Heaters and hot air blowers, such as hair dryers, can produce significant cracking, especially if the clay is already leather-hard or dry. It is better to dry slowly and evenly. Cover the pieces loosely with plastic if they are drying too rapidly. If there is a lot of dampness, cover the item with newspaper first, then with plastic. Do not use heat lamps because they will cause the wood to decay.
Clay needs to be kept moist but not wet for it to mold properly. If you cannot keep it moist enough without washing it too often, it will need to be dried more often. This is especially true if you plan to use it for food containers since any moisture in the clay would probably lead to an unhealthy reaction when you cook with it.
If you want to dry your clay faster, use less water when making your shapes. Also, let them air-dry instead of putting in the oven to harden. This will take longer but it's not necessary to heat up your house in order to use your clay!
Your air dried clay sculpture will almost certainly fracture. Accept it as is. Cracking is natural in air-dried clay; it is produced by shrinkage due to water loss inside the clay body. Sculptures can be repaired by rehydrating and softening the clay, then scraping away the damaged material. New clay can be added to restore the original size of the sculpture.
Air drying clay shrinks as it dries, causing cracks in your sculptures. These are normal effects of using this medium. Don't be discouraged by them - they just show that your work has depth and character that can only be achieved through experience and practice!
When you roll out a ball of clay, there's no way to know how that ball will be used later. Some parts of its surface may be exposed to the open air while others may be covered by another layer of clay. This means that every time you use up some of the clay, there's no way to know what other parts of the sculpture might be affected by it. For example, if you add more clay to cover over a crack in your model, that new layer of clay will also crack along with any other clay that was underneath it.
Clay breaks down over time due to exposure to heat and humidity.
Air-Dry clay shrinks as it dries, and depending on how much water you poured into it when moulding it, it will shrink even more. This sort of clay is prone to cracking. The fissures are caused by the clay losing water as it dries. You can reduce or eliminate this problem by not drying your clay very thoroughly. Just brush off any extra powder that forms on its surface.
Wet-Moulded Clay should never be dried too far because it will lose most of its strength. However, if you want to get it back again then you can soak it in water for a few hours or overnight before shaping it again.
Clay that has been soaked and squeezed will always be stronger than fresh clay because there is more air in the pores of the clay while it is wet. This means that it can take more pressure when forming shapes with it.
If you try to use wet-moulded clay and dry-moulded clay interchangeably then that is going to cause problems for you because they work differently. With wet-moulded clay, you need to pour a lot of water into it to make shapes out of it because it is still moist. But with dry-moulded clay, you only need a little bit of water so it can be handled easily.
Air-dry clays must be sealed after drying or they will not be waterproof, and they must be sealed on every portion and in every hole, etc., otherwise moisture will enter the clay and begin to dissolve it over time, leaving it softened, warped, and so on. Sealing clays prevents this dissolving from happening.
Clay is a natural substance and therefore will absorb water if it is exposed to atmospheric moisture content for some time. This absorption of water by clay causes it to expand and become soft. Once expanded, the clay can no longer be molded or carved into new shapes. To prevent this from happening, clay artists seal their pieces using a non-toxic acrylic paint-like material called glaze. The most common types of glazes used by clay artists are liquid and powder.
When sealing clay, it is important to use a quality product that contains no toxic chemicals. There are many products on the market that claim to be able to seal your clay but only a few of them are worth buying. It is recommended that you buy your clays sealed unless you know someone who seals their pieces regularly. Regularly moving items out of the way to make room for new work can cause moisture to build up inside the space, which is why it is important to seal your pieces. If they aren't sealed then they won't protect your clay against humidity levels beyond what is normal for your environment.
Can You Dry Air-Dried Clay with a Hairdryer? Yes, in a nutshell, but it is not advised. Using a hairdryer to dry air-dried clay can cause it to break. If this happens while you are still working with the clay, it may be difficult or impossible to fix.
The best way to dry air-dried clay is with a heat source such as an oven or the sun. Let it cool before handlinging any further. If you must use a heat source other than an oven, then try to use one that will not exceed 200 degrees F (93 degrees C). For example, a hair dryer can be used on low, but avoid heating it up too much since that could damage the material.
If you encounter any problems with your air-dried clay, then just add more water and let it rest until it's ready for use again.
Air-dried clay is not food safe or waterproof, but applying a varnish will help prevent your finished item from cracking if it is going to be used outside. You can buy varnish that is made for clay, or you can make your own by mixing equal parts linseed oil and clear nail polish. Let the mixture sit for a few days until it's time to use it.
If you choose to use store bought varnish, look for one with acrylic resin as the main ingredient. This type of varnish is commonly used on ceramic sculptures because it is easy to apply and very durable. If you choose to make your own, research other methods for removing oil from objects such as water heating or organic solvents.
Clay needs to be protected from moisture and heat when drying so using a varnish will help ensure your piece lasts longer.