Air-dry clay, with its versatility and ease of use, has revolutionized the way artists craft their masterpieces. However, the market is overrun with brands that bring the promise of quality at a budget price. Among these, the Crayola Air Dry Clay is the go-to choice for most artists given its optimal results and ability to take up colors without losing the original hue. But, as it is with any air-dry clay brand, the drying process should be optimized to get the best results minus the cracking or flaking. So, what is the best way to dry the Crayola Air Dry Clay? In this blog, we will learn all about the methods involved in drying Crayola Air Dry Clay the right way!
Factors Affecting The Crayola Air Dry Clay Drying Process
Before we can understand the best ways to speed up or at least regulate Crayola Air Dry Clay’s drying process, we need to delve into the factors affecting it. Air-dry clay solidifies by releasing the moisture inside it into the atmosphere. However, this process can vary drastically depending on the factors that include:
The first and the most crucial factor that can prolong the drying of Crayola Air Dry Clay is the presence of high humidity in your workspace. If you happen to live in an area with high humidity like a city close to the sea, you might experience high humidity. Alternatively, if you do not have proper ventilation in your workspace, it can also add up to the overall humidity content. While you can’t do much about natural humidity, the best way to avoid creating more humidity in your workspace is to keep the windows in your pottery studio open. If possible, you can also install fans that aid better air circulation.
- Thickness Of Your Clay Project:
If your clay piece is too thick, it will take longer to dry. Although thinner layers tend to dry faster, the accelerated drying process can lead to cracks in the clay piece. The key is to strike the right balance without having to compromise the structural integrity. Most experienced potters generally advise that the thickness of your project shouldn’t be higher than 1/4th of an inch. However, the ultimate decision depends on you and the project size.
- Temperature Fluctuations:
The temperature has a major impact on the overall drying process. While warmer temperatures do accelerate the drying process, excessive heat can cause the water content in the clay to evaporate rapidly leading to brittleness and overcooking.
How To Accelerate Crayola Air Dry Clay’s Drying Process?
Now that you understand the factors that contribute to the increase or decrease of Crayola Air Dry Clay’s drying speed, let us take a look at the techniques that can help you expedite the drying process.
1. Select The Right Drying Space:
Whether you work from your living room or your spare garage, the key is to select a space that is well-ventilated and dry as well. Proper air circulation allows the moisture in the clay to evaporate rather efficiently. In case your workspace lacks proper ventilation, you can either plan to construct a window in the room or use a dehumidifier to bring down the humidity level inside.
2. Fans Are Your Best Friend:
Placing a good-quality, high-speed fan in your pottery studio can enhance air circulation and help your Crayola Air Dry Clay dry faster. However, the placement of the fans is crucial to ensure it doesn’t topple accidentally and fall on your clay creations. When deciding on the number of fans to be used, it can vary on the size and density of your project. An ideal number is two fans depending on the speed of the blades. Keep in mind that too many fans can accelerate the drying process causing your project to become very brittle. So, remember that balance is crucial.
3. Careful Placement/Handling:
When working with Crayola Air Dry Clay, make sure you handle the clay gently, especially after you are done crafting and wish to place it somewhere else for drying purposes. Improper handling can cause the clay to bend or have dents that might crack during the crafting process.
4. Opt For Thin Layers:
When shaping your artwork with Crayola Air Dry Clay, it is important to work in multiple thin layers as opposed to one single thick layer. Thin layers tend to dry rapidly as compared to thicker ones. This also minimizes the risks of chunks of clay pieces breaking or forming cracks.
Things To Avoid When Working With Crayola Air-Dry Clay
Apart from these tips, here are a few things you must avoid when working with Crayola Air-Dry Clay:
- Do Not Bake Or Microwave Crayola Air Dry Clay:
Crayola Air Dry Clay dries on its own and doesn’t require very high firing or baking temperature. Even if you plan to speed up its drying process, do not place it inside an oven or microwave. When exposed to high heat, the air-dry clay might end up getting overcooked or even burned.
- Avoid Using Hair Dryer:
Just like baking or microwaving, it is pertinent that you avoid using a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. The dry air can cause over-drying and the piece might lose its structural integrity or texture.
- Do Not Freeze Air-Dry Clay:
While freezing the Crayola Air Dry Clay does harden it, the process cannot be termed as drying. Freezing this clay can make it brittle and highly prone to cracking when thawed. This will make the clay unsuitable for any creative projects.
- Avoid Reusing Dried Clay:
If your project wasn’t successful and the clay has already dried, it is better to throw it away rather than use it for another project. Air-dry clay that has already dried tends to be susceptible to cracking and is very brittle. So, always work with fresh and new Crayola Air Dry Clay.
Crayola Air-Dry Clay, when used right, can give you some of the most unique and magnificent-looking artworks. However, these tips are to be followed strictly if you wish to master this medium with precision. Avoid harmful methods like microwaving or freezing your clay and let it dry naturally in a well-ventilated space.