How To Store Polymer Clay And Keep It Fresh

There are so many things that can be made from polymer clay, including jewelry, planters, ornaments, miniature figurines, and magnets, among other things. But if you’re a polymer clay crafter, the last thing you want is for your clay to dry out due to improper storage. How can you store polymer clay and keep it fresh? We’ve done the research to answer this question.

Polymer clay should be wrapped or covered to prevent it from drying out or becoming dirty. It’s best to cover it in wax paper or certain types of plastic wrap. You should store each color individually to keep the colors from blending together.

Although wrapping the clay up is the easiest and best way to store it, it isn’t the only way. You want to make sure you protect it from dirt and lint and store it in an area where it won’t dry prematurely. To learn how to store polymer clay properly, please continue reading.

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A woman holding polymer clay and forming it to something, How To Store Polymer Clay And Keep It Fresh

How To Store Polymer Clay

If you’ve ever worked with polymer clay, you’re aware of the purpose of making sure the work area is clean. After all, it seems like anything can stick to polymer clay. But dust, lint, dirt, and hair can seem almost impossible to remove from the clay.

Small packs of polymer clay on the table

But getting dirt on your clay isn’t the only thing you want to avoid when storing it. You also want to make sure that it doesn’t harden or dry out. It is possible to soften hardened polymer clay, but that involves extra work that can be avoided by storing the clay properly.

There are several ways that you can store polymer clay. Here are some of the best recommendations for storing it in a way so that it stays fresh.

Wrap It Up

One of the easiest ways to store polymer clay is to wrap it up after use. However, you want to be careful what you wrap it up in because the clay can stick to certain materials. You’ll also want to make sure to wrap each color of polymer clay up separately so that the clay doesn’t stick to other colors.

Wax Paper

Wax paper is usually the safest bet for wrapping up polymer clay. Because wax paper is coated, the polymer clay will not stick to and bond with the wax paper. What’s even better is that you can use one piece of wax paper over and over again to wrap the clay.

Aluminum Foil

Another material that you can use for wrapping up polymer clay is aluminum foil. However, the problem with aluminum foil is that polymer clay could stick to the aluminum foil if the foil is too crinkled. You may only be able to use a single piece of aluminum foil a few times to wrap your clay.

It is best to use aluminum foil that is as flat as possible to prevent the clay from sticking. You’ll want to make sure that you fold the foil around the clay instead of plastic the foil inside and crinkling the foil around the clay.

When wrapping polymer clay with aluminum foil, make sure that you place the clay on the dull side of the foil. When you wrap the foil around the clay, the shiny side of the foil should be on the outside.

Can You Store Polymer Clay In Plastic Wrap?

Plastic wrap is another option you have for wrapping polymer clay. However, you have to be careful about what type of plastic wrap you use. According to polymer clay maker Sculpey, raw polymer clay can bond to and melt some types of plastic.

Plastic wrap made from polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) plastic is the best type to use for storing polymer clay. How do you know that plastic wrap is made from polyethylene or polypropylene? Look for a #1 or #5 inside the recycling symbol located somewhere on the box (which may also say PE instead of #1 or PP instead of #5).

A woman wearing gloves and making a small dressed doll made from polymer clay

Plastics such as PVC (#3), polystyrene (#6), and polycarbonates and acrylics (#7) are not to be used to store or wrap polymer clay. Storing polymer clay in plastic wrap or containers made from any of those plastics can cause the plastic to soften. This will make the storage method ineffective.

Resealable Bags

Another option you have for storing polymer clay is resealable plastic bags. But, you want to make sure that the bag isn’t made of #3, #6, or #7 plastic (look inside the recycling symbol).

One of the great things about resealable bags is that they do a great job of keeping out dust, dirt, and lint. Plus, you can easily see what color or type of clay is in the bag, and the bags can be easily labeled.

Plastic Containers

You can also store uncured polymer clay in closeable plastic containers. They work similarly to plastic bags in that they keep out dirt, lint, and moisture. And, you can easily see of label what is inside.

The thing about plastic containers is that they can be made from many different types of plastic. Only use plastic containers made from #5 plastic polypropylene for storing unwrapped polymer clay. You can use other types of plastic containers as long as you wrap the clay in a safe material first.

Does Polymer Clay Require An Airtight Container?

Polymer clay doesn’t need to be stored in an airtight container. The reason is that the clay doesn’t contain water, so it will not dry out in the presence of air due to evaporation. 

If you choose to store your polymer clay in a resealable bag or plastic container, don’t worry about it not being completely airtight. This will not affect how long the clay lasts or cause it to dry out.

Where To Store Polymer Clay

A red mini fridge on the table

When storing polymer clay, you want to keep it away from windows or a heat source. Heat and sunlight can cause the clay to dry out. Instead, keep it in a cool, dark place such as a cabinet or closet. Some people even choose to store it in the refrigerator to ensure that it stays cool.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Polymer Clay?

As long as polymer clay is stored correctly, it can last for an indefinite amount of time. It is thought that polymer clay can even last up to 10 years or longer.

However, if polymer clay isn’t stored correctly, the shelf life is shortened. The exact amount of time polymer clay will last if improperly stored just depends on how long the clay was exposed to heat, dirt, or another factor that could cause it to go bad. This could be a few days or a few weeks.

See More: Can Polymer Clay Get Wet? Is It Waterproof After Baking?

Can You Store Polymer Clay In Ziploc Bags?

It is safe to store polymer clay in Ziploc bags because they are made from polyethylene plastic. Remember that polyethylene is one of the types of plastic that polymer clay won’t stick to. 

You can also store polymer clay in Ziploc plastic containers because those are usually made from polypropylene. But if you’d rather be safe than sorry, you can always wrap the clay up in wax paper before putting it into a Ziploc bag or container.

Click here to see these Ziploc containers on Amazon.

Can You Leave Polymer Clay Out Overnight?

According to Sculpey, polymer clay will not harden if left at room temperature and kept away from a heat source. With that being said, it should be safe to leave polymer clay out overnight as long as you keep it away from a heat source such as a radiator or heating fit.

Different colored polymer clay on a white table

If you need to leave polymer clay out overnight and are worried about it hardening, you can always place your creation on some wax paper and put it away in a storage cabinet. That way, it will stay safe until you can return to it.

How Long Can You Leave Polymer Clay Before Baking?

A light pink colored leaf made from polymer clay

Just like with leaving polymer clay out overnight, it is safe to leave it out before baking it. The polymer clay will not harden as long as it is left out at room temperature, so you can leave it for a few hours before baking if necessary. Avoid placing it near a heat source before baking because it will harden.

See More: Can Polymer Clay Air Dry Without Baking?

Conclusion

A woman holding polymer clay and forming it to something

When storing polymer clay, you want to make sure that you keep it away from a heat source such as a window or heater. You can store it by wrapping it up or placing it in resealable containers. You want to avoid certain types of plastic that the clay can stick to.  Then put it in a cabinet or the fridge to keep it cool. Thanks for reading!

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