What To Do About Fimo Soft Polymer Clay That’s Too Soft and Sticky

Polymer Clay Ice Pack

5 Bead And Cane Making Tips for Polymer Clay Artists with Hot Hands and Warm Studios:

Warm work areas and hot hands can create challenges with polymer clay. When the clay gets too warm it becomes soft and then sticks to your hands and tools. Plus the softness makes it almost impossible to get crisp details in your polymer clay cane designs!

Here are a 5 things you can do to deal with the hot hands issue that Adrienne Lindsey brought up in the recent Polymer Clay Recipe Card challenge:

1) Use a Firmer Brand of Clay: Products like Kato, Fimo classic and Premo are a lot firmer than Fimo Soft or Sculpey III. For a detailed list of the different brands of clay that I have worked with and their qualities, you can read this article: Best Polymer Clay for Cane Making and Sculpting

2) You Can Firm Up Clay that is Too Soft: Some brands are just too soft coming out of the package. But you can leach out the excess plasticizers to firm them up a bit. Here’s an article on how to do that: Using Your Pasta Machine To Firm Up Soft Polymer Clay

3) Cool Down the Clay: Pop your clay into the fridge for awhile to cool it down. As an alternative, keep a frozen ice gel pack at your station to set your clay on to keep it cool. It’s a good idea to have a couple of them in the freezer so you can swap between them. More info here: Cool Polymer Clay Tutorial

4) Cool Down the Room: Try a fan or air conditioner to cool down the environment a little. Or work at cooler times of the day, closing curtains and blinds if the sun is beating down.

5) Cool Down Your Hands: Try dipping your hands into a bath of ice water. Not only will this help your clay from getting to warm, it will help your hands if they are uncomfortably hot. Splash a little on your face as well, just for the fun of it! How refreshing!

If you have any other tips on how to keep your clay cool, please do share them below in the comments section!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


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Comments

  1. excellent points!!! I do have a problem with Puppen Fimo being too soft since they changed the formula. I have unwrapped the clay from its packaging and placed it in a baggy which I have left open hoping that extended shelf life will firm it up. We shall see.

  2. Ha! That’s funny! “Splash a little on your face”!

    Because I like to achieve very precise pendants, hot and sticky clay are combated by sliding my work paper with the pre-conditioned and rolled flat clay on it into the freezer for a minute before I cut and bake.

    This keeps the clay from distorting when a blade or cutter runs through it.

    These are great suggestions I will have to remember, thank you for sharing them!

  3. Thanks for your comments Bonnie! Have you thought about putting a piece of paper or cardstock inside the baggy with the clay to help absorb some of the excess plasticizers? That might speed things up a bit!

    @Shannon: I know I can be a little silly, but who couldn’t use some comic relief these days?! Nice point about firming up the clay for cutting, as well! That would really help in keeping the shape of things!

  4. I was wondering now that the summer months are almost upon us, I store my clay in a room that isn’t always air conditioned. Yesterday and today has been unseasonably hot and this morning while I was working with my clay I noticed it was much softer. Can I refrigerate my clay? I’m afraid that once the summer really does get rolling, my studio can get extremely hot and I wouldn’t want to damage the clay I already have and I have accumulated alot.

    Once again, your help would be most appreciated. Thanks again, Mary

    • @Hobokenmary: Good question! I know you can put your clay in the fridge/freezer for short periods of time to get it cold, but I don’t know about long-term storage. You have to be careful with getting moisture in your clay. Although if you did, you could just let it dry out before working it. I did a search, and this hasn’t really been covered here at the blog (as far as I could tell, at least.) Someone with more experience, help please!

    • @Hobokenmary: I agree with Phaedrakat, that is a good question! Although I have not tested this myself, I can’t see the harm in storing your clay in the fridge should you have a period of time that gets extremely hot in your home.

      Phaedrakat is right about the moisture. It is important to make sure there is no condensation on the clay before conditioning it, since moisture can cause bubbles, cracks and little moons in the clay, especially in Translucent.

      Other than that it would probably be better off there than in the very hot room. You could try contacting Polyform to see what they think, if you were worried about it. Do let us know how it goes.

      If anyone else has more information on long term storage of polymer clay in the fridge, do let us know.

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