How Long Does Clay Take To Air Dry?

Making items out of clay gives you a great opportunity to make something creative using your imagination. It is a safe space for people to bring their creations to life and to see how talented they are.

Using clay is great, but you need to make sure that you are using it right so that it is good quality. 

How Long Does Clay Take To Air Dry

Although making items out of clay is fun, one of the best parts is painting them. This allows you to add your favorite colors and patterns, but to paint them, they need to be completely dry. If the clay is not dry, it can ruin your creation, so how long should you wait?

This article will explain more about how long clay takes to air dry to ensure that you are waiting the right amount of time. You can find out more below to make sure that your creations are in good condition!

What Is Air Dry Clay?

Air Dry Clay is also known as ADC and it is a solution that is made from natural materials that dry on their own and become solid. As it is so easy to use, it is popular for home use as it can be molded into sculptures or decorations.

You do not need a kiln or any other equipment, which is why it is popular with beginners. 

To use the clay, you simply need to take it out of the packaging and knead it with wet hands. This will make it easier to move and will prevent the clay from drying out too quickly.

The more that you knead the clay, the easier that it will be to work with. Keep wetting the clay a little every time you see it begin to get dry.

How Long Does ADC Take To Dry?

The clay can take between 24-48 hours to dry, but it depends on where it is left, so you need to be mindful about where you leave it to dry.  

The clay dries as moisture escapes from inside, turning it into a solid object. If it is left in a humid spot where there is lots of moisture in the air, the clay will take longer to dry as it will maintain its moisture. When it is in the sun, the warm temperatures will speed up the drying process.

When ADC hasn’t been used and it has been left for a while, it can feel cold and hard. Some people think that it is unusable when it feels this way, but you can simply leave it in the sunlight to warm up. Once the clay has warmed up, it will become soft, so you can then use it to create your sculptures. 

When ADC is packaged, it is wrapped in air-tight containers. This ensures that it isn’t exposed to any air.

Does The Size Of The Sculpture Matter When Drying?

Does The Size Of The Sculpture Matter When Drying

The size of the sculpture that has been created can affect how long the clay takes to dry. If you have made a large sculpture from ADC, it will take longer to dry than a smaller one.

The moisture inside the clay will take longer to reach the surface in larger objects, so it will take more time. 

In smaller sculptures, the moisture inside will not have far to travel to reach the surface. The area will be smaller and the water molecules will evaporate from the surface quicker, leaving a hard object behind. 

When Should You Paint ADC?

If you are painting your sculpture, you need to make sure that it is completely dry. Painting on wet clay will affect the structure, so it needs to be fully dry.

Enamel paints are often used on clay and contain a waterproof coating. This makes it impossible for the moisture to evaporate from the clay.

When the moisture cannot evaporate, it will remain inside the clay and will affect the model. To prevent this from happening, you should wait at least 2 days to apply paint to the sculpture as you do not want to ruin it. If the clay is still cold after 2 days, it is not dry and needs more time. 

How Do You Dry The Bases?

When you create a sculpture out of clay, you will find that the base takes longer to dry. This is because it is not exposed to air as it is pressed against a surface.

As you need the base to dry to provide the sculpture with structure, there are ways that you can help it without damaging it. 

You should use a porous sheet as the base of your sculpture as this allows the clay to dry evenly. The base will dry just as quickly as the rest of the clay so you will not need to wait longer to paint. 

How To Prolong The Drying Of ADC

If you want to prolong the drying time of ADC, you can place your sculpture on a table and cover it with a lid. This will prevent the air from reaching your sculpture so it will remain moist.

If the lid is large enough, you can also place a mug or a bowl full of water underneath. This will maintain the humidity. 

When you are looking to prolong the drying process, you will need to keep the clay away from warm temperatures and sunlight. This will cause the clay to dry quickly even when it is covered by a lid, so make sure that it is stored in a cool place in the shade. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, ADC takes between 24-48 hours to dry, but it can sometimes take longer. You need to make sure that the clay is in a suitable place to dry as it will dry quickly if it is placed in high temperatures in the sunlight, but it will take longer in the humid shade. 

You need to make sure that the clay is completely dry before painting it as the moisture will not be able to escape. This can affect the overall structure of your sculpture, so make sure that the clay is warm and dry before decorating it.