Here’s a “Never Throw That Clay Away” Polymer Clay Projects List

Scrap Polymer Clay

What To Do When Your Pile of Scrap Polymer Clay Goes From Mounds To Mountains:

In another blog comment earlier today, Sam wrote this… “Wow, so many amazing responses. I have been working with polymer clay for about 15 years now and am still as addicted as I was the first time I laid eyes on it. I have tried so many techniques over the years. Your videos and tips are an inspiration to all. I check your blog daily for the latest tip,pearl of wisdom. I have sold many pieces of work lately to friends and coworkers and seem to have hit on a great design. to keep the idea fresh? How to keep the color combinations current? How to fully mix and match professional colours? and the age old Do we just bite the bullet and eventually throw out some of that old scrap clay when the mounds turn into mountains?” ~Sam [Original comment posted here: Recipe Cards for Mixing Polymer Clay Colors]

Yikes Sam!! Don’t throw out that clay. I don’t have time right now to address all of the challenges you listed, but here’s some ideas of what you can do with your Scrap Polymer Clay…

  • Make molds.
  • Make base beads that will get wrapped in cane slices or mokume gane slices.
  • Chop up in food processor and make cool blends for faux stone.
  • Make beautiful muds for wrapping canes.
  • Make into marbled clay for backgrounds in canes.
  • Bunch like colors and mix for a new shade. All blues and greens together for example.
  • Add mica powders for new metallic colors.
  • Mix with black to create new softer warmer black.
  • Mix with white and get beautiful grays and taupes.
  • Gather in a ball and take slices off it for backgrounds and beads.
  • Roll chunks of scrap clay into lentil beads. Very cool results.
  • Cut balls of scraps in half and put cut sides next to each other to get mirror image.
  • Roll into a log and twist for neat candy cane striped beads.
  • Make into beads you want to paint.
  • Layer it into mokume gane.
  • Read this article about Polymer Clay Projects Using Scrap Clay
  • Donate it.
  • Send to ME! ;-)

All kidding aside, there is never a good reason to throw out your clay! It is very valuable and can be used right to the last crumble. Some of these techniques sound like they would be good videos to add to the Polymer Clay Tutor Library… What do you think guys? Would you like me to make some video tutorials on what to do with your scrap clay and add them to the membership site? Let me know below!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Shannon, 28 October, 2008

    I love all these suggestions! (especially the “send it to me!” lol)

    Some sculptures I have made were created from left over clay because I had accumulated such a large amount.

    After baking, I gessoed and then applied a couple of coats of acrylic paint.

    I also found that mica powders could cover raw clay really well, so a molded piece of a yucky color could end up with a beautiful metallic finish.

    I just do not think there is such a thing as scrap clay!

  2. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2008

    You are so right Shannon… there is no such thing as scrap clay… or at least there shouldn’t be from now on.

    Great suggestion for sculpting with it. Also the mica on the outside of a molded piece is a good idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Arlene Harrison, 28 October, 2008

    Another thing that I’ve done with scrap clay is to mix it together until I get a nice earthy color. Then I impress it into a deeply impressed rubber stamp (my favorite is the big paisley stamp from Lisa Pavelka) then cut out a shape with a cookie cutter (my favorite is a cross from Wilton). Once it is baked, I dry brush it with different colors of metallic acrylic paint to give it a faux raku look. Just too cool, and a great seller!

  4. sam miller, 28 October, 2008

    Cindy and all,
    Wow…I am speechless.Ask and you will receive in spades!! Thank you so much for all the creative ideas.Now if I only had more time to jump into the mountain.Yes Cindy I have decided to keep it,but if it starts to take over the house………

  5. Cindy Lietz, 29 October, 2008

    @Arlene: That sounds gorgeous! Great way to use up that clay!

    @Sam: You are so welcome! I was being cheeky about sending your scrap clay my way! Just hate the thought of throwing it out, when there are so many cool things to do with it. Glad you had procrastinated on that!

  6. Charlotte, 06 December, 2008

    Too much scrap clay! Don’t throw it away put it up on ebay, I have bought a lot of scrap clay and cane ends that I now have a huge draw full to play with. All sorts of possibilities like Natasha beads and fillers to wrap canes around, mud clay looks gorgeous with mica powders, also scraps are good for backing on to a pendants, wall hangings, etc., etc….. You could perhaps also donate to a children’s hospital, local school or rehabilitation center, etc.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 06 December, 2008

    Sounds like you got a great deal Charlotte! I am always surprised when people sell their scraps. I never seem to have any left. I’m always using them up on one of these projects!

  8. Jayne, 02 January, 2010

    Hi, Cindy!

    I am new to polymer clay and was wondering if you could demonstrate the different ways to get a metallic finish on clay. I searched the archives and didn’t see anything that has already presented on this topic. If I missed it, please tell me.

    With all of the different products out there for metallic finishes, I tend to get overwhelmed because I don’t know what kind of look each will give my project without a lot of costly experimenting. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

  9. Cindy Lietz, 02 January, 2010

    Hi Jayne, I am not completely sure about what you mean by a metallic finish on the clay but there are a few things you can do to get the look of metal on your clay. You can add a metal leaf or foil to the outside of the clay. Click the link by my name for more info on that. You can also add acrylic paints, inks or mica powders to the clay. If you type words like ‘pearl-ex’, ‘paints’, ‘ink’, ‘mica powder’, ‘metallic’, etc into the search box at the top of the page you will find there are tons of articles that should help.

  10. carolyn, 09 January, 2010

    Cindy – does it make any difference what type of clay is used when we work with scrap clay. In other words, should I be keeping my Premo, Sculpey III, Studio or Fimo clay scraps separate from one another – or doesn’t it matter what kind of clay is used say as a base for a bead? Can Premo slices be placed on Sculpey III and still come out right?

  11. Peggy, 09 January, 2010

    Good question Carolyn I have often wondered the same thing so I have kept scrap clays seperate for now. This isn’t too hard because I mostly use Premo.

    What is this suggestion from above on using scrap clay??
    – Make beautiful muds for wrapping canes. I will probably feel silly when I hear the answer but have never heard of this before.

  12. carolyn, 09 January, 2010

    Just an FYI now that I have advanced to making some canes: As soon as I am done with the cane project, I gather the otherwise unuseable scraps right away and turn them into a lentil bead. This way I have a bead to use as a focal point if I ever get around to making something from the canes.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 13 January, 2010

    Great questions girls! As far as keeping the clay scraps separate, that depends. You can mix whatever brands of clay together, but you will then get the properties of both. What I mean is if you mix a soft clay like Sculpey III with a hard clay like Fimo Classic than you will get a medium density clay as a mix. This is sometimes preferable, but it is something to keep in mind as well if the change would not be preferred.

    So separate your scrap clay if you don’t want any changes. Don’t separate if you don’t care. For core beads and such, it really doesn’t matter which clay you use. Sculpey III is a weak clay however and is better when layered with a stronger clay such as Premo, Fimo or Kato.

    Wrapping a cane in beautiful muds means this: Take all your scraps and mix them together until you get a beautiful muddy colored clay (usually browns and grays). Roll out this ‘mud’ color into sheets and use instead of black to outline the different parts of the cane. (Say you are making a bird cane… the wings, the body the beak and the legs could all be outlined in mud instead of black.) Mud is softer looking and more neutral than black or white and can really accent the look of a cane.

    Hope that makes more sense… and is not ‘clear as mud’! :-)

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