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Salvaging Art Clay


I’ve made a serious error in storing some Art Clay that my husband
bought me two years ago. I attempted to make some rings last year,
which failed miserably. I put the remainder away, thinking I had
wrapped the clay well enough.

Time has passed, and I’ve been horribly busy. The remainder of the
clay has of course since dried completely. While I’ve bought a
package of PMC and plan to use the entire package this weekend, I’d
still like to try and reconstitute the dried Art Clay if possible.
Is this lump now totally wasted?

I read Tim McCreight’s book, which has a section on PMC, but no tips
for reconstitution. I tried searching the Ganoksin archives, but
didn’t find anything.

Anyone out there who’s got any experiences with this error?



I have had the same problem with the Liquid/paste

Art Clay and would really appreciate a solution for restoring. I was
wondering if it could be sent to a refiner. any ideas?

thanks, Dee



You can reconstitute your metal clay. I’ll give you instructions
here, and you can also read more at the yahoo group Metal Clay

Take a tissue blade and chop your clay into small, evenly sized
pieces. You can get a dedicated pepper grinder, chop the clay into
small enough pieces to fit inside that, and grind.

Get a small piece of Saran Wrap, place all your bits in the middle,
add either water or glycerine and water. I use PMC Tool and Supply’s
PMC Extender Liquid. If you use water, use an eye dropper, so you can
add water slowly.

Add Extender Liquid to just cover, wrap tightly, put inside a small
container with a tightly closing lid, wait.

Next day, knead the clay THROUGH THE SARAN WRAP, then add more water
(if necessary). Continue as needed until clay is recovered and


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


It is possible to ‘save’ your clay, but it takes time. What I do is
add enough distilled water to just cover clay, (use a small
container, a shot glass, one where the inside bottom is rounded is
ideal) As the clay sits over time the water will slowly start to
soften the clay, every day give it a stir, then cover the glass with
plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Eventually the clay
should become a slurry, when this point is reached and you are sure
you now have a homogeneous solution, the next step is leaving the
plastic wrap off the glass to let water evaporate back out, when the
clay is the right consistency you can use it again. One note, I have
never tried to get it back into original clay consistency, but used
it while still runny enough to pour into molds.


The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago - I live in Tucson and
it gets very hot and very dry here and the clay goes dry quickly, in
my case only a couple weeks.

I simply added distilled water and used it for slip.

I suppose if you added a little water at a time and kneaded it, you
could come up with a clay consitency you could use, but I always need
slip anyway so it worked out ok for me.



Your clay is still fine. You will need to rehydrate it. This can be
done by cutting the clay into small pieces and adding a small amount
of water. Then, put the clay into saran or a similar wrap and knead
it with the water. When I have a lot of dried out clay, I often will
use my mortar and pestle to grind the clay into a fine structure
before adding the water. The clay should be moist, not really wet, so
be cautious with the water - you can always add more. I keep the clay
wrapped in the plastic wrap inside a screw-top jar with a moist
sponge to keep the hydration intact. Just work the clay and fire as
you normally would - it should work just fine :slight_smile:

BBR - Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co
St Paul, Minnesota (USA)


not so serious an error…you can powder the dried clay using a
number of methods…the main things to remember are :

a) use distilled water as any other form tends to produce mold on the
binder in the clay

b )use a drop or two ( literally ) of glycerine to the entire 7 gram
or larger lot…if its less than 7gm, skip the glycerine

c) if you want to skip rehydration all together and add texture to a
bead,pendant backing, or ring shank for instance- one option is to
chop the dried stuff with a single edge razor blade to pieces the
size of demerara/ raw sugar crystals ( or larger, or smaller
depending on your desired result remember it will shrink when fired)
and roll the bead, sprinkle onto the backing/sheet like pendant slab,
or apply in a deliberate pattern by cutting the corner off of a
plastic beg and then cutting the tip off of that, creating a
cone/funnel and using a template or free form design apply exactly
where you want the texture. Once the entire piece is dried it all
fires the same as long as you are using the same grade of pmc or art
clay silver or gold…BUT the real tip here is to keep your next
purchase of metal clay hydrated, get a film cannister or other
airtight, non metallic container, and go to the garden store and pick
up a small package of soil moist granules ( unless you garden, in
which case the larger pack is more economical). add about a teaspoon
of granules to the film container, followed by a tablespoon of
distilled water-let the container sit long enough for the crystals to
soak up all the water, pour off any excess, conversely add a few more
drops if necessary ( read the package if you are not sure what it
should look like when hydrated fully), and place your clay wrapped in
plastic, into the container.Keep a different container for each type
of clay ( low fire, standard, slow dry, etc,),a permanent marker is
ideal for noting the type of clay inside.

After a few months of use you may want to change out the granules ;
add the used ones to a containerized house plant or garden bed if
you have either (lightly scratch the surface and combine with the
soil, or top dress if you have a plant with surface root systems).But
the granules will last a really long time- i had some in a film
container for over eight months with absolutely no problems…until
they floated away following hurricane katrina…so i never discovered
the maximum life expectancy of the set-up!

the website has a forum that discusses metal clay and all of
the formulae involved in the various preparations of metal clay ( oil
paste, slip, etc.). hope this helps.