Air Dry Clay: Is It Waterproof, Strong And Safe?

Air dry clay is a type of modeling clay that does not need to be baked in an oven.  It hardens and cures at room temperature.

It doesn’t have the same properties as other clays but has its own benefits.

Your imagination is the only limit.

Even though air dry clay is so much fun to work with, it is not waterproof but you can seal it with varnish to give your creations some protection from water and moisture.  Even though when it dries it becomes very strong it still isn’t food safe.

Air dry clay is a material that can be used in many craft projects. It can be shaped, painted, and even be used to create jewelry. The uses are endless.

Read on for more information about what air dry clay is and how it differs from other clays, and if this material is safe to use!

What Is Air Dry Clay?

The best way to describe air dry clay would be that it’s similar to play-doh but it hardens after 24 hours at room temperature, unlike play-doh once it hardens it cannot be reshaped.

Air dry clay is available in different pack sizes and many colors that can easily be painted.  It will keep kids busy for hours including big kids like me. Lol

There is no baking required; simply design your model and then allow for 24 hours per centimeter to dry at room temperature.

It is easy to smooth and will set strongly once air-dried, and then you can start decorating.

You can decorate it with acrylic paint, tempera paint and seal it with a sealer such as Mod Podge to give your clay project a professional finish.

Whatever you’re molding the clay into, you’ll be able to add the perfect finishing touches and finer details with the many tools available for carving, scraping and sculpting to name a few.

There are many brands out there but the one I prefer is Das.  You can find a 2lb pack for around $10 online. 

I find that Das clay is much easier to work with and it stays soft longer while you shaped it.  Some of the brands I tried seemed to dry up quickly and had a stronger odor.

No matter which brand you decide to go with, the great thing is that air dry clay is cheap.

Is Air Dry Clay Food Safe?

Sadly no, air dry clay is not food safe. Even though it is considered non-toxic, you can’t serve food on it.  You can easily make plates, bowls, and mugs with it, but only for decorative purposes only.

One of the reasons for air dry clay not being food safe is because it is not waterproof even after it has been sealed with a varnish.  If you wash it, over time it will start to produce cracks.

Why Use Air Dry Clay If It’s Not Food Safe?

Even though air dry clay is not food safe there are many reasons you should give it a chance.

There are so many benefits why you should use air dry clay.

  • It’s non-toxic, safe for kids to use.
  • Air dry clay can be used in an enclosed space with little mess.
  • It dries quicker than regular clay, saving you time and money on your projects.
  • Air dry clay comes ready-made.
  • it’s easy to store.
  • You don’t need an oven or kiln for it to harden.
  • Best of all, it’s cheap and you can sell your creations for a nice profit.

One of the most common reasons crafters choose air dry clay over other clays is that it doesn’t require an oven or kiln for it to harden, saving money on the electric bill which is always a winner for me. 

P.S did I mention that kids love to play with it too. It will keep them busy and be creative for hours.

You don’t need any fancy tools to get started, you don’t even need to bake it in the oven, kids love it what more can I say!

Is Air Dry Clay Waterproof?

No, air dry clay is not waterproof however you can seal it with a sealer such as acrylic sealer or a clear varnish which will give it some protection from water and moisture so your creations can be placed outdoors.

How To Make Air Dry Clay Waterproof?

The best way to make air dry clay waterproof is by sealing it with a clear varnish or acrylic sealer if you plan to put your creations in the garden etc.

Applying clear varnish to your finished project will not only add a layer of protection but it will also make your project stand out.

You can easily find a good clear varnish that you can use with air dry clay for as little as $10 online, which is fantastic because it takes your projects to the next level.  You can also use Mod Podge to seal it.

Sealing your projects with varnish will give them a nice shiny finish, perfect for when you are making jewelry, plant pot holders, and garden ornaments, etc.

If you plan to make indoor creations there are many other sealers you can use if you don’t have a clear varnish.

  • Mod Podge
  • PVC Glue
  • PVA Glue
  • Clear Nail Varnish etc.

If you plan to put your creations outdoors, even with a layer of clear varnish avoid locations that will get a lot of rain.

Is Air Dry Clay Strong?

Yes! it is very strong but like any other clay if dropped from a height it will shatter and break into small pieces. 

The thinner you roll out the clay the weaker it will become, but keep in mind the thicker you roll out your clay the more time it will need to dry completely.

Layering your creations with a good sealer will give them extra strength.

Final Thoughts

Creating your creations using air dry clay is not only so much fun but you will be surprised what can be created using it.

  • Plates
  • Earrings
  • Necklaces
  • Plant holders
  • Wall Art
  • Dollhouse furniture
  • The list goes on and on.

Unlike other clays, air dry clay doesn’t need an oven to harden, you just place it somewhere at room temperature and it will harden on its own, that simple.

If you are looking for a glossy finish you have many options for a sealer such as:

  • Clear Varnish
  • Mod Podge
  • Acrylic sealer
  • PVA Glue, etc.

Even though air dry clay is available in a few different colors, it can be painted using acrylic paints, which is great if you need a specific color for your creation.

Personally, the best thing I love about air dry clay is that it is cheap and you don’t need many tools in the beginning to start.  You can easily find a 2lb pack of air dry clay for around $10 and some basic tools for $10 too.

Depending on what you make, you can make tons of creations with one pack and if you plan to sell your creations then you can easily make a nice tidy profit.

If you have never tried air dry clay before this is an easy clay to work with that is not only cheap but also so much fun.  You can create almost anything you can think of, the only limitation is your imagination.

I hope you have found this article to be helpful and it has inspired you to give air dry clay a chance, I highly recommend it.

If you have any tips or advice on using air dry clay please share them down in the comments.

Let’s share and learn together.

Happy Crafting!

Zac & Terri Signature

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