Monday, September 26, 2016

Air Dry Clay reviews: DAS and Activa Plus Part 1 of 2

I bought both of these in 2.2 lb blocks after reading reviews and looking at what other crafts people recommended.  Disclaimer:  This is not a scientific study!  I didn't do the exact same thing with both clays, though close.

First I used the DAS, and I had a bowl of water with me to keep the clay moist.  I had read complaints that it was chunky and dry but that wasn't my experience. I did keep the clay covered and dampened it with water while i worked with it.  Then I put wax paper over it as it dried.   20 hours later, I could bend them slightly but they didn't take impressions anymore.  Its lucky they were still pliable because I realized I might want to add some beads to the bottom of a few of them so I made some holes with an small awl.  Three days after first making them they are hard and white, see below.  I didn't notice any shrinking.

DAS 3 days after making

Then the Activa Plus. I found this clay a little harder to work with, but easier to smooth.  If felt wetter than the Das, but seemed to dry quicker.  Again I put wax paper over the top so they wouldn't dry too quickly, especially the big mushroom which my dfd made.  I fiddled with the butterfly so long that I forgot to make a piece with impressions, so I'll do that later.  The next morning the small pieces that are the tips of the wings had curled up slightly and I cracked one trying to flatten it.  But I brushed on water on both and they seem to be ok.  There was significant shrinkage which I could see because the wax paper had crinkled up around the pieces as they dried and pulled the paper.  The shrinkage hasn't affected these pieces yet, and I'm hopeful that they will be ok.  I am still covering the big mushroom now (2 days later) because I'm afraid it will crack and want to slow down the drying process.  Picture below - two days after making. (I pushed the butterfly pieces back together now that they are somewhat dry. The cap of my mushroom is a separate piece.)

ACTIVA PLUS 2 days after making:

Quite a few days later I remembered to roll out some Activa to make a stamped piece.  By this time I knew it would shrink a lot, but this shows it pretty dramatically.  (Activa on left, DAS on right)  Same stamp used on both shows the shrinkage of the Activa.  It also didn't take the impression as well.

 Gnome house on a jar

I thought this would be a great test of the clays.   First I used the Activa but it cracked as it shrank.  (Even though I hadn't done the above primrose stamp, I should have known, right?... based on the butterfly)  I'm not sure this is a problem as I can put vines and flowers on top of the cracks, as long as the clay doesn't fall off, we'll see.  I put the cover/roof on for these pictures but I'm drying them separately.

Activa Plus gnome house, stage 1 after about 20 hours.  Cracks on the jar part, btw roof has tinfoil armature:

Then the DAS on a jar on the right.  I didn't want to make the exact same thing.  No problem with cracking.  Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the top of the DAS one until it was all painted.
 Here you can see the Activa mushroom top all cracked, below.  And above left, the side of the door has fallen off.  I panicked and decided to fill all of the cracks with hot glue, which was a big mistake because hot glue doesn't take paint very well.  So I had to put clay over all the cracks. I made a big leaf out of DAS clay for the top and covered the cracks in the base with DAS clay and pressed leaves in It came out ok, but was very time consuming.

So don't use Activa over something.  It shrinks too much.  In a review that I read someone complained that DAS is "rubbery".  I think that is true but have decided that isn't such a bad thing when using a form or armature.

Here are the finished Gnome houses.  I haven't decided whether I want to put a shiny finish on them or not.  Each one is a working jar, by the way.

I like the Activa for making small objects.  Here are the mushrooms
 that my foster daughter and I made.  Mine is the red and white one.
I also like the way that Activa takes paint.  DAS is whiter, doesn't shrink much, and takes impressions well.  But it is rubbery and harder to smooth and doesn't take paint as well as the Activa.
Here are some of the things I made still in progress  (Below).  I'm going to make a butterfly with the DAS clay to compare to this one, but that will be my next post. And hopefully I'll have the butterflies both used in projects by then as well.

Bottom line, they both have their uses.  But if I could have only one, I would pick DAS because of the shrinkage issue with Activa.

Thanks for looking.  


Post a Comment

Thank you so much for leaving a message. I really appreciate it!
Gracias para dejar un commentario. Me gusta mucho!