Monday, April 8, 2013

Scrap clay

Tips for scrap polymer clay...

Beware!.. No but seriously - how can anyone gather so much scrap clay? Am I the only one with this problem?...

You know how you're working on different projects and you push the leftover clay out towards the sides of your work surface, until it at some point overfloats and there's no longer room for you to make anything?.. I'm struggling with that problem constantly! When I started making miniatures in 2011, I soon after began putting leftover clay into this little container... Didn't think it would build up like this! And imagine, I actually frequently throw away large pieces of clay because I know, that I'll NEVER EVER get to the bottom no matter what I do. I know it's a waste, but I've given up.

What to do with it then?
Well, there are a number of things you can do with a mountain like this, and if you know of something I'm not mentioning, please feel free to let me know :)
- Obviously, the most logic thing to use it for, is new clay projects - it's perfectly good clay in any color you can imagine, and you're more than likely to need the same color some other day.
- When I first started out doing clay charms and miniatures, I used it to make molds; press your master into the clay, bake it and there you go! - keep in mind that you'll need some type of release agent like corn starch, so the unbaked clay won't stick to it. Also, another thing to remember is that you won't be able to make molds for everything, as these aren't flexible like those made from Amazing Mold Putty etc.
- If you, like me, make all your masters (the items you make molds from) yourself, the scrap clay is great. You can use the most 'yucky' colors, because at the end, the color really doesn't matter since you're only using it to make a mold from.
- You can use pieces of lighter colors (shades that you probably won't use very often, eg. weird colors made when mixing cane pieces) to clean your hands and work surface, as the dust will stick to it.
- Mix and marble! - especially if you're making charms and other types of clay creations this comes in handy. Mixing the different colors, creating a marbleized effect, can look absolutely amazing for jewelry pieces!
- Make tools and stamps; If you use a ball of tin foil or some other object to create texture a lot, you can make a clay mold/tool to use instead. This way you can make a nice handle to grab onto... If you'ce seen some of those hams I've made, I used scrap clay to make the 'stamp'. I first rolled out a sheet of clay, used a needle tool to press the pattern, and lastly pressed another piece of scrap clay onto the baked imprinted clay sheet to make the stamp :)
- You can use it as stuffing for other projects - if you're making something like a cake covered in fondant, you can use the scrap clay for the insid. If you're going to cover it up anyways and you're not going to slice a piece... then why use your good clay for this?
- For caning.. You know how the end pieces of canes get more distorded? Sometimes that ruins a perfectly good looking cane. I've used scrap clay to create new end pieces for my canes before rolling them out; worked really well and resulted in more 'usable length' of the cane.


  1. I had lots of scrap canes so I gathered all of them and I made a complex cane!As I can see you have an old watermelon cane and some other can definitely make a complex cane.Let me now what do you think!

    1. That's a great idea :) would make some beautiful and unique jewelry or other creations

  2. Hi I have a lot of scrap clay I use a lot for first layering and for head amatures .I have a scrap box to lol I have a bone box to that I put baked clay peaces that didnt turn out in

    1. That's a great idea as well :) what do you do with the baked pieces ?

  3. I condition and mix my scrap clay until I have one solid color and reuse it as "new clay".
    To avoid bad color combinations ,when possible, I separate the scrap clay into similar color piles and then I mix them. This way I get good new colors and everything gets reused.