Sunday, 28 February 2010

Storing clay

In the past I have stored my Fimo Soft in 2 ice cream tubs. One tub with new packets and the other with my open packets. Once I opened a packet I wrapped any left  back in the wrapper  and popped it back in the tub. Any odd scraps went in a 'scrap bag' in the open packets box. I realised that over time sometimes my clay had a few crumbs of a different colour on them which isn't ideal. The bits were just thrown in the box and rumaging aorund for the right colour was what was causing the contamination. Now I am using Kato which is firmer, and more crumbly than the Fimo soft so I will need to be more careful I think, also I am more likely to have blended colours as the range of colours available in Kato is much smaller.

I have decided to try storing  sheets of conditioned clay and mixed colours in punched pockets to see if that helps. I am conditioning a whole 2oz block at once and what I am not using I am sheeting on the largest pasta machine setting and storing in the polythene pocket. I cut down the front sheet  next to the binding so that it opened to get the clay in and out. I saw this system in a video tutorial posted by Alice Stroppel on her blog http://polymerclayetc.com/ . I'll let you know how it works out.

I have also started storing my scrap clay in different colour bags rather than all in one big bag. My old scrap bag has lots of lovely colours but all mixed up and some of the nicer colours are covered in horrible clashing crumbs. I also now have a cane offcuts bag for those small but pretty bits of scrap, thinking Natasha beads here. I think I may try and get some divided boxes so I can just leave it open on the table and throw the scrap in the right colour segment rather than having to find the right bag. Again I'll let you know how it works out and please do share your ways of storing with me. Someone must have a great system already!

I know not all plastics are safe with polymer clay but Kato web site states  Polypropylene which is marked as recycling symbol 5 is safe with their clay. I have emailed Staedtler about Fimo as I can't find any advice on their website. There is a lot of information on Cindy Leitz's blog about storing clay and she says things marked with a 1 or a 5 are safe for clay. Generally hard crystal clear plastic should be avoided - I have ruined some good canes in these type of boxes :(

If you have any top tips for storing your clay please let me know.

Next to think about how I store my canes cause a have tried a few ways and no of them have really worked...

7 comments:

  1. Hi Cara here I am the first in your followers., Look at other blogs and follow the ones you like and you will soon have a lot of like minded friends here.
    As to storing your clay, yes I do that, as flat clay is better than hard lumps, but one thing I do now is because some of the plastic sleeve books are not that compatible to the clay, I wrap mine in lunch paper(wax Paper ) before I put them in. The clay then doesnt stick to the pages and I am not peeling it off as I was when I began to do this.
    At the time I did think that one out for myself, as I dont like hard lumps to go back to.
    Your blog is very informative ,all knowledge in Polymer clay is worth reading about. See you in Cindys
    Love
    Elizabeth K.

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  2. Thank you for being my first follower - how exciting to think that people are reading this!

    Thanks for the tip about wrapping. I will probably do some compatability checks with small samples to see if the brand I have is OK.

    It is great to be able to share knowledge with people from all over the world.

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  3. I store my scraps in these handy Sterlite drawers. http://www.organize-it-online.com/itm_vtc430wht.html
    I just throw the scraps in a drawer with like shades...such as, one drawer for green, one for orange and red, one for tans, etc. It doesn't really matter if there are other colors mixed in with the piece of scrap...just sort by general tones. Then I periodically take out a handful of scraps from one drawer (say the green drawer) and mix them all together to get a new shade of green.

    The drawers are really handy because you can pull them out and keep them on your work table as needed. You don't even need to wrap the clay. If my clay is not yet mixed with another color (as it comes out of the package) I store it in a ziploc bag in the drawer.

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  4. Hi Cara, great tips!

    I have been storing my canes lately in a unit that has 4 plastic drawers. A friend gave it to me so I don't know the brand, but I tested it first to see if the clay was compatible, before storing them in there.

    You put a piece of clay in the drawer and wait for a day or two, to see if it reacts. (Often it happens much faster than that but it is better to wait and be sure.)

    If the plastic is incompatible, the clay will go strangely sticky, will bond with the plastic and will make the drawer cloudy and/or pitted.

    If the drawer is clay safe, there will be no change what so ever even after several days.

    (Hi to you too Elizabeth. Fun to see you over here!)

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  5. (on behalf of Alice Stroppel who can't post comments on this blog for some reason)

    Cara, thank you so much for the link to my blog, here's the direct link to the video

    http://polymerclayetc.com/?p=105

    plus on one storing cane in the plastic drawers.

    http://polymerclayetc.com/?p=99

    I also store scrap clay in them. Sorting them with like colors as Doreen suggests is the best I've found.
    Elizabeth's idea about the wax paper is a good idea too. Cindy is right on with the testing for compatibility.

    Thanks again, Alice

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  6. I am a very lazy clayer... or should I say that I prefer to spend my clay time actually playing with the clay and not so much storing it (grin)! So what I do is this. I have six plastic baskets - from Walmart, I think - about the size of a shoebox. I have one marked for each of the primary color groups, red, yellow, blue, green, black/white and metallic. I use the cheapest sandwich bags available - the ones that fold over the top because they are cheaper - and when I'm done with a batch of clay, the scraps go in a sandwich bag, then into the appropriate color basket. Quick, simple, easy. My kind of clean-up! I am fortunate in that I have a shelf unit that these baskets slide into behind my work table - two on each shelf, side by side - that was recycled from a previous life as part of an entertainment center so it is convenient to my work area.

    I would like to make one comment on the wax paper suggestion. When I first started making canes, I wrapped them in wax paper. The wax paper I used was just standard grocery store generic brand and it leached the clay. The canes were not usable after a fairly short time. I now wrap my canes in plastic wrap - Glad is the brand that I'm using right now - and I have had no problem. It could have been the brand I was using but I'm just real leary of using any type of paper product to store the clay.

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  7. Good tips, thanks.

    I have a ton of little teeny tiny canes that would drive me crazy if I tried to wrap them individually. I tried all sorts of different ways of storing them so far this is what has worked the best:
    There is a school supply store near me. They sell small pieces of dry-erase boards in lots of sizes. I took a 9 by 6 inch board and put all my tiny canes, laid out, ready to cut. Then I covered the whole thing with saran wrap. I take the board and put it in one of those stackable in/out boxes. So far, it's working very well.

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