Technology has been growing super-fast in all aspects of our lives and, of course, crafts are no exception.
There are more and more new products we can find to put our hands on and get to work on beautiful handmade pieces of art.
One of these products is polymer clay. This clay is a dough-like material made of plastic, which allows you to model your own figures.
It feels like handling plasticine or cold porcelain clay, but it can be baked to make durable pieces.
*You can also find our cold porcelain clay recipe, by clicking here.
Here you will find out how to store polymer clay!
What makes polymer clay different?
Clay polymer is different from other clays because it is made out of synthetic components instead of natural ones.
Natural clay is also used to make decorative pieces, but they are fragile and can break easily.
The same happens with cold porcelain clay, which has a nice texture for working, but thin pieces can chip over time.
Besides, the most interesting part about clay polymer is that it doesn’t get dry if exposed to air, as its main component is not water.
That means your left-over polymer can be stored for a very long time after opening the packaging.
How to store polymer clay?
Polymer clay storage is really easy! Considering this clay doesn’t need to be kept in an airtight container, any regular one will do the trick.
There are just a few things you need to keep in mind to make the best out of your left-over polymer clay.
Prevent your clay from catching dirt
Like any other putty-like material, polymer clay seems to have a magnet to attract dirt! If you leave your clay in an open space, it will catch dust, hairs or fluff.
So, of course, you will have to keep it in a plastic bag or container.
In spite of which option you choose, make sure that the bag or container is completely clean.
If possible, use a specific container just for this purpose so that you can always make sure the clay is dirt-free.
Keep your clay away from sunlight
One of the few things you need to keep into account when saving your polymer clay is it shouldn’t be in direct contact with sunlight.
UV rays and heat can make your clay partly harden and create bumps in the material.
The best way to preserve your clay is using an opaque container that does not allow any sunlight to reach the material.
Fun fact, this trick is also useful for UV nail polish, which is also widely used in crafts.
Put your clay in a closed place
Once you have put your clay in a dark, opaque container, keep it in a fresh closed place to prevent it from receiving any heat.
Considering the way to make your clay hard is putting it in the oven, it makes sense that some low heat can make the material at least hard to manage.
An improvement for this trick is keeping your clay in the fridge!
This will ensure no hardening whatsoever.
Use a container with divisions
If you are further into modelling, you probably have more than a couple of colors of polymer clay. You can either buy your pre-colored clay or color it yourself.
If you are just getting started, we recommend buying one or two packages and color it yourself so that you can get used to the material and the techniques before investing too much money on a great variety of colors.
Whichever option you chose, it is better if you keep your clay divided in colors to avoid them from merging and mixing.
You can put the different chunks into plastic bags, but we recommend using a container with divisions to make the storage neater.
How long can I store my polymer clay?
Because of this clay’s components, there are no risks of having to throw away your materials.
With natural clay, there are high chances of opening your container after just a few days and finding a ball of dry clay that you cannot use anymore.
Or, if it didn’t get dry, it might get rotten like any other material with natural components.
As we said before, polymer clay is a synthetic substance so it is long lasting, both before and after baking.
Keeping this in mind, we can guarantee you will keep your polymer clay stored for years!
If you drop out of your crafting hobbies for a while, you can make sure that your materials will be well kept during your rest by following these tips about how to store clay.
Reuse your stored polymer clay
Once you want to restart using your polymer clay, there are some tips you can consider to make the process easier.
If you kept your clay in the fridge, the first thing you need to do is warm it up.
Be careful, because this clay hardens when heated, so you will only use the warmth of your hands for this purpose.
Don’t put it onto fire or in the oven or else you will get the opposite effect than what you want to get.
Put the container out of the fridge some minutes before you want to work with the clay so it naturally gets warmer, and then knead it with your hands until it gets smooth enough to model it.
Besides, if you feel your clay is still a bit too hard, incorporate some new clay in the mix and it should be better.
But, how to tell if your clay is still good to use?
The most important thing is that the clay’s consistency is homogeneous.
If you feel there are bumps or hard areas that won’t smoothen after kneading for a while, pull those sections out of the bunch to reuse the rest.
So, to summarize:
- keep your left-over polymer clay in a clean container (it doesn’t need to be airtight)
- Use a container with divisions to prevent different colors from merging.
- Put the container in a cupboard away from heat and sunlight or in the fridge
- Knead your clay well before using it again.