Keeping your clay projects moist and plastic

Our students create a variety of 3-dimensional projects and sculptures, and sometimes we work with clay.

Clay is a natural material found in the earth.  In order to keep the clay moist (slightly wet) and plastic (soft and pliable for easy modeling and shaping), it is important to take care of the clay.  Clay dries out slightly while we work on it and will dry completely if left exposed to the air for long enough.

In between classes — when the children are not working on their projects — we keep their clay sculptures moist and plastic by storing them in plastic bags.  The following video demonstrates how the children take care of their artwork at the end of each art class and how they should store clay if they use it at home.


how to store your clay to maintain moisture & plasticity from YIS Academics on Vimeo.

6 thoughts on “Keeping your clay projects moist and plastic

  1. Went to a art class today and used clay to make model sculptered and I am keeping wrapped in plastice for now, but would like to know can I paint or spray it with something to keep it from drying out to much, so I can keep it? It is not going to be put in an oven.

    Thank you,

    • Did the art class teacher not explain your options? Do you mean “keep it” as in “work in it later” (unfinished) or as in “put it on display” (finished)? Clay will eventually dry as the water evaporates. Even wrapped in plastic, it will have to be regularly sprayed with water in order to stay malleable.

  2. My Son and his kidlets 11 and 8 found, cleaned and prepared natural clay. Our holiday ended before they could begin modeling. Will plastic bag as above keep it usable for several months. My Grandmother the Potty Potter kept bags of it around but she is not here to check with.
    Rosilind Schroeder

    • Yes. Wrap clay in plastic bag tightly (no air) and then wrap again with another bag. Perhaps store it in an opaque plastic container and not in a dry environment.

    • Hello,
      I’m not sure what “modify a dry sculpture with moist clay” means. Like add a handle to a cup that is already bone-dry? I have found that to be a tricky proposition. I don’t have the expertise to answer. Same with bonding dry & moist clay — I’ve tried slip as an adhesive, but it usually fails.
      You may find better advice online in art/ceramic forums.

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