Tips For Chilling Hot Mushy Polymer Clay To Firm It Up:
No doubt about it, Summer is underway… at least it is up here in the northern hemisphere. With the warm weather comes soft mushy clay that shows finger prints like crazy. Great time for mixing. But building or cutting canes and sculpting is way trickier when it’s hot.
Here are a few tricks for coping with polymer clay in the heat when you don’t have an air conditioned studio:
- A simple propeller or rotary fan can help. It won’t really cool down your clay too much but it will keep you a bit more comfortable. Super hot bodies (like mine hehehe) have super hot hands, which just make mushy clay even mushier.
- A bucket of ice water will help. Put your hands and your clay into ice water periodically to cool things down. Use a paper towel to dry off your clay before working with it though, so the moisture doesn’t get trapped in the clay and cause problems like bubbles and cracks.
- Work with a firm clay. Super soft clay gets even worse in the heat. Fimo, Kato and Premo do better. Leach some of the plasticizers from the clay if it is too soft to start with. There is a nifty video in my Beginner’s Course that shows you How To Firm Up Soft Polymer Clay with your pasta machine if you don’t know how to leach your clay.
- Get out the ice packs for cooling your polymer clay. The photo above shows packages of Premo Sculpey clay on a re-freezable gel ice pack. If you put another ice pack on top to form a sandwich, the clay will chill even faster. Or, simply pop all of your clay into the refrigerator and only bring it out as needed.
- Drink lots of Pina Coladas! This will not only cool you down but will also cause you not to stress about your problems with slicing squishy canes! :-)
- Have fun! It is Summer after all!