Polymer Clay "Sculpey, FIMO"

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Polymer Clay "Sculpey, FIMO"

Postby superfiend1313 » February 12th, 2006, 3:30 am

Has anyone ever used this stuff in their reef tanks.
I want to make Frag Plugs out of it and cant find any info on it. I went to the manufacturers site they were no help and countless other sites. Thought you guys may know about it. Thanks for the Help always.
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Postby ampresearch » March 18th, 2006, 5:22 pm

I've never heard that idea before, but I believe it is "non-toxic" so I imagine that it would not hurt the system- I would test out a small piece to see how it breaks down in saltwater.
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Postby moggyhill » April 1st, 2006, 6:51 pm

what is it that you want to do with the polymer clay?
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Postby minibowmatt » April 11th, 2006, 7:41 am

a lot of the polymer clays I have seen all havesome type of oil in them. I think it is to help as a mold release. Most polymer clays are mainly used in moldmaking and ceramics where it is necessary to allow the clay to "release" from the material. I dont hink I would use it unless you could guarantee it was inert...
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Postby GratefulDiver » April 27th, 2006, 1:36 pm

Cool idea! - You can make some pretty trippindicular lookin frag plugs outta that stuff.

On the oil/nasties side, you can probably find more info here:

I have an art supply shop just down the road from me a bit. - I'll have to try this out. If you do it before me, let me know how it works out, otherwise I'll post back with what I find here too..

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Polymer Clay "Sculpey, FIMO"

Postby clayartisan » October 1st, 2006, 3:16 pm

Am wondering if anyone has experimented with polymer clay pieces yet in their aquariums, since the last message was posted here.

I've just purchased my first indoor aquarium (have had an outdoor pond over 10 years) and am going to try some polymer clay pieces in it, I think.

I'd like to clarify some of the messages above with my own knowledge of polymer clay, which I have used daily for over 5 years now and have read extensively about the safety issues of it. I have not, however, ever heard of any other polymer clay artists, who have used an item made out of polymer clay in a fish aquarium, so I think this is completely uncharted territory.

First, per the comment above that it has some kind of oil in it to help with mold release, that is incorrect. The oily character of uncured clay is the plasticizer, which keeps the clay soft until curing. Yes, it is petroleum based, as all plastics are. After curing the clay at the proper temp and time, the plastizer become bound to the polymer molecules and no longer leaches out of the clay.

There have been warnings put out about not using finished polymer clay pieces with food. This is not because of anything toxic that leaches from the piece, but because the clay is slightly porous and can collect harmful foodborn bacteria over time. I would think that this would be a good feature in an aquarium setting, where the more surfaces you have for beneficial bateria to grow, the better the balance is. However, like I said, an aquarium environment is probably quite a bit different than a pond environment. I would appreciate all thoughts on this.

The OSHA warnings that are out there, that you can read on the Sculpey website, all apply only to the uncured clay and contact with the plasticizers in it. However, many polymer clay people have been exposing this to the skin on their hands for over 10 years, with no adverse effects. The cautions about not using a tool for food items ever again, after it has been used with polymer clay, make it sound like it leaves a very toxic residue that can't be removed. It is the consensus of the polymer clay community, that these warnings are put out there for the sake of erring on the side of caution, by the manufacturers. Most polymer clay users, including myself, are not totally strict about following these cautions, and I have never heard of any reporting any kind of an illness that thought might be connected with contact with polymer clay. I have been forgetful and have eaten hand snacks, at times, while I'm working and my hands are coated with the residue.

So, in my opinion, using decor made out of polymer clay, in a fish tank, wouldn't be any more harmful than using the plastic resin decor found in the stores, which is also coated with paints of unknown origin. Even so, I would not recommend anyone else jumping in and doing this. It is one of those theories that has to be borne out by testing, so that is what I am planning to do. I am going to start up my aquarium and create some polymer clay pieces to put in it, after it has been established for a month or so. I only plan to have a couple of fish in it during this time. After six months or so, I'll report back here. I use two different brands of polymer clay, and will be trying both of them at different times.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about polymer clay or suggestions of what to test for-
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Postby EchoUnderwater » November 14th, 2006, 7:06 am

Great idea! I think clayartisian has explained it better than I could.

I've wondered about using polymer clay myself, but I'd want a separate "test" tank to check water chem with hardy fish, which I don't have yet.

Similar ques arise with using paint, epoxy, cement, silicone, expanding foam...
Have not tried this product yet, but I'ts probably the "curing process".

All the products used for years are considered fairly safe - as long as it has cured. Toxins are released during this process, and many people have little patience (OK, ALL of us at some point), so companies no longer state "aquarium safe" on many products (ie; silicone can be sold by a company with labels for diff use - chem amount slightly diff-longer curing time). because people want to fill & stock and may not wait long enough, or they used a fairly thick amount, it can take days/wks longer to cure), they blame fish loss on product.

So, if its baked properly, considering the thickness, and has time to sit in tank before adding fish, It should work.

Have no idea how salt would affect it. I read something about coating it. Some sites on diy bkgds mentioned using something in FW tanks (epoxy or spray-on matte varnish).

I'm wondering if anyone's tried this??? I'm gonna try It. Have to check back later.
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Postby EchoUnderwater » November 14th, 2006, 7:22 am

Superfriend1313 - I would advise you not to put it in your reef set-up since you have inverts.

It's entirely possible that it would be safe for fish - if added to new tank before fish are added, as it may leach in decreasing amounts for some time. :(
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Re: Polymer Clay "Sculpey, FIMO"

Postby snakeadelic » January 29th, 2011, 10:48 am

I sculpted miniature animals for 19 years, normally using Sculpey, Super Sculpey, and Sculpey III, FIMO having proven far too stiff for my preferred detailing methods as well as the teninitis in both hands. Original is white, Super is Caucasian-fleshtone, and III is precolored. As I had to stop sculpting several years ago due to neurological issues in my hands, I am unaware of any changes that may have been made in the formulae since.

IIRC ALL OF THEM SAY DO NOT USE UNSEALED FOR ANYTHING YOU PLAN TO EAT OFF. This does not give me any confidence in recommending it for a reef tank without a sealant you are 100,000% confident will not damage your animals or allow polymer components to leak. All 3 versions are oily, and I know from experience that original Sculpey WILL interact with some plastics! A piece got left atop a television, and when it was peeled off to be baked (unsalvageable), there was a large patch of altered texture on the tv, where instead of smooth and hard it had become soft and rather grainy. The piece in question was unusable because some of the plastic had apparently liquefied and soaked into the Sculpey. All 3 will leave large oil stains on paper if left to sit more than a few minutes unbaked, and personal experience also tells me Super Sculpey will eat some wood finishes right off the furniture. I also know that if you paint original Sculpey with Testor model car enamel paints, the paint will never dry. This speaks of a chemical reaction that would really have me questioning using any kind of Sculpey around fragile or sensitive living things.

I'll be glad to attach a photo of some of my sculpting work to show what particularly Super Sculpey can do, if someone can tell me how since the photos are no longer online but on my hard drive.
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