What happens if you add water to polymer clay?

Polymer clay is a versatile and popular medium used for various crafting projects. While it is primarily designed to be used as is, you might wonder what happens when water comes into contact with polymer clay. In this article, we’ll explore the effects of adding water to polymer clay and discuss how it can impact its properties and workability.

1. Softening and Conditioning

Enhancing Workability:

Understanding the softening and conditioning process:

Adding a small amount of water to polymer clay can help soften and condition it, especially if the clay has become slightly dry or stiff. Kneading a bit of water into the clay allows the moisture to be absorbed, making the clay more pliable and easier to work with. This can be particularly useful when you’re trying to revive old or slightly hardened clay.

2. Potential Overhydration

Exercising Caution:

Avoiding overhydration and mushiness:

While a small amount of water can aid in softening polymer clay, adding too much water can lead to overhydration. Overhydration can cause the clay to become mushy, sticky, or excessively soft, making it challenging to shape and manipulate. It’s important to exercise caution and add water gradually to avoid this issue.

3. Texture and Effects

Creating Texture and Effects:

Exploring the use of water for texture and effects:

Water can also be used intentionally to create various textures and effects on polymer clay. For instance, you can apply water to the surface of the clay before stamping or impressing designs, which can result in interesting patterns and textures. Water can also be used to smooth the surface of the clay or blend different colors together.

4. Baking Considerations

Considering Baking After Adding Water:

Understanding the impact of water on baking:

It’s important to note that if you add water to polymer clay, you should allow the clay to dry thoroughly before baking. Excess moisture can lead to steam forming within the clay during baking, which may cause bubbles or cracks to develop on the surface. To avoid this, allow the clay to air dry completely before proceeding with the baking process.


Adding water to polymer clay can have various effects, depending on the amount used and the purpose behind its application. While water can aid in softening and conditioning the clay, it’s crucial to be mindful of the potential for overhydration. Water can also be employed to create textures and effects, but proper drying before baking is essential to prevent issues during the curing process. By understanding how water interacts with polymer clay and experimenting with care, you can harness its potential to enhance your clay crafting projects.

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