Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tips for Storing Your Air Dry Clay

I often get asked "How can I store my unused air-dry clay so that it doesn't dry out?"

One of the pros of air-dry clay is that it air dries.  No need to bake!
One of the that it air dries!  Long-term storage is always a problem.  
Any exposure to light and air will start drying the clay.  Some brands start drying faster than others, especially some of the polymer-based clays such as Model Magic and Cloud Clay. 

I've had pretty good luck with the vacuum bag storage systems.  These storage bags are made for food storage but work great for clay!!   

Handi-Vac is a battery-operated vacuum device for less than $10 for starter kit.  It requires special storage bags made specifically for this vacuum tool.   I have one and like it a lot.   Problem is.... they took the product off the market.  Apparently you can still get this at Amazon.    Reynolds Consumer Product 00590 00590 Food-vac Starter Kit Reyno

Ziploc has come out with their own version of the hand-held vacuum pump.   I don't like it as well as the Handi-Vac but it does the job.  It's a hand-operated pump to suck air out of the batteries.  It also cost less than $10 for starter kit and requires special Ziploc bags.  S C Johnson Wax Ziploc Vacuum Pump/Bags Food Storage Bags & Wrap

Foodsaver also has one called the FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum-Sealing System.   I haven't tried it and it's a little more expensive than the other 2.   FoodSaver FSFRSH0051 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum-Sealing System

Another thing you can do is put the clay in a regular plastic bag and twist the top of bag to seal it with as little air as possible .  Then put that bag inside a regular ziplock freezer bag.   This double bag method has kept some of my opened Model Magic fresh for 2 months so far.   It would dry out very fast in just a regular zip lock bag. 

Previously I had tried wrapping Model Magic in aluminum foil before putting it in ziplock bag (because the original packaging looks like aluminum foil).   That worked, sorta kept out light and air.....but the aluminum foil isn't very reusable once it gets wrinkled up.  Opening and closing the foil to take out a small piece of clay at a time would end up tearing the foil in no time.  I would have to replace it every day.   That's when I switched to the double plastic bag method.

Tips ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I would remove clay from original wrapper before putting it in plastic bag because you might trap some air with the packaging.  If you're double-bagging, you can insert original wrapper along with bag of clay into 2nd baggie so that you have the label. 

Store clay in a drawer or box.   Apparently it helps to keep clay fresh if stored in the dark. 

For the pre-colored clays, store every color in a separate bag.  Pink could go in with red, but you can bet red will transfer color to anything that's next to it.   Same with other colors, you could probably put some light blue with dark blue but I wouldn't put any yellow in same'll end up with green clay wherever they touch.   This is especially important if you use the vacuum bags.  If there's more than one ball of clay in a bag, they will get very close and personal with each other!  ;-)

Another tip while working with air-dry clay, is to always keep clay covered with a damp rag, an upturned glass or jar or something else...except for the clay that's actually in your hands!   ;-)

Creative Paperclay, LaDoll and similar types of clay can be re-constituted with a bit of water if they dry out.  Polymer-based clays cannot (that's clays like Hearty, Makins, ClayCraft, Model Magic, Cloud Clay and similar brands).

Got any storage tips to share?   Please leave comment!


  1. Thank you for these tips! :)

    Warm hugs, Jollie

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. These are good tips..I am a clay miniature newbie and I love this as a hobby. I love your blog, its helping me understand clay and how to work with it in various ways.Keep up the good work:) I Got an instagram site: girlcookart

  4. Nice post.... I would like to say thanks for such information. Very precise and accurate. Thanks.
    Aaron Nobel


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