Saturday, July 26, 2014

Project:Beach Themed Air Dry Clay

Here's a repost from August 2012
I used air dry clay to make some beach themed artifacts.  Air dry clay can be purchased at the art supply store, some craft stores and even in pharmacies and toy stores.  Crayola makes an air dry clay called Model Magic that dries to a hard marshmallow consistency.  It is sold in pouches of various colors and you tear open the pouch, mold your shapes and let dry. The air dry clay I used is different one - but same principle.  The exception is that the artist quality can be painted on when dry and will not disintegrate.
I bought a pouch of the air dry clay and wanted to try it.  I use polymer clay which needs to be baked in a slow oven to cure.  Air dry clay requires no heat - just drying time.  The drying time is about 24 hours give or take for thickness, air temperature and humidity.  
Air dry clay is the consistency of pottery clay, although not as tough.  It is like a thick cookie dough.  You roll it, shape it, sculpt it, press it into molds or press things into it to make impressions. 
 We had a lot of fun making beach themed artifacts and making impressions and textures in the clay.
 Here is some of our work, just after we finished shaping it, but before it was dry. We made sand dollar like creations, starfish, shark's teeth, seahorses....
 All in different sizes...
 One of my favorites was the giant starfish.  This took the longest to dry, about 2 days, whereas most of  the other pieces were dry in 24 hours.
 After they were dry, I painted them with an acrylic paint wash - 50/50 water and paint.  I worked the paint into the nooks and crannies of each artifact and then wiped away the excess paint.  This gave a sun bleached look which I liked.  Who says you can't have turquoise or lavender starfish?

The fish, shell and starfish fossil really show off their texture.
I really like the look of the fossil piece

 Or even the turquoise seahorse!
Some tips for working with the air dry clay:
- Keep a bowl of water near to dip your finger in to smooth out the clay after you have sculpted it.
- Don't make the pieces too thin, as they will warp when drying (unless this is the look you are going for.)
- Use all sorts of things to texturize the clay pieces - wire baskets, toothpicks, kids toys.
- Keep unused clay in a airtight container, I used a ziplock bag, when not in use.  Break off small pieces to work with.  If the clay dries out in the time you are working with it, add just a fingertip of water.
- Prepare to get messy hands from the clay.
- Don't rush the dry time.  

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