Is Air-Dry Clay Flammable? — Spinning Pots

By now, you must have surely understood how the air-dry clay works. However, there is still so much more to learn about this unique clay variant. One question that always ails most air-dry clay users is whether this clay is flammable. And, the answer to this question isn’t straight. There is no simple yes or no to this question. Instead, there are various factors that come into play when deciding whether air-dry is flammable or not.

In order to do that, we need to first decode the constituents of air-dry clay.

What is air-dry clay made of?

Air-dry clay is mostly made up of resin, paper, and glue. However, there can be homemade variants added to this mixture. You can either use pastels, chalks, or even mica powder in order to add some color to this mix. They are mostly made up of non-toxic materials that are mostly not flammable. If it is air-dry epoxy clay, it could come in two different parts, among which one is a hardener. It is generally denser as compared to normal air-dry clay but also heavier in build.

Most homemade air-dry clay variants do not risk burning or flammability issues. But, could they burn when baked or placed inside a kiln?

Well, to understand this, we first need to understand whether they can actually be fired in a kiln or baked in an oven.

Here is a quick table of the types of air-dry clay options you can try.

Can you bake or kiln fire air-dry clay?

Air-dry clay is self-hardening. This means you don’t actually need to do anything extra in order to harden the clay. However, if you want to fasten the process of hardening the clay, you can surely place it within the oven. But, you don’t necessarily have to bake it. This process of placing the clay in the oven is to reduce the moisture content.

If you do place it for the purpose of baking, you might end up burning or charring the clay. However, it surely won’t burn. This is true for homemade air-dry clay. But, with the commercial air-dry clay, you can never be assured of the materials used to prepare the clay. So, it is wise not to place such items in the oven. If there is any flammable chemical added to preserve the clay for long, it could cause unforeseen accidents.

Now, when it comes to kiln firing, air-dry clay should never ever be fired inside a kiln. Air-dry clay isn’t like your normal clay. It isn’t meant to handle the kind of heat that comes with kiln firing. Even if you happen to place the air-dry clay portrait inside the kiln, it could lead to the model burning out or getting reduced to ashes in case you leave it inside the kiln for long.

Can You Make a Candle-Holder With Air-Dry Clay?

No, you should definitely not make a candle holder with air-dry clay. This clay mostly uses organic glue that is water-based to ensure proper binding. It is usually PVA or polyvinyl acetate. This clay body, at times, contains organic flours. Once dried, this object can be very porous in nature. So, if the hot wax melts onto your candle holder made up of air-dry clay, it might catch fire. The air-dry clay per se might not catch fire, but the molten clay on it can. This could lead to charring or burning of the clay. However, the clay in itself isn’t flammable.

However, if you are using commercially branded clay, make sure you look for any warnings on the cover. If it states that the clay could be flammable, do not use it for anything that stores fire. Certain air-dry clay could house plastic particles, and this could stimulate flammability.

Could painted air-dry clay be flammable?

If you are using homemade air-dry clay, it isn’t flammable on its own. However, if you do paint it, the end product could actually be flammable. Depending on the paint you have used to decorate your air-dry clay, it could catch fire when exposed to even a little spark.

Try to use a paint that is water-based and not oil-based. Colors like oil paint could be particularly flammable. Most water-based air-dry clay variants available in the market are not at all flammable, but it is wise not to use them for purposes such as making a candle stand. The best option to use for painting air-dry clay is acrylic clay. One excellent choice is the Apple Barrel Acrylic Matte Finish Paint Set. This assorted collection ensures smooth and easy application.

In case you do wish to make a holder for your candle, you can place the wax inside a glass or metal holder and surround the holder with air-dry clay. This ensures that the clay isn’t in direct contact with the wax or the flame.

Does air-dry clay release noxious fumes?

It depends on the clay brand you are using. The water-based air-dry clay won’t give out any toxic fumes in case it starts to get charred or burned by accident. However, some brands might have preservatives or additional ingredients that could give off toxic fumes. So, homemade air-dry clay is generally safer when used to hold candles or any other flame-based objects.

Unlike polymer clay that gives off toxic fumes when it exceeds the firing temperature, air-dry clay is a safer option that only chars or burns down in high heat. It won’t be flammable or catch fire when exposed to high temperatures.

So, is there a safe option to fasten the process of drying for air-dry clay without using an oven or kiln?

Yes, you can make use of a hair-dryer to fasten the drying process. You can also keep it in a well-ventilated area to speed up the drying process.

Conclusion

So, when using air-dry clay, you do not have to worry about it being flammable. This is especially true for homemade air-dry clay. In case you are using branded air-dry clay, make sure you read through the labels to understand the ingredients. If you find that the clay houses any flammable ingredients, try to keep them only for decor purposes and not for anything that could expose it to live flame or even a spark.

Originally published at https://spinningpots.com on August 22, 2021.

Cat fanatic and Arts and Craft Lover. With Pottery being my favorite hobby. And a dangerous combo when you add in a couple of chaotic cats. :)