FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Flower Drying Art Silica Gel
How to dry a bouquet using Floral Drying Art?
Take the bouquet apart, cut the stems (save them for later), and dry the flowers using the method of your choice (Sealed Container Drying Method, or Microwave Drying Method) when the flowers are ready, use floral wire for attaching the stem, proceed to entirely spray the bouquet with a firm hold hairspray: your bouquet is ready!; you can preserve it in a shadow box.
Can I dry my flowers using Flower Drying Art in the oven?
No, but there are two options for drying flowers: Sealed Container Drying Method, and Microwave Drying Method.
Is this a non-toxic product?
Yes, Flower Drying Art is nontoxic, however, it will absorb pesticides from the flowers, please do not reuse drying containers for food preparation.
Is this product reusable?
Yes!, Flower Drying Art is reusable with no limits on the number of flowers that can be dried.
Can I reactivate/dry the Flower Drying Art?
After using the silica gel multiple times, you will notice the crystals will turn white/pink, this means they have absorbed all the moisture possible, so they need to be reactivated. The way to reactivate silica crystals is using a conventional oven - spread a layer (3/4 of an inch thickness) of silica gel on an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan, and heat the oven to a temperature of 200 C (350 F). Place the pan of silica gel in the oven and allow it to dry the crystals for 2-4 hours. Remove the pan of silica gel from the oven and allow it to cool completely, store the reactivated silica gel in a plastic container or zip bag to keep it away from moisture until ready to use.
I tried reactivating my silica gel in the oven, but the crystals are still white. Is that normal?
When the silica gel turns white after reactivating it, it’s because there’s moisture left in the crystals. To remove the moisture, spread Flower Drying Art in a shallow pan and place in a 250° F oven for no less than 5 hours, or until the pink/white crystals have turned blue. Remove from the oven and when cool, store in an airtight container.
1. While recharging the crystals, gently remove the pan from the oven and stir the silica very well, place the pan back in the oven, making sure the crystals in the middle are turning blue.
2. Be patient and give them time to fully turn blue. Some ovens are old and might take a little longer, for this I recommend you to pre-heat the oven.
3. Do not heat any silica gel to more than 250°F as its fine crystal structures will break.
4. The silica gel crystals release the trapped water from within them and will revert to their original blue color. Once the color changes fully, the silica gel is recharged and restored to its original capacity.
5. To speed up the drying process, you can spread the gel out as much as possible, use a fan to circulate air, and periodically move around the silica gel layers to dry it out evenly.
6. Finally, allow the silica gel to cool inside the oven, and quickly return it to a sealed airtight container, ready for later use.
Why do customers prefer Flower Drying Art in comparison to other products on the market?
The granular compound offers the best method of preserving flowers, as it absorbs the flower’s moisture with little damage to color and form!
I already dried my flowers and I want to preserve them in a shadowbox, is there anything that you recommend to prevent crumbling?
Firm hold hairspray! It works great as a glue sealer. Spray a layer on your flowers and forget about the possibility of future crumbling.
Is this product ideal for preserving a wedding bouquet?
Yes; florists, artists, crafters, and event planners use it for preserving flowers for every special occasion.
I found on FAQ how to dry/reactivate silica gel in a conventional oven. I don’t want to use the same oven I cook meals in so I wondered if I could use a toaster oven instead. I was curious if there was a different time, temperature, and batch amount that needed to be adjusted for a toaster oven (if this is even a viable option).
Yes you can use a toaster as long as the toaster reaches the temperature recommended for reactivating the silica gel (250 °F) for no longer than 5 hours or until the majority of the crystals have turned blue. There’s no health risk if you use a conventional cooking oven because what will happen is that the heat from the oven will draw the moisture out from the desiccant material and reactivate the drying agent. Use a shallow pan and spread the silica in it, with a depth of no more than ¾ of an inch.
Air Dry Clays
I would like to know what your ACTIVA white clay is made of - I don't mean the formula, but is it from natural substances? Does it contain paper? I am interested in making candleholders and need a clay which is not flammable. Is yours non-flammable? And if so, what sealer, would you use for it? The sealer would need to be non-flammable as well.
Activ-Clay is made of natural minerals, it does not contain paper. It’s a self-hardening clay non-toxic and non-flammable; so it is safe for you to make candle holders with it; Here’s our product safety sheet for more information:
MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET
As for sealing, we recommend a sealer for outdoor projects like Thompson’s water seal – that type of sealer protects concrete, wood, clay, etc., and it’s designed for extreme outdoor temperature and weather; however, please contact the sealer manufacturer and double-check with them.
Why Hearty Clay is becoming so popular in the US craft market?
Hearty Clay is an ultra-lightweight Japanese polymer air-dry clay, known as the ‘marshmallow clay’, is super smooth and easy to work with, great for making jewelry, cards, scrapbooking, freeform sculpting, and also therapeutic and safe for children!
Why would you recommend Premier Clay for my sculpting projects?
Premier Clay is a high-quality lightweight stone air-dry clay, it dries with exceptional strength, giving that natural and professional finish to your sculptures, we promise you won’t regret trying it.
Can you give me tips for preventing cracks and shrinking in my Air-Clay sculpture?
Avoid using an excessive amount of water when creating details and smoothing out your project, in a controlled quantity, water can work as glue, and is a helping tool for creating details, but in excess, it can promote cracks and breakage.
Let your project dry in a temperature/humidity-controlled room or studio.
Don’t try to accelerate the drying process using a fan, hair dryer, microwave, etc… let your project naturally dry overnight.
Is Hearty Clay odorless?
Yes once it's dried it's odorless, also it doesn't shrink or cracks.
How long does PLUS clay takes to dry?
PLUS clay is essentially made of natural clays. Therefore, the speed of drying is the same as one of the other natural pottery clays (from 1 to 4 days) and will depend on the item size, its shape, and on the ambient drying conditions (mostly temperature and ventilation). However, as opposed to the other clays, the drying time can be accelerated by using other sources of heat or manual dryers, avoiding cracks and fissures, because of the presence of natural fibers of cellulose which allow more secure drying.
Do I have to use all the clay once the pack is opened?
If all the clay is not used, it can be kept for another time, keeping the excess in a tightly closed plastic bag. If when using the clay again we notice that it has hardened slightly, it is enough to moisten the fingers before modeling.
Why PLUS White is slightly grey?
Natural white clays are usually grey, never completely white, due to the presence of organic matter, even if in a very small quantity. This is why a grey shade can be noticed when the item is wet.
Does PLUS clay stain?
PLUS is a very clean clay. It is easily cleaned with water in hands and clothes. A damp cloth easily removes any remaining product from surfaces and furniture.
Can it be used for pieces intended to be outdoors?
It is not recommended to use PLUS clay for exterior pieces. PLUS clay is not water resistant. Even if the clay is dry and hardened, if it is exposed to water, it may be deformed.
PLUS clay can be fired?
It is NOT recommended to fire PLUS clay.
Can it be a danger if a child ingests PLUS clay?
Clay is not food. In case of accidental ingestion, it is a non-toxic product, It does not contain gluten or other food allergens. Clay is not suitable for children under 3 years of age because accidental ingestion could cause drowning.
Do you have any recommendations for a varnish/lacquer / sealant that works well with your Air Dry Clay? - submitted by Amber
For sealing, we recommend acrylic spray. Krylon is a good brand, and you can get it matte or gloss finish - it dries very fast and it’s very easy to apply; just do it in a well-ventilated room. White school glue also works well. Elmer’s glue and Mod Podge are the most common brands; both are very affordable and you can get it regular or waterproof. Lastly, your local craft store probably sells an All Purpose Sealer, it’s more liquid (water-based) than glue and it’s very easy to use.
Does PLUS clay expire?
All the PLUS sizes and packs remain unalterable in their original packaging for a minimum period of two years.
Can PLUS clay be revived?
Plus Clay is 100% natural clay it has no preservatives, therefore different agents can affect the condition of the clay over time. For example, room temperature, air, or direct sunlight can cause the loss of water inside the clay body.
If stored properly, unused air dry clay should last indefinitely. We recommend wrapping the unused clay in plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag, and then in another airtight container.
Reviving Air-Dry Clay:
- Remove your clay from the bag it came in and place it in a large, sealable plastic bag.
- Sprinkle the clay with just a few drops of water. Using your hand or a spray bottle, apply a small amount of water to the clay. Don't add too much, or the clay will become sticky and unusable.
- Seal the bag and set it aside. Let the water and clay sit for a few minutes to absorb the moisture. Double-check the seal to make sure it is air-tight and none of the moisture is able to leak out. Keep it away from heat or direct sunlight during this process, as both can cause moisture to evaporate.
- Remove the air-dry clay from the bag. After waiting 5-10 minutes, open the bag and remove the clay, checking the moisture content as you do so. Does it have more spring to it? Twist and knead your clay, checking for easy movement and manipulation.
- If needed, return the air-dry clay to the bag. After returning your clay to a sealed bag, add a few more drops of water. Seal and set aside once more, leaving the water to seep into the clay for up to 30 minutes.
- Remove the clay again and knead. If the clay has become malleable, success! Continue to store it in a sealed bag or container to prevent it from drying out in the future. If you cannot get to your clay regularly, consider storing it in a moist environment, such as the bathroom or kitchen, to keep moisture contained. If the clay remains hard or difficult to work with, it may be past the point of saving and will need to be replaced.
How can I prevent the Air Dry Clay from drying out?
Place the excess clay inside a tightly closed Ziploc plastic bag, then store it in a tightly sealed container. Whatever container you use, you want to be able to keep the moisture level of the clay at the same place as when you first got your clay. It's important to store your clay in a comfortable room-temperature location. Your clay can freeze if it gets too cold or can melt if it gets too hot. So keeping your extra stash of clay in a dark cool environment is ideal. If when using the clay again you notice that it has hardened slightly, it is enough to spray water on the clay, moisten your fingers and start modeling it to reactivate it.
Is Activ-Clay terracotta free of lead?
Yes, Activ-Clay is made of 100% natural ingredients. Non-toxic.
What is the best kind of paint to use for the clay surface?
Acrylics. Temperas will work too but I recommend acrylics for a better finish.
Once it dries and weathers, will the terracotta color affect the color of the paint on it? As opposed to painting over a white surface?
No, the clay will perfectly accept the paint, but I will recommend waiting 48 hours for the clay to dry completely before painting it.
Dry it in a temperature-controlled room, different elements can cause cracks like fans, vents, heaters, etc. I do not recommend drying it outside.
Too much water can cause cracks.
Look on our website for ideas, videos, and projects.
Watch videos about basic sculpting tips like "score, slip and blend" on youtube.
We have an MI allergy. Does your self-hardening clay contain MI or alternative names: 2-Methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, 5-Chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one, Acticide, Algucid, Amerstat 250, Benzisothiazolinone (BIT), Caswell # 572A, Euxyl K 100, Fennosan IT 21, Grotan, Grotan TK2, Isothiazolinone (Kathon), Kathon CG, Kordek, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI), Methylisothiazolinone (MIT or MI), Mergal K7, Metatin GT, Mitco CC 32 L, Microcare, Neolone, Optiphen MIT, OriStar MIT, ProClin, SPX, Zonen MT?
Our natural self-hardening PLUS Clay is made of natural minerals and clays. No preservatives are added.
Once I sculpt with the hearty clay and make something, is it dry forever or can I revive it after it has been made?
Once Hearty Clay dries it stays permanently solid. it can’t be reactivated after.
I just started customizing some old troll dolls using Aves Apoxie Sculpt. I finished the jar but decided I'd like to try something else. Which type of your air-dry clay can be used on top of it? Is that possible to do?
You should definitely try Premier Clay, it has great quality and it’s very smooth and easy to work with. You can add acrylic paint mixed into it.
What is the best adhesive for air dry clay plus to join clay slabs or shaped pieces to wood? Will air plus clay adhere to wood if I build the slab on it or does it still need to be attached? Any other tips/info is greatly appreciated. What type of sealer do you recommend? Should I seal before I paint or after?
Air Dry Clay will and won’t stick to wood - virgin wood that has not been sealed in any way or treated sticks to Air Dry Clay and will remain bonded even when the clay dries, this makes wood ideal as a base for sculptures or as part of mixed media pieces created with air dry clay. On the other hand, many times wood that has been varnished, stained, oiled, or sealed with other methods doesn’t adhere well to Air Dry Clay. Often they will stick for a while but break loose over time. Adding too much water to your project can also be a reason why a piece won’t stick and fall, water in excess can cause cracks; also air dry clay has a minimum of shrinkage but it’s crucial to consider if you are adding it to another material. If you want to try an adhesive, try E6000 industrial strength adhesive used in the craft industry to stick together pieces of ceramic, wood, plastic, fabric, etc. The best sealer that I recommend because it dries really fast and it’s very affordable it’s Mod Podge, you can find it gloss or matte finish. After painting your pieces, seal them with a good layer and they will be successfully protected.
What is the secret to using your air dry clay for the sculpture to reduce cracking? Is the clay suitable for sculptures or better for flat stuff (which turned out very well)? I tried thin layers on aluminum foil and wire armature and got lots of cracking. And I tried thick (1/4") layers on Styrofoam and got cracking. I also added detail that was covered up and lost as I covered the cracks with clay and slipped. Does detail only go on after it dries?
Cracks could happen for different reasons, these are the best tips:
There’s moisture trapped in the clay – it’s recommended to limit the use of water, on one side it can be a perfect glue to attached two pieces of clay together, but in excess, it can get trapped and look for an exit, causing cracks.
It was added to a non-porous surface – When added to a surface look for materials like untreated wood, paper, or cardboard, they will allow the clay to breathe and dry easier.
Dry your sculpture in a well-ventilated room – avoid direct fans and vents, and don’t try to accelerate the process with a hair dryer, conventional oven, or microwave.
Air Dry Clay tends to shrink when it’s drying, so adding it to a surface can limit that space for shrinking causing cracks, you can wait until the first layer of clay it’s ready and then add details – it’s ok to leave those for the last step and work by layers.
Kiln Fire Clays
What’s the difference between BlackJack Clay and Activ-Low Fire Clay?
BlackJack Clay is a stoneware clay that is chocolate brown when wet, yet fires to a soft buff or tan color; it fires in a kiln from cone 6 - to cone 10.
Activ-Low Fire Clay is an earthenware clay that is light gray when wet yet fires to white; fires in a kiln from cone 4 - to cone 6.
Hello, I purchased some of your terra-cotta air dry clay. I would like to use it more permanently with food and water, if possible. Is there any way to cure it in an oven or a kiln? If so, what temperatures/timing would you recommend?
Activ Clay is air-dry only, but we sell excellent kiln fire clays for making dishwasher-safe, food-safe, microwavable pieces:
KILN FIRE CLAYS
For beginners I recommend trying our Black Jack Low-Fire Clay 5 lb. for only $12.95:
BLACKJACK LOW-FIRE CLAY
Blackjack low-fire is a blend of several natural clays and minerals that produces a smooth white talc body with good plasticity. This earthenware clay is a light gray color when wet yet fires to white. It is great for hand modeling, hand building, and slab rolling and can be thrown on a potter’s wheel. This clay is excellent for all skill levels from beginners to professionals and is non-toxic certified. This earthenware clay fires in a kiln to maturity at cone 06 and brisque fires at cone 04.
Hello, I'm curious about the formula for your SIO-2 PRNI stoneware clay. What makes the color black? I also saw someone on YouTube talk about the clay but kept using stoneware and porcelain interchangeably while talking about this clay. Is it stoneware or is it porcelain?
SIO-2 PRNI is a stoneware clay composed of a mixture of clays, very rich in iron and other chromophore elements – the addition of manganese gives their much appreciated black color, this also makes the firing color very dark. Our SIO-2 clays are non-toxic and comply with European CLP legislation and American regulations ASTM D 4236 (AP seal).
Casting and Mold Making
If I cast with Permastone, can the result be left outside? Or will it act like plaster?
When dried, Permastone is an extremely porous material that will absorb moisture that touches its surface, so it’s not recommended to leave it outdoors, although you cannot create a perfectly waterproof piece, you can give your creation some degree of protection from the elements, the most common sealers are acrylic sealer, mod podge or white school glue, you can find acrylic spray in gloss and matte finish at the craft stores. You can also seal it with multiple layers of the most common fillers like resin, wax, and shellac, which all work to varying degrees of efficacy.
Paper Mache and Sculpture
Is Celluclay suitable for making homemade paper using a deckle?
Yes! CelluClay is 100% pure pulp and is suitable for making homemade paper. Mix 5 lb. CelluClay with approx 5 gallons of water, make sure it is very well mixed and deluded, and then proceed with the normal steps you will follow using a deckle.
I am using your Fast Mache, White Celluclay, and Instant Paper Mache to sculpt a horse from a silicone mold. I have tested it and it works very well. This horse sculpture needs to be extra strong as it is part of a ceremonial procession and will be carried on a palanquin outdoors. Can I add PVA (white glue) in some proportion to the water to increase the strength of the final, dried paper mâché?
What I recommend for an extra strong finish - once your sculpture it’s completely dried, seal it with a layer or two of white glue, acrylic spray, or liquid sealer(you can find it in gloss or matte finish), this will protect your project completely.
Dried FastMâché pieces are a beautiful bright white and have amazing strength. Is it made only from paper pulp, or do additional ingredients contribute to these qualities?
Fast Mâché is made of recycled paper and other ingredients (starch and plaster).
What's the difference in texture, dry time, workableness, and staining / painting between the FastMache and Celluclay?
The main difference is the formula, Fast Mâché dries faster because it contains more plaster than CelluClay. The texture of both is very similar when dried, but the extra plaster will make Fast Mâché heavier, too; that’s why CelluClay dries to a lighter weight - both products are excellent for amateur and professional sculpting projects. When it is set and ready to be painted, both have great acceptance of any finish media like acrylics, tempera, spray paint, etc.. and you can seal it for protection with any acrylic spray sealer, mode podge, or white school glue.
I am a high school art teacher. We're using the Activa Fast Mache for a project. I wonder if there are any wheat or wheat products in the paste? I have students with celiac disease so I need to know if they can use it safely or not.
All ACTÍVA Products are 100% wheat and gluten-free, non-toxic, and non-carcinogenic.
Do instructions for Activa Rigid Wrap polar bear exist? I'm referring to the picture on the packaging. I appreciate it!
Great question, the polar bear it’s made using three of our products:
Wire Mesh is used for creating an armature - the artist recycled paper and plastic to create the base shape and then it was reinforced with Wire Mesh to make sure it stays firm; after the armature it’s ready, Rigid Wrap was used to solidify the structure - Rigid Wrap it’s a plaster cloth that sets in minutes, it goes from a flexible and easy to work-with cloth to a solid set and strong plaster base in minutes, lastly CelluClay it’s used to give texture to the outside details like the fur.
Can I use Rigid Wrap for outdoors? I do mosaics and am looking for something to seal the edges of foam board so it doesn't get wet.
Rigid Wrap can be water-resistant if sealed with resin, wax, or shellac; however, if your project will be outdoors with time it will not be waterproof. This is because plaster is porous and absorbs moisture easily. As eventually, some moisture will get through the surface treatment, but you can give your creation some degree of protection from the elements with the sealers we suggested.