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Author Topic: Conditioning Old Clay  (Read 7376 times)

FranOnTheEdge

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Conditioning Old Clay
« on: July 29, 2014, 07:55:38 PM »
I've found some old Black Premo, Sculpey(III) Copper, and Premo White & Sculpey III white too, and I've been trying to condition the black without a Pasta machine (not having one at the time, but I've just got a new one today) and it currently looks like this when sliced open:

Now those cracks - don't they mean it's not yet properly conditioned?

I was thinking to maybe pop it through the new pasta machine, once I have it thin enough.

How many times do you think?

I'm thinking that the other two will probably be just as crumbly as the black was to begin with - it just fell apart when I tried to squish it in my hands, a few drops of clay softener sprinkled over the crumbs helped but it took me 2 - 4 hours to get the black to this state, by hand...

What is the best method for conditioning clay as old as this?

Oh yes, and the copper is a nasty orangey colour - not very coppery looking - what can I do with this to make it look better?  Anything?
FranOnTheEdge

Cara Jane

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2014, 11:09:41 PM »
A simple test to check - take a little bit of clay that you think is conditioned and roll it into a smooth ball, hold the ball between you thumb and forefinger and squeeze. Properly conditioned clay should squash but have no cracks appear.

I wrote an article a while back when I was struggling to find the best way to condition Kato clay - which in those days was always crumbly and difficult to condition - it is much easier to condition now as they have changed the formulation but the advice will probably useful with other brands when they are old and crumbly.  http://carajane.co.uk/2010/04/conditioning-kato-clay.html

I hope you manage to get it to a usable state without too much effort (look out for an old food processor would be my advice)

Cara
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MelMcG

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2014, 06:15:13 PM »
Usually I would run clay that's come from a new packet through the pasta machine no less than 30 times to get it started.  If your clay is crumbly you might consider using a softener like this one that Emma sells http://www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17_143_189&products_id=4838.  I vaguely recall someone mentioning that you can add a drop of Baby oil to clay to soften it up.  Don't quote me on that though, but it's worth a try.  I once opened a packet of Fimo Classic magenta and it just crumbled to pieces as I tried to slice it.  I added bits of it to some magenta from another packet that was fine and eventually managed to get it conditioned without adding anything else to it.  I don't remember how many times I ran it through the pasta machine, though I imagine it was well over a hundred.  It took days to get that whole packet of clay conditioned.  I would take Cara's advice and look for an old food processor too.  I use my mini baby food processor, as my kids aren't babies anymore (it's just like a mini electric coffee grinder only marketed differently) and it's a perfect size for using with clay.

Regarding the copper being orange.  Try conditioning it and then bake a small piece to see what you think of it when it's curred.  I've always thought that copper clay was a bit orange.  Sometimes I've added a little silver and pearl to it to tone down the orange.

Mel  :)

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 12:52:15 AM »
A simple test to check - take a little bit of clay that you think is conditioned and roll it into a smooth ball, hold the ball between you thumb and forefinger and squeeze. Properly conditioned clay should squash but have no cracks appear.

I wrote an article a while back when I was struggling to find the best way to condition Kato clay - which in those days was always crumbly and difficult to condition - it is much easier to condition now as they have changed the formulation but the advice will probably useful with other brands when they are old and crumbly.  http://carajane.co.uk/2010/04/conditioning-kato-clay.html

I hope you manage to get it to a usable state without too much effort (look out for an old food processor would be my advice)

Cara

Well I've finally managed to condition the black, the copper and one of the whites:

Worked on the black on Saturday for a couple of hours adding drops of clay softener and chopping it up and trying to press it together again eventually managed to get it into a ball.

Today I cut a slice off and saw cracks on the inside, so today I've tried adding clay softener... added some kneeded the clay, pasta'ed the clay, then tried peering at the edge when folding the sheet still lots of cracking... added some more clay softener, went through the process again, kneeding, pasta'ing, folding. Still cracks.
Tried a tiny bit of Moldmaker, kneeded, pasta'ed, folded, peered at the folded edge again cracks were smaller.
Cut a piece off and went through the process again and pasta'ed the clay until it was all amalgamated... found the cracks on folding again added more moldmaker, kneeding etc etc. and finally found no cracks when folding the sheet.

This must have been the oldest crumbliest piece of clay ever!

That done I went to begin the same process with the copper, and found to my surprise it only needed a tiny bit of moldmaker and it was fine.
The white I only had to run through the pasta machine a few times. Didn't even need any moldmaker.
FranOnTheEdge

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 01:09:31 AM »
Usually I would run clay that's come from a new packet through the pasta machine no less than 30 times to get it started.  If your clay is crumbly you might consider using a softener like this one that Emma sells http://www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17_143_189&products_id=4838.

I've already been using some, sorry.

Quote
I vaguely recall someone mentioning that you can add a drop of Baby oil to clay to soften it up.

Yes I've often heard that too it makes sense as they are both mineral oils.

Quote
Don't quote me on that though, but it's worth a try.  I once opened a packet of Fimo Classic magenta and it just crumbled to pieces as I tried to slice it.  I added bits of it to some magenta from another packet that was fine and eventually managed to get it conditioned without adding anything else to it.  I don't remember how many times I ran it through the pasta machine, though I imagine it was well over a hundred.  It took days to get that whole packet of clay conditioned.

Oh I can well believe it, it's taken me 2 days to do the crumbled black Premo, but I think I've finally got it done took clay softener AND some moldmaker though.


Quote
I would take Cara's advice and look for an old food processor too.  I use my mini baby food processor, as my kids aren't babies anymore (it's just like a mini electric coffee grinder only marketed differently) and it's a perfect size for using with clay.

Sure I'll look but I doubt I'll find one.

Quote
Regarding the copper being orange.  Try conditioning it and then bake a small piece to see what you think of it when it's curred.  I've always thought that copper clay was a bit orange.  Sometimes I've added a little silver and pearl to it to tone down the orange.

Mel  :)

I don't need to bake any I did that some years ago and I still have the resultant piece it bakes even more orangey than when fresh, all the pieces from back then I've painted to try to hide the awful brash colour, but it shows on the backs of the pieces.
Comparing it to the new copper which is a lovely pale peachy coppery colour the new looks great in comparison I do wonder what it'll bake like though must try a test on the next baking batch.

If I only had some silver or pearl... I'll try to remember that when I next get clay. Thanks for the tip.
FranOnTheEdge

Carrie

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 01:32:21 PM »
You could tone the gold down with some black - wouldn't need much.

ejralph

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2014, 09:13:21 AM »
Adding a little green too is a great way to mute garish oranges and coppers.

The reverse works too - adding a dash of orange to greens

Emma
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Bonipie

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2014, 03:23:25 PM »
Do you have a LOT of this old stuff?  You are spending a lot of time and effort when you could be proceeding right along with fresh clay.  While I think you are getting a huge amount of very valuable experience  rescuing this old or ugly clay, you might go over the edge and say 'to heck with it all-this is too much work and no fun'.  For someone as inspired as you are, that would be a tragedy. 

Just askin'.  I hope you are also getting your satisfaction with your current creations.  You're putting an amazing effort into this hobby and I really hope you enjoy it for a long time.

Hugs, Boni  8) in Wonderful Yuma, Arizona where I'm still 'messing around' after all these years (and loving it!)

MelMcG

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2014, 04:24:04 PM »
Glad you got it conditioned eventually.

Mel  :)

BBCrafts

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2014, 03:54:01 AM »
I use olive oil. Wrapping my piece of clay in a piece of Cling Film/Plastic Wrap I then take a rubber hammer and beat it till soft and Olive has soaked in.
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MelMcG

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2014, 11:43:28 AM »
Good idea. Thanks.

Mel  :)

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2014, 03:24:07 PM »
Do you have a LOT of this old stuff?  You are spending a lot of time and effort when you could be proceeding right along with fresh clay.  While I think you are getting a huge amount of very valuable experience  rescuing this old or ugly clay, you might go over the edge and say 'to heck with it all-this is too much work and no fun'.  For someone as inspired as you are, that would be a tragedy. 

Just askin'.  I hope you are also getting your satisfaction with your current creations.  You're putting an amazing effort into this hobby and I really hope you enjoy it for a long time.

Hugs, Boni  8) in Wonderful Yuma, Arizona where I'm still 'messing around' after all these years (and loving it!)

Well no, not lots, um.... well okay it's just one packet. (hangs head)
I'm just stubborn I guess. I was absolutely determined that no hunk of clay was gonna beat me!

(I'm replying to old threads now - having finally got back online and found 'em.)

Yup enjoying claying very much.  Loving the amazing rich source of knowledge that abounds in this forum.

I use olive oil. Wrapping my piece of clay in a piece of Cling Film/Plastic Wrap I then take a rubber hammer and beat it till soft and Olive has soaked in.

Olive oil?  I'll have to make sure it's not my Basil flavoured one though, mind you inclusions are allowed aren't they?  I wonder if the baked clay would still smell of basil?
Lol!
FranOnTheEdge

BBCrafts

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2014, 05:07:15 PM »
Ya :), Baby oil is what everyone else uses, but sense I didn't have any I decided to play around and Olive oil work the best.
Call Me Becka *Smiley Face*
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FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2014, 01:25:06 PM »
Ya :), Baby oil is what everyone else uses, but sense I didn't have any I decided to play around and Olive oil work the best.

Well thanks for mentioning it, it's made me think about inclusions in a different way, for scent as well as the look of it... interesting.
FranOnTheEdge

ejralph

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Re: Conditioning Old Clay
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2014, 06:22:33 PM »
I've used baby oil ok. I'd be worried about olive oil going rancid if left. But if you are using all the clay immediately I don't see any issues there.

Emma
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