How To Keep Air Dry Clay From Cracking? (Comprehensive Guide)

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I love to work with air-dry clay. This is versatile and easy to work with, which makes me work comfortably with it. But when I was a beginner, most of the time, I was facing a problem that was cracking. I was thinking how to keep air dry clay from cracking? Then I research on this. I also get help from my friends, family, and elder brothers. The short answer is 

To prevent air-dry clay from cracking and ensure it dries slowly and evenly. Also, avoid sudden temperature changes and allow it to dry thoroughly.

How To Keep Air Dry Clay From Cracking

In this article, I will be going to share with you whether air dry clay is stronger than ceramic clay, what types of air dry clay are available, how to keep air dry clay from cracking, how to dry air dry clay without cracking, and so many other things.

Key Findings

  • Choose high-quality air-dry clay.
  • Slow and even drying is key to avoiding cracks in air-dry clay.
  • Seal finished projects with a clear sealer or varnish for strength and durability.

Is Air Dry Clay Stronger Than Ceramic Clay?

No, air-dried clay structures are not stronger than ceramic clay. Ceramic clays, when fired, become much harder and can withstand higher temperatures than air-dry clay. 

Ceramic Clay: It is a type of clay that requires high temperature to harden in the Firing process, where it’s heated up to 1200 degrees Celsius or more in a kiln. This process makes the ceramic clay very strong and durable. But for strong joints, you can put a thin layer on your project.

Air Dry Clay: On the other hand, air-dry clay does not require any firing or heating process to harden. As its name suggests, it simply dries in the air, which is why it may take some time to dry. This makes it easier and safer to work  (especially for children). It also means that the finished product is less durable and more prone to breaking or cracking compared with ceramics.

What Types Of Air Dry Clay Are Available?

Air-dry clay is typically made from a combination of earthenware materials like clay and minerals mixed with water, cellulose, or polymers. It is reasonable and widely available.

What Types Of Air Dry Clay Are Available

Here are some available types of air dry clay:

White Air Dry Clay: This is the most common type of air dry clay. This air dry clay used for crafting and sculpting. It dries to a white finish and can be painted or varnished after drying.

Colored Air Dry Clay: This type of clay comes in various colors. You can choose whatever you need.

Paper Clay: This is a lightweight, air-dry clay that contains paper fibers. Which gives it a unique texture and makes it easy to work with.

Porcelain or Cold Porcelain Clay: It’s an air-dry clay that has a smooth surface. Porcelain-like finish when dried.

Polymer Clay: Although not technically an “air dry” clay because it requires heat to harden. Polymer clay has similar uses in crafting and sculpting.

Hearty Super Lightweight Air Dry Clay: As the name suggests, this type of air-dry clay is extremely light and clay soft  making. It is ideal for flowers or light jewelry pieces.

Foam Putty: A very lightweight form of air-dry clay. Creating a foam-like texture.

Resin Clay: An advanced type of air-dry clay used primarily in professional settings such as jewelry making or sculpture creation.

Stone Clay: A heavy-duty form of air-dry clay designed to mimic the look and feel of stone once dried.

Epoxy Modelling Compound: A two-part compound that hardens at room temperature.

Model Magic: A brand by Crayola that offers non-toxic. Lightweight, spongy modeling material that sticks to itself.

Das Modeling Material: Another popular brand known for its excellent pliability and smooth textures suitable for all ages.

How do you keep air-dry clay from cracking?

Here is the step-by-step process how to stop clay from cracking or how to prevent air dry clay from cracking:

How Do You Keep Air-Dry Clay From Cracking

Step #1: Choose The Right Clay

Choose a high-quality air-dry clay that is known for its durability and flexibility. Some clays are more prone to cracking than others. So, it’s important to choose one that is less likely to crack.

Step #2: Condition The Clay.

Before you start working with your clay pieces. See the condition by kneading it in your hands for a few minutes. This will make it more pliable and less likely to crack.

Step #3: Keep It Moist

While you’re working with the clay, keep a small bowl of water nearby. Suppose the clay starts to dry out while you’re still shaping it. Dip your fingers in the water, and clay moist slightly. When I work with my clay this is the reason why is my air dry clay cracking.

Step #4: Dry Slowly. 

Once you’ve finished shaping your piece. Are you thinking about how to make air dry clay dry faster? Then don’t do this. Let it dry slowly at room temperature. Try to avoid speeding up the drying process. Let’s talk about how to keep air dry clay from drying. Keep it in front of a heater or direct sunlight. As this can cause cracks.

Step #5: Cover It Up. 

If possible, cover your piece with a plastic bag or wrap it while it dries. This will help keep moisture in and prevent cracking. This is another interesting way for me  how do I stop my air dry clay from cracking?

Step #6: Sanding 

After your piece has dried completely (usually after about 24 hours), gently sand any rough edges with a fine-grit sandpaper. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this could cause cracks.

Step #7: Seal It 

Finally, seal your finished piece with an appropriate sealant for air-dry clay. This will add an extra layer of protection against moisture and help prevent future cracks from forming. Are you thinking about what is best to seal air dry clay? Ayrelic sellers are generally best for many people.

Following all the way shows how to stop air dry clay from cracking. If you are doing all these methods perfectly, you can prevent your clay from drying, and you will have no complaints about why does my air dry clay crack when drying.

Can You Make Unbreakable Air Dry Clay?

Let’s talk about how do you make unbreakable air dry clay? Meanwhile, air clay is a fantastic and versatile material. However, there are ways to make your air-dried clay projects more durable and resistant to breakage.

Here’s A Simple Recipe For Making Stronger Air-Dry Clay:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 1.5 cups of cold water

Instructions:

  1. Mix the baking soda and cornstarch in a pot.
  2. Add water into the mixture gradually while stirring.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken like mashed potatoes.
  4. Once thickened, remove from heat and let it cool.
  5. Once cooled, knead the dough for about five minutes until smooth.

To make your project more durable:

  • Make sure your creation is not too thin or has protruding parts, as these areas are more prone to breaking.
  • Allow your project to dry slowly and evenly so that it doesn’t crack (you can cover it with a plastic bag). This is the most common reason why does clay crack when drying.
  • After drying completely (which may take up to several days, depending on size), you can seal your project with a clear sealer or varnish, which will add strength.

How To Dry Air Dry Clay Without Cracking?

Here is the easiest way to dry air dry clay without cracking:

How To Dry Air Dry Clay Without Cracking

Slow Drying: The key to drying air dry clay without cracking is to slow down the drying process.

Covering: Cover your project with a plastic bag or wrap it in cling film. This will help keep moisture in and prevent the clay from drying out too quickly.

Thickness: Try to maintain an even thickness throughout your piece, as uneven thickness can lead to cracking during the drying process.

Turning: Turn your piece every few hours so that all sides are exposed to air evenly. This will ensure uniform drying.

Moisture Control: If you notice any parts of your project starting to dry faster than others. Lightly mist those areas with water using a spray bottle.

Layering Technique: If you’re working on a larger project, try using the layering technique. Place  leftover clay  at a time and allow each layer to dry before adding more.

How To Fix Cracks In Air-Dry Clay?

Here is how to fix cracks in air dry clay: At first, you will need some extra air-dry clay, a small bowl of water, a toothpick or clay tool, and sandpaper.

Then, you have to identify the racks. Carefully look over your piece to find all the cracks that need repairing.

How To Fix Cracks In Air-Dry Clay

After seeing a crack, you will need to soften some clay. Take a small amount of air-dried clay and add a little bit of water to it in order to make it soft and pliable.

Then, you have to fill in the Cracks. Use your toothpick or clay tool to apply this softened clay into the cracks on your piece. Make sure you press it in well so that it fills up the entire crack.

Finally, keep patient and let it dry. Allow your piece to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Frequently Asked Questions (Faqs)

How Long To Put Air Dry Clay In The Oven?

Air-dry clay should not be put in the oven. As its name suggests. This natural clay is designed to dry naturally in the air. Heating it in the oven can cause it to crack or break. Allow it to dry at room temperature for about 24-48 hours.

How To Keep Air Dry Clay From Cracking On Glass?

To prevent air-dry clay from cracking on the glass, ensure the glass surface is clean and dry before placing the clay. Avoid sudden temperature changes and allow the clay to dry slowly and evenly. Apply a thin layer of clay glue or sealant between the clay and glass for better adhesion.

How To Avoid Air Dry Clay Cracking?

To prevent air-dry clay from cracking: Knead thoroughly, Keep covered when not in use, Dry slowly and evenly, and Avoid rapid temperature changes.

How To Keep Air Dry Foam Clay From Cracking?

To prevent air-dry foam clay from cracking, store it in airtight containers, handle it gently, and allow it to dry thoroughly in a cool, dry place. Applying a thin layer of varnish or sealant after drying can also help maintain its integrity.

Conclusion

By reading about how to keep air dry clay from cracking. It is easy for you to understand how to keep air dry clay from breaking.

Now, you can easily complete all your projects. Not only will it be complete, but your clay projects will also be  durable. Trust me, it inspires your creativity. So, what are you waiting for? Start your air dry clay projects  today!

About the author

Written By

William Prince

William Prince

Meet William Prince!

With over 20 years of ceramic artistry experience, William Prince is not just a skilled potter; he’s a passionate guide to your pottery journey. William holds a Fine Arts degree specialized in pottery and he was also nurtured under the guidance of renowned potters. With over two decades of experience, he seamlessly blends tradition with contemporary aesthetics.

William’s inspiration stems from nature’s imperfections, translating them into unique, organic pottery pieces. As a patient and warm-hearted teacher, he’s known for conducting pottery workshops and classes, nurturing talents with his expertise. Join William on “fishingflora.com” and let his mastery inspire your own pottery adventure. Uncover the magic of crafting pottery with a trusted mentor who’s dedicated to both the art and the artist.

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