Air Dry Clay (ADC) is great for making all kinds of projects from decorative art and figurines to utility crafts. ADC is soft, pliable and easy to work with. It is similar to traditional clay but you don’t need to bake it in a kiln to harden.
This type of clay is useful for people who want to try their hand at rolling, coiling, stamping, and sculpting but don’t necessarily want to spend the time and money learning traditional ceramics.
In this article, I’ll present many things to make out of air dry clay with some ideas for crafting projects a variety of objects. It’s a perfect material to mimmic earthen clay without needing a kiln.
Your Own Signature Crockery
ADC can be easily shaped into decorative crockery items like plates, bowls and cups. You can add decorations and coat it with a food safe glaze for the finishing touch. However, they will be somewhat fragile and not food safe. If you wish to make serviceable and safe kitchenware, then use clay that has to be fired in a kiln. For purely decorative purposes though, air dry clay is fun and safe!
Some users also stamp their crafts and impress words, phrases or names into the wet clay before they let it dry. This is a great way to personalize your projects.
Clay Leaf Bowls
Clay leaf bowls are one of the projects that most hobbyists and professionals make at some point. This is a beautiful craft that isn’t too difficult to make and looks impressive as a decorative piece.
Choose a large leaf whose shape and texture you like. Roll a thin sheet of ADC clay on the table and make an impression with the leaf on the leaf.
Cut around the edge of the leaf and then form the clay leaf into a bowl like shape with your palm. Leave the clay leaf to dry for some time and your container will have all of the delicate veins of the leaf as part of its texture. These delicately imprinted bowls make lovely home decor statement pieces and are not food safe.
Bead are unique, customizable and easy to make. Simply roll your pieces of clay into small balls, cubes and any other shapes you like. Poke a hole through them when you are done and let them dry for 1 to 2 days.
Once they are dry, you can decorate them with different colors,varnishes and art designs. Take strong fiber string and sew the beads together, tying them to a metal ring to create your own customized key ring.
Air Dry Clay Jewelry
Jewelry doesn’t need to expensive or made of metal. You can create beautiful, hand crafted jewelry from air dry clay that can be used for most occasions. You can make everything from ear rings and necklaces to bangles for your arms.
Making jewelry is easy, but it requires some planning. For ear rings , roll a sheet of air dry clay on the table and cut a circle. Cut this circle piece into two equal halves. Creat holes for small eye pins into each part. Let dry. Paint, stamp, color, varnish and thne fit them together with jump rings or attach the ear hangers.
Here’s a sample created by layering two triangle shapes on top of each other, then once dry, adding southwest inspired paint. What a great gift to create for some lucky wearer!
You can also make an air dry clay necklace using the same technique in a variety of shapes. The sky is the limit!
Don’t forget to try embossing with a rubber stamp, lace, a leaf, or any other textured item!
Before you lose the memories of your precious children’s early years, why not create a tiny handprint keepsake? Just roll the clay to about 1/3 inch width and press the hand into the clay. Air dry and patch any cracks that occured with a bit of wettened clay. This would make a great key holder for a grandparent!
A Simple Garland or Necklace
This rewarding technique involves creating a sheet of clay, using a rolling pin (for even pressure), pressing a textured sheet, bit of lace or other highly textured object into the ADC. Voila, an instant carved look!
You can use cookie cutters for a uniform cut-out shape, or hand cut out each individually textured item. Don’t forget to carve a hole or two into the carved sheet while it is pliable for easy hanging once dry.
Ring Holder or Bank
Do you struggle to put all your jewelry in one place that is easy to reach? Why not craft your own customized ring holder for the task. Carve out a slot and if the center is hollow, it will be a fun little bank. Of course the challenge will be to have a cork or rubber plug on the back or bottom that can plug the access hole once dry, or you’ll have to smash your creation to access your coins!
The ring holder is a great air dry clay crafting project for keeping your key rings and jewelry within reach. It also helps organize your work desk better. What’s more, you can even shape and paint it the way you want to make it a decorative piece. Try polka dots or squiggle with paint or etching in!
Mini Plant Pots
Speaking of decorations for your work desk, why not go with some mini-planters? Although Air dry clay is not waterproof, you can coat it with a waterproof paint and wrap the inside of the pot with a plastic wrap or a smaller pot to make a great planter for your desk.
The mini succulent planter can be made in any size and holds soil perfectly. If you can’t find the right sized pot at the store, make one for yourself. Impressing your colleagues with your creativity is just another added benefit.
Feeling tired of hunting for Christmas ornaments every year? Why not make your own with air dry clay!
Creating your own Christmas decorations with air dry clay can be a great decorating activity during Christmas. You can craft anything you want from stars, alphabets and shapes to little figurines like reindeers and elves.
If you have some alphabet stamps or dies, you can customize your ornament with words or the year.
After completing the decorative piece, don’t forget to make a hole for the hanger before it dries! Leave it to dry and then paint with different colors for a rainbow of colors and shapes.
Not only is this a fun way to decorate your Christmas tree, you will also save a lot of money in ornaments that get thrown away the day after. Kids will love it as it helps bring out their creativity.
All you need is some air-dry clay, a few cutter sets in different shapes, alphabet stamps, and some pins.
You can make all sorts of wall decorations with ADC and then hang them on your wall.
Some creative ideas for wall decorations include coil hearts, deer heads, mini dinosaurs, animals and flowers.
Creating wall decorations doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money on air dry clay or other tools. What you really need is creativity and the ability to visualize.
Most wall decorations idea start with simple shapes that you can connect and join together to craft more complex artistic work.
Air dry clay is pretty sturdy. As long as you keep your crafts away from water, your wall decorations can last for many years.
Mini Sculptures and Figurines
Last but not least, air dry clay is increasingly being used for creating mini sculptures. These sculptures can be used for everything from class projects and board games to prototypes and shelf decorations.
Sculpting with air dry clay takes a lot of practice to get right. Initially you will want to start with simpler shapes and animals that can be crafted within a few minutes. As you get better with clay and learn how it dries and cracks, you can start making more complex sculptures with the clay.
One benefit of sculpting with ADC is that you can easily use a variety of armature for your work. Since you won’t be putting the craft into a kiln or baking oven, you don’t need to worry about the metal bending or twisting when it gets hot.
However, ADC isn’t the best for using on sculptures that will be handled a lot. ADC is brittle compared to baking clay like polymer. Thin pieces like extended arms, legs or finger can break off. The solution is to only use it ADC for thick sculptures without delicate extensions.
My Favorite Brands
Hearty Super Light Weight Air Dry Clay
This brand dries like porcelain and has wonderful strength. You can roll it very thin and it makes beautiful flower!
Available in white and terra cotta, this brand is highly rated by professional sculptors and crafters.
Easy to smooth out is Polyform clay.
Check Out My Other Great Articles OnAir Dry Clay
How To Make Air Dry Clay Stronger
Best Clay For Sculpting – 14 Great Options –
Best Air Dry Clays- 11 Options For All Needs – Lots of specific uses from making dolls, to sculpting jewelry to making stand alone sculptures
Air dry clay is suitable for beginners and intermediate users. You can use it to create all kinds of crafting projects. It is non-toxic but not intended for food serving.
ADC can be used to make utility items like pots, decor plates and jewelry as well as decorative pieces like Christmas ornaments and wall hangings. The clay dries and hardens in 1 to 2 days.
ADC is easy to paint once it has dried up. What you create with ADC is only limited by your imagination and creativity.
If you have more questions or want to add something let us know!