Useful Tips

How to reanimate hard polymer clay


Those who work with polymer clay can sometimes have a problem with the ductility of the material. Polymer clay dries, it loses its plasticity and it is very problematic to use it in the future. What causes polymer clay to dry? Due to the evaporation of the plasticizer, which is responsible for the softness and ductility of polymer clay. This happens due to improper storage, open packs of clay must be stored in bags with a latch (bags-grippers). If the clay has already gotten dry for you, then there are two options to soften it: mix with a special softener for polymer clay or mix with gel for polymer clay. Today we will consider the second option, softening with a gel.

So, I had an old pack of polymer clay Sculpey III, which was released in 2011 and completely dried. But throwing out polymer clay, even if old, my hand does not rise.

For work you will need the following materials:

1. The dried clay.

5. The working surface.

Finely cut the dried clay with a blade for polymer clay.

We put the finely chopped polymer clay crumb into a bag. I have this flu-pack with a latch 10 * 10 mm in size.

Now take the Fimo Liquid polymer clay gel and drip a few drops into the contents of the bag. A few drops is about a third of a teaspoon. Add the amount of gel depending on the quality of the polymer clay. If the clay is completely dry and easy to crumble, then the amount of gel should be greater.

We close the bag and roll it several times until the mass becomes more or less homogeneous.

Now we roll the resulting mass on a paste machine, setting the machine to maximum thickness. At first, polymer clay will crumble, but then gradually become homogeneous.

Such a uniformly mixed layer can be used for its intended purpose.

What is polymer clay?

It is similar to the plasticine familiar to everyone, but, unlike it, is able to maintain its shape. Plasticizers give it plasticizers. When exposed to high temperatures, plasticizers disappear and the figure hardens. Self-hardening varieties exist that do not require heating. Manufacturers offer a rich palette of colors, as well as glossy samples, translucent, phosphorescent, etc.

Before molding, knead the material. Under the influence of pressure and heat, a soft substance is obtained that does not stick to the hands. But sometimes it is so dry that it does not warm up, but simply crumbles. This can be encountered when buying inexpensive varieties, but more often incorrect storage leads to a similar situation. It is impossible to keep the substance near heat sources, freezing will also sharply worsen operational properties. Open storage leads to the gradual evaporation of the plasticizer and, as a result, the hardening of the plastic mass. Therefore, an open pack or the remaining pieces should be tightly packed in foil or cling film and kept in a cool place.

But what if plasticity is already lost? Take your time throwing it away! This is not the cheapest purchase, so you should spend a little time restoring it. Moreover, if you do it right, the quality of crafts will not suffer.

How to restore the properties of plastics?

  1. Industrial developments.

Manufacturers, faced with a similar problem, have developed means for softening: gels, softeners, liquid plastics, etc. For example, well-known brands Artefact, Sculpey, Fimo, Cernit offer special developments:

  • The artifact is a gel-like softener, does not change the color of raw materials, can be used for any manufacturer. Used to restore the plasticity of the polymer. To do this, it must be divided into small pieces, add a couple of drops of the product and knead.
  • Sculpey is a liquid softener. High concentration oily fluid. You should literally intervene drop by drop, otherwise you can get not a plastic, but a spreading substance, unsuitable for work. In addition, under the influence of a softener, the dye becomes unstable and stains everything around, so it is easier to work with gloves.
  • Fimo - liquid plastic. It is mixed with solid parts, kneading to the desired state. The durability of the dye does not change, so gloves are not needed.
  • Fimo and Cernit - softener. This is a solid white mass, which is added in small portions. Moreover, you can add almost the same amount as the softened piece, but the original color remains almost unchanged. Coloring remains stable.

All funds enjoy a good reputation. But because of its rather substantial cost, they are used mainly by professionals. Beginning masters can be advised by improvised resources.

To reanimate the dried-up remains or an unsuccessful craft, you can use the tools that are in every house. Of course, they are not as effective as professional ones, but at the amateur level they will cope with their task.

Apply heat effect. Just do not overdo it! Can:

  • Hold a hard piece under warm water,
  • Blow with a hairdryer (warm, but not hot air!),
  • Place in a preheated oven (or oven where you bake workpieces) for no more than 10 seconds. If that doesn’t help, you can try for another 10 seconds,
  • A microwave oven is used similarly, but do not set the maximum heating level. The time remains the same - in a matter of seconds, in a few calls.

You can also try different types of supplements. General recommendation: first try the new component on a small sample and add literally dropwise, mixing thoroughly. Also, for convenience, it is easier to soften not a large piece, but breaking it into small parts. You can also try:

  • Sunflower oil. Only for beginners, as it worsens the properties of the material. Even a half-drop will give an effect and, perhaps, stronger than required. The paint loses its resistance, so gloves are required.
  • Grape seed oil works better (it can be purchased at the pharmacy). It turns out a very soft mass, strongly staining hands.
  • Vaseline oil. Its action is similar to the previous ones.

Normal hand or face cream. To begin with, use a volume of no more than a pea, it is better to add it if necessary. The cream works well, but the substance becomes very sticky.

So, for beginners, hand-made makers are quite suitable for home methods of resuscitation of dried plastic. Of course, its quality is reduced, but it is quite suitable for educational crafts. But if it comes to the manufacture of products for sale, then it is better not to save money and use the proven professional methods.

Almost any of the professional options can be purchased from us in the section "Polymer Clay - Varnishes / Gels / Softeners". There are various options for the price, from inexpensive, to PRO. Pick a few and use them. Your reputation is completely dependent on the quality of your work, do not save on it!