Thursday, October 15, 2009

Going "green" with my scrap clay

One of the things I love about working with polymer clay is there is very little wastage of materials.  I'm a pretty frugal person and want to do my part to save the environment so I hate throwing unnecessary things away and try to recycle and reuse any time I can.  Every polymer clay artist ends up with scrap clay and the neat thing is that it never gets thrown out!  It can always be reused in some way and so I thought I would start a series of ideas on what I do with it.  If anyone has other tips to add or links to share, we'd love it if you leave a comment.

While I'm claying, I generally throw my scraps in a container.  I like this pencil case as the plastic doesn't react with the clay and it has a lid to help keep any dust or lint out.  I don't worry too much about mixing it yet but try to keep the colors separate.

My clay pile was overflowing the other day -- in fact I ended up with 2 boxes full so decided it was time to do something with it.  You can just grab any clay and mix them and end up with all sorts of "mud" colors (browns, etc.) but I like to see what new colors I can end up with.

I first like to sort my clay by colors -- greens, pinks/reds, blues, browns/golds, silver/black, yellows, oranges.  If I don't have enough of a certain color for a pile then I will either set it aside and save it for later or add it to a pile I think will mix in well and not create a mud.

When I have a pile that is too much to mix I will then separate that pile further.  Here I had a lot of pinks so I divided it into light and dark.

I then decided it was still too much, so I divided the pinks into 3 piles and here I now have 3 shades of pink -- one dark and 2 lighter mixes.

I kept mixing my other clay piles the same way and here are all the clay sheets in a variety of colors I ended up with.

Now to store my clay for later use ...   You can wrap them in plastic wrap if you wish.  I like to separate my sheets with pieces of parchment paper to keep them from sticking together and stack them in a basket that I have handy on my table.

Tomorrow I will share more with you on what I can do with all this clay.


Dora said...

I do the same thing with my scrap clay ! I mix leftovers to make new colors....I roll them into sheets and use plastic deli film to store the sheets. I roll them up so they look like a burrito...
Of course I have a lot more 'mud clay' than mixed colors...Pounds of it, in fact..
I look forward to hearing about what you do with scrap clay, I'm always looking for ideas!

AlmondJoy said...

With all those new pretty sheets of solid colors it's not really scrap clay anymore is it? What a great way to "recycle" leftovers.

2 Good Claymates said...

Ah Dora, that is a neat way to store your clay -- never thought of that before.

Joy, you're right! They aren't scrap clay anymore really -- and sometimes I end up with some really cool colors afterwards.

ODD imagination said...

Wonderful and look at all the pretty "new" colors you have to play with!

I use my "mud" scrap clay as a base and put "pretty clay" over it.

zabica67 said...

Hi there!It is true - the most beautiful colours come out of scrap! I am keeping my scrap in small glass jars separated by color (all yellow pars together, all red parts together....). This is idea of Spanish polymer clay instructor Natalia Garcia. And it works for me!
Regards from Slovenia!

Arlene Harrison said...

I love to use bits and pieces of "scrap" clay to make layers for mokume gane blocks. You get a nice abstract look with a rainbow of colors running though.

I also use scrap clay that has been mixed to mud to "tone" the color in "straight out of the package" clay. It gives it a more natural look.

And, of course, I use scrap clay to make texture sticks. I use these all the time!!

Sandy said...

I love this idea!!!! I might have to try it. I always end up with the browns.

Zuisia said...

When I end up with too much "mud," I make beads, pendants, etc., and bake them. Then I cover them with canes or sheets of clay and rebake.

Zuisia said...

When I end up with too much "mud," I make all different sorts and sizes of beads, bake them, the use them to cover with canes or sheets of clay and rebake them.