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How to Condition Polymer Clay (continued)

Some people like to use food processors to condition polymer clay. It works best with significant quantities of clay, especially if you are using lots of the same color polymer clay (as it may be difficult to clean). Also, be advised not to use the same food processor for clay and food. You may want to read more about safety precautions while working with polymer clay.

Sometimes, the clay is so stiff, that it seems impossible to condition it following the instructions above. This may happen if the clay is too old or was stored at higher temperatures and started to cure. To soften this clay, consider adding some Sculpey Clay Softener (do not worry - although it is called Sculpey, it will work for any polymer clay). This product may be found in craft stores next to polymer clay or online. You will only need a few drops of it per each small package of clay.

Clay Softener may be substituted with a few drops of Liquid Clay. This is the method I prefer, since Liquid Clay is a more universal product than Clay Softener and may be used for many other tasks. Liquid Clay is available in Sculpey, FIMO, and Kato brands.

Another additive to consider is some softer clay, such as original Sculpey, Sculpey III, or Sculpey Mold Maker. This is my least preferred method because by adding these clays, you may affect the original color of the clay you are trying to soften. You may also alter its baking temperature.

Whatever you use, add small portions at a time and mix thoroughly.

If your polymer clay is too soft

Fresh, out-of-package clay may sometimes present an opposite problem and be too soft and squishy for your project.

People with hot hands and in warmer climates seem to encounter this problem more often. For them, refrigerating the clay and periodically washing their hands in cold water should help.

Another idea is to reduce the amount of plasticizers in clay. To do this, place a block of un-wrapped polymer clay on a piece of paper and let it sit for a few hours. You shall see an oily stain around the clay indicating the leaching plasticizers.

If these methods still do not work for you, consider switching to stiffer clays (such as Kato).

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