These methods to hydrate ceramic clay work. Easy to do. Re-hydrate or reclaim or recycle stoneware, porcelain, terracotta, and most types of ceramic clay. The methods are effective right up to bone dry stage.
First, prepare a pace to keep your clay once it’s re-hydrated. We use plastic keeper tubs. Some potters use picnic coolers.
You can pour an inch of plaster in the bottom of the keeper. Let it harden, and keep the plaster damp to wet. Cover the opening of the keeper with plastic, put the top on, and make sure it’s on tight. Store your clay in good plastic bags, well sealed.
If you don’t want to mess with plaster—the hydrated clay will keep well, though not as long, if you wrap it tightly and put it in a keeper without the plaster.
Now to Hydrate Ceramic Clay
Clay dry as bone? Put it in a pillow case and smash it into small chunks with a hammer. Dump the clay into a bucket and cover it with warm water. Cover the bucket with plastic. Each day, mix with your hands until it feels nice and new.
To recycle or hydrate ceramic clay should only take a few days. If the clay is too wet, set it out in batches on plaster bats to set up a bit. Wedge it. Wrap tightly in good plastic. Put it in your keeper.
Is your clay somewhere around soft leather to leather hard? Take a screwdriver and poke holes all over the top of the clay. Don’t poke through to the bottom. Pour water into the holes. Spritz the entire piece of clay with water, wrap tightly in plastic, and put in your keeper.
Always wedge after hydrating ceramic clay so you don’t risk unevenly moist spots.
One more tip. When you’ve finished a project and have leftover clay that’s just a bit dryer than you like, mush it into a rough ball, spritz it all over with water, and wrap it tightly. Next time you’re ready to work, it should be fresh and moist as new.
Got other ideas to hydrate ceramic clay? Tell us in the comment section.
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