Seven “Summer” Tips For Working With Polymer Clay

7 Summer Tips - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #689: Gel ice packs work great for cooling polymer canes… to minimize distortion when slicing them in warmer weather.

In this video I will share with you my 7 Tips that will make your polymer clay life a little bit easier in the hot Summer heat.

1. Avoid Buying Polymer Clay Online in the Summer: Although it is not always the case, sometimes shipments of polymer clay can sit for hours in a hot planecargo area, truck, warehouse or customs warehouse… slowly baking your clay away. So unless it is an emergency, don’t buy clay that needs to be shipped in the summer time.

2. Don’t Leave Polymer Clay in a Hot Car: It only takes a few minutes in the hot sun for your car to get well over 100F. So don’t buy fresh polymer clay and then leave it in your hot car to bake, while you run other errands.

3. Store Clay In A Cool Place: Even your home can get really hot during the Summer, so keep your clay stored where it won’t stays coolest… like the back of a closet, in an air conditioned room, the basement or even in the fridge.

4. Put Canes in the Fridge To Cool Down Before Slicing: Because warm polymer clay canes are soft, they will distort easily when cut. Pop them into the fridge or freezer for a bit, to firm them up before slicing, and you’ll get a lot less distortion and squashing of your canes when cutting.

5. Use Ice or Frozen Gel Packs: Don’t have a fridge close by to your studio or workspace? Just get a bowl of ice, or a frozen gel pack, and set your clay or hot hands right on top, to cool things down.

6. Mix Clay Colors: Use the heat to your advantage. Since warm clay becomes soft, this makes it easy to mix up new polymer clay colors. Summer is a great time to mix up those polymer clay color recipe that you have been collecting, and waiting for the right time to mix them all up.

7. Bake Only When Your Oven is Full: Ovens produce heat, and since we bake our clay for a full hour to make it stronger, it is important that you only bake when you have a full oven. Baking lots of small batches will make your space hotter than it needs to be.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Chrissie F, 20 July, 2015

    Thanks, Cindy for the useful and timely tips. As far as ordering PC online, I buy from Trish at PolyClayPlay as she packs it in insulated bubble wrap packs. It’s sent from Texas where it is hot with a capital H but I have had two deliveries this summer in tip top condition. When I’m back home in Australia the clay is stored year round in an old fridge – it can be mighty hot there in the summer too. Feel like climbing into the fridge myself some days :-)

    Hope all is going well with you and Doug and the exciting changes – don’t forget to smell those foxgloves :-))

  2. Cindy Lietz, 20 July, 2015

    Thanks Chrissie for letting everyone know that they are safe to order from PolyclayPlay in the Summer. As far as smelling those foxgloves… I’m afraid if I tried to do that right now I’d get a nose full of seeds! LOL (We are experiencing a bit of a drought around here and the last time I watered (except for a couple of potted plants and our grapes) was the day I did that video… so everything has dried up and gone to seed… including the foxgloves and the daisies from those videos.) Grass is yellow too… though our son Fisher likes that he no longer has to mow. :)

  3. Chrissie F, 20 July, 2015

    A drought in BC?
    The place where you go to rust and not retire?
    Hooley Dooley!

    In contrast, here in San Diego we have had record breaking rainfall this past weekend. 1.60 inches is teeny-tiny compared to BC standards but it’s a deluge in what is the driest month of the year here!

    WTG, Fisher for finding the silver lining :-)

  4. Patt W, 24 July, 2015

    Good to know Chrissie. I have panicked and had companys over-night some. That is really expensive. Arizona is hot from end of April Til End of September. So I usually stock up in Oct -Dec. I do not have the new colors yet…..sigh. But come Oct-I will..

  5. Chrissie F, 24 July, 2015

    Patti, I don’t know that over-nighting would be the best way to go either (apart from the horrendous cost!) as the clay is going to be sitting in a delivery truck somewhere along the way, you’d think. That’s why the insulated bag is so good.

    And having just returned from a road trip which included staying in southern Arizona (Tucson and Yuma) I believe you when you say it’s hot. I know Australia is hot in the summer but AZ is right up there alongside it. I can’t begin to explain the relief of getting back to the cooler weather of San Diego!

  6. Anna Sabina, 20 July, 2015

    I am also very cautious when buying clay at the store during summer months. Stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby ship and store their stock in metal semi trucks that get like an oven in the parking lots. I always give my clay package a few hard squeeses before buying. I have accidentally purchaed a few bars that were hard as a rock and totally cured before being place on the retail shelf. Check every block of clay.

  7. Dixie Ann, 21 July, 2015

    June, July, August and the 1st half of Sept. are off limits for me for purchasing clay. I have so much inventory now anyway I could probably go a couple of years without having to order any. So glad you reminded everyone to mix up the clay receipes now as it is much easier to do during the summer. This is also a great time for me to stay indoors where it’s very cool and start designing my jewelry line for the next year because the heat only exacerbates my respiratory problems.

  8. Gina Adrian, 24 July, 2015

    I had to giggle. A polymer clay emergency! They are real and they DO happen.

    Another thing I found out the hard way (no pun intended) was storing my clay near a window. I live in Tennessee, and while we are not known for our scroaching summers, one of the windows in the room where I clay faces right into the afternoon sun. It is double-paned, which almost seems to make it hotter. Even with the AC running, that window gets HOT!

    Anyway, I store my clay in covered containers by color (I have five dogs and one REALLY confused cat, so this helps to keep hair and such out). Unknowingly, between the window glass and the containers, I had created a series of mini ovens. Thankfully, I figured it out before I lost a lot of clay.

    I have kept the containers, but swapped locations for my clay. They now sit above my desk in the shaded corner, and my findings (which never complain about the heat) are stored by the window.

  9. Pamela Northcott, 13 November, 2015

    Thank you so much for those tips. Living in Queensland, Australia it is almost summer all year round! Will definitely have more clay (and less food perhaps) in my fridge! A new hobby that might be good for the waistline.

  10. Chrissie F, 13 November, 2015

    Forget Jenny Craig – it’s The Polymer Clay Diet! Pamela, you might be onto to something LOL.

    It’s good to hear from a banana bender too – I’m a sandgroper :-)) I leave my PC in a spare fridge the year round and we don’t even have it as hot in the SW as you blokes do in Qld. Enjoy your new diet :-))

  11. Elizabeth Kerr, 13 November, 2015

    Hi there Pamela
    nice to see you here.
    I am in Mackay Qld, so I know what the summer does to our PC. I do keep my Pc in the fridge when I am not using it
    I have been a member here since about 2009 and still going.
    Dont know about that pc diet, I’ve tried them all; but!
    where are you? I wish there were more peole around me interested in this as i
    is a wonderful pass time. All the best
    Elizabeth . K.
    PS Havent been to my blog in ages but it is there with some pc stuff.

  12. Henriete D, 13 September, 2022

    Good day, Cindy

    I love your videos, thank you so much for making them!

    I have a question that I hope you’ll be able to answer me: I recently started stocking Sculpey Premo and Soufflé clay in South Africa. I had the clay flown in with FedEx to make sure that it wasn’t exposed to heat or sun as would be when you bring it in with a container.

    4 of the clays were extremely hard and it’s not possible to condition them.
    Have you experienced it with Sculpey clay?

    Hoping to hear from you.


  13. Cindy Lietz, 13 September, 2022

    Hi Henriete, that sounds frustrating! No, there are not certain colors that are harder and more difficult to condition… especially these days with all the fresh clay that is out there, due to the clay shortage during the pandemic. If your clay is so firm that you are unable to condition it, you either got really old clay from a disreputable dealer or the clay actually got partially cured during shipping. Something went wrong there. I’d suggest you talk to the company that sent it to you and/or Fedex and see who screwed up.

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