Saturday, September 27, 2008

She's beating her clay again!

I love when I purchase polymer clay and it's softer than usual. Since I do not make canes (rarely), I like the clay to be more pliable. It's easier on my hands and I can produce more. However, it's inevitable to sometimes get a package of clay that is hard. Or, my inventory of clay may be around the house for awhile and it hardens. I'm not talking about clay that has been heated in the car, the oven, or the attic. Once polymer clay starts to cure, and the clay hardens, there's nothing you can do about it. I'm referring to clay that hasn't been cured, but is not as pliable, and feels hard.The process is simple. I use baby oil or cooking oil, ziploc bags and a rubber mallet. (hammer is fine too). Take the packaging off of your clay and put the clay into a ziploc bag. Use about 1/4 teaspoon of oil to start and add it to the clay. Push the air out of the bag and zip it shut. Find a hard surface like the drive way or basement floor and start pounding on the clay. Within a few minutes you'll begin to see that the oil is starting to soften the clay. Once it's pliable, take it out of the bag and condition it with your hands. Not soft enough? Add a little bit of oil and repeat the process. When completed, you should have beautiful, softened clay. Tips:
  • If you use too much oil, place the clay on some paper and the oil will leach out onto the paper.
  • Sit on the ziplock bag with the clay inside. The warmth from your tush will soften it.
  • Polymer clay will start to cure in a hot car with direct sunlight. I once left a little tray of unbaked minis on the dashboard and they started to cure.
  • It is not a good idea to put clay in a bag and roll your car wheels over it. I tried this once and discovered that ziplock bags aren't THAT strong.
With the tips on junk clay from a few days ago and today's tips on softening clay, you can utilize almost 100% of your polymer clay.

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