I know it’s been a while since I chatted about polymer clay here, but let’s do it. Premo! Sculpey users, listen up. We are going to answer two questions today:
- How much Kato Blackout should you add to your scrap Premo to get a nice almost-black color?
- How much Kato Blackout can you add before structural integrity becomes an issue?
If you don’t know what Kato Blackout is or why you should care about this, read on! If you do know what Kato Blackout is, but you’re a Premo user and don’t know if the two brands will play nice, read on!
Of course, if you are not interested in polymer clay at all, maybe you don’t need to read on, and you can come back next week 😜
What is Kato Blackout?
Kato Blackout is a highly-pigmented Kato Polyclay product that you can add to scrap clay to turn it black.
It’s such a clever idea. I have started taking more care with my scraps in the past year. But even so, eventually I end up with a mound of that grayish purple color that just isn’t good for anything. Adding a bit of Kato Blackout to that stuff would give it a new lease on life.
Why is Structural Integrity an Issue?
I’d like to use a mixture of my Premo scraps and some Kato Blackout to back some of my pieces. Like earrings, for example. I always add a solid color backing to my earrings, but sometimes I don’t have scraps in the right color, or I want something more subtle. A little Kato Blackout in my most useless scraps could turn them into the perfect backing colors.
But Kato Polyclay bakes at a higher temperature than Premo.
I do not want to increase the baking temperature for my pieces and risk burning them, or at least having my bright colors turn darker than intended. So, I need to know if I can add Kato Blackout to Premo, bake at my normal temperature, and still have a strong piece in the end.
I asked Donna Kato if she knew the ideal ratio of Kato Blackout to Premo, and if she had any advice on temperature. She did not, but she sent me a chunk of Blackout to play with so I could get some answers. (She also sent me a nice card, and a little packet of Oreos, LOL! Thanks, Donna!)
So, I made four samples:
- Premo only
- 7/8 Premo + 1/8 Blackout
- 3/4 Premo + 1/4 Blackout
- 1/2 Premo + 1/2 Blackout
I rolled each mixture out on the #1 setting on my pasta machine, which is the thickest setting, and roughly equivalent to the thickness of most earrings I make. Maybe a bit thinner. Then I baked at my usual temperature (275°F).
How much Kato Blackout should you add to your scrap Premo to get a nice almost-black color?
I was surprised by this answer, but the sample with just 1/8 Blackout is really black enough for me, as a backing color. I might want to go up to 1/4 if I were trying to use the newly blackened clay as a true black in a cane design, but even then, I could see myself being satisfied at 1/8. The amount of pigment in this stuff is crazy!
How much Kato Blackout can you add before structural integrity becomes an issue?
I took each of my samples and tried to snap them in half. I didn’t put all of my strength into it, but I did use more force than most earrings will ever see. The first three samples didn’t break, but the one that was 1/2 Blackout snapped easily.
Given both of these answers, 1/8 Blackout seems like an ideal amount. I am not sure if I will be that precise about it in practice, but I can keep that ratio in mind while I eyeball everything. As long as I get nowhere near half-and-half, I think I’ll be in good shape.
I hope this has been helpful to you, if you have been wondering about this yourself. If you have a pile of scrap Premo in ugly colors and you don’t know what to do with it, I suggest you drop by Prarie Craft and grab yourself a pack of Kato Blackout. And remember, a little goes a long way!
PS. Donna has been giving away the most incredibly detailed tutorials on YouTube lately. And she’s recently started a pay channel as well. Donna was the biggest influence on me in my early days with polymer clay, and I am still learning from her now. If you want to watch a master at work, and pick up a few tips along the way, you should go take a look!