Potters typically encounter a few problems with storing pottery clay. One of the most common issues is preventing wet clay from drying out. Another challenge involves preventing mold from forming on the clay while it is stored.
Pottery clay can be stored in two different ways. One is to tightly seal the clay bags to maintain the clay’s moisture level. The other option is to dry out your clay and then rehydrate it.
I’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of storing your clay. After reading this, you ought to have a good idea of how to preserve pottery clay, allowing you to choose the approach that works best for you.
The location of your clay is crucial because if it’s too hot or dry, you’ll run into many issues.
It would be best if you had a place that is appropriate to store your clay, ideally one with the following characteristics:
-a cool environment
-preferably one that is not too dry
The temperature that prevents the clay from freezing over by not getting too cold
The following are some suggestions regarding where to keep clay:
-a cupboard for storing
-If you have one, a basement
A little container that is shielded from the sun
If at all possible, try to keep it a little cooler than room temperature and make an effort to keep direct sunlight away from the clay.
Remain it hydrated
Hydration is essential for clay. Keeping it dehydrated will prevent the following from happening:
-It’ll start to dry up.
-Operating with it will become increasingly challenging.
-It might turn powdery, so you can’t do anything with it.
Spraying your clay with a bit of mist from a spray bottle is the best way to keep it moist. Don’t spray too much because your clay doesn’t need it.
To be stored for a more extended time, clay must maintain its moisture.
What is the best way to store moist pottery clay?
The plastic or moist stage of clay should be kept in a plastic storage container that has been thoroughly sealed with a thick plastic bag. It is advised to store your clay in a tightly zipped suitcase and a plastic storage container. This will help maintain the clay’s moisture content and prevent mold from developing.
Where you store, your clay is important since mold can thrive in dark areas. It would be best if you made a sensible choice to maintain your clay effectively. The ideal location would be a well-lit area of your studio.
Benefits of Preserving Moist Clay in Storage
The most significant advantage of preserving the clay in its plastic (workable) form is that you can use it immediately. Rehydrating your clay doesn’t have to take much time. To start playing with your clay, you only need to wedge it.
Drawbacks of Storing Moist Clay
You must examine your clay to ensure mold is not developing. Especially if you intend to store a substantial amount of clay for a long time.
You must inspect your clay at the very least once a week to ensure that it is not drying out. Nothing will fit inside whatever the bag’s thickness if it is not closed tightly.
Occasionally, tiny holes also continue to appear in the plastic bags. Therefore, it’s imperative to check your clay storage each week.
Best Storage Bags for Pottery Clay
Thick Clear Plastic Bags work best as pottery bags. The better, the thicker. The clear bags will shield the clay from exposure to darkness, which helps prevent mold growth. Remember that unless they are securely sealed, the thick bags are useless.
Pottery clay storage jars
For storing pottery clay, clear plastic containers work best. Each of these vessels’ clay contents may be seen. They function nicely as moist boxes as well. Additionally, they help stop mold formation, which prefers shadows.
Large-scale clay storage
Let’s say you discovered a ton of clay for a great deal, but you are unsure about where to use it. Although it is possible, storing a large amount of clay can be more challenging than doing so for a few small pieces.
Before you get started, you’ll need a few things, such as the following :
-a polyethylene bag
-a polyethylene lid
To keep large clay pieces, you need to do the following:
The first step is to use a garbage bag to line the plastic container or another container you are rinsing.
-Place the clay in the trash bag, mining sure it’s there.
-To keep the moisture in the clay, if at all possible, seal the trash bag over it.
-Put it there with the lid closed when not in use.
-You can quickly shake any remaining waste layout by spinning it once you find out what can on.
If you can store what was described in the previous section, it will prevent it from drying up too rapidly. The worst performers are usually black trash bags since they could warm up over me, which might heat the clay and dry it up.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Stored Clay from Drying Out?
Several methods exist for maintaining moisture in dry clay bricks while they are being stored:
After taking your clay body out of the bag, mist it with water. You can also add 20% vinegar to the spray bottle to keep your clay fresh. Additionally, vinegar increases the malleability of your clay. Any remaining air should be sucked out before the bag is completely shut.
A wet cloth should be placed on top of the clay within the plastic bag. For this, you might also use a cloth dipped in water and vinegar (20% vinegar). The plastic bag should then be sealed and made airtight. After some days, you can remove your cloth & seal pack plastic bag.
With a round stick can make a few holes in your clay. A decent width is one centimeter or one-third of an inch. 6 or 7 holes are adequate for 25 pounds of clay. Fill the clay holes with water or water diluted with 20% vinegar, remove any air, and then reseal the clay in the plastic bag. You can wedge out the clay after a couple of days.
Is it OK to store clay in water?
Clay may be kept in water. It would be a clay slurry or slide. Since mold requires moisture, air, and a dark environment to grow, you would need to store your watered-down clay in Sealed Plastic Bags in a Large Container. Additionally, the air would need to be eliminated.
This will stop mold from growing while stored in the watered-down clay (slip). Vinegar can be added to your slip or slurry if the air cannot be removed. Although vinegar is a natural substance, some potters do use bleach.
If you want to know how to prevent air dry clay from cracking then read our post for the same.
Can the clay be kept outdoors?
If your clay is tightly packed, you can store it outside without any issues. Like warm climates, cold climes are OK if the clay is kept above freezing temperatures. No matter how cold it is outside, dry clay will freeze regardless of the temperature since it contains water.
How to Proceed if It Is Not Workable?
You occasionally get clay that is just too difficult to work with. It is not just beyond repair, despite what you might believe.
Clay may be “unworkable” in the eyes of most people however, by doing the following; you can still use it
-First, break up the clay into smaller pieces.
-Dry it off.
-To get it back, use the towel procedure we covered in the section above.
You can still utilize clay even if it does have a propensity to dry up after its usable life. Just make an effort to restore it to a useable state by blocking off some time, working with it, and doing so.
It doesn’t matter what kind of clay you use; you should always store it properly. The appropriate storage can significantly lengthen the shelf life of the medium, whether it is regular polymer clay or even clay of high grade.
Most people aren’t even aware of how important it could be to store the clay properly, let alone that doing so can mean the difference between having a lot of clay on hand and not having enough to work with.
If you want to use a lot of clay for a single project or purchase a lot of clay for multiple projects in the future, always keep it appropriately.
It’s important to choose the approach that works best for you while storing your pottery clay from a variety of options. If you keep your clay moist and in good health, you can complete your crafts effectively. If you intend to store your ceramic clay for a long time, make sure it stays dry.
We hope that this article has given you some insight into how ceramic clay should be preserved so that you can continue to enjoy this delightful activity. if you want to know about pottery wheels required for making different objects from your stored clay then this guide is for you.
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