Friday, December 13, 2013

My clay is too soft

Last week I explored options for what to do with stale dried up clay. This week I am looking at how to deal with the opposite problem: the clay is just too squishy.
Seems silly right? After all as polymer clay artists we want good pliable clay. Well we also want clay to hold its shape, and to not pick up every single thumb print even when your fingers aren't near the clay.

When clay is too soft and squishy its because it has too much plasticizer in it. To make a better quality of workable clay the plasticizer needs to be removed.

I only know of two ways this can be done. The first way is to leach the plasticizer out.
This is done my layering flattened out clay on to clean paper. The longer the clay is left the more plasticizer is pulled out from the clay.

In these photos, all those little oil spots on the paper is the plasticizer being pulled out of the clay.

The other method I have, is the same as one of the methods for dealing with hard clay. Layer the soft clay with stale dried up clay. The dried up clay absorbs the plasticizer, and when blended the two clays even each other out for a nice workable clay.

This tray has several colors of old dried up clay layered with softer clay of similar color. The clays will be blended after a few days (maybe a week or so) for a unified color and workable clay.

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