Have a bar of sticky, stringy clay? Try leaching

Ever opened up a polymer clay bar, started conditioning it and found it to be really stretchy and sticky? Some clays are susceptible to being really soft (like Cernit metallic), or sometimes they may be bars of clay fresh from the factory.

To make the clay less soft, try a technique called leaching.

1. Roll out your soft clay into a slab about 1 to 2 millimetres thick, trying to maximise as much surface area as possible.

2. Place the slab in between two pieces of regular printing paper and put something heavy on top of the paper like a thick book. If you don’t have something heavy to put on top of it, you can sit on it too. The oils in the clay will absorb into the paper and make the clay less soft.

3. Please note that some clays leach faster than others, so be sure to regularly check the clay throughout the leaching process. Some clays can take less than 5 minutes, like this Cernit metallic, whereas others may take more than an hour.

4. Now your clay will be less sticky and ready for conditioning. 

Alternatively, if you have a couple of months up your sleeve, leave your clay on a dark cool shelf and the plasticisers in the clay will start to firm up, leaving your clay a lot less sticky. 

Are you a visual person? Head to our Instagram reels page and you will find a video of this technique in action! 

January 24, 2022 — Lauren Holder