What is Air Dry Clay?:
Air dry clay is a versatile product that can be used in many craft projects. Air dry clay does not need to be heated, unlike traditional clays that need to be fired in a kiln at a high temperature, or polymer clays that need to be heated in an oven to cure. Air dry clay hardens and cures at normal room temperature and once dry it can be painted and decorated in a variety of ways. There are many ways of adding surface decoration to air dry clay. One of the best ways to add texture and design is to use rubber stamps. Air dry clay can be used to make embellishments for cards, charms, jewelry and much more!
Using Air Dry Clay:
Air dry clay can be used in many of the ways that traditional clay or polymer clays can be used. This means that it can be used to coil, slab, pinch, and score and weld, as well as being used as a modeling clay. Air dry clay makes great embellishments for cards and other projects. The finished items need to be left to one side to thoroughly dry. An item can take between a couple of days and a week to completely dry. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the item and room temperature.
Very little in the way of specialist equipment is required. A rolling pin which is dedicated to craft use, plus a knife, will be all that is required for many air dry clay projects. Other basic craft equipment may also be handy. If you are rolling out the clay to work with then a flat and clean work surface will be useful. A dedicated chopping board may be a useful surface to work on.
Coloring Air Dry Clay:
Air dry clay can be colored in many ways. In addition to using tempura and acrylic paints, air dry clay can be colored with marker pens and inks. Other embellishments including glitter glue can be added. Air dry clay is porous and the finished item should be sealed with a varnish.
Using Rubber Stamps with Air Dry Clay:
Rubber stamps are great to use with air dry clay. Deeply etched stamps leave a clear and precise image, while other stamps are good for creating texture and all over designs. When using rubber stamps to make impressions on air dry clay it is important to remember that the stamped image works in reverse to how the image will look on paper. The raised part of the stamp sinks into the clay. This means that very different looks can be achieved from your favorite stamps. Remember to clean your stamps well after using them to stamp in clay. A scrub with an old nail brush will remove any clay left in the stamps.
Buying Air Dry Clay:
Air dry clay is readily available from craft and hobby stores. It can also be purchased online. The manufacturers of air dry clay include:
- Amaco - the website has details of their different self hardening products as well as a range of different project ideas
- Crayola - in addition to projects and tips, the Crayola website has product information on their clays and other products
- Makins Clay - the website features projects and a gallery as well as information about the Makins range of different products and equipment
If you are looking to buy online, you can compare prices
of different brands of air dry clay.
Air Dry Clay and Rubber Stamping Projects:
Here are some air dry clay projects that are great for rubber stamps:
- Ornaments - make ornaments for a variety of occasions
- Jewelry Projects - make a variety of jewelry items from beads to pins
- Craft Projects - a range of different projects that are suitable for air dry clay
For more information about working with clay, take a look at our About.com Pottery site