7 ways to keep air dry clay from cracking

If you have used Air Dry Clay much, you know that from time to time as the clay begins to dry, you may notice small cracks forming.  At first you might want to break out into a panicked mess as your project is slowly turning into a disaster, but rest assured there are a few simple tips to repair and restore your project!  Keep reading for 7 ways to keep air dry clay from cracking.

7 ways and tips to keep air dry clay from cracking! Delineate Your Dwelling

Air-dry clay is a natural clay that comes from the earth and hardens when it dries.  Baking air dry clay is not required to cure and it typically has minimal shrinkage.  Clean-up after crafting with air dry clay is fairly easy, too.

1. The number one key to fixing your air dry clay when it starts to crack is get to it quickly.  If you start to notice a few small cracks, do not wait until it completely dries to repair, just on these tips right away.

Clay Garland Step1

2.  Air Dry Clay is primarily a water based product and the longer it is out of it’s package and in the air, the more moisture will evaporate from it.  Moisture evaporating from the clay can results in small cracks.

Be sure to store your air dry clay in an air tight container.  I use a zip lock bag to store all my clay.

Clay Animal Head Supplies

3.  When creating something out of air dry clay, sometimes you can create something that is too thin and when it begins to dry out in the open air, thinner pieces may slightly crack.  Do your best to make every part of your work more than 1/4-inch thick. Keeping a consistent thickness throughout the piece helps prevent cracking.

Adding too much water to your air dry clay can sometimes result in a crack.  Do you best to keep the clay moist as you work, but not overly saturated with water.

5. When joining two pieces of clay together, this can be a highly prone area to crack later on.  Make sure to connect each piece together by having both pieces be equally dry.  Also you can score the pieces (make a crosshatch type pattern) on the connecting surfaces for better adhesion.

6. Make a “slip” type mixture to act like clay glue.  “Slip” is a kind of watered-down clay paste that you mix together which is made of clay and water.

1 -7 Tips to avoid cracks in air dry clay

7. Once you’ve created your piece, keep an eye on it while it dries. Putting it in a cabinet to dry and turning it every now and again to expose a different side, helps the piece dry more evenly.

Looking for the best TIPS, TECHNIQUES + TRICKS FOR USING AIR DRY CLAY?  Look no further.

12 thoughts on “7 ways to keep air dry clay from cracking

  1. Does this happen to all flat ! I’m a first timer here and used crayola for the first time. I just made little balls for grapes. They came out fine ! I hope this clay will work as good.

  2. I’m thinking of making a clay ornament for Christmas and I’m thinking of doing it like a figurine. Is air-drying clay good to use?

    Also, does air-drying clay do well if you use sculpting tools to make it? I know there are certain things that I have to do to make the figurine.

  3. I have a clay paw print that was made when my dog was put down. I noticed that it is starting to crack around the edges. How do I preserve this. I dont want to lose this paw print.

    1. And the cracks just started after it being dry for a few years? Hm… I am not sure about this. I would think for the most part it shouldn’t do any more cracking. Do you handle it a lot? Are the cracks severe or just small around the edges? I wish I had a great answer for you. I would recommend taking a picture maybe because it’s so special you just want to make extra sure you always have something to remember of your sweet dog.

  4. We had a class of high school aged students use air dry Crayola clay for an art project. They used a plastic cup and used coiling techniques to cover the outside of the cup. When I got home I placed the cups in my basement to dry. 2 days later I noticed that every cup had cracks and many of the pieces had fallen right off the cup. What should we have done differently ?? Sad to see this project fail.

    1. Kerrie: Thanks so much for asking this question. I am wondering if part of the issue was that the clay couldn’t dry properly since it was up against a plastic cup? It’s normal to have a few cracks as it dries… I always keep my eye on it and patch with some fresh “wet” clay to help fill in those cracks. I am wondering if you would maybe remove the plastic cup a few hours after it starts to dry, if that might help get better air circulation? Just ideas.

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