Polymer Clay Tools for Softening Clay Quickly

How To Soften Polymer Clay with a Food Processor

Vid #63: This polymer clay food processor technique makes dealing with hard clay a breeze:

As described in a previous post, an old food processor makes an excellent polymer clay tool for conditioning, mixing, and chopping polymer clay. Perfect when you have tired hands or other strength issues from carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.

Make sure to use your food processor for clay only. In other words, it’s not ok to use it for food again once you have started using it to slice and dice your polymer clay. Always start with small amounts of clay and just gradually add more until you figure out how much of a load the motor in your food processing machine can handle. My Braun show in the photo above is a very strong and can take quite a bit of clay but all machines are different.

Start off on the pulse setting to get things started. If the pieces are moving in the bowl loosely and things aren’t binding up at all, you can turn up the setting and just let the machine run until it is properly mixed.

If the clay your are conditioning is extra hard you can add Fimo Mix Quick or a few drops of baby oil until you get the consistency you want.

So when you’ve stopped making coleslaw with your food processor and it’s just taking up space in the kitchen, give it a second life in your craft studio! It may just become one of your most favorite polymer clay tools!

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The full version of the Food Processor preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-003 Back Issue Package.

In this “Using A Food Processor” video tutorial I demonstrate how to make your polymer clay food processor perform optimally, and how to determine when your clay is conditioned properly.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 02 June, 2008

    Check the clay regularly to make sure it is not getting too hot. Polymer clay bakes at such a low temperature you wouldn’t want to accidentally ‘bake it’ by over heating from the fast spinning blades in this food processor polymer clay tool!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..How to Bake Polymer Clay so that Your Whites Stay White

  2. Abby Moore, 21 June, 2008

    My sister has cerebral palsy & this is a wonderful tip for me to help her condition the clay more easily. She’s also deaf & mentally handicapped so arts & crafts are a way for her to express herself creatively. So thank you for the wonderfully helpful tip!!!

  3. Susanna, 21 June, 2008

    This is a great idea….thanks for the tips!

  4. Kim C., 21 June, 2008

    That’s really cool. I love all your videos. Especially the lentil bead ones. Thanks!

  5. Nora White, 21 June, 2008

    Your food processor article inspired me to try it with a machine I had intended to get rid of on ebay. Worked great on some really hard clay I had, except it quit working on the second or third batch and I cleaned the blades well and it worked again. I think the blades had too much residue on them and it was sticking to them. I need to find that quick mix, I have been using the sculpey softener.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 22 June, 2008

    @Abby: You and your sister are so welcome! I love it that you are working with her to help her voice her creative side. You really are an amazing person! I bet she loves you very much for all your help. Let me know if there are any challenges I can help you with.

    @Susanna: Thank you for your kind comment!

    @Kim: Thank you, you are a sweetie!

    @WhiteHotMagik: Phew! That was lucky! You would have been mad if you had just sold your machine! In regards to your processor not working after a few batches, it may have also been overheating a little. The time it took to clean it may have cooled it down enough to work again. (Though cleaning it may also have helped.) If overheating was the problem, try using smaller batches.

    Cindy’s last blog post..Making Large Polymer Clay Beads without Using Lots of Clay

  7. Pat Olive, 22 June, 2008

    Hi Cindy,
    My way of fast conditioning my clay is to put it in a ziplock bag and fill another zip lock bag with very warm water and hold them both for awhile and then put aside the warm water bag and squeeze the clay inside the plastic bag until it seems to be holding together and then take out of bag and put through the pasta machine a few times until it is workable.
    I don’t have a processer and that looks like a lot of clean up. I just condition the clay and roll it in a ball and put it back in the bag until I need it.
    Pat Olive

  8. Cindy Lietz, 23 June, 2008

    What a clever idea Pat, I bet that works really well! Just like it is with food preparation, the food processor is really just a luxury item when it comes to making polymer clay beads. The more physical challenges you have with your hands though, the less it becomes a luxury and the more it becomes a necessity.

    Your method is an excellent alternative to softening hard clay for those who’d rather not use a food processor for the job.

    For those of you who do want to use a food processor, the clean up is actually minimal. Traces still left in the bowl will hardly make a difference from batch to batch. You will find you need to wipe out your machine with rubbing alcohol though between strong colors like red and black. Other than that I rarely clean my machine.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..How to Make Polymer Clay Beads and Canes

  9. Cynister, 23 June, 2008


    Great tips as usual! I’ve only ever seen liquid clay softener. Could you tell us more about the “quick mix” you are referring to? What brand is it & where do you get it?

  10. Cindy Lietz, 24 June, 2008

    Mix Quick is made by Fimo and it is a polymer clay softener in a clay form. Basically it is the same plasticizers that are in the clay already, so when you are adding it to hard clay you are just replacing the plasticizers that were leached out. I got mine at Michaels.

    Cindy last blog post..Polymer Clay Color Mixing Recipes – Summer Sunflower Fun

  11. Linda Phillips, 26 June, 2008

    Hi Cindy,
    All the videos I have seen so far are great. Really good information.
    This one on the food processor was good for me, because I have already burned up a small one. I need to make sure the pieces are small enough so that doesn’t happen again. Never thought of that before!
    Thanks again,

  12. Cindy Lietz, 26 June, 2008


    If you think the free videos are great… you should see the ones in the course!! (…she says as she shamlessly plugs her bead making course because she knows it is so helpful)

    Thank you so much for your great comments! I’m glad I could help!

    Cindy last blog post..Gold Leaf Polymer Clay versus Gold Foil – What’s the Difference

  13. Maria, 19 November, 2008

    Hi Cindy!

    I noticed you use the Fimo Quick mix and don’t mention the Sculpey clay softener, which is what I have. Do you feel that the Fimo product is superior?

  14. Cindy Lietz, 20 November, 2008

    I’m not sure Maria since I haven’t used the Sculpey clay softener. I do know however the Fimo Mix Quick is an excellent product. I would use what you have and try the Fimo when it’s gone and see what you like better. Come back and tell us what you think!

  15. Pam, 30 October, 2009

    I love Donna Kato, but her clay is so difficult to condition, I even beat it with a mallet. It takes so much time to get it ready, I don’t have alot of time to make projects!(yes, it takes me that long!!) Do you think I got a batch that was stored too hot? All 5 12.5 oz blocks are like that. What is your experience with Kato clay? BTW, LOVE the radish earrings!!!!! Pam

  16. Cindy Lietz, 30 October, 2009

    Your Kato clay experience is very typical Pam. The link by my name will take you to a discussion where you will see that even Dona Kato herself has driven over her clay with a car to soften it up. Now that’s some hard clay!

    Those radish earrings are cool aren’t they. My tribute to Luna Lovegood of Harry Potter Fame. For anyone who has not seen today’s “5th Friday” video, those radish earrings that Pam mentioned are in the video near the end of the presentation. Here is the link: Harry Potter Polymer Clay Project

  17. Pam, 01 November, 2009

    Thanks for getting back to me, I feel so much better, wow, a car!!!??? I’ll be buying my Premo again from now on, too much prep time with Kato!

    Don’t let the NARGLES steal the earrings!!! I love Luna too!!!! I miss the books so much, wish she kept going!

    Thanks for all you do Cindy!

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