How to Make Air-Dry Clay Dry Faster

Air-dry clay, in all its many forms, is a great way to be able to create permanent, hard clay sculptures without needing access to a kiln or other special equipment. However, depending on the clay and the size of your project, a piece made from air-dry clay can take several hours and up to a full day to dry completely. If this wait is too long, there are ways to dry your clay creations in a matter of minutes.

Select the appropriate hair dryer settings for your piece. If your piece has a lot of delicate parts to it, you'll want to use a lower setting and/or a diffuser to prevent breaking or misshaping the sculpture with the force of the air blast.

Dry the top of the sculpture. Turn the dryer on and hold it about 4 inches away from the surface of the piece. Move it back and forth to cover the whole surface area. The full drying time will depend on the size of the piece.

Tip the piece on its edge and dry the bottom. The bottom will stay moist while the piece is sitting upright, so the bottom will need to be exposed in order to dry, whether you're doing a fast or slow dry.

Set a toaster oven or conventional oven to 93.3 degrees Celsius. Allow it to fully preheat (about 5 minutes).

Place the clay piece to be dried on a clean baking tray and place in the oven.

Prop the oven door so that it is slightly ajar. This will allow the oven to vent moisture and keep the conditions inside the oven dryer.

Bake for 10 minutes at a time. Check the sculpture periodically to see if it appears dry (the colour will lighten in patches as this happens). Be sure to use a potholder to handle the piece, as it will become quite hot.

Turn the piece on its side to dry the bottom. Bake for a few more minutes at a time (the bottom will take less time to dry than the rest of the piece did).

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