Clay, being a natural item, has been a part of the pottery world since time immemorial. As we transcend into a better and technologically updated world, we can now make use of clay variants that do not require manual drying or firing. Air-dry clay was developed for the artists who need clay minus the need for kiln firing.
Most of the air-dry clays available in the market are based on naturally occurring mineral and pack-in properties comparable to traditional clay. This clay variant is known to dry pretty fast and doesn’t need firing for permanency.
While the market is overrun with options for air-dry clay, only a few would be worth your hard-earned money. To help you make the best decision, we have narrowed down some of the best air-dry clay brands available in the market. Today, we will review the Das Air-Hardening Modeling Clay.
But first, let us understand the contrast between polymer clay & air-dry clay.
Air-Dry Clay vs. Polymer Clay
When scouring for clay in the market, you will come across two different options if you are a first-time pottery enthusiast. One is the air-dry clay; another is the polymer clay.
Let us decode the differences in this table below:
|It needs to be baked in the oven||Self-hardening (Dries up when comes in contact with air after a few hours or so depending on the brand)|
|Hard initially when the package is opened, requires conditioning to help with easy molding; Becomes hard and solid when baking is finished||Soft & stretchy initially;
Dries up with a spongy and light texture
|It comes in a range of colors in varying bar sizes||It comes in several vibrant colors and is sealed in bags with an air-tight design|
|Captures details in a better way as compared to air-dry clay||It is easier and user-friendly, especially for the young potters|
|Created from PVC or Polymer Polyvinyl Chloride||Created from resin, paper, glue, and is ideal for kids more than 3-years of age|
|Baking time is crucial to determine the quality of the finished product; it is usually close to 130oC when baked for 10 to 15 minutes||It takes 1 to 2 days for complete drying, depending on its thickness|
|Best when painted with acrylic or oil paint||Best when painted with acrylic|
|Mix the colors available to get varying shades (Example: Knead yellow clay and red clay to get orange)||Pre-colored clay bars can be mixed, but it’s better to color post crafting
|Durable post-baking, long-lasting, and waterproof||It might dissolve in water or heat|
|Kneading and conditioning time is extra||Easy to start with; feels super light and dries faster|
|It doesn’t shrink while hardening||Shrinks a bit during the hardening process|
|It might not be safe for children||Safe for children|
|It doesn’t require sealing to make it water-resistant||It needs to be sealed to make it water-resistant|
Now that we have established the difference between air-dry and polymer clay let us review the Das Air-Hardening Clay.
Das Air-Hardening Clay: Complete Review
Manufactured by the company DAS (Daler-Rowney DAS), which is based in Italy, this particular air-hardening clay is best suited to modeling your flourishing ideas into reality without the need for firing. This clay material is easy to work with and dries up with a strong and firm finish.
No baking is needed to add permanency to this clay. Per centimeter thickness of this clay would require about 24 hours of drying and hardening time.
Making the Das-Clay Dry Quicker
In order to dry your Das air-dry clay faster than its usual time-frame, you need to follow the given steps:
- Make use of wax paper
- Put a bit of lotion on the hands and rub well
- Make sure you avoid thinning the clay a lot
- Make use of toothpicks
- Remove the imperfections using water
- Flip the project as you dry it out
- Use an over for sped-up drying
- Store the remaining clay within an air-tight jar
Can Water Be Used With DAS Air-Dry Clay?
Yes, you can add water to the DAS Air-Dry to help soften and join the pieces together. This technique can be used in sculpting techniques such as slab, coil, score-and-weld, & pinch.
Does the DAS Air-Dry Clay Break?
In general, cracking of lighter intensity is a normal occurrence in the air-dry clay. The case is the same with the DAS Air-Dry Clay. This happens due to the shrinkage that is caused by the water evaporating away during the drying process. Cracking is majorly an issue when sculpting is done over the armature, or a bulk of the water is used for clay mixing or sticking various parts together.
DAS Air-Dry Clay: Is it Waterproof?
DAS Air-Hardening clay needs to be dried for a minimum of 24 hours for each centimeter of thickness. Make sure you leave it in a dry and warm place for hardening, such as a versatile airing cupboard. However, you need to keep in mind that the clay isn’t waterproof, so you must not use it as a mug or other items for drinking purposes.
How can you store the DAS Air-Hardening Clay after Opening the Package?
In order to keep your air-hardening clay reusable for the next lot, make sure you store the remaining clay in an air-tight container or plastic bags that are sealed with the help of rubber bands.
Can I keep my Clay Item Made with Das Air-Hardening Clay Outside?
Any air-drying clay isn’t food-safe in nature or even waterproof. However, you can apply varnish in order to prevent it from cracking. This is especially required if you plan to keep it outside.
All-in-all, the DAS Air-Hardening Clay is ideal for the beginner as well as expert level pottery enthusiasts that need a versatile material to work with. This versatile clay can be used for creating decorative items, sculptures, plaques, or planters. So, the next time you plan online shopping, make sure you add DAS-Air dry clay to your cart.