Scrap Clay is an ever growing constant for every polymer clay user. Every project has a few unused ‘ends’. When you create a clay-covered pen, reduce a millefiori cane, create props or costumes for your sculptures… the list goes on.
In the past I’d simply combine my scraps into an unattractive brownish lump. All the beautiful colors would mix together and get lost forever. This lump was ideal of creating support structures for larger pieces, however it always feels like such a waste of beautiful color.
In search for a few blue scraps to use in my Fairy Door project I remembered a fun tutorial on KatersAcres.com about grouping clay scraps into similar colors -> No Such Thing As Scrap Clay. Here is my application of her technique.
Sorting the Clay Scraps
The key to ‘beautiful scraps’ (translation non-brown muck) is to sort the clay by color. You can refer to the color wheel when sorting, or simply go by what you like and see. Brown is the result of all 3 primary colors being mixed together, so as long as you group your scraps by general family you should be ok.
I sorted my scraps by first separating granitex clay (which I use for sock monkies) from the regular clay. I then separate the dark and light colors into general families. Can you spot the teddy bear face? (let me know in the comments below)
Depending on your own scrap pile you can keep your colors very separated for smaller balls of clay, or lump all major scraps together for a larger ball of clay. For example I chose to keep the different reds and pinks separated, however they would have gone very well together if I grouped them all.
Turning a Ball of Scrap Into a Beautiful Clay Ball
Now for the fun part. Here’s how to turn the ball of scrap into a beautiful and usable ball of clay. Here are the steps, (see images below) as demonstrated with my ‘reds’ pile featuring some old tomato and citrus cane ends
- Start the conditioning process by squeezing the scraps together in your hand.
- Roll the scraps into a ball
- Mix and condition the scraps till you get a single consistent color. I use a pasta machine but you can try rolling and twisting by hand until the colors start to blend into a single solid color
- Roll your new beautiful scrap color into a ball and store for use in a later project
Rinse and Repeat
This is a very relaxing activity. Be sure to have some good music or good video playing in the background, or simply let your mind wander.
I repeated this process with all of my color groupings till I was left with a single group of miscellaneous scraps. It’s ok to have SOME browns, and so I mixed all of these together. Notice the beautiful patterns than emerged in the mixing process.
Just a few hours later, and 2-3 years worth of scrap clay are now beautifully conditioned and ready for re-purposing. Not only that, but my scrap container is no longer overflowing. In fact, it looks so empty I feel the need to continue sculpting to help make it look healthy and full.
And best of all, I now have a variety of blue and brown scraps to use for my Fairy Door project
What will you create with your newly ‘revived’ scrap clay? Let me know in the comments below