How NOT To Store Liquid Polymer Clay or TLS

How Not To Store Liquid Polymer ClayVideo #336: This is a story about how I shoulda listened to my own advice… when choosing clay compatible storage containers.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Even a pro can make mistakes if she doesn’t follow her own advice… Bad Cindy!
  • These plastic containers are NOT polymer clay safe!
  • How polymer clay, liquid or solid, will react to some plastics… Yuck!
  • How to test plastic storage containers to see if they are compatible with polymer clay, so you don’t make the same mistake I did.
  • Example of a liquid polymer clay safe container… Empty Plastic Paint Pots.

Ok it’s confession time… does anyone else want to share a “what-not-to-do” experience that would be helpful for other clayers to learn from?

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find 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. Pam D, 17 January, 2013

    Love your tips, thank you.

  2. Hermine R, 17 January, 2013

    I have had a container of sculpey liquid clay that went bad on me . It was old when it was a given to me so I don’t know what self life it should have had . Now all my liquid clay from sculpey is in glass containers.
    Haven’t had any problem form kato so far.
    Great information as allways.

  3. Sue F, 17 January, 2013

    I totally agree with Cindy about the need to test any kind of plastic that you’re thinking of storing polymer clay in, whether that be normal polymer clay or liquid polymer clay, but would like to emphasise that “polymer clay safe” plastics vary between the different polymer clay brands.

    I have some small plastic tubs that look very much like those Cindy showed in the video — mine have recycling symbol 5, PP (polypropylene), on them, and they’re normally used for salad dressings, sauces, etc. in the takeway food industry — but in my case I’ve successfully stored leftover Kato Clear Medium in them for many months. If they *are* the same plastic (they might not be), that would indicate that a plastic that is safe for Kato Clear Medium is not safe for Translucent Liquid Sculpey.

    For another illustration of how “safe plastics” vary from brand to brand, but with normal polymer clay this time, here is a photo from testing my favourite IKEA storage containers with different polymer clay brands.

    (I like these containers because they fit perfectly into my shelving, and because they’re completely transparent so the contents are fully visible.)

    The clay samples on the plastic test piece, from left to right, are: Premo Frost, Pardo Professional Art Clay Translucent, Kato Translucent, and Fimo Effects Transparent. The Premo, Kato and Fimo have been on there for a couple of years; the Pardo has only been on there for 9 months.

    The Premo has sort-of stuck to the plastic. You *can* lift it off with a bit of effort, but it breaks apart and there are shadowy marks on the plastic where it sat. Considering it’s been on there for at least two years, I’d say that plastic is semi Premo-safe. (It caused the shadowy markings fairly quickly, i.e. within a month, but they haven’t really got any worse since then.)

    The Pardo and Fimo on the other hand have half melted the plastic! They’re totally stuck, and you can see that the plastic has started “pooling” around those two clay samples. The plastic is not at all Pardo-safe or Fimo-safe.

    The Kato, however, hasn’t affected the plastic at all. I’ve lifted the Kato sample up in the photo so you can see that there are no marks underneath, and that the clay hasn’t stuck or broken. The plastic is Kato-safe.

    So, when I store Kato canes upright in these containers (left rear in photo), I just sit them in there and don’t need to worry about anything. But when I store canes made from other polymer clay brands (right rear in photo), I line the containers first with a sheet of (tested! :D) clear plastic food wrap to protect them without affecting the transparency that I like too much.

    I’ll wrap this up back on liquid polymer clay, with a suggestion for storing Kato Clear Medium. Kato Clear Medium settles a bit over time, so by the time you get to the bottom of a bottle you can find it’s too thick to be useable. Flipping the bottle on end occasionally, so that sometimes it’s the right way up and sometimes it’s upside down, helps alleviate this and keep the liquid clay consistent. I don’t do this on any set schedule, just flip it over whenever I remember.

  4. Dixie Ann, 17 January, 2013

    I actually store my canes and leftover clay in metal tins. I wrap them first in glad wrap or in very small glad bags. I don’t remember where I first heard about this, (before Cindy) but I have never had problems with any clay by doing this. I like the big flat round tins and can always find them at garage sales. I never store clays together. All my premo goes in it’s own tin, Fimo in another and so on. I have never tried Pardo
    clay and will be anxious to see Cindys video when she compares it with the other brands.

  5. Lesley Symons, 17 January, 2013

    Like you I’ve tried various options: I really liked the Sculpey mat, though mine ended up looking really scruffy with cuts, ink and whatever. What I’m using now is a glass sheet, and I think I like this best of all …. so far … :-)

  6. Leisa E, 17 January, 2013

    Thank you for letting us know! :)

  7. Jill S, 17 January, 2013

    Cindy, I ran to the cabinet where I store the TLS combined with ,Jacquard PearlEx. Of course, the green in the glass bottle is ok. The pink is in a medicine cup that looks like the one you? used – and it is ok! I don’t know if it is the same as you got in Canada. It has been there about 6 months or so.

  8. Suzy S, 17 January, 2013

    i lost a whole bunch of clay not knowing this would happen i bought some plastic spice jars from the dollar store and was trying to organize my stuff well i organized it right to the garbage container and all

  9. Michelle Adams, 17 January, 2013

    This video reminds me of those old do not do drugs commercials. This is your liquid polymer clay, this is a plastic container. This is your liquid polymer clay on an incompatible plastic container…any questions! LOL! Thanks for the tip.

  10. Jocelyn C, 17 January, 2013

    Do you think if you added more liquid to that glob, that you could reconstitute it for future work, or is it a straight toss?

    When we were kids, we were trained to save class jars and bottles for future use. Also dug some antique beauties out of an old dump site on our folks property.

    Today, I try to stick to the stackable type, and I use them for everything. Also have Ball jars, and think I might start storing some canes and old scraps in them so I can see what I have. Also love the smaller type of glass containers. I decorate all the lids with Cindy’s past tutes, the jasper type are great. Obviously, you don’ t want clay to be exposed to light and temperature.

    This is my favorite site for glass containers….they have EVERYTHING! Some of the smaller ones are perfect for storing leftover liquids, and you could pick the amber or cobalt type rather than clear if you wished to lower light effects.

  11. Jamie Hibbs, 18 January, 2013

    Hello Jocelyn. Wow! Thank you for the great link to that glass container site. I just finished looking there and I can see a lot of it could be used with clay. Either covered in clay or for storing it. Thank you again.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 18 January, 2013

    Yeah thanks for the link to the glass containers Jocelyn! As far as adding more liquid to the clay, I didn’t see a point. The plastic from the cup had melted into and bonded with the clay, so there was weird hard bits of plastic and gluey liquid in the mess. Not worth wrecking any more supplies trying to fix it, so I threw it out. Would have been fun I guess to try and bake it to see what would have happened, but I didn’t think of that. Just saved it until I could shoot this PSA video and then chucked it out. Rare for me to waste stuff I know, but it seemed like a lost cause. :)

  13. Linda K., 18 January, 2013

    Thanks for the warning, Cindy.

  14. Mary Lou Tomecek Baker, 19 January, 2013

    Thanks Cindy! your vids are awesome!

  15. Marky G, 19 January, 2013

    Health food stores sell all kinds of empty glass bottles and little jars.

  16. Lynn Watts, 19 January, 2013

    I have found that the #5 in the triangle on the bottom of containers (if there is one on the container) is polymer clay compatible. I mentioned this before years ago. You can also type in your search engine on the compatibility of plastic containers to polymer clay and you will get what is compatible for polymer clay. Most containers has the triangle with a number inside it. If it does not have a number then do as Cindy suggested.

  17. Cyn T, 19 January, 2013

    I used a clear jewel case from a cd to roll out my spiral lentil bead, then left some pieces of clay and beads sitting inn it for a few days, just thinking to keep the dust off them, and it bonded to the plastic, partially dissolving it and ruining all the beads and the case.

  18. Debra G., 20 January, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    Thank You for the tip ! But I do have a question regarding Kato Liquid Clay. I bought several colors and I am having problems with the white liquid polymer clay. Is there anyway I can make it more smooth and more of a liquid consistency like it was when I bought it? It has become very chunky and hard to use and I have never exposed it to extreme heat. Any advice would be appreciated !
    Thank You,

  19. Cindy Lietz, 21 January, 2013

    I have only just recently bought some Kato Clear liquid clay, so I haven’t had the chance to work with it yet Debra. I have heard through the ‘clay grape vine’ that you need to regularly turn your Kato Liquid bottle upside down or stir to mix it, since it seems to settle out over time.

    As far as thinning it, maybe you could contact Donna Kato / her husband Vern / her staff at and find out the best way to deal with the chunky, thick clay? If you do find out, it would be great if you came back to share the info. I am sure everyone, including myself would appreciate knowing!

  20. Jill V., 21 January, 2013

    Very informative. I may venture into working with liquid poly clay. By the way, your link that says How Not to Store Liquid Polymer Clay links to the video about work surface mats.

  21. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 21 January, 2013

    Glad you liked the video Jill. And thanks for mentioning about the bad link… it has now been corrected. Always appreciate hearing about these kinds of mistakes so we can get them fixed up as soon as possible.

  22. Yvonne Torburn-Clark, 20 April, 2013

    I noticed that containers that have the recycle number 5 on them work just fine.

  23. Jocelyn C, 21 April, 2013

    Coincidentally, discovered the same scenario when cleaning out boxes, sigh. The big bottle. Thank goodness it was in a Glad Freezer baggie, so I am continuing to use it, and it still works. Little thicker, but, I can work with it.

  24. Sophia N, 18 May, 2013

    Very nice tips. I also had some clay some time back. I did not know how to store it properly. Hence it got spoiled. I wish I could have found this blog at that time. Next time I will remember these tips to store liquid clay.

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