How to Recycle Ceramic Clay Using the Bucket Method

Art Teachers! Here's an alternative method for drying clay that doesn't involve a plaster slab drying station.

Steps

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    Find at least four, 5 gallon (18.9 L) buckets. (Ask the maintenance crew at your school.)
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    Line the buckets with heavy-duty 32 gallon (121.1 L) garbage bags. (Otherwise, it takes a long time to scrape the clay out of the bucket.)
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    Fill the bucket with bone dry clay. (Leave the lid off.)
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    Pour water over the bone dry clay, completely submerging it.
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    Let the bone dry clay sit underwater until it turns to mush (3-6 days). Jab and stir it daily as it is submerged.
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    Drain the excess water off the top.
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    Poke several shaft holes into the bucket of clay using a 1.5" closet hanger rod. -This opens the clay for drying,
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    Poke additional shaft holes daily, until the clay loses its stickiness.
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    Slide the clay out of the bucket and dice it up with fishing line.
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    Have students wedge the diced clay.
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    Store it in a bucket with a lid.

Tips

  • If you are an art teacher currently recycling clay using a combination of rolling trash cans and plaster drying slabs, and don't have a pug mill, try this: Put signs above the buckets that say," --Bone, Slip Mush, Leather, and Perfect (aka Plastic)”. **Getting students to be conscientious about properly placing their clay at the end of the period is a constant effort, but the Bucket Method has other clear advantages.

Article Info

Categories: Clay Projects