Re-Form School
Clay DIY and Recipes

Air-Dry Clay: Buy or DIY?

I’ve been using a lot more air dry clay since I wrote the initial post on DIY clay, and wanted to do a quick followup about whether it’s better to buy or make it yourself.

Is There a Difference Between Storebought or DIY Air-Dry Clay?

Broadly speaking, air dry clay and DIY are extremely similar. There are lots of different recipes for DIY air-dry clay, but, if you follow the instructions correctly, you will almost always end up with a clay that:

  • Handles nicely without sticking
  • Is useful for rolling flat, making thin lines, forming into shapes and objects, or even extruding
  • Keeps indefinitely in an air-tight container in the fridge
  • Takes color (either food coloring or acrylic paint) well

The biggest difference between buy and DIY air-dry clay is: shrinkage

How Much Does Air-Dry Clay Shrink when Drying?

In my experiments so far, DIY air dry clay recipes that don’t call for cooking the ingredients shrink quite a bit. DIY air-dry clay recipes where you cook the ingredients shrink a little bit, and store-bought air dry clay shrinks not at all.

Of course, there are projects where shrinkage doesn’t matter, and projects where it matters quite a bit. Since air-dry clay isn’t very expensive, I would recommend buying it for projects where fit and accuracy are important, and making it yourself when it isn’t.

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