What happens to polymer clay in water?

Polymer clay is a versatile and popular material used for creating a wide range of artistic and craft projects. However, questions often arise about how polymer clay reacts when exposed to water. In this article, we’ll delve into the effects of water exposure on polymer clay and provide insights into what happens to polymer clay when it comes into contact with water.

1. Water Absorption

Non-Porous Composition:

Polymer clay has a non-porous composition:

Unlike natural clays that are highly porous and can absorb water, polymer clay is composed of synthetic polymers that are non-porous. This means that polymer clay is less likely to absorb water or moisture when submerged or exposed to wet conditions.

2. Short-Term Water Exposure

Texture and Appearance:

Short-term water exposure may not cause significant changes:

When polymer clay is briefly exposed to water, such as accidental splashes or wearing polymer clay jewelry while washing hands, it is unlikely to undergo immediate or noticeable changes in texture or appearance. However, it’s still advisable to dry the clay thoroughly after such exposure.

3. Long-Term Water Exposure

Texture and Softening:

Prolonged water exposure can affect the clay’s texture:

Extended contact with water can potentially soften polymer clay, causing it to become more pliable or flexible. This can lead to changes in the clay’s texture and rigidity over time, which may affect the durability and integrity of your creations.

4. Protective Measures

Sealants and Varnishes:

Using sealants can provide water resistance:

To mitigate the effects of water exposure, consider applying a clear sealant or varnish to your polymer clay creations. Sealants create a protective barrier that helps repel water and reduce the likelihood of texture changes or softening.

5. Drying and Storage

Drying Thoroughly:

If polymer clay gets wet, dry it completely:

If your polymer clay creations do come into contact with water, ensure they are thoroughly dried before storing them. Gently pat the clay dry with a clean cloth and allow it to air dry completely to prevent any potential softening or changes in texture.


Store polymer clay items away from water sources:

When not in use, store your polymer clay projects in a dry and protected area away from water sources, humidity, or damp conditions to maintain their original texture and integrity.


Polymer clay, with its non-porous composition, does not readily absorb water like natural clays. Short-term water exposure is unlikely to cause immediate damage, but prolonged contact can potentially soften the clay and lead to changes in texture. By using protective measures such as sealants, thorough drying, and proper storage, you can help preserve the quality and appearance of your polymer clay creations and enjoy their beauty for years to come.

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