Polymer clay is a versatile and popular medium used by artists and crafters to create a wide variety of intricate and beautiful pieces. When working with polymer clay, one may wonder whether it is safe and acceptable to leave the clay out, exposed to the air, for extended periods of time. In this article, we’ll explore the considerations and potential effects of leaving polymer clay out and provide guidance on how to properly store and care for your clay to ensure its longevity.
Leaving polymer clay out for short periods of time, such as during a crafting session, is generally acceptable. Polymer clay is relatively stable and can withstand brief exposure to the air without significant negative effects. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Drying: Polymer clay does not air-dry like traditional clays. It remains malleable until properly cured through baking. Leaving uncured polymer clay out for too long can lead to changes in its texture and properties.
- Contamination: Dust, debris, and other particles in the air can settle on the clay’s surface if left exposed. This can affect the finish and appearance of your creations.
- Color Fading: Prolonged exposure to sunlight or UV radiation can potentially affect the colors of polymer clay and lead to fading over time.
For extended periods of time, it is recommended to properly store your polymer clay to maintain its quality and usability:
- Airtight Containers: Store your polymer clay in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to prevent dust, debris, and moisture from coming into contact with the clay.
- Temperature and Humidity: Store polymer clay in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and extreme temperature fluctuations. High temperatures or humidity can affect the clay’s consistency and quality.
- Separation: Keep different colors of polymer clay separate from each other to prevent color transfer and mixing. You can use dividers or individual storage compartments for this purpose.
Reviving Stale Clay
If you find that your polymer clay has become slightly stiff or less pliable due to exposure to air, you can revive it by kneading and conditioning it thoroughly. Kneading will help soften the clay and restore its workable consistency. However, if the clay has become too dry or crumbly, it may be difficult to fully restore its original texture.
In conclusion, leaving polymer clay out for short periods during crafting sessions is generally acceptable, but it’s important to be mindful of potential issues such as drying, contamination, and color fading. For long-term storage, it’s advisable to store polymer clay in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to maintain its quality and usability. Proper care and storage will help ensure that your polymer clay remains in optimal condition and is ready for your next creative project.