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How to Harden Non-Hardening Clay?


There are certain cases when you need to harden a non-hardening clay. As you know, there are clays that harden with heat and the others do not but only by using other methods. However, you shouldn’t do any of the methods we’re going to discuss in the following unless you know what your clay type is.

As remember, there are also different clay types, and each of them will need a certain drying or baking. It is why the first thing you need to know is the kind of clay you’re using. Once done, you can check out the following for ways on how to harden non-hardening clay.

Using an oven to harden your non-hardening clay

First, check out and read the label instructions to determine the baking temperature of the clay you’d harden because it varies based on the color and type of the clay. You can check for the basic instructions on the package or the manufacturer’s website. This is an important step to ensure that you can harden the non-hardening clay.

When done and baking temperature has been confirmed, preheat your oven based on the specifications. Typically, most non-hardening clays are baked between 220 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When done, use a parchment paper that will serve as the holder of your clay, while it’s baking. Put the mold there, but do not place it into the metal tray directly, or it might stick. Use parchment paper.

Put the sculpture into your tray. Place your art in the center of the baking tray so that it can spread evenly. Also, don’t forget to put the metal baking tray in the center of the stove.

Do not overcook the sculpture or it will crack. It is also important that you let it cool for up to 20 minutes or until it is cooled completely. Once baking is done, wrap your work in a towel, and then cool it completely before decorating more.

Other methods of hardening a non-hardening clay

Don’t have an oven? Worry not! You can try other methods. Plus, not all clays need heat to harden. However, take note that the following processes can be hard and challenging, but not when you have already got used to them. If you do practice and master them patiently, you’ll be impressed how easy it will be to create your sculptures. So, if you’re ready, let’s get started with some of the methods to harden a non-hardening clay.

NOTE: These methods will work on modeling clays of various brands and types, so it is important to know what will work on your clay project.

1. Using portable sources of heat

Do you have a heat gun? If you do, you can use it to harden a modeling clay easily even if you don’t have an oven. However, it can be tricky to use if you are unfamiliar with it. That is why you also have to practice extreme care when using it to avoid cracking or ruining your sculpture. Some people also use a hairdryer, but it is not as effective as other methods. There is nothing wrong in giving it a try, though.

2. Using a dehumidifier

If you want to harden your sculpture but you don’t have an oven, use your home dehumidifier. What to do is to simply position the box of the modeling clay in front of a dehumidifier. It will keep the humidity levels of the clay while you’re in the process of constructing your project. You can also use a humidifier or a space heater, which can also aid in controlling the humidity levels.

3. Introducing a chemical reaction

In this method, you don’t need heat but a chemical reaction. To do this, you’ll use a white vinegar or a glue, which has been used by various artists in hardening their non-hardening modeling clay, especially for those without an oven. Typically, glue is used in most clays. To use this method, you can use a tablespoon of glue for every ½ cup of clay.

More tips

  • To avoid clays from touching each other, individually wrap them on a piece of cotton cloth. This is helpful especially when working on more clays in your hand.
  • If you’re done working on one clay project, it is better to put it on an old newspaper. Don’t just leave it on the surface where you have built in.
  • Designate a space where models that need drying should be placed. This is to avoid any accidents, such as ruining them while you’re busy working on other clays.
  • Do not put any finished clay under direct sunlight because it will cause fading on the details and colors of the
  • You might want to add cornstarch on each modeling clay before putting any ink or paint on it. Doing so can prevent the bleeding through onto other sections of the clay.
  • Do not bake plasticine or standard modeling clay. On the other hand, polymer clays can be baked; however, you must check on the manufacturer’s specific instructions before doing so for better results.

Follow these tips and make your creation times more worthwhile. They can make your life easier and avoid accidentally ruining your modeling projects.

Final thoughts

By now, you know the methods on how to harden non-hardening clay, either with an oven or another method, such as using a heat gun, a humidifier, and other sources of portable heat. However, do not attempt trying any of these without first determining the type of clay you’re working on. Also, you must determine the baking temperature of the modeling clay based on its color and type, if you’re using an oven.

Nevertheless, you can harden even a non-hardening clay with ease; just ensure following the specific instructions from the manufacturer, especially if you’re baking your modeling clay.

Did you like this article? Do you think we missed another important method in the above post? Tell us in the comments or share this post on social m media to help fellow artists looking for the same information today!

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