INSIDE : Learn 7 simple tips to help prevent your Air Dry Clay from cracking during your next craft project. Also learn some of the reasons why your clay projects may be cracking.
This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure.
This post has been updated since it’s original August 2018 publish date.
Why does Air Dry Clay crack?
If you have used Air Dry Clay, you know that time and air exposure assists in the clay beginning to dry out and harden, hence “air dry” clay.
Sometimes as the clay dries, you will notice small cracks forming. I have received many emails asking me,
“Oh no. Why is my Air Dry Clay cracking??”
At first you might want to break out into a panicked mess, as you worry that your project is slowly turning into a disaster! But rest assured there are a few easy tips to repair and restore your project.
Keep reading below for my air dry clay tips to keep clay from cracking. You might also be interested in my post about Tips, techniques and tricks for using Air Dry Clay.
- Air-dry clay is a natural clay that comes from the earth and hardens when it dries.
- Baking air dry clay is not required. Some people think you need to cure it in the oven, but it really don’t do anything and typically has minimal shrinkage.
- An added bonus is that clean up after crafting with air dry clay is fairly simple.
Does Air Dry Clay crack very easily?
1. The number one way to prevent and then fix your cracked clay is to quickly notice when the crack begins to appear and then start repairing them right away.
If you start to notice a few small cracks, it is best to not wait until the clay has completely dried to fix them. Be sure to follow the steps below to take quick clay action and get your project back on track!
Why clays cracks when it dries
2. Air Dry Clay is primarily a water based product. The longer it is out of the packaging and in the open air, the more moisture will evaporate from it. Most often times too much moisture evaporating from the clay is the reason for cracks.
Looking for more about Air Dry Clay? You will like these, too.
– How to Store Air Dry Clay
– 7 Ways to keep Air Dry Clay from Cracking
– Best Air Dry Clay Products
– All my Creative Clay projects
– 35 Air Dry Clay projects that will instantly INSPIRE
– Air Dry Clay projects that will WOW
– 10 Amazing Clay Project Ideas
– Creative DIY Clay Bowl Ideas
How to store air dry clay
Looking for the best way to store air dry clay? Be sure to store your air dry clay in an air tight container. I use gallon sized zip lock bags to store all my clay and keep it staying as fresh as possible. I have also seen many people using tupper-ware or other air tight type containers to store and hold their clay to help stop it from drying out too quickly.
3. When creating something out of air dry clay, sometimes you can roll out or make something that is too thin. When the clay begins to dry, out in the open air, the thinner pieces of clay can slightly begin to crack. Do your very best to make every part of your work more than 1/4-inch thick. Keeping a consistent thickness throughout the clay piece helps to prevent cracking.
How to stop Air Dry Clay from cracking while you work
4. Adding too much water to your DIY air dry clay can sometimes result in a crack. Do your best to keep the clay moist as you work, but not overly saturated with water. If you have too much water, I recommend setting your clay out to dry for an hour or two before continuing on.
5. When you are 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 (score = make a crosshatch type pattern with a toothpick or a sharp clay tool) on the connecting surfaces for better adhesion.
6. Use a “slip” type mixture to act like clay glue when bonding two pieces together. (Slip = a watered-down clay paste that is a combination of clay and water that you mix together.)
7. Once you have created your clay piece, keep an eye on it while it dries. Putting it in a cabinet to dry and turning it every few hours to expose a different side, helps the piece dry more evenly.
And if you are looking for how to make hard clay soft again it is so simple.
If you are using air dry clay and it starts getting hard before you are ready for it to dry out, you can simply add a little bit of water into a ziplock bag and place your clay inside. It may get too wet, but you can “dry it off” a bit with a paper towel or just allow it to sit out in the air again to dry a bit.