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Gone off clay - Help!!!!

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  • Gone off clay - Help!!!!

    I'm wondering if anyone can share any pearls of wisdom when it somes to conditioning clay that's past it's best.

    I have a fairly large batch of Sculpey III that's gone pretty crumbly and hard - I've managed to condition some blocks with the help of clay softener and lots and lots and lots and lots etc etc.... of rolling but was wondering if anyone knows of a quick 'cheats' way to condition it - or is it just a case of putting in some graft until it softens?

    Claire
    Website; www.midshiresmakers.co.uk
    Facebook Pages: www.facebook.com/weedoncraftmarket
    www.facebook.com/craftshoppingexperience

  • #2
    Some people use a drop or two of mineral oil...but I think if you've added softener already, the only thing to do is work at it. You could chop if finely or grate it (obviously not with your food grater though!), mix in the oil or softener, and smoosh it together, or press with an acrylic roller - that may make it a little bit easier. HTH
    ContinuumDesigns- artisan polymer clay beads for one-of-a-kind designs.

    The FHFTeam - featuring glass, jewellery and art handmade in the UK.

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    • #3
      PS - every time I see this thread title, I think you're panicking because you don't like polymer clay any more
      ContinuumDesigns- artisan polymer clay beads for one-of-a-kind designs.

      The FHFTeam - featuring glass, jewellery and art handmade in the UK.

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      • #4
        Hahahha me too...( I'm sure Emma( ejralph) can help you with this...)

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        • #5
          Haha, no I'm definitely not 'going off' clay - I should have thought about the thread title really

          Thanks for the tips so far - I may try a few drops of mineral oil to see if that helps, as the clay softener is terribly sticky. I was just hoping there was a really quick 'cheat', as I'm soooo impatient!!!

          Claire
          Website; www.midshiresmakers.co.uk
          Facebook Pages: www.facebook.com/weedoncraftmarket
          www.facebook.com/craftshoppingexperience

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          • #6
            I thought you just meant you no longer liked clay too - was gonna recommend a visit to the head-quack!

            I haven't ever found any clay that really was too old to make workable somehow. If softeners are not working, you might be better to "cut" it with fresh clay and use say 1/4 old clay to 3/4 new stuff. At least you still make use of it that way.

            Fimo Mix Quick is a block softener that is very good - basically the pure plasticizer in lump form. I find this better than the liquid dilents for reconstituting firm clay. Some people also find the deko gel is really good too.

            You can use a food processor to chop up and mix old clay. You need to use an old one dedicated to the clay only - the plasticizers in the clay seep into the plastic bowls and react with them over time, so you wouldnt really want to mix cookie dough or anything in them after.

            If you want to use a food processor - chop the clay, mix quick etc into cm size chunks and then use the pulse feature on the processor to buzz the clay incrementally until it chops up, then starts to ball together looking a little like cottage cheese.

            hth
            Emma
            www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
            www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
            www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ejralph View Post
              I thought you just meant you no longer liked clay too - was gonna recommend a visit to the head-quack!
              Hehehehe - I'm glad I'm not the only one that uses the term 'headquack'!!!

              I might invest in some mixquick - I've been meaning to give it a try anyway. As for the food processor - ummmm I don't own one (but may buy one just for clay work) my usual attempts at any sort of baking result in offerings that would be quite useful for cricket (or putting window through for the more criminally inclined!)
              Website; www.midshiresmakers.co.uk
              Facebook Pages: www.facebook.com/weedoncraftmarket
              www.facebook.com/craftshoppingexperience

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              • #8
                yes but before, you were using a food processor for something as daft as food.

                This time it will all be different, the machine will be used for CLAY - an altogether more sane use for modern technology!

                Joking aside, the food processor isn't necessary, but it just speed things up if you are conditioning large amounts of old clay. Just as easy to do it with a pasta machine.

                When I did my books I ended up with a lot of clay left from all the props (each step-by-step photo needed the prop made afresh for it,as we wouldn't have time to work through the project just photographing as we went along). Consequently I had a LOT of scrap clay left over afterwards.

                For those colours that it was just too hard to separate, I munched them all up in the food processor and made lots of large bricks of scrap clay that I am still working my way through today. It would have been impossible to get all the clay just into easily-storable blocks without a food processor.

                Come to think of it, I still even have blocks of clay and even canes from the late 80s / early 90s that I still use from time to time. They are absolute buggers to get moving, but with a bit of hand-heat and determination they tend to behave themlselves pretty quickly.

                The moral ?

                No clay is worth abandoning, no clay is beyond redemption ;-) Unless it has got stored somewhere hot enought to partially bake it (and this really isn't likely in the UK!) you can always bring it back from the brink somehow and use it again. Even if you give up on saving individual colours and just munch it all up together with some softeners to make yourself a good supply of scrap clay.

                Emma
                Emma
                www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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