Cracking Clay: Air vs. Paper - 🔍Crack Analysis

When it comes to choosing between air dry clay and paper clay, one common concern is the issue of cracking. Many crafters worry about their clay creations developing unsightly cracks as they dry. So, which type of clay is more prone to cracking? Let's explore this question in more detail.

Air dry clay and paper clay are both popular choices for crafting projects, but they have some key differences. Air dry clay, as the name suggests, dries and hardens when exposed to air. It doesn't require baking or firing in a kiln like other types of clay. On the other hand, paper clay is a type of air dry clay that contains cellulose fibers, which give it added strength and durability.

Now, let's talk about cracking. Both air dry clay and paper clay can develop cracks if not handled properly. However, there are some factors that can increase the likelihood of cracking.

One factor to consider is the thickness of the clay. Thicker pieces of clay are more prone to cracking because the outer layers dry faster than the inner layers. To prevent this, it's important to ensure even drying by allowing your clay creation to dry slowly and evenly. You can do this by covering it loosely with a plastic bag or damp cloth while it dries.

Another factor that can contribute to cracking is the amount of water in the clay. If the clay is too wet, it can shrink and crack as it dries. On the other hand, if the clay is too dry, it can become brittle and crack. Finding the right balance is key. If your clay is too wet, you can let it sit out for a while to dry slightly before working with it. If it's too dry, you can add a small amount of water and knead it until it reaches the desired consistency.

Additionally, the type of clay you choose can also affect its tendency to crack. Air dry clay, in general, is more prone to cracking than polymer clay or kiln-fired clay. This is because air dry clay doesn't have the same level of strength and durability as these other types of clay. However, paper clay, with its added cellulose fibers, tends to be more resistant to cracking compared to regular air dry clay.

To minimize the risk of cracking, here are some tips to keep in mind, which are further detailed in our guide on storing and preserving your clay art pieces:

1. Work with thinner layers of clay to ensure even drying.

2. Keep the clay moist by misting it with water or covering it with a damp cloth while working.

3. Allow your clay creation to dry slowly and evenly by covering it loosely with a plastic bag or damp cloth.

4. Avoid sudden temperature changes, as they can cause the clay to crack.

5. Consider using a clay conditioner or softener to improve the clay's elasticity and reduce the risk of cracking.

In conclusion, both air dry clay and paper clay can develop cracks if not handled properly. However, by following these tips and taking the necessary precautions, you can minimize the risk of cracking and create beautiful, crack-free clay creations.

Lila Claybourne
air dry clay, sculpture, home decor, mixed media

Lila Claybourne is an experienced air dry clay artist who enjoys creating whimsical sculptures and home decor items. She has a keen eye for detail and loves to experiment with various textures and finishes.