Paperclay vs. Polymer Clay - Sonder Adornment LLC

Paperclay vs. Polymer Clay

Let me say first that this is in no way meant negatively towards other Polymer Clay Artists!

I started out as one, and the art of truely sculpting Polymer Clay into lifelike designs is an incredible talent I adore seeing and have loved learning and will continue to obsess over. These artists are AH.MAZ.ING and polymer clay is a very special medium with incredible options.

But what IS Polymer Clay? Let's Start there....

Polymer Clay Description Photo

Polymer Clay is a synthetic clay made of polyvinyl chloride ( in...PVC pipes).

It is a responsive modeling clay that, when baked properly, becomes extremely durable plastic. It comes in a multitude of colors, which can be easily blended and  pressed, made to resemble marble and gems, sculpted and is well known as a modern jewelry art form.

However, aside from the downside of being a plastic product, Polymer Clay containes harmful Phthalates, a plasticiser which can be absorbed in high levels by anyone working the clay. 

To top this, when Polymer clay is baked, it can release highly toxic hydrocholoric acid gas if overheated, even when following the package directions!

According to the US Enviromental Protection Agency, there is large concern around Polymer Clay's safety around children and pregnant humans especially and there are current recomendations for recall on Polylmer Clay until it can be further studied for public and environmental safety. 

Letter from Ellie
We've always felt a bit odd sending out plastic earrings in our incredible, Mother Earth approved matter how much we love the intricacies of the design we had worked so hard on. Our sustainability values are so important for our child's future and our planet's.

So the PVC in itself just didn't flow with our values. Perhaps you felt that catch too.

On top of that, I wanted to enjoy the luxury of working from home with my toddler TRUELY at my side. It was time to stop needing to wash my hands or take my gloves off or bake in the shop before wrapping Braven up in a big comforting hug. They so desire to work with me, and I don't have the space or desire to keep my art and theirs a separate experience any longer.

Ellie holding child and art tools
So we had to find a different clay. I have spent the past several months testing clays, with David reviewing Safety Data Sheets and ingredient lists, until we were finally satisfied with a material that is supportive to this beautiful, exhausting, inspiring and unique stage of life as a mama artist with a toddler on her hip. A clay that considers Mama Earth, just as much as our signature packaging design.


Paperclay fact photo

Almost a cross between natural clay and paper-mache, Paperclay is an all natural, non-toxic modeling clay which includes ash, glue, paper and water in its ingredients. 

It does not require any harvesting of natural clay resourses and is non-toxic, featherlight, and durable when finished. 

Toddler playing with non-toxic Paperclay

Paperclay is allergin free, non-toxic in all forms, biodegradable and requires no PPE for children or pregnant humans. 

The Paperclay we use has been tested and certified non-toxic by the US Board Certifies Toxicology, has a complete Safety Data Sheet and has passed certification noting it free of phthalate containing plasticisers such as PCV. 

The possibilities are ENDLESS....

Sculpting and carving natural, non-toxic, ecru toned clay means, instead of being guided and inspired by color, I am purely within my memories and imagination during design.

Paperclay studs being sculpted

I get to move in flow with the textures and intricacies of each detail without anything being cut short by the thought, "That looks right".

I get a second chance at detailing after the clay has dried, so if I'm dissatisified, I simply start carving away again before sealing and painting.

No clay is wasted because of color. Ever.

And finally, I get to paint it with living, non toxic, earth and plant pigments and paints, further expanding on the imagination and inspiration that is flowing out of the clay.
Ellie wearing a handpainted, non-toxic paperclay stud earring

I LOVE getting to watch a piece of life-loving clay jewelry come to being under my paint brush and see the magical effects of the details interacting with the paints and pigments, knowing my body, my child's body and my customers' bodies and Mother Earth are all completely safe with this offering.