Reconstituting Creative PaperClay
Did you know that when your clay dries out, whether by accident or as scrap pieces, you can still re-use it? Stick around and read further for how.
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How to reconstitute Creative PaperClay:
I've been using Creative PaperClay since 2005, I can't even remember how I found it, or where I found it. The point is.......I found it, and it's been a wonderful, creative journey ever since.
Some years ago, I was working on multiple projects. My process of sculpting is to add clay over an armature of some sort, flesh out the general shape, let it dry and then start carving away. I found myself with literally hundreds of "dried" clay bits everywhere. After sweeping up piles and piles, and mourning the loss when I tossed the piles into the trash, I had an epiphany. If you are able to rework the clay to such a degree by re-wetting the surface to adhere more clay, why not the leftover dried bits, too. After much trial and error I finally got it, and I've been saving clay ever since.....yes, I'm a clay hero......snort, snort. Fact: I know I'm not the only one to have discovered this, I just think it's worth mentioning again.
Whatever the amount that you have cast off, left-over, etc., you must first break it down.
Once you've broken it down to manageable pieces, you must further reduce the size of the pieces. The pieces must be as small as you can possibly get. Now at this point, it really depends on what type of grinder you have available. If you are a bulk user of Creative PaperClay you seriously might look into purchasing a Ninja type blender/grinder, with more than 1,000 amps, as you are most likely facing pounds of potential loss. However, if you are the occasional dabbler with the clay, then purchasing a separate coffee grinder/food processor from Goodwill is your best bet. This will be sufficient for your needs and when it wears out there's no guilt that you ruined your main usage appliance, and purchasing another is simple.
Depending on how much dried out clay you have, your best bet is to break the pile into small portions. This keeps the escaping dust cloud down to a minimum and is less stress on your grinder. Creative PaperClay is a non-toxic product, however, when performing this process it is safest to be wearing a particle mask. This saves you from inhaling any of the dust that escapes. I found this little "KitchenAid" processor at Goodwill for about $4. The plastic blade housing was a bit cracked, but still worked. I knew it wouldn't last forever, but it got me through this batch for posting purposes. Small coffee grinders tend to spin at a higher RPM and their soul purpose is grinding hard shelled coffee beans. One of these would probably be your best bet.
Process your small batches using a pulse action for the first few grinds, then you can proceed to leaving it on grind till you see the pieces reduced to powder. Depending on the size of your pieces, this process may take a few tries. I guarantee that doing this process when you are left with lot's of dried out clay, will be worth these few steps. Of course to prevent most of your clay from drying out, you should always keep it in an airtight, plastic baggy/ziplock, and be sure to mist with water occasionally if there are long periods of time in between usage of your clay.
Once you have your "powder" or even possibly your "powder with bits" you can then add water a bit at a time to bring the clay back to life, so to speak. Now in the original form, Creative PaperClay is of a wonderful consistency, and smoothness because there are most likely additives that give it this property. You will find that your reconstituted clay is of a lesser smooth consistency. This will be due to particle size differences and that some of the additive/conditioner have been depleted/broken down during the drying out phase. Your clay will still be perfectly fine for creating with, you'll just notice a difference in the consistency and texture of it.
I hope this has been helpful for you and less discouraging knowing that you are not throwing money in the garbage. Although, on average a pound of the clay costs about $10, this might not be a concern to many, but it is to those of us on fixed incomes. Have a lovely weekend.
I'll be back on Thursday, June 8th, with a fun 4th of July centerpiece tutorial.