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Topic: Clay that hardens as it dries?  (Read 748 times)
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jmk3482
« on: June 10, 2008 08:44:13 AM »

I know polymer clay needs to be baked. But does anyone recommend a brand of clay that air hardens? I'd like to make a lawn gnome but I probably couldn't bake it. I don't want to buy a mold and pour cement into it. I want to make a gnome myself. Would air hardening clay be weather resistant? Should I seal it with varnish?
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008 09:05:42 AM »

there is a terra cotta clay that Michaels sells, it air hardens and as long as you seal it with an outdoor sealant, its weather proof
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jmk3482
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008 09:16:39 AM »

Thanks, I'll look into it!
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2008 10:10:23 AM »

how hard would you need it .. I know that paper clay is air dry..plus I know that there are kids type clay that is air dry..some recipes you can make yourself with stuff that you probably already have..
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2008 11:20:19 AM »

First, polymer clay can be cured in other ways besides in an oven, though it must be heated to about 230-275 degrees for 15-45 minutes or so to cure thoroughly (depending on thickness).  It can also be applied just as an outer layer over armatures of various kinds so that it wouldn't have to be solid clay (and polymer clay that's over 1 1/4" thick actually shouldn't be used because it will take way too long to cure).
You could also make your gnome in several pieces, bake them separately, then join for the final gnome.

Other kinds of "clay" would be fine though and perhaps better depending on the size you want, so it would be best if you could describe the size and general degree of detail you want for your gnome.

Meanwhile.... "air dry clays" could cover everything from papier maches (which can be done over armatures of wire mesh** and all kinds of other things), to various air-dry clays you can buy in craft and hobby stores (expensive ones like Creative Paperclay or Makins to cheaper ones like Celluclay, Mexican Pottery Clay, etc.). 
There are also "epoxy" clays and putties ( Magic Sculpt, Aves Epoxy Sculpt, Milliput (UK),
Apoxie Sculpt, FIXIT, for example) which can be used for larger things ...those come in two parts and cure after being mixed together.
There's a load more info and links about all those clays on this page at my site:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm
(... click on Air Dry Clays... and/or on Epoxy Clays, etc.)

There's also a really cool mixture called "hypertufa" which is lightweight but strong, and can be used to make things like birdbaths, benches, lawn sculpts, planters, etc., and even inside things like lamp bases.  It can be shaped while damp, given various kinds of surface finishes, stamped, even be carved (while partly dry), and is relatively inexpensive. 
You can read about it on this page if you're interested:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/other_materials.htm
(...click on Hypertufa...)

If you're interested in more on ways to use polymer clay outdoors, you may want to check this page out as well:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/outdoor_snowglobes_fountains.htm
(...click on Outdoor...)


**I have a friend who made a life-size sheep for her patio (strong enough for kids to sit on) by building a wood frame, covering it with chicken wire, then covering that with layers of papier mache (composed of blue "shop towels" on a roll, dipped into thinned permanent white glue), which was sanded smooth after drying then painted.  Really cool.

HTH,

Diane B.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2008 11:26:40 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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jmk3482
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2008 09:17:48 AM »

I would probably want it to be about a foot tall, maybe less than that. I would like a fair amount of detail. I was thinking of forming a wire mesh cage, paper mache over that to get the basic shape, then applying air dry clay over the top for the details, especially in the face.

I want to be able to put it outside in my flower garden.
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2008 10:20:01 AM »

That's a good plan.  You might want to consider using a polymer clay or an epoxy-type clay for the face and details though rather than an air-dry clay just because air-dry clays can tend to shrink while drying, and they'll also need to be sealed to make them waterproof.


Good luck!

Diane B.
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POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
ilysa
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2008 04:22:55 AM »

I would suggest Lumina brand air dry clay. It is translucent but if I remember correctly it can get wet. Good luck!
We did a show where we used it and if you scroll down to where it says videocasts on the right hand side of the site on our site, you can view all the past shows.
Regards,
Ilysa

« Last Edit: March 02, 2012 03:27:20 PM by jungrrl » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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