Jami Ray Vintage in Lehi
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Why Air-Dry Clay Is a Nice Alternative to Ceramic Clay

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Clay is an interesting and versatile material with a lot of great uses. But did you know that not all clay is the same? There are different types of clay including ceramic, paper, and epoxy clay. You can even buy air-dry clay as an alternative to a ceramic product.

Ceramic clay is the type of clay most of us think about when it comes to making ceramic planters, vases, and dishes. Air-dry clay is very similar in many ways. However, the one distinct difference that sets it apart from ceramic clay is that it does not require firing. It dries and hardens with exposure to air.

The fact that you do not need a kiln automatically makes air-dry clay a nice alternative to its ceramic counterpart. But there are other reasons to consider an air-dry product. Below are just a few of them, compliments of Jami Ray Vintage in Lehi, Utah. Jami Ray Vintage makes frequent use of paper clay and air-dry clay.

You Do Not Need Special Tools

Air-dry clay is easy enough to work with that you do not need any special tools or equipment. Just pull out a hunk and start working. You will still probably want a good assortment of blades, brushes, and other implements to create your design, but these are all things that you most probably have in your home or studio anyway.

It Is Easily Decorated

Air-dry clay is easy to decorate despite the fact that it does not get fired. When your piece is completely dry, just apply paint and any other decorative materials you choose to add. You do not have to worry about glazing. Best of all, your finish will not change color like it could in a hot kiln. The color you see on application is the final color when the paint dries.

It is Easy to Work by Hand

Ceramic clay can be a bit tricky when working with bigger pieces. That is why we are all used to seeing pictures of clay pots and vases being formed on a spinning wheel. Air-dry clay is generally easy enough to work by hand. You can sculpt some pretty impressive pieces without the need for extra help.

Layering Is Not an Issue

Layering your clay can be problematic with ceramic products, especially when you put them into the kiln. Firing can separate the layers if they were not well affixed beforehand. That is not an issue with air-dry clay. You can easily layer one piece on top of another, smooth out the seam, and be done with it.

You Can Make Your Own

Although you can buy air-dry clay anywhere you find art supplies, the good folks at Jami Ray Vintage say you can also make your own using common household products. It is pretty simple. One of the more often cited recipes you will find online utilizes:

  • white glue
  • white vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • body lotion and baby oil.

The body lotion and baby oil help keep the mixture soft and pliable enough to work with. However, the combination of white glue and cornstarch give homemade air-dry clay its rigidity. When the clay dries, it dries hard. Just know that air-dry clay is a bit more brittle. You probably do not want to use it for extremely small or delicate pieces.

Now you know the basics of air-dry clay. It is a nice alternative to ceramic clay, especially if you do not have a kiln. You get many of the same benefits as ceramic clay but without the extra work and expense.

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