How to Revive Dry Clay

Three Methods:Reviving air-dry clayReviving ceramic clayReviving play clay

A wonderful sculpting medium, clay has the ability to bend every which way. That is, until it dries out. It's not useless just yet though; fortunately there are some neat ways to get some types of clay back to usability. Choose your clay type and give the relevant method a try.

Method 1
Reviving air-dry clay

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    Work with the air-dry clay a little. Knead it, bend it and twist it to see if it will revive of its own accord. If not, proceed to the next step.
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    Place the air-dry clay into a resealable plastic bag.
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    Sprinkle the clay with just a few drops of water. Don't add too much, or the clay will just turn into a sticky clump.
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    Seal the bag. Let it sit for a few minutes, to absorb the moisture.
    • Keep it away from heat or direct sunlight.
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    After a few minutes, remove the air-dry clay from the bag. Twist and knead it, to see if it will work like clay again. If it does, you can get back to your crafting. If not, proceed to the next step.
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    Return the air-dry clay to the bag. Add a few more drops of water. Seal and set aside for longer, up to half an hour.
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    Try again. If it works now, that's great. If not, the air-dry clay is past its prime and its time to visit the store for a new package. Store all revived or new clay in an airtight container, to prevent it from drying out again.

Method 2
Reviving ceramic clay

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    Soak the lump of ceramic clay in clear water. Use a container large enough to hold the clay; it should be completely submerged under the water.
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    Do not stir the clay. Stirring stops up the porosity and prevents good slaking (soaking to mush).
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    Let the clay sit in the water for a few days. After a few days, even the largest chunks of dry clay will turn into mush.
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    Drain off the water. When the clay has settled and turned to mush, remove extra water from top. Dip the water off or siphon it off.
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    Firm the clay, if needed. You can stiffen the mush by allowing it to set for many months with the lid off. To dry it faster, spread the mush a few inches thick on clean dry porous surfaces. You can use dry plaster, clean concrete, canvas or denim. Smooth the top to avoid getting small dry pieces on the surface.
    • For faster drying, position a fan so that the air can blow across the clay.
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    Prepare clay for proper storage. When it is nearly dry enough, make coils for future use. This clay can be stored in an airtight plastic, double-wrapping in sandwich bags if you expect to store it an extended length of time.

Method 3
Reviving play clay

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    Gather up that cracked piece of Play Doh.
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    Using a kitchen or bathroom sink, rinse the Play Doh for 10-15 seconds. Rinse longer the longer it has been dried out for. Alternatively, take a cup of water and drizzle a few tablespoons directly onto the dry Play Doh.
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    Knead the dough for 30 seconds. Do this on a clean, non-stick surface.
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    Rinse for 5-10 seconds. Or, rinse for as long as it seems necessary to moisten the Play Doh.
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    Knead for about a minute more.
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    Repeat rinsing and kneading steps until the Play Doh is soft again.
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    It's now ready for playing with again. Be sure to clean up afterwards.
    • An alternative method for reviving play clay can be found here.

Tips

  • When working with the clay (kneading, pushing, etc.), line the workspace with wax or greaseproof paper. This protects the surface and prevents the clay from sticking.

Things You'll Need

Air-dry clay:

  • Resealable bag
  • Water
  • Clean surface for kneading on (lay down some greaseproof or wax paper to protect the surface and prevent sticking)

Ceramic clay:

  • Large container
  • Water
  • Clean, dry surface

Play clay:

  • Water
  • Clean surface for kneading on (lay down some greaseproof or wax paper to protect the surface and prevent sticking)


Article Info

Categories: Clay Projects