Instructables
Picture of 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!
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1:

Step 2: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed
Materials Needed:

Old Sculpey
Mineral Oil (or Baby Oil)

Optional:

Gloves
Ziploc Bag
Mason Jar

Step 3: Crumbles

Picture of 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!

Picture of Oh BABY oil!
Johnsons-Baby-Oil-200ml_5.jpg
DSC02933.JPG
DSC02934.JPG
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!

Picture of Voila!
DSC02944.JPG
DSC02954.JPG
DSC02955.JPG
DSC02957.JPG
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.
AngelLover892 months ago

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.

poofrabbit (author)  AngelLover892 months ago

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.

I just tried olive oil and it works! :D

poofrabbit (author)  nannards16 days ago

SWEET!! Good to know! :)

Robotron Cx33 months ago
Are you sure that is sculpey because I have some and won't dry out until you bake it
poofrabbit (author)  Robotron Cx33 months ago

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!

viliaket6 months ago

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~

poofrabbit (author)  viliaket6 months ago

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

mona28 months ago

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.

poofrabbit (author)  mona26 months ago

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?

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!!
poofrabbit (author)  heidisatwork11 months ago
Oh good! I'm so glad it's going to save your clay (and your $$)!
cjraabe1 year ago
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.
poofrabbit (author)  cjraabe1 year ago
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. :)
Dear Author,
I have about 20 2oz packs that are unusable. You just saved me.

You rock!!!
poofrabbit (author)  ladyzimcool1 year ago
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!
GREAT TIP! Thanks for posting.
poofrabbit (author)  Matt Ficner1 year ago
You are most welcome!
sabu.dawdy1 year ago
loved your idea :)
poofrabbit (author)  sabu.dawdy1 year ago
Thank you!
ringai1 year ago
Thanks for the great tip!
poofrabbit (author)  ringai1 year ago
You are most welcome
NetWt4Lbs1 year ago
Does it bake ok with the oil in it?
poofrabbit (author)  NetWt4Lbs1 year ago
Yep, bakes just fine. I use the oil as well now to get rid of finger prints.
Wow, life changing is the phrase! Thanks so very much!
poofrabbit (author)  craftknowitall1 year ago
Anytime! I'm thrilled to help out so many sore hands! :)
drwebster1 year ago
that is realy a terrific insructable,thanks,Dorothy
poofrabbit (author)  drwebster1 year ago
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! :)
(removed by author or community request)
Should they use very similar material to create the clay, keep me posted!
HMice1 year ago
Great! Putting it through a pasta machine helps too, but don't mix food and sculpey.
poofrabbit (author)  HMice1 year ago
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. ;)
Unless you are making a hamburger charm! I made a set of a burger, fries and a coke. Great ible BTW.
poofrabbit (author)  HMice1 year ago
How cute that has to be!!! Thanks a million for the kind words!
ChrysN1 year ago
Great tip! I've had sore hands from trying to knead old clay, I will keep this in mind for next time.
poofrabbit (author)  ChrysN1 year ago
You will kick yourself you didn't know about this sooner, I sure did! LOL