Sculpey, maker of the beloved mass-market polymer clay that many of us have used or considered using, recently came out with eraser clay kits marketed to kids/for kids projects. I decided to test the product to see if it lives up to expectations. In order to test the product, I used a Halloween themed project idea from Sculpey’s website and followed the instructions to get some awesome back-to-school spooky erasers.
Claims: Easy for kids to do. Bakes into a real eraser. (Implication: somewhat practical craft idea, especially for the back-to-school crowd). Fun. Innovative.
The kit I got (picture here) included 6 1oz blocks of Sculpey eraser clay, a plastic rolling pin, and a two-sided tool for adding detail to the clay. The packaging is brightly colored and the projects seem easy enough, so I got started.
Opening the clay, I found that it was softer than regular Sculpey III polymer clay, but was also sticky and felt weird. Kids who have issues with textures may not like working with eraser clay.
Since eraser clay is softer, I didn’t have to run it through the pasta maker, which is good because it would have stuck to everything. That also means using an extruder is out, unless you want to be cleaning it until the end of time. It’s a hands-only kind of clay, but you can use tools that are easy to clean to work with it. It will leave a film on the tools, but you can get it off.
The tool that came with the eraser clay kit was plastic, and came with a cutter on one side and a point on the other. I found the cutter to be awkward to use, and the pointy tool didn’t give fine enough detail for the project I got from Sculpey’s website, so I had to use my regular clay tools to get the detail required.
The directions from the Sculpey website were easy to follow, and I was able to make a reasonable approximation of the finished product, though it required tools that were not included in the kit, are not child-safe, and need more dexterity than many small children have.
When I baked these bound-to-be-awesome erasers, they turned brittle and hard, but not hard like polymer clay. I tested the baking times and temperature with two batches to make sure I wasn’t doing it wrong.
The final product is cute, but worthless. It just doesn’t work. The heartbreaking proof is in the pudding, so here is a picture. Note that it didn’t erase well, it left streaks on the paper, and then it broke. 3 failures in 15 seconds. Do you want to try to explain to your kids why gluing Frankenstein’s monster’s head back on is a pointless endeavor?
Easy to work with: GOOD
Attractive to kids: GOOD
Can be done with minimal adult supervision: GOOD
The clay is sticky, and can only be purchased in kits. Leaves a weird film on every surface before baking. BAD
The tool included is not adequate for the projects they suggest. BAD
The clay, when baked, becomes somewhat hard, not like an actual eraser. BAD
The eraser leaves colored marks on the page when you try to use it. BAD
The eraser breaks along the joins, rendering it unusable if you want to keep the cute thing you put all that work into. BAD
Not an innovative concept, since the product doesn’t work. All the pros to this product can easily be achieved with other products. BAD
Final Score: 1 out of 5. Don’t waste your money. Use regular polymer clay to increase your color options and the bang for your buck. You’re not going to get erasers out of it, so make some cute sculptures instead. Sure, polymer clay takes more tools, and more adult supervision/assistance, but spending time with the kids and doing crafts are both great things to do. The ONLY asset to this product is that, except for baking, the child can actually do all the parts themselves with minimal clay preparation required, but we already have a product like that. It’s called Play-Doh and it’s a childhood favorite for a reason. Go buy that instead. There’s more of it, and it’s cheaper.