How to make Polymer Clay softer?

  • By: Michael Smith
  • Date: January 6, 2023
  • Time to read: 18 min.
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Polymer clay is a great material for crafting projects, but it can sometimes be too hard to work with. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can soften polymer clay so that it is easier to manipulate. The first method involves using heat. Heat will make the polymer clay softer and more malleable without changing its color or texture. To do this, simply place the clay in an oven or use a heat gun to apply gentle heat until it becomes soft enough for your purposes.

Another way to soften polymer clay is by adding a few drops of mineral oil or vegetable oil into the mix before kneading. This will make the clay smoother and pliable while also making it less likely to crack when being shaped and molded. You can also add a few drops of glycerin or lemon juice to the clay for further softening. Finally, you can try kneading the clay with your bare hands; this will help warm up the material and make it easier to work with.Polymer Clay

No matter which method you choose, having polymer clay that is softer and more pliable makes crafting projects much easier. With a little bit of effort, you can ensure that your polymer clay is just the right consistency for any project!

Understanding the characteristics of Polymer Clay

Polymer clay is a versatile and pliable material used for crafting, sculpting and jewelrymaking. It comes in many colors, textures and forms, making it an ideal choice for creative projects. However, polymer clay can become brittle or hard over time. This can make it difficult to manipulate the clay into the desired shape. Fortunately, there are several methods to keep your polymer clay soft and pliable for optimal use.

Factors that affect the hardness of Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay is a versatile material that can be used for everything from jewelry to sculptures. Its usability and availability have made it increasingly popular among hobbyists and artists. However, the hardness of polymer clay can vary depending on several different factors.

The length of time you leave the clay out will affect its hardness. If exposed to heat or moisture for an extended period, the polymer molecules found in the clay may expand which makes the clay softer. The temperature at which you work with the clay also affects its hardness: warm temperatures tend to make it softer while cooler temperatures make it harder. Finally, how much air gets trapped in the clay while working with it will also affect its hardness – too much air will make it soft, while too little will make it hard.

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Using the right combination of these factors, you can achieve a softer polymer clay that can be easily worked with and molded into your desired shapes and designs. Just remember to keep a close eye on the temperature and humidity levels while working with polymer clay, as they can both affect the hardness of the material. With a bit of practice, you should be able to find the perfect combination for creating soft and pliable polymer clay that is perfect for any project!

Methods for conditioning Polymer Clay

Polymer clay is a versatile material that is easy to work with and comes in a variety of colors. While it can be used straight from the package, sometimes it needs to be softened before use. Here are some ways to condition polymer clay:

  1. Kneading – One of the traditional methods of conditioning polymer clay is by kneading. This involves working the clay with your hands until it softens and becomes more pliable.
  2. Rolling Pin – Another way to condition polymer clay is to roll it back and forth with a rolling pin until it starts to become softer and easier to work with.
  3. Microwave – If you’re short on time, one way to soften polymer clay is to place the clay in a microwave-safe container and heat it for a few seconds. Be sure not to overheat the clay as it can become too soft and lose its shape.
  4. Oven – For larger pieces of polymer, you can place them on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 200F. Bake for about 15 minutes and remove from the oven when it’s softened.
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No matter which method you choose, conditioning polymer clay is an important part of the crafting process and will ensure that your projects come out looking great!Polymer Clay

Happy Crafting!

Techniques for warming up Polymer Clay

  1. Heat Gun/Hair Dryer – This is the most common and easy to use method for softening polymer clay. You can heat it for about 5-10 seconds until it becomes malleable enough to work with. Be sure not to overheat the clay, as this can cause damage. Additionally, wearing protective gloves is a must when handling hot clay!
  2. Hot Water Bath – Submerging your clays in hot water for a few minutes can help soften them up. Make sure the container you’re using has plenty of room for expansion of the clay pieces and that you are submerging them completely in hot water (not just partially).
  3. Microwave Heating – This is a relatively quick and effective way to warm up your clay. Place the clay inside of a microwave-safe container and heat it for 10-15 seconds on high. Be sure to keep an eye on it, as microwaves can overheat the clay if left unattended for too long.
  4. Oven Baking – This is another great method for softening polymer clay that requires less manual effort than the other methods mentioned here. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake your clays in there for 5 minutes or until they are pliable enough to work with. However, be sure not to leave them in too long, otherwise they may become brittle and unusable!

No matter which technique you use, always keep in mind that too much heating can cause damage to your polymer clay. Try out different methods and times until you find the one that works best for you. With a little patience and practice, you’ll be able to make your polymer clay as soft and pliable as possible!

Importance of using a Clay softener

It is important to use a clay softener when working with polymer clay as it can make the clay easier to manipulate. This is particularly useful for sculpting shapes, and creating intricate details in artwork. The softener also helps reduce cracking that can occur when pressed or manipulated, especially if the clay has been exposed to extreme temperatures. Additionally, using a softener will prevent the clay from sticking too much to tools and surfaces during crafting. Clay softeners are available in both liquid and powder form, although most people prefer the liquid version since it is much easier to use.

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Benefits of using a pasta machine to soften Polymer Clay

Using a pasta machine is one of the best methods to soften polymer clay. It is incredibly easy and efficient, and there are several benefits:

  1. Sturdy Clay. The most obvious benefit of using a pasta machine is that it creates a much sturdier clay that can be used for intricate projects. This type of clay maintains its shape after being rolled out into thin sheets, making it ideal for complex sculptures or other applications requiring precision.
  2. Uniform Consistency. By passing the clay through the pasta machine multiple times, you can ensure that your clay has an even consistency throughout. This makes it easier to manipulate and work with since all parts are equally soft and pliable.
  3. Time and Money Savings. Using a pasta machine to soften clay is incredibly easy and efficient, saving both time and money. This means that you can craft multiple projects much more quickly, without having to worry about the quality or consistency of your clay.
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Using a pasta machine to soften polymer clay is an effective and convenient way to make sure your projects turn out perfect every time. With its sturdy results, uniform consistency, and convenience – it’s no wonder why this method is becoming increasingly popular amongst crafters!

Techniques for kneading Polymer Clay to make it softer

  1. Warm it up: To soften polymer clay, the easiest and most common method is to simply warm it up. This can be done by holding it in your hands for a few minutes or by using a heat lamp, hairdryer, or baking oven at low temperatures (under 250°F). When the clay warms up, it will become much more pliable and easier to work with.
  2. Steam treatment: Another way to make polymer clay softer is to use steam. Heat up some water in a pot on the stove until it boils and then place the clay in a container that’s been lined with foil so that no moisture gets into the clay itself. Carefully place this container over the boiling water and the steam will warm up the clay.
  3. Add oil: Adding a few drops of mineral or vegetable oil to your polymer clay can also help to make it softer and more malleable. Just knead in a few drops until the oil is evenly distributed throughout the clay, then start working with it as usual. Oil should be avoided if you’re baking your clay as it could cause it to smoke while in the oven.
  4. Use a pasta machine: If you are experienced with polymer clay, you may want to try using a pasta machine to soften the clay before sculpting or forming shapes with it. This is because running the clay through the rollers helps to compress and even out any air bubbles or inconsistencies that may be present in the clay.
  5. Add polymer clay softener: For a quicker and easier solution, you can purchase specially formulated polymer clay softeners that are designed to make the clay more pliable without adding any moisture or oil. These products work by introducing small amounts of plasticizers into the clay which helps to reduce its stiffness and makes it softer and less likely to crack when worked with or baked.

Using any of these methods should help you get your polymer clay soft enough so that you can easily mold and shape it into whatever design or form you desire! Just remember never to heat up the polymer clay too much as this could cause it to melt or burn, potentially ruining your project! Additionally, be sure not to add too much oil or softener as this can make the clay sticky and difficult to work with. With these tips in mind, you should be able to get your polymer clay just right for any project! Good luck!

Advantages of adding fillers to soften Polymer Clay

When using polymer clay, people sometimes find that it is too hard to work with and shape. One way to make the clay easier to work with is by adding fillers. Fillers can help soften the clay while adding strength, elasticity and durability. Here are some of the benefits of adding fillers:

  1. Reduced cracking – Fillers add strength and resilience to the clay which can reduce the risk of cracking or breakage during use.
  2. Increased pliability – Fillers help make polymer clay more malleable and easier to shape into whatever form you want it in.
  3. Reduced cost – Adding filler ingredients such as baking soda and talc powder helps to lower the cost of polymer clay since these ingredients are cheaper than actual polymer clay.

Using fillers to soften polymer clay is an effective and economical way to improve its properties and make it easier to use. They can help you create better products and get more out of your clay!

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Strategies for avoiding common mistakes that lead to hard Polymer Clay

One of the most common mistakes that can lead to hard Polymer Clay is not conditioning it properly. To condition Polymer Clay, you need to knead and roll it until it becomes soft and pliable. If you don’t condition your clay long enough, it will be too stiff and difficult to work with. It’s also important to make sure you are working on a clean surface so that no dust or dirt gets incorporated into the clay as you work with it.Polymer Clay

Another mistake people often make is storing their clay in a way that causes it to dry out faster than usual. For instance, storing your clay in an airtight container where moisture cannot escape will quickly dry out the clay and make it less malleable. To avoid this, you should store your clay in a container that is well-ventilated and out of direct sunlight.

It’s also important to use the right tools when working with Polymer Clay. Using hard tools such as metal cutters or knives can cause the clay to become harder instead of softer. Instead, opt for soft tools like acrylic rolling pins, rubber blades and plastic shapers which are designed to be gentler on the clay and will help keep it pliable.

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Finally, you should make sure that you don’t overwork your clay or expose it to too much heat during baking. Too much manipulation can make the polymer chains break down and lead to a hard end product. Similarly, baking your clay at too high of a temperature can also cause it to become overly hard. To prevent this, you should follow the instructions for the particular type of clay you’re using and use an oven thermometer to ensure that you are baking within the recommended temperature range.

By following these tips, you can avoid common mistakes that lead to hard Polymer Clay and ensure that your projects turn out soft and pliable every time!

Tips for storing Polymer Clay to maintain its softness

Polymer clay maintains its softness best when stored in an airtight container with a light dusting of cornstarch or talcum powder. This will help keep the clay from drying out, and it will also reduce the amount of stickiness that you experience when working with it. If you don’t have an airtight container, you can wrap your polymer clay in plastic wrap to help keep the moisture in.

Another tip is to store unused pieces of clay inside a zip-top baggie with a damp paper towel lining the bottom; this will help maintain the moisture content within the bag and prevent cracking or dryness. You should also avoid exposing your polymer clay to extreme temperatures; if it gets too hot or cold, it will become brittle and break easily.

Finally, when storing polymer clay for long periods of time, it’s recommended that you place the clay in an airtight container filled with cornstarch or talcum powder to protect it from drying out. With these simple tips, you can keep your polymer clay soft and pliable for years to come!

Understanding the impact of humidity on Polymer Clay

Using a polymer clay that is too hard to work with can be incredibly frustrating. It does not have the same malleability and ability to form shapes as its softer counterpart, and this means that for many projects, it simply won’t do. The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to make your polymer clay softer and easier to work with.

One of the most important factors in making polymer clay softer is understanding how humidity impacts the material. Polymer clays absorb moisture from the air around them, which makes them pliable and malleable. Higher levels of humidity will make the clay more compliant, while low levels cause it to dry out and become brittle or harden over time.

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How to revive old, hard Polymer Clay?

Sometimes, polymer clay can become hard over time. If a piece of polymer clay is too dry, it can be difficult to work with and the pieces will be brittle and break easily. However, you don’t have to throw away your old clay! There are several methods for making old polymer clay softer so that it is easier to shape and manipulate.

One way to make an old piece of polymer clay more pliable is by using heat. This method makes the molecules in the clay more active, allowing them to move around more freely which makes them easier to work with. You can use a craft heat gun or even just a hair dryer on its lowest setting to heat up the clay until it becomes malleable again.

Another method to soften old polymer clay is by adding a small amount of mineral oil. Simply mix the mineral oil into the clay until it’s evenly distributed and then knead it for several minutes until it becomes soft again. The added oil will also help keep your clay from drying out too quickly in the future.

If you need to revive an entire block of hard polymer clay, put the whole block in a sealed plastic bag with some water and let it sit overnight. This will rehydrate the clay and make it easier to work with.Polymer Clay

Finally, if all else fails, you can try mixing your old, hard polymer clay with fresh new clay. This should give your mixture enough suppleness to work with without having to resort to heat or other chemicals.

No matter which method you choose, with a little bit of effort and patience your old polymer clay can be brought back to life!

Methods for preventing Polymer Clay from becoming too soft

Polymer clay is an effective medium for creating complex sculptures and models, but it can become too soft when exposed to heat or humidity. Fortunately, there are several methods that can be used to prevent polymer clay from becoming too soft.

  1. Avoid direct sunlight and excessive heat. Polymer clay is sensitive to warmth and will quickly become softer if left in direct sunlight or near any source of heat. It’s best to store your polymer clay in a cool, dry place away from windows where the sun may directly hit it.
  2. Use a sealant. A sealant will protect your polymer clay from moisture and keep its shape intact even in humid conditions. Be sure to use a water-based acrylic sealant designed specifically for polymer clay.
  3. Keep it in an airtight container. Keeping your polymer clay in an airtight container is a great way to protect it from humidity and moisture that can cause it to become soft. Make sure the container is made of a non-porous material, such as glass or plastic, to ensure that no moisture can penetrate the surface of the container.
  4. Bake your polymer clay before use. Baking will harden the surface of your polymer clay and make it more resistant to heat and humidity. Be sure to follow all instructions provided with your specific type of polymer clay when baking, as each type may require different temperatures and baking times.

Using heat tools to soften Polymer Clay

One of the best ways to make polymer clay softer is by using heat tools. Heat from a stove, oven, or other source can be used to melt and soften the clay, allowing it to become malleable and easier to work with. If you are comfortable using these tools and have appropriate safety gear such as gloves and goggles, this is an effective way for softening polymer clay. Be sure not to overheat the clay as this may cause permanent damage. To avoid any mishaps, ensure that you monitor the temperature of your heat tool regularly while using it. Additionally, never leave a heat tool unattended while it is in use!

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Another option for softening polymer clay without direct heat is by using steam. This process is a bit more involved, but it can be effective if done correctly. You will need to find a large pot or container with a tight-fitting lid and fill it with water. Place the polymer clay into the container and place the lid on top, making sure to secure it tightly. Then, bring the pot of water to a boil over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat source when finished and wait for the steam to cool before handling your now softer polymer clay!Polymer Clay

With either method of softening polymer clay, be sure to work quickly so that you don’t overheat or damage your material. Additionally, always wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles when working with heated materials of any kind!

Different types of Clay softeners and their effects on Polymer Clay

Polymer clay can be softened in a variety of ways, using different softening agents.

  1. Heat – Using heat to soften polymer clay is the most common and effective way to get it malleable. For smaller batches, you can use a hair dryer set on low or medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, while larger chunks can be microwaved for 30 seconds at a time. Be careful not to overheat your clay or it will become brittle and break apart easily.
  2. Clay Softener – There are several commercial clay softeners on the market that are designed specifically for softening polymer clays such as Kato Polyclay Softener or Sculpey Firma Softener. These are applied directly to the clay and can last up to a few weeks before needing to be reapplied.
  3. Mineral Oil – Mineral oil is often used as an alternative softener for polymer clay. It works by breaking down the clay molecules, allowing them to move around more freely, while also preventing it from drying out too quickly. To use it, simply add a few drops of mineral oil onto your partially hardened clay and knead it.
  4. Baby Oil – Another way to soften polymer clays is by using baby oil. Unlike mineral oil, which needs to be re-applied frequently, baby oil can provide long-term protection for your project since it won’t evaporate or break down like other softening agents. To use it, simply add a few drops of baby oil onto your partially hardened clay and knead it.

By using any of these methods, you can easily soften polymer clay to make it easier to work with. However, be sure to take proper safety precautions when working with any type of softening agent and always keep them away from children and pets. Additionally, be sure to store your project in an air-tight container when not in use to prevent it from hardening again prematurely.

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How to make polymer clay softer?

Polymer clay can be softened in several ways. One way to soften it is by warming the clay with a hairdryer set on low heat. Another way to soften polymer clay is to knead it with your hands or roll it out with a rolling pin until it becomes pliable. Lastly, you can add vegetable oil into the clay and mix it thoroughly until it reaches the desired softness. This method works best for hard clays that have dried out over time. Whichever option you choose, always keep in mind that heating or adding oils may slightly change the color of the polymer clay. So, use caution and test a small piece before working on your project.

Will polymer clay dry out?

Yes, polymer clay can dry out if it is exposed to air for too long. For best results, make sure your clay is stored in an airtight container and kept away from heat or direct sunlight when not in use. Also, consider adding a few drops of vegetable oil into the clay prior to storage. This will help maintain its texture and condition over time.

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How do you clean polymer clay tools?

After working with polymer clay, it’s important to clean your tools and surfaces thoroughly. The easiest way to do this is by using a damp cloth or paper towel and some warm water. You may also want to consider using some mild soap or rubbing alcohol for more stubborn dirt or residue. Make sure the tools are completely dry before storing them away. Additionally, you may also want to consider using a dedicated set of tools that are only used for polymer clay projects. This will help reduce the risk of contamination and cross-contamination between projects.

Can I bake polymer clay in my oven?

Yes, you can bake your polymer clay creations in an oven as long as it is set to the proper temperature—about 265°F (129°C). However, be aware that some clays require higher temperatures, so always check the manufacturer’s instructions before baking your project. It’s also important to remember to use parchment paper or a dedicated polymer clay baking sheet when baking, as this will help protect your oven and prevent any damage. Additionally, you should never bake polymer clay on aluminum foil or in the microwave.


In conclusion, making polymer clay softer is a relatively simple process that can help you create more detailed and intricate sculptures. All of the methods discussed above are effective in softening the clay, but it may take some trial and error to find which method works best for you. Some clay may require more or less time than others to achieve the desired softness, so make sure to experiment with different techniques until you find the one that works for your specific project. With patience, dedication and experience, anyone can learn how to make polymer clay softer and craft beautiful sculptures from this versatile material!

We hope this guide has been helpful in demonstrating how easy it is to soften polymer clay. Have fun crafting!

Happy sculpting!

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