Airdry clay behaves and works substantially identically to other types of ceramic clay. This allows expert artisans to hone their abilities and beginners to gain experience without incurring the price of firing items in a kiln. Considering that most air-dry clays are non-toxic and appropriate for children to play with, it’s simple to see why air-dry clay has gained popularity.
One of the most often asked questions is whether air-dry clay can be baked. Continue reading if you have any questions. In this post, we will address this issue and explain how you may properly use an oven to speed up the drying of air-drying clothes and answer a few other essential questions.
Benefits of Airdry Clay
Airdry clay is ideal for childcare settings. Airdry clay may be used in elementary classrooms and daycare facilities without the need for an oven. Airdry clay may be used for both large and small crafts, making it ideal for bigger items that may not fit in an oven. Instead, the work may be shown as it dries.
Air dry clay is the easiest to deal with when it comes to swiftly drying clay at home because an oven is not required.
Airdry clay is particularly great for kids and schools because it doesn’t require any specific tools to make enjoyable creations. Airdry clay may also be used to create distinctive textures and appearances in mixed media projects.
Airdry clay is fairly durable if not laid out too thinly. While delicate, thin, or tiny elements of a project may be more fragile, air-dry clay as a whole may make long-lasting, sturdy products. Airdry clay sculptures become even more sturdy and water-resistant when properly covered with a glaze.
What Is Airdry Clay Best Used For?
Airdry clay’s adaptability makes it perfect for both beginner and expert clayers. It’s possible to squeeze, score, and stamp it. Airdry clay may be decorated and painted as well.
The following are some projects made with air-dry modeling clay:
- Small planters
- Sculptures of animals
Airdry clay may also be used to make jewelry and accessories such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets by experienced craftsmen. Porcelain air-dry clay may be used to create complex things such as flowers, decorations, and figures that dry with a smooth, somewhat transparent surface.
Can You Bake Airdry Clay?
Airdry clay may and cannot be baked in an oven. If you mean bake it at high heat like resin clay, then no, you can’t. Yes, if you mean that it can be reheated in an oven to speed up the drying process. It also depends on the sort of air-dry clay in question.
When heated, epoxy clays can emit poisonous fumes. While most people don’t think of these clays when talking about air-dry clay, they do fall into that category and should be listed.
Regular and air-dry paper clay can be warmed to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius) to speed up the drying process. Any hotter than this, though, and they risk catching fire. Airdry clays are extremely combustible. This is particularly true for paper clays.
How to Bake Airdry Clay
Step 1. Preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Don’t be tempted to raise the temperature to speed up the drying process. The clay can break if it dries too rapidly. Airdry clay cannot be dried in the microwave because it will overheat, crack, or break apart.
Step 2. Get the baking sheet ready.
Trim a piece of parchment paper to fit the metal baking sheet and place it on it. Because some air-dry clay is not food-safe, place the clay on a baking sheet devoted to crafts rather than food.
Step 3. Placing the Clay Pieces
Pick up the clay pieces with a spatula and arrange them on the baking sheet, so they don’t touch. Although the clay will not spread like cookies during the baking process, it is still a good idea to allow each object at least an inch of room all the way around.
Step 4. Place in the Oven
Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Leave the oven door slightly ajar so you can glance at your objects and monitor their progress, as well as enable moisture to escape as the items dry and protect them from overheating.
Step 5. Keep track of the drying process.
The time it takes for your pieces to dry may vary based on their size and thickness. As the item dries, the color on the surface will fade noticeably. Check your goods every five minutes and flip thick items over to allow them to dry completely. Remove the baking sheet from the oven when the surface of your item seems dry on both sides.
Step 6. Complete Your Work
Allow at least 30 minutes for your clay pieces to cool before working on them. If wanted, color them with acrylic craft paints once they’ve cooled. Airdry clay items are neither waterproof nor food-safe. Only use your air-dry clay creations for decoration.
Other Ways to Dry Air-Dry Clay Faster?
1. Make use of a dehydrator.
A dehydrator is often used to dry fruit or meat, but it may also be used to shorten the drying period of air dry clay.
A dehydrator may be used to dry air dry clay, but it must be set to a very low level to prevent the clay from cracking when drying. The faster air dry clay dries, the more probable it will break. A dehydrator may thoroughly dry air-dry clay in modest settings in about an hour.
If you already have a dehydrator, you may use it to dry air dry clay, but I would not advocate purchasing a dehydrator specifically to dry air dry clay.
Many current ovens include a drying option for drying fruit that is nearly as excellent as a dehydrator, and even if your oven does not have that setting, you may still use it to dry air dry clay faster.
Using a dehydrator to dry air dry clay is only an option if you already have one.
2. Make use of a hairdryer.
Using a hairdryer to dry air-dry clay is more time-consuming and less dependable than using an oven, but it is still doable.
It is possible to dry air dry clay using a hairdryer, but it takes a lot of patience and stamina. Turn the hairdryer on hot and reduce the power to one. Then, move the hairdryer back and forth frequently. Maintain a minimum distance of 3 inches at all times. After around 20 minutes, the clay will be dry.
The issue with using a hairdryer to dry air dry clay is that you may accidentally just heat one region of your sculpture.
This causes tension inside the clay because water evaporates unevenly, and many fractures emerge on the surface and within the clay structure.
So, if you want to speed up the drying of your air-dry clay, apply heat as evenly as possible.
3. Allow the Clay to Air Dry in the Sun
The Sun is another alternative for drying air dry clay faster. Is it, nevertheless, a good idea to dry air dry clay in the Sun?
Overall, placing air-dry clay in the Sun allows it to dry faster. Simply drape a protective layer of parchment paper over the clay to prevent it from direct sun rays, and do not set the clay on a metal surface. Turn the sculpture every 5 minutes to achieve equal drying.
I don’t advocate drying your air-dry clay in the Sun, but it is totally doable if you need to speed up the drying process and don’t have access to an oven, a hairdryer, or a dehydrator.
Is it easy to break Air-dry clay?
Airdry clay shrinks as it dries, and it will shrink even more depending on how much water you pour into it when molding.
Airdry clay is fairly durable but not as robust as burned and glazed clay. If you want to learn more about the durability of air-dry clay, you may read my in-depth post on the subject.
This sort of clay is prone to cracking.
The fissures are caused by the clay losing water as it dries.
Water evaporation from clay might produce fractures in your sculpture.
But don’t panic. You can repair the cracks when the clay has completely dried or avoid them by working with it appropriately.
But, in general, a 1-to-1 combination of water and clay can be used to make a slip. To repair cracks, apply slip directly to them.
How Do You Repair Airdry Clay Cracks?
Slip can be used to repair cracks in Airdry clay. Slips may be simply manufactured from clay and water.
Slip is a clay-water mixture. It must have the consistency of pudding in order to stick to the clay while also thoroughly filling the fissure.
It is critical to understand that the slip cannot be stored. Pure clay that has not yet been combined with water may only be stored.
If you try to reuse the slip, you will discover that it does not work and will simply create a massive mess.
Here’s how to repair fractures in your clay sculpture.
• Make the slip with clay and water to the desired consistency and keep it aside for later use.
• You must roughen the place where the slip is meant to hold. So, using sandpaper, roughen up the region so that the slip can attach to the surface.
• Moisten the area with water before applying the slip to the crack.
• Now, add the slip to the section that has to be repaired. You may also use the slip if you wish to glue two parts together. If you want to repair a large crack, you should first fill it with clay and then apply slip to the surface to make it seem smooth.
How long does it take for air-dry clay to dry?
The time it takes for air-dry clay to dry might vary based on a number of factors. The thickness of the clay is one factor. When the clay is thin, it dries faster than when it is thick.
Another consideration is the temperature and humidity of the environment in which the clay is drying. The clay will cure faster in a warm and dry atmosphere than in a chilly and damp one. Finally, the drying time is affected by how effectively the space is aired. Overall, air-dry clay typically takes 24-48 hours to dry completely.
However, to be sure, check on the clay on a regular basis. Modeling clay is a good alternative if you want something that will dry in less than 24 hours.
Baking air-dry clay can cause warping or cracking. If at all possible, avoid using this procedure. Place the clay in a dehydrator or desiccant chamber to expedite drying. These approaches will assist in absorbing moisture from the clay and speeding up the drying process without causing damage to the clay.
Yes, many air-dry clays can catch fire. As a result, they should never be heated over 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius). Exceeding these temperatures may cause your work to spontaneously burn.
According to some craftspeople, oven drying eliminates more moisture from the clay, making it more challenging. Others say this makes it more vulnerable. We cannot endorse either side of the debate based on personal experience. Choosing the correct clay for your project and conditioning it properly is more significant than drying methods in deciding the robustness of your creation.
Painting your air-dry clay objects before completely dry is not a good idea. Depending on the paint used, the drying process might be slowed, preventing your artwork from curing correctly. It can also create uneven drying, resulting in fractures and warping.
No, you cannot glaze air-dry clay. Glazing necessitates temperatures considerably above what air-dry can handle. It may, however, be sealed with polyurethane and painted with various paints.
Several methods for sealing air-dry clay, including covering it with ordinary white glue. It is best filled with one or more layers of polyurethane varnish or acrylic sealer. Both give a non-porous covering and are available in gloss, semi-gloss, and matt finishes.
No, air-dry clay cannot be microwaved. It heats up quite rapidly when you put air-dry clay in the microwave. This can cause the work to catch fire or, in the case of wet clay, moisture trapped inside the clay to expand forcefully. This can result in a blowout, destroying your work and your microwave.