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I love polymer clay... except when it's in my fingers, and no matter how many times I wash them, it doesn't go away. It gets between the ridges of your fingers and stays there... until you touch white clay, of course. Then it happily leaves you and stains your white clay.

Working with polymer clay requires constantly washing your hands, which leaves them dry and uncomfortable. Don't you hate that? If you relate to these problems, I have the solution for you: MAKE A SUGAR SCRUB!

When I was just taking my first shy steps into the hobby, a friend told me about sugar scrubs. I'm so thankful she did! Over the last years I've been using it, and it works like a charm. They seem to be fairly popular, so you can find many recipes online (Monster Kookies from DeviantArt has some very interesting ones). This is my recipe, feel free to try it or use it as a base to develop your own.

Sugar scrubs are good for a lot of things: conditioning your hands, exfoliating, pampering yourself, moisturizing, etc. One use I particularly love is using them to clean my hands after a good day of working with polymer clay, but they're also great to remove cookie dough or paint from your fingers. This recipe was specially developed for clayers, but feel free to use it for anything you want.

Step 1: Materials

This is the perfect opportunity to use whatever you have lying around! I used dish washing soap and olive oil for at the beginning because that's all I had, and it still worked... a bit drying, but worked. Have fun creating your own recipe!

Preparation time: 2 minutes
Cost: Cents!
Shelf life: Depends, maybe a month or two?

Materials:
  • A small clean container.
  • Sugar.
  • Liquid soap (optional).
  • As many oils as you want: glycerin, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, olive oil, etc.
Fun extras:
  • Honey (for extra hydration).
  • Vitamin E.
  • Essential oils.
  • Fragrance oils.
Theory: The plasticizer in the clay is  a mixture of phthalates (not for long, most brands are phasing them out). Phthalates are slightly fat soluble, so the oil will help remove them. I did a test with several oils and I couldn't find a significant difference between oils, they all worked fine. The sugar will do the scrubbing, getting in hard places and getting rid all of those stubborn bits of clay under your nails or in the wrinkles of your fingers. Using only sugar and oil made my fingers feel a bit oily, so I add some liquid soap to the mixture to remove all the extra oil. Everything else is just extra, in case you want to add some benefits to your scrub.

Step 2: Pour Your Liquid Soap

You just need a tiny amount of liquid. I start with the liquid soap, just about half a teaspoon. Don't be too precise, let the ingredients guide you.

I use a gentle coconut body wash that smells delicious, it's a good idea to use something with a nice smell.

Step 3: Add Your Oils

Now I add about the same amount of oil, or a bit more. My favorite mixture is sweet almond oil and glycerin... well, actually, those are about the only oils I own. I highly recommend using olive oil, but I save mine for cooking.

I also like to use a few drops of wheat germ oil because it's rich in Vitamin E, but you can use those gel capsules or pure Vitamin E instead. If your hands are really dry add, try using some honey and you will love it! It really softens the skin. I've read wonderful things about raw oat meals, but I haven't tried it yet.

EXPERIMENT! HAVE FUN!

Step 4: Sugar!

Now you want to add sugar... a lot of it. You want to get a mostly dry scrub, or the sugar and oils will separate.

Any kind of sugar works, we had raw cane sugar so that's what I used.

Step 5: Stir and Enhance

Now stir carefully and try not to create too much foam. If it looks to dry, add more oil, if it looks too watery, add more sugar. You want a mostly dry consistency, you don't want to see any oil pooling anywhere.

Now close it tightly, label it, and leave it near your sink. If you come back and the oil is floating above the sugar, it means that you needed more sugar, but that's an easy fix. There's really no way to get this wrong.

Note: If you used any inedible ingredients, make sure to label it accordingly and leave it out of reach from little children, pets, or stupid friends. The sugar can look appealing to any of them.

Step 6: How to Use

First, we have to get our hands dirty.

Create a polymer clay masterpiece. Make some home-made pasta. Paint with your fingers. Work in your garden. Redecorate your house. Play with your children. Instructables has lots of ideas to try.

Dirty? good. Now go to your sink, you want to start with dry or slightly soaked hands. Try and see what works best for you, but don't get your hands too wet or the sugar will dissolve. Grab a bit of your home-made sugar scrub, a little goes a long way so please don't use as much as I show in the photo! It was for photo purposes only.

Now start scrubbing your fingers and hand together, using the sugar to remove all the nasty stuff. I really enjoy this, it feels tingly and a bit like a massage. When you feel like you've scrubbed enough, rinse your hands and admire your clean and soft hands!

Step 7: ANTS!

A word of caution:

After using your sugar scrub, close it tightly.
Make sure no sugar is stuck in the bottom or outside walls.
Rinse all sugar from your sink.
Make sure you didn't spill any sugar in the floor.

Or you will be raided by ANTS! I have no idea how they do it, I don't see a single ant all day until I forget to rinse that invisible speck of sugar. BAM! All over my sink. It's more an annoyance than anything else, but if you rinse the sink they won't find you. Or maybe they will Oo
<p>Great recipe! Perfect consistency!! Thanks, I am using it for a base to add to my own body scrub!</p>
Do you need the oils
When you're talking about using liquid soap and then talking about body wash, do you mean you're using body wash as the liquid soap?
Yup I started using liquid hand soap but it was a bit too drying for my skin. I switched to a body wash and it worked better for me :) the oil and sugar are doing most of the cleaning, the soap is only there to wash the oils when you rinse. Otherwise your hands can end up feeling a bit oily. <br><br>So, you don't need a hard soap. I actually prefer to use something gentle.
Okay, thanks.
By the way honey is totally awesome for the skin. I occasionally use it and it helps so much for dry skin. It also softens the skin. You may know this but some of your readers might not know it. <br>Sunshiine
I used to love it, but I'm now phasing out all animal products from my beauty products. It's wonderful for the skin, I did mention that in the first and third step. Thank you for your tips! :D
A lot of people are doing the same thing. Many are vegan now. I used to be vegetarian and I am thinking about doing it again. Have a great day!<br>Sunshiine
It feels great to be a vegetarian, phasing out animal products from my beauty products is the last step I have to take before going completely vegan. It's exciting, but a bit scary. If you decide to go vegetarian again, I hope you'll like it as much as I do :) good luck!
After being a vegetarian for 8 years it took me a year to choke down meat. It was disgusting. Large beef companies feed all kinds of garbage to animals and <br>meats are questionable. The thing that spooks me is even vegetables are risky business so if one is interested in becoming a vegetarian because of that then you almost have to grow your own.
That is sadly, very true. One day I would love to grow my own veggies, but that's still in the very distant future for me.
Thanks for sharing this! I will be making some sugar scrub for gifts this year. I am happy I can find a recipe here for that. I had to chuckle about the ants. They can find 1 speck of sugar and then you have the army! This year I was so happy, I did not have any. Last year I had them in my bathroom because I do used sugar scrubs everyday and they found the jar. Still waiting for the contest results. I just know you won something! Have a super day.<br>Sunshiine
Thank you! It sounds like a wonderful gift idea, I think I will try it too. I have the same problem with ants, actually I have to keep the jar away from the bathroom or they will find it. Last year they didn't but this year it was crazy. I really hope I won something, I've been checking daily but they keep changing the judging date and it's driving me crazy! Well, I'll keep hopping for the best. Have a super day you too!
Enjoy your booty!
Will do! Thank you!
Interesting, I will try this. I am today using a mix of edible oil, dish detergent and fine sawdust, it works quite well.

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Bio: I'm a chemistry student, and a hopeless science lover. I love so many things that I barely have time to make them all and ... More »
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