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Submitted on
May 10, 2012
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2.3 MB


448 (who?)
Polymer Clay Plasticizer Quick Guide by GrandmaThunderpants Polymer Clay Plasticizer Quick Guide by GrandmaThunderpants
I get a lot of questions like "wtf my clay ate through my plastic case" or "why is my clay so soft!!" so I decided to do a quick little
guide going over what makes clay hard/soft and how to store it properly and keep it from going to goo!

I explained things the best I could using the knowledge I've gained in the past year or so working with polymer clays. If anything is grossly incorrect or if you have something important to add don't hesitate to comment. :D


EDIT *Talty has some easy to understand tips on plastic picking in this comment here: [link] so check it out! :la:

It's also worth mentioning polymer clay can also strip the varnish/finish off wood! I work on a wood table, so I can tell you first hand that it does damage wood with a shiny finish.

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tenchibaka Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2013
i never realized this was an issue! i just use the same clear boxes i use for my glass beads ^^;; i have clay in for days or weeks at a time with no issue
EdgeofFear Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Super helpful! I lost some scrap clay awhile ago because it melted the plastic container and have been wondering why since! Thanks!
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Happy to help! :D
LostGryphin Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Very informative!
bread-doh Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
what if they will remain easily crack after kneaded(after leaching out the plasticizer with paper)? D:
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I'm not sure I understand the question? ^^;
bread-doh Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
that it still can crack when i pull/deform it with moderate force, after the kneading process :c (no more gummy consistency)

well idk how else i should say it, but its that the clay has lost its pliability, but still rather soft. using super sculpey btw, and i tried premo that premo has smoother consistency, while switching to premo isn't preferable to me because i never had consistently satisfying result with polymer clay and i decide to use remaining clay, and that they're sorta expensive for my type of usage.

i tried using hammer to knead small chunks of SS firm with many drops of softener and they still never as good as newly-produced clays. i had not many choices, kept newly-bought clay in freezer, and its still more bad luck when i pick from the store because i live in the tropics(and i did put them on away from sunlight, cool floor)
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I only suggest getting the plasticizer out if your clay is incredibly soft. There will be enough plasticizer left once you knead the clay again to keep it from cracking. I personally, wouldn't mess with Super Sculpey, as I love that harder consistency. But it sounds to me like your issues are with clay being too hard, not too soft? So if you clay is too hard, don't try to remove any plasticizers from it. You'll just make it even harder.
krystalfan-2 Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Student Artisan Crafter
This is very helpful, especially for first timers.
I have a question though when it comes to baking the clay. I've made two small sculptures and baked them for the time they needed. However, they have glaringly obvious cracks on them-in the face and one has a crack in the hair. Am I doing something wrong when baking them? I put them on wax paper and a cookie sheet and cook them in the oven (I find the toaster oven burnt my pieces horribly) and put the oven at the correct temperature. If you have any ideas, I'd really appreciate it (I want to make a larger piece, so I'd like to avoid cracks as much as possible).
GrandmaThunderpants Featured By Owner May 19, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I've actually had that happen once before... it's because the clay I used wasn't conditioned a lot before I baked it. It was just a small detail so I didn't think much of it, but it definitely had a few cracks. Was your clay hard/dry before you baked it?
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