The Best Tools to Use on Your Next Air Dry Clay Project

  • Time to read: 9 min.
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Have you mastered the art of clay pottery with wheels and throwing? Do you plan to learn more about air-dry clay and the right way to craft with it? Well, as easy as crafting with air-dry clay is, you need to know the art well and practice enough with the right tools to ensure nothing goes wrong in the process. Whether you plan to create an item for the purpose of home décor or something to flaunt as jewelry, with the best and reliable tools, you can make your craft shine like nothing you have ever made.

 

So, without further ado, let us get started and decode the best tools that can be used on your next air dry clay project.

 

1-Dividers:

If you aren’t good in terms of measurements, the best way to go ahead with an air-dry clay project would be the use of dividers. Doing this helps transfer the measurements with ease from one segment of your project to another.

 

For example, if you plan to transfer any proportion from your ruler to the clay, you can do so with the help of the dividers. This would ensure accuracy and perfection, making your project look completely even from end to end.

 

2-Banding Wheel:

Moving your wet clay around for shaping up can be a nerve-racking task. This is especially true when you have to move it multiple times throughout the crafting session. With the help of a well-functional banding wheel which is similar to a throwing wheel, you can turn around the sculpture.

 

This will help you see and craft the work from different angles and sides. It is perfect for sculpting & painting as it doesn’t require your craft to be moved around with the help of your hands. This also prevents any unnecessary spots from being placed on your craft, such as fingerprints.

 

3-Wire Cutter:

When it comes to dividing the clay, a knife might not exactly be your pal in need. With a knife, you might end up with wonky cuts that are uneven at the sides or maybe even in the middle. Clay isn’t entirely solid. It is a mix of water, soil, and other chemicals that make it moldable.

 

So, cutting a block of air-dry clay with a knife wouldn’t be amazing advice. The key is to opt for a thin metallic strong known as the wire cutter. It will help you chop down the air-dry clay into pieces, and you won’t have to worry about the wonkiness of the clay.

 

4-Flat Taklon Brush for Painting:

While you might think that paintbrushes are only useful for painting, well, think again! Paint brushes, such as the Flat Taklon, are perfect for the smoothening and edging process. Not everyone is good with their hands when it comes to smoothening. To ensure you can do it right, make use of the flat Taklon brush for softening the edges & creating smooth yet hollowed-out sections. You can also flip it & use this brush along with some water to take care of any rough marks.

 

5-Spray Bottle:

If you haven’t ever used the air-dry clay for crafting a purpose, you surely know how easy and fast it dries out. However, it’s nothing to worry about. The key is to keep a spray bottle handy. Fill in water into this bottle and spray on whenever you feel the clay is starting to get hard.

 

Make sure you do not spray a lot, or the clay might become muddy, and you won’t be able to craft well. This will buy you enough time to craft with perfection without the need to hurry up.

 

6-Pottery Sponge:

Do you wish to get rid of those horrible finger marks that you left behind when crafting the air-dry clay? Well, the answer couldn’t have been simpler than this. All you need is a pottery sponge, and voila, your troubles are done for the day. When using this sponge, dab it gently in a bowl of water so that it soaks in enough water but not too much though. We do not want a runny consistency for the air-dry clay project.

 

Using the clay, you can dab around to get a smooth and finger-print free finish. A sponge is particularly ideal for areas that do not have too many details and is large enough to dab without disturbing the details. In case you are looking for a suggestion, the MudSponge Sponge Tool by MudTools is an ideal choice for your air-dry clay crafting needs. This kidney-shaped sponge will fit comfortably into your hands. Plus, it is also very durable & made out of eco-friendly materials.

 

7-Damp Towel:

If you are working on a large project, you surely would have a lot of clay lying by your side, left out to dry up without being used. In case this scenario describes you, it is best to have a damp towel by your side to wrap around the clay and keep it wet while you are working on it.

 

This helps you toggle between the sessions with ease and have a workable chunk of clay around. If you feel the towel is drying up, you can simply spray water with the use of the spray in order to replenish the water content.

 

8-Cling Film:

Talking on the topic of storage and moisture keeping, once you are done with the project, you might or might not be left with more clay. Obviously, you wouldn’t want this extra clay to go to waste. So, what should you do? Proper storage is the key. To do so, make use of a high-quality cling film and wrap it all-around your air-dry clay.

Ensure that it is air-tight. Doing this will keep your air-dry clay damp and workable for a minimum of 5 days.

 

9-Scissors:

When working with air-dry clay, you surely would want to trim around as required. With the help of scissors, you can trim your clay project quickly & leave clean, nice edges to your artwork.

 

10-Texturizing Tool:

Are you working on something with a lot of details? Well, adding textures and designs to your air-dry clay could be a tricky job. If you plan on creating effects like hair, feathers, or even fur, you can make use of the texturizer tool. In case you wish to experiment, you can make use of household items like lace, toothbrush, or comb to get similar effects.

 

 

11-Ribbon or Loop Tools:

Hollowing out certain areas or mounting clay onto another requires special tools, especially if you wish to work on smaller projects. The loop and ribbon tools come in various sizes and shapes. They are best for the hand-crafted projects because it helps in a clean removal or hollowing out of the clay or for trimming the edges without any dinginess.

 

12-Wooden Modeler:

If you haven’t scoured online shops for wooden modelers, it’s time you do that now, especially if you are working with air-dry clay. Wooden modelers are often available in sets that help you smooth out, cut, or even decorate the clay.

 

Similar to that of the ribbon tools, these modelers are perfect for hand-crafted projects, given their versatility.

 

Here are some variants of wooden modelers you can find in the market along with their uses:

Tip Shape

Uses

Sizes

Flat Chisel Helps apply & carve clay or even create flat strokes 0, 2, 6, 10, 16
Cup Chisel Ideal for smooth throwing & scoring marks. It helps create soft strokes on the edges 0, 2, 6, 10, 16
Cup Round It helps adjust the edges and contours. It also helps remove and carve clay 0, 2, 6, 10, 16
Taper Point It helps carve a pattern into glazes and slips. It also helps create clean and linear strokes or make broad cum forceful marks 0, 2, 6, 10, 16
Angle Chisel It helps create highly expressive strokes. You can work from thick clay to thin while making precise markings 0, 2, 6, 10, 16

 

 

13-Sculpting Needles:

Now, adding details to the air-dry clay, especially when you do not have a lot of time at hand, could be a tricky job. If you are creating a super-detailed sculpture with air-dry clay, you need to have access to these needles. They are an amazing option for someone who is new to the world of pottery crafting as well as the pottery maestros.

 


 

You can also use them for the purpose of trimming the edges or even putting holes into the beads that are created from air-dry clay.

 

14-Scrapers:

If you wish to create a pot or something similar with your air-dry clay, a scraper will do you good in shaping & smoothening the edges. All you need to do is place the artwork on your banding wheel and apply gentle pressure while you turn the pot around. This is especially true when you are crafting a pot with the use of the coiling method.

 

15-Hobby Knife:

Do you want to add some 3D details to your artwork? Adding extra projections and add-ons to your project would require extensive skills and focus. Without the perfect tool, you might not be able to do this with perfection.

 

To help you out, a hobby knife is an amazing choice. It will help you make some clean and intricate cuts. You can create things such as leaves, flowers, shapes, and more to be added to your pot, bowl, vase, or almost anything.

 

16-Sanding Paper:

Regardless of how well you have smoothed out the clay during the crafting process, it will still show some rough texture after it has completely dried out. Now, if you need sculptures with some rough texture, you are good to go. However, if you do not want this, you would do well by using sanding paper.

 

 

Sanding papers provide you a satin-smooth texture that helps remove the bumps or rough areas with ease. This works especially well in sections that pack in a lot of details. Sandpaper polishes only the clay’s surface, which ensures that the delicate features stay intact. In order to avoid the sanding dust from spoiling your table, make sure you cover the same with the help of a plastic cover or cloth. Additionally, make sure you wear goggles for eye protection and a mask to avoid the dust from entering the lungs.

 

17-Rollers:

For some projects, you might have to roll in the air-dry clay with the help of a rolling pin like a tool. You can find several such rollers in the market that are made of clear acrylic. These are best for rolling out the clay to create smooth and nice designs and cutouts.

 

18-Tool Organizer:

With so many tools around you, obviously, there would be chaos all around your work table. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, make sure you have a reliable tool organizer by your side. This will help you keep things organized and save time, so you don’t have to juggle with finding the right tool for crafting.

 

19-Flexible Knife/Blade:

When crafting with air-dry clay, you don’t always have to cut straight. You also need to cut in angles that can only be done when you have a flexible knife with you. These clay blades are perfect for slicing through. However, they are also perfect for creating lines for air-dry clay surfaces. It can also help you arrange the clay in the desired form or even for stacking up.

 

20-Extruding Gun:

These guns are perfect for pushing out different shapes or even long strings of air-dry clay. This inexpensive tool is similar to the cookie press. If you feel that the air-dry clay is way too hard to pass through the gun, you can add some water to the mix and soften it up a bit.

 

Conclusion

Apart from this, you can also make use of tools such as rubber stamps in case you do not want to deal with the hustle of creating designs that can easily be stamped onto the clay. If you happen to use wires in your clay model, make sure you have a plier or wire cutter around to cut off any unwanted projections or bend the wire as required.