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*All images and words copyright of Diane Dobson-Barton dba as Barton Studio 2002-2007

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Conditioning Polymer Clay

Condition your clay of choice until it is soft and pliable. If you have never done this, it is an important step requiring you to warm and mix the clay in preparation for use. Not conditioning well can create a sculpture that is weak. The image on the right shows under-conditioned clay and conditioned the later being to the right.

I recommend you use a dedicated pasta machine. Or you can roll the clay into a thick snake, fold the snake into two, twist the ends around each other and roll it back out again. Keep repeating this, until the clay is adequately conditioned.

If you find that your clay is too soft to use, you can leach the oil out.

  • Roll the clay through the pasta machine and sandwich it between at least two pieces of paper.
  • Lay a sheet of freezer paper on top of the ‘sandwich’.
  • Set something of a larger size such as a heavy book on top and leave it overnight.  The paper will draw out the oil in the clay as shown below.
  • Check the next day for clay softness.  If it still is too soft, repeat the steps above.