HELP: My Polymer Clay is Rock Hard
Posted on November 27, 2012 in Hints, Tips, & Tricks by Katie Oskin
Yes, I Will Help You
Your Questions Answered
have recently been receiving several questions sent to me privately from some of my readers. I try to answer all questions as quickly as they come in. Feel free to ask me a question
anytime and I will answer it directly or here on the blog.
Since this is the first time I have reposted an email that has come to me, I thought it best not to use the name of the person who sent the email. For this reason, I have “named” the letter and the person who wrote to me in the letter.
Hard Polymer Clay
I received this letter last week regarding a lady’s difficulty with hard polymer clay. There are lots of easy and quick answers for this question and some that are not as easy to answer…so I will start with the most basic to quick tips to help anyone who also struggles with this same issue.
Having very hard polymer clay can be a multi-symptom problem. It can have a wide variety of reasons, some that I may not even be aware of. The first thing I would ask is where do you buy your clay? This is an important question. Why? Because often times clay is shipped in large semi-trucks with thousands of other items. Those trucks are not cooled and if it is too hot in the compartment of the semi, the clay can begin to partially cure during shipment. How do you avoid this? When you buy clay, give the package a squeeze. Make sure that the clay is malleable while in the package. It should give and squish slightly before you purchase it. Do not purchase clay that is hard…sometimes this does mean that it has been partially cured.
The second easy solution comes down to brands of clay. The softest of all brands of polymer clay is by far Bake Shop (though I do NOT recommend this brand for intermediate to professional clayers & artists). In my experience the “hard blocks” of clay that I have gotten have often been Sculpey. My favorite brand of clay is by far Premo for its’ ease of conditioning and softness, yet while remaining firm enough to work with. You can read this article for a description on brands of clay and their softness ratings.
If the problem you are having is NOT one of the problems listed above, you can do several things to soften your clay. I have written several posts on softening your clay…but I have other tips as well. I will give the links to the other posts at the end.
Make It Warm
The easiest way to fix hard clay is to warm up your clay. So how do you do this? There are several easy ways to do this. The method that I use the most often is to “incubate” my clay. In order to do this properly, you must first believe that you are a duck…sitting on your eggs. Yes, that’s what I mean. You are going to sit on your clay. Other things you can do are to wrap a warm (not hot) rice pack around your clay to warm it or set it in towels on a heating pad.
Chop & Pound
When all else fails you can chop the clay up into tiny bits, as demonstrated here. Feel free to take out all your aggression on your clay. Hit it with your acrylic rod, put it in a baggie and smash it on the counter, hit it with a hammer, or anything else you can think of. A lot of people will also use a food processor, TLS, or Clay Softener to help aid the softening process. Here’s an excellent article by MagicByLeah on using a food processor to make hard clay workable.
Feel free to buy a twin to the food processor I use on Amazon, or any of the above products on Amazon, where I am an affiliate.
I hope that some of these answers have helped to answer your question and solve your problem! Let me know how it goes.
Do You Have a Question?
Is there something that you struggle with while working with polymer clay? Let me know, I’d love to help you & answer your questions here on my blog too.
Thanks for joining me today,