Clay storage is a challenge for anyone who works with polymer clay, especially when 80% of clayers are working in a space the size of a closet. One of the hardest things about having a small studio is having adequate space to store things in, especially blocks, more blocks, and pounds of clay. This is especially hard for me, who may need multiple brands of clay, custom blends, inclusions, etc. Today I’m going to share with you how I store my opened packs of polymer clay, the clay that is constantly being used.
My Studio Clay Table:
My current studio consists of a desk, coffee warmer, and lights. Why? When I began claying over 16 years ago, I never dreamed I would fall in love with polymer clay as I did. I never thought I’d open an Etsy store, and I never thought that I would create a character based solely on my imagination and then brought to life, teach hundreds of people around the world, and have my designs adopted into so many homes. So, as I outgrew my studio time and time again. And as we moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio I found that my needs changed along the way.
With the economy being in a downward trend, I have learned dozens of ways to save, reuse, repurpose, and keep what I have going for years on end, even using vintage and preloved pieces for many of my things. I have gone from a desk in a corner, a custom studio, to a new home with a dedicated office space and studio (see the post here.)
[Editors Note: This is now my 3rd studio space.]
Floss Box Turned Into Clay Storage Box:
There are some things however that never change, regardless of what studio you are in. When you go to the craft stores, in their storage solutions section, you will find lots of boxes, drawers, gadgets, & gizmos. Here’s the basic thing to keep in mind. You need to store clay in soft plastic containers…not rigid plastic containers as the clay will actually eat through them.
My Clay Storage Box:
Once you have your clay storage box, you can use it for just about anything that you would like. Here’s my clay storage box. I actually have three (yes, I do know that’s a lot) clay storage systems, but this one is the one that gets the most use! In this plastic floss box, I store all my clay. It’s the absolutely perfect system for me and it’s worked for over 16 years. I blend my own clay to make new, never before seen colors using a wide variety of base colors. Even my standard yellow Parker is a custom blended color, he’s not a “straight from the package” color.
Any clay that goes into this box is straight from the package, it is still in its “block” form from the manufacturer. It’s pretty obvious in this photo. This means that it has not been blended in any way. This lets me know that they are original colors. If I have blended the clay, it gets rolled into a ball, or a flattened strip, whatever fits into the little space in my floss box (you can see that in the picture too). For me, it is not important for me to separate “brands” of clay. just mix it all together. In the end, it’s a system that works for me. There are many that would never do that, but for me this is just how my art works and get done. This being said, the bars of clay look different and their consistency is different enough that I can always tell them apart.
[Editors Note: After almost 16 years of claying, I’m still using the SAME floss box and the same system. It works for me.]
Other Clayer’s Floss Boxes:
Here are a few pictures of other polymer clay artists’ floss box storage systems from Flickr. Click on the pictures to go directly to that user’s Flickr site.
How do you store the clay that you are currently using? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Thank you for being a part of the Kater’s Acres Family, Sculpting Blessings,
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15 thoughts on “Floss Box Clay Storage Solution”
Great idea!! I use a similar box though I “stole” it from the hubby. It’s part of his “Fishing Gear” My boxes have customizable tabs so I can make my clay slots as big or small as I want or need at the time. They are really inexpensive as they come in packs of 4 that come with the guys fishing totes. Thanks for the consistent organizational and mentoring tips. So Appreciated!
Great ideas. All of my unopened clay is stored by color and brand in 13x13x3 plastic containers meant for scrap booking papers. All of my opened clay and custom blended clay are kept in ziplock snack bags. Each bag is labeled in permanent marker with its color name eg; Premo white is labeled as ‘P. White’. If the the color is a custom blend then it is labeled with the recipe eg;
1 pt P. white
2 pt P. pearl
From there all my ziplocked colors are grouped together in bread bags, reds, yellows & oranges, Whites, off whites and ecru. Pearls, regardless of color are grouped together. Specialty clays like translucent, glow in the dark, etc. I can fit 2 of those bread bags in 1 11×7 plastic basket that I picked up at Walmart or Dollar Tree really cheap. I have a large (and cheap) plastic 3 stackable cube unit that I picked up approximately 20 years ago (and recently stole back from my son). Its 3 cubes tall and each cube is 16wx13dx12h (36″h all 3 cubes. Each cube holds 2 of those baskets side by side. Each basket is labeled (well…it will be soon. lol) with the 2 color groups inside. So when I need say red I pull out the bag with all shades of red in it. If I don’t see what I want then I got to the unopened clay. When I finish off a clay color I leave the labeled snack bag in with the color group so it can be reused.
On the top of the unit I also keep a container for my scrap clay which are in larger ziplocks labeled ‘light colors’, ‘browns’, ‘bold colors’. And another basket that I use for current projects. As I finish using a color I toss the ziplock with it in the basket, when I am done with my project I put the colors back where they belong. I will admit that white and black seem to live in the current project basket and never make it back home. lol
All of the components that I use were purchased at places like Walmart and Dollar Tree on the cheap.
I use little mini drawers to store my ‘working’ packages of clay—opened and mixed colors, sorted by color….blues in one drawer, reds in another, etc. I have them sitting across the back of my work table. I also have a larger plastic drawer chest beneath the table that stores all my unopened back stock of colors.
Here’s a link to my blog post about my studio:
Great storage system Katie, and I like how you keep the floss box for ‘untouched’ clay. Alas I too have outgrown my initial clay system and now have an entire drawer in my craft-cart designated for just clay
Thanks for sharing
Thanks for stopping Leah – you’ll have to post pictures of yours on your blog too!
Thanks, Katie. I was thinking Embroidery thread (floss) or dental floss (no, no, not that LOL).
I’ll look around now that I know there is such a thing and it is safe to use.
As long as the plastic looks “milky” and it is flexible, you should be able to use it just fine.
Storage is always such a problem. What is a ‘floss box’? The boxes in the pictures look pretty rigid to me. In the olden days, I melted my way through a number of rigid plastic boxes. LOL
Hey Marianne – A floss box is a soft plastic (non rigid) storage box that many people keep their cards of floss (for needlepoint) in. The plastic is NOT see thru…it has a cloudy and soft look/feel. I hope this helps.