Thursday, March 13, 2014

Looking for Air Pockets in Lump Clay

Many of us add glycerine to the PMC lump clay to make it more flexible. I add it when making rings, pendant bails, and for using with the Silhouette CAMEO® machine.

The small dark spots are actually air pockets

I recycle my clay dust, crumbles, and leftovers into new lump clay by adding water to it and rolling it between a plastic report cover until it returns to the lump clay consistency. Any glycerine that has been added to the clay previously is still in the clay, don't be tempted to add more or you may end up with small air pockets! 

Here is a sheet of clay I rolled out for cutting on the Silhouette CAMEO® machine. The small domes and dark gray spots are trapped air. I mixed non-glycerine clay with glycerine clay and added some additional glycerine. This is what I ended up with. No matter how much I rolled it or added water, I could not get rid of the air pockets.

Opened air pocket in the clay.

In this photo I opened up one of those gray spots to find a small hole.

So, what can be done about this? Add new fresh lump clay, mixing it into the old clay by rolling it as flat as possible between a clear plastic report cover, fold it into itself and repeat these steps until the clay is completely mixed. You may need to add distilled water to the clay, as well, to achieve the correct consistency.

Until next time, have fun claying around!

by Janet Alexander 
Technical Adviser


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