Introduction: How to Renew Dried Out Sculpey Cheaply

Ever had sculpey that was dried out,  crumbly, or to be able to work with it would take an act of god?

You are not alone.  I have worked with sculpey this hard and it made my hands so sore I wanted to cry.  I found out about some great stuff sculpey makes to renew it back to "health" but a small bottle wasn't cheap.  If you have an 8 lb size container of sculpey that's gone bad, you would need a truck load.

Then I went to an art confrence and picked up a great tip!  I tried it and low and behold, it was like the clouds opened and sun shinned down on me!  I couldn't keep it to myself and felt I needed to share with the instructables community.

Let's get started!

Step 1:

Step 2: Materials Needed

Materials Needed:

Old Sculpey
Mineral Oil (or Baby Oil)

Optional:

Gloves
Ziploc Bag
Mason Jar

Step 3: Crumbles

Nothing is more irritating then working with scupley and it is crumbling apart or hard as a rock.

Here is how to fix that, get your crumbling sculpey and lay out out on a surface you don't mind getting oil on. 

Step 4: Oh BABY Oil!

Add oil to the clay, start with a little then add more.

Mineral oil is the best, however you can use baby oil.  

Mix the oil in with your fingers.  If you aren't wearing gloves, your hands will get the color of the clay you are working on, all over them.  Don't fret it will wash off.

Note:

You can put oil in a mason jar with the clay or a zip lock and let it soak a while first before working in the oil.

Step 5: Voila!

Voila! Your sculpey is like new!  Now, if you get to much oil in the clay and it's too tacky, you can work the clay on cardboard and the cardboard will soak up the excess oil for you.

Step 6: PoofRabbit's Tips and Tricks

Mason jars can be your friends, you can store your sculpey in them and add oil if needed to keep it pliable

If you add to much oil you can work it out by pressing your clay onto cardboard

Adding a little oil to moisten clay can make it much easier to mix two colors together.

If you take a small amount of clay and saturate it with oil you can use a paint brush to brush on color to bake onto the clay.

Comments

author
Turlingo Art (author)2017-03-08

will the Sculpey, once baked be able to receive the two part epoxy? As I wrote earlier I have trouble with it separating even now????

author
Turlingo Art (author)2017-03-08

Ok, now that I'm verified here goes with my third attempt at a comment on rehydrating my dried out Sculpey. It worked and your idea saved my hands!

Hope to add images of what we've been op to when we figure out how to upload and drag...hope to post more and to learn from this online community.

Btw...does anyone protect their Sculpey art with epoxy? If so, why does it separate upon drying? Is it because of the oils on my hands?

Turlingo Art?

author
Turlingo Art (author)2017-03-08

it worked, thanks so much. Turning Art, 2017

author
ChrysN (author)2012-11-07

Great tip! I've had sore hands from trying to knead old clay, I will keep this in mind for next time.

author
poofrabbit (author)ChrysN2012-11-07

You will kick yourself you didn't know about this sooner, I sure did! LOL

author
RachelM187 (author)poofrabbit2016-12-26

Many thanks for tip!! Saved me huge dollars!

author
SuzetteK (author)2016-12-14

I don't have mason jars. but I can get ahold of glass jars that held apple butter in them. Will let you guys know if that works to hold the clay in.

author
CherylH82 (author)2016-10-07

I have read quite few sites now on using polymer clay, this is the ONLY one I have come across that states very not using the same tools for food and polymer clay and not to use food on polymer surfaces. I was planning on using cutters from my cake decorating kit now I need to rethink! Lucky I found your post.

author
snapplejax (author)2016-04-23

Works! I used avon body oil. I cooked it and it turned out just fine

author
LizardQ (author)2015-12-11

Just tried this with petroleum jelly as it's made out of mineral oil, and it worked great!

author
JadeH8 (author)2015-12-04

So anyone wondering of they can use veggie oil instead or Canola oil, I would not suggest it. I don't know 100% if the canola oil was the cause of it, but at first it worked GREAT! I made what I wanted but now after a few hours of hard work my dragon is starting to dry out again and crack! :( So I would suggest sticking to what the tutorial reccomends using.

author
zappenfusen (author)2015-10-06

Olive oil will go rancid given favorable conditions.

zapp

author
williams.annajane (author)2015-03-19

Hi, Tried working my very hard and unrelenting fimo clay yesterday, today I have very sore hands, going to try your tips, will let you know the results. :)

author
arron.manchester (author)2015-01-31

Hey, thanks for this, great tip. I just thought I would add something I did to make it a little easier, I grated the hardened clay using a cheese grater (with the bigger hole size) mixed with some olive oil as don't have the baby/mineral oil. I then squeezed it and massaged it and it became very maleable very quickly. I am unsure as to how well it will bake as I'm still experimenting as I type. Will update later :)

author

Turned out really well and baked just fine! :)

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author
crazyg (author)2015-01-18

fantastic, thanks, im going to use this old plasticine to fill the handel holes of a drain inspection cover, its indoors and fills up with crap and water..

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author
charles.starkweather.79 (author)2014-10-29

Thanks so much for this! I love my sculpey but that clay is ridiculous sometimes. Great tip! Also, btw, i have found that the 'bake shop' version i get at walmart is always pretty soft, i don't know if thats because its for kids, the packaging is a little different from what i get at the craft stores, but im sure it sells faster there too. Also cheap! 99 cents for the 2oz block. Thanks again, awesome advice! What did we do before google?

author
AngelLover89 (author)2014-07-30

Can you use olive oil? That's the only kind of oil we have in the house :/ and if I'm going to spend money on something I might as well just get a new bar of clay.

author
poofrabbit (author)AngelLover892014-08-08

I have never attempted olive oil, but you could get it a try. Baby oil isn't very expensive and it doesnt take a whole heap. Mineral oil is a little priciery. I say, give the olive oil a try, if it works, yay. If not, well you said you would go ahead and get a new bar, so you aren't out anything. :) If you try olive let me know how it works. Since you are doing a low temp for baking, It might be just fine, I am just not 100% sure.

author
nannards (author)poofrabbit2014-09-07

I just tried olive oil and it works! :D

author
poofrabbit (author)nannards2014-10-07

SWEET!! Good to know! :)

author
Robotron Cx3 (author)2014-07-13

Are you sure that is sculpey because I have some and won't dry out until you bake it

author
poofrabbit (author)Robotron Cx32014-07-25

100% sure! Old Sculpey and other over bake clays dry out over time, sometimes you get bad batches from stores who don't rotate stock. Tempurature changes can also dry out the sculpey. However, this handy dandy trick saves the day!

author
viliaket (author)2014-03-29

i seriously signed up for this site just because of this. you saved me! literally! I have a convention in less than a week and i'm finishing last minute props to find out my clay was HORRIBLY unusable. it's now perfect and i'm finally finishing up what i have to! you're the greatest- and saved me money. thanks so much~

author
poofrabbit (author)viliaket2014-04-01

You made my day! I'm so glad it helped!

author
mona2 (author)2014-01-29

I followed your steps but it didn't work for me. (I used mineral oil.) Since I couldn't even begin to massage the clay, I tried cutting it into smaller pieces, that didn't work either. So I put it into my Ninja and ground it into small cornmeal size pieces. Now I could massage it, but it still didn't look anything like my sculpey clay is suppose to and it wouldn't cling together. It felt course and crumbly. Now maybe the explanation is because mine was really REALLY old, like 12 years old??? I was so disappointed because this didn't work for mine, but I'm glad it helped others.

author
poofrabbit (author)mona22014-04-01

Oh what a bummer! I would say put it in a ziploc with the oil and leave it for several days to a month. You have to be careful with using a ninja or any type of food processor because it actually will create heat and the clay will cook. (WEIRD I know but true) Was the clay every anywhere with a lot of heat?

author
heidisatwork (author)2013-10-15

OMG thank you so much, I have about 15 large packages that got stored in the garage in Phoenix!!! Bit dry...crumbles to dust...hoping this will save my bacon!!

author
poofrabbit (author)heidisatwork2013-11-03

Oh good! I'm so glad it's going to save your clay (and your $$)!

author
cjraabe (author)2013-09-29

Thanks for sharing! The person on this site (http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/softening_pc.htm) has compared the results (strength, color, brittleness) after baking when clay was softened with cooking oil, baby oil, and purchased softeners.

author
poofrabbit (author)cjraabe2013-09-29

I will check it out. I have found no change in results using the baby oil in my clay and I use it often. Perhaps because it's baby oil and not an oil with any type of color involved in the actual oil. What I have found, I no longer have finger prints, I can hook smaller pieces together with out needing to press and I can even make an oven bake clay slip. :)

author
ladyzimcool (author)2013-09-23

Dear Author,
I have about 20 2oz packs that are unusable. You just saved me.

You rock!!!

author
poofrabbit (author)ladyzimcool2013-09-23

OH I am so glad! If it's really crumbly put it in a glass, mug or jar and let it soak in oil for a while. HUGE help!

author
Matt Ficner (author)2013-04-02

GREAT TIP! Thanks for posting.

author
poofrabbit (author)Matt Ficner2013-08-11

You are most welcome!

author
sabu.dawdy (author)2012-12-12

loved your idea :)

author
poofrabbit (author)sabu.dawdy2013-03-26

Thank you!

author
ringai (author)2013-01-03

Thanks for the great tip!

author
poofrabbit (author)ringai2013-03-26

You are most welcome

author
NetWt4Lbs (author)2012-12-21

Does it bake ok with the oil in it?

author
poofrabbit (author)NetWt4Lbs2013-03-26

Yep, bakes just fine. I use the oil as well now to get rid of finger prints.

author
craftknowitall (author)2012-11-13

Wow, life changing is the phrase! Thanks so very much!

author

Anytime! I'm thrilled to help out so many sore hands! :)

author
drwebster (author)2012-11-12

that is realy a terrific insructable,thanks,Dorothy

author
poofrabbit (author)drwebster2012-11-12

Thank you! You know I had to prep over 30 lbs of sculpey this weekend to use with kindergarteners. BOY was I glad I knew this trick because I had some hard sculpey and little fingers need help working with scupley anyway. I'm telling you it's life changing knowing this works! :)

author
poofrabbit (author)2012-11-12

Should they use very similar material to create the clay, keep me posted!

author
HMice (author)2012-11-08

Great! Putting it through a pasta machine helps too, but don't mix food and sculpey.

author
poofrabbit (author)HMice2012-11-08

Yep, that can help condition the clay, but when it's super dry even that darn machine won't soften it up. :) So true! Food and sculpey do not mix. ;)

author
HMice (author)poofrabbit2012-11-08

Unless you are making a hamburger charm! I made a set of a burger, fries and a coke. Great ible BTW.

author
poofrabbit (author)HMice2012-11-08

How cute that has to be!!! Thanks a million for the kind words!

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