How to take plasticizer out of polymer clay, tutorial

Lately, when I've been purchasing my Studio Sculpey clay - the clay has been so soft it's not at all workable out of the package. You can see in the picture below - on the left is a normal piece of clay just out of the package. On the right is a piece of polymer clay right out of the package, it has WAY too much plasticizer in it.

Just lightly pressing my thumb into that clay on the right made this imprint.

So, to make it workable I set out a couple sheets of white paper, no words please unless you want them in your clay! I then pressed more sheets of white paper on top of the sticky polymer. You can set a heavy book on them if you like, but you have to be careful plasticizer doesn't bleed into the book cover. For my clay, I didn't want it to get too dry, so I just left the paper on it without any weight.

After about 5 minutes, this is what the paper looked like. I thought the clay was still too wet so I pressed it into the paper again and left it for another 5 minutes.

I can tell the clay is a little drier now because when I press my thumb into the clay, it doesn't leave as big an imprint and the clay has little cracks in it. Don't worry, it's not TOO dry because when you start kneading and working the clay again the plasticizer from the inside of the clay will work through evenly.

It's unfortunately that many readily available brands are so inconsistent with the amount of plasticizer placed in the polymer clay, but rest assured that you can make it work for you!


Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor September 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM  

Leaching the clay like this is a very good thing to do with extra soft clay. I'm not sure why it is difficult for the companies to keep better consistency with the clays, but they all seem to have problems with it.

If the clay is extra soft and you're in a hurry you can put the clay between two sheets of white paper like you suggested, then run them through the pasta machine.

Start at the thickest setting then keep going as thin as you can get it. You may need to scrape the clay off the paper with your blade but it leaches really fast this way.


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