February 08, 2016

Almost Everything You Need: La Doll Premix and Premier Clay Review

Almost Everything You Need: La Doll Premix and Premier Clay Review

La Doll clays by Padico are renowned for their high-quality and are favoured by professional doll makers around the world. After using Creative Paperclay extensively, I tested two of La Doll’s clays, Premier and Premix, and see how they measure up.

Padico make 3 types of La Doll clay:

  • La Doll - a stiff clay
  • Premier - a softer version of La Doll
  • Premix - a mix of the two

Unlike Creative Paperclay (CPC), which is paper-based, the La Doll clays are lightweight stone clays. This means that while they are water-based and non-toxic like CPC, they include pumice in their mix, and have a very fine clay body.

Similarly to CPC they dry hard and can be sanded, carved, and painted. They are also surprisingly light in weight and comparable to CPC in that regard.

There are however, notable differences:


La Doll Premix/Premier
Very smooth, but a firmer texture than CPC, with Premier being softer than Premix.

I found Premix so stiff that working with it was a bit frustrating – smoothing clay over an armature was difficult and application created bumps that needed to be patiently leveled out with your fingers.

Both hold detail very well.

Creative Paperclay
Compared to La Doll, the texture has an almost creamy consistency, but it is not as smooth. 

I like the ever so slightly "grippy" feel that allows for really diverse gestural work, yet can get very detailed. From this perspective, I find it is closer to ceramic than La Doll in texture.

Also, due to the tiny fibers, I find that it holds up better when lots of water is added, whereas La Doll clays have a tendency to dissolve.


La Doll Premix/Premier
Overall, I would say that La Doll clays are stronger than CPC, however; the strength is not necessarily comparable.

While La Doll is very resistant to dents from rough handling, it has a brittleness that can be unforgiving on a larger scale.

Creative Paperclay
CPC may dent a little easier when handled roughly, but it maintains a flexibility, like a soft wood, that actually makes it more forgiving once dry.


La Doll Premix/Premier
Premix, more so than Premier, does not readily adhere to other materials. You have to really mash it on. This is problematic when working with armature materials, such as Styrofoam.

This also includes instances when one wants to add new clay on top of dried clay.

Creative Paperclay
CPC has no adhesion problems whatsoever. I think it may be due to its creamy consistency, but it easily adheres to any armature materials, including itself.


While both clays are strong, lightweight, and artist quality, I find that I work more with Creative Paperclay for two reasons:

  1. I like to have the freedom to work in a gestural way, especially in the early stages of the sculpture
  2. The adhesion issue was serious enough to make me really frustrated. I work on my sculptures in layers and wrestling the Premix into a surface wasn't worth the hassle.
La Doll premix horse sculpture by Susie Benes
This sculpture is made with La Doll Premix. The texture is from sandpaper.


I can see how Premix and Premier would be excellent for small scale work, but when scaling them up I find myself ultimately annoyed. In the end, the decision comes down to how you prefer to work and your requirements. 

Where can I get mine?!

You can generally buy the La Doll clays from Michael’s craft stores, though I find they don’t usually carry Premix, and (as expected) Michael’s markup price is high. I get mine shipped directly from Japan using Padico’s online shop.


Choose Quality

Whichever air dry clay you choose, always make sure you’re selecting the highest quality to ensure your work lasts a long time. Experimenting with different types will help you to understand what you prefer, or may even inspire you to push your creative limits!


What's Next?

Learn how to build an armature for your air dry clay sculpture

Find out the 5 differences between air dry clay and ceramic clay