always make my customers aware that some of my jewellery is delicate and should be treated like porcelain which means no bending or standing on it.And I am currently looking at using other materials soon.

Where is Fimo made?

Fimo  is made by a German company Staedtler. They have good work and social ethics hence why I use their products.

Are the manufactures of Fimo committed to principles of social responsibility?

They are one of the most long established and renowned industrial companies with a fine tradition in Germany.  Staedtler does not accept compulsory or child labour. They do not allow discrimination against any employee either.

Staedtler’s corporate policy is committed to the principles of social responsibility. They also advocate the protection of both employment rights and human rights as well as to fair wages – worldwide.

Axel

(Mr Axel Marx the managing director of Staedtler signs the social charter.)

What does this mean to my business?

What this means is that I can use the product to make my own products with peace of mind knowing that adults are being paid a fair wage to produce a quality safe product which keeps inline with my own ethics and social policies.

I like to source my products locally where ever possible and tend to favor products made in the UK rather than abroad to help our own economy. I like to support local small businesses and although I did order my Fimo from a local company it is made outside the UK. I have just started to research whether there is a similar product made in the UK so I’ll keep you updated on this as more information comes to light.

Is PVC good for the environment?

Polymer clays only account for a small percentage of the PVC manufactured today so its impact may be minimal. However on the other hand as it is classed as a type of plastic it may not be as environmentally friendly as some would like. And I do have plans to source other even more eco friendly materials to keep inline with my green policies. https://www.staedtler.com/en/company/corporate-social-responsibility/efficient-for-ecology/

What’s there story?

Fimo has an interesting history. Polymer clay was brought to German doll maker Kathe Kruse in the late 30’s as a possible replacement for plastic compounds that were scare during that period. However it was not suitable for her doll house so she gave it to her daughter Sophie Rehbinder  Kruise who was also known as Fifi hence Fimo’s name. It stands for Fifi’s modelling compound. The brand was later sold to Erberhand Faber and is still marketed under the name of Fimo

Fimo is a synthetic modelling clay and is not essentially mud like the other clays. But some of the minerals that are in pottery clay are also used as fillers and binders in it.

There are many different brands of polymer clay and if planning on working with it then it is always a good idea to research the material and the company that you will be working with. Not only does it instill confidence in my customers about my brand but also in myself as I have to work with it.

Are there any other brands of polymer clay on the market?

Here are a couple of others brands too that you may like to research before you use them: Please note I am not recommending any of them as I have only ever tried Fimo and Sculpey.

Fimo Germany

Sculpey US

Cernit Belgium

PV clay Brazil

Du kit New Zealand

Kato poly clay

Filano South Africa.

Do you work with polymer clays and which one is your favorite?

 

 

 

 

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