Ceramics Without Firing?

Posted: February 13, 2019

Alternative ‘Clays’ That Don’t Need a Kiln

Like sculpting but not a fan of the hassle that comes with ceramics, especially firing? There are many other options for you that are similar to the properties of clay, some you can even make yourself in the kitchen!


Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay is a versatile material that works like clay and becomes hardened by baking in a regular kitchen oven. When it’s baked it can be cut, sawn or glued, as well as painted, varnished, and re-baked with additional fresh clay. 

Polymer clay comes in many different colours that are also mixable. There are unique clay variations that glow in the dark, pearlescent, metallic or fluorescent.

Polymer clay is not a natural clay, it’s made up of resins and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Note that once the package is open you need to keep it in an airtight container or paper, away from direct sunlight and heat.

Polymer clay should be baked in the oven on a baking sheet cover with foil or parchment according to the package’s instructions. The clay will be completely hardened after it cools down. Always bake according to the instructions as the overheated/ burnt clay can let out toxic fumes. It’s recommended to bake it in a ventilated area.

Polymer clay can be painted with acrylic paints and varnished with acrylic or alcohol based varnishes. Baked clay doesn’t need varnish but if you want a glossy finish you can use gloss varnish.

Air dry clay

Air dry clay has a quite telling name: it’s a natural clay that doesn’t need firing or baking, as it dries solid when it’s exposed to air. It’s a good alternative to regular clay when you need to make something quickly, something small or inexpensive. It’s great for sculpting, decorative items, jewellery or other craft projects.

Air dry clay works just like regular clays – it has the same texture, can be formed the same way and will dry to similar consistency. You can use water to soften the clay and to create slip (the mixture of clay and water).

The difference that’s good to keep in mind is that air drying clay starts the drying process as soon as it’s out of the packaging. Therefore it requires relatively quick work time and you need to keep the items in air tight packaging if you want to continue working later.

Once it’s dry you can paint it or spray paint it.

Cold Porcelain

The name is misleading: cold porcelain isn’t actually a porcelain. It’s an an inexpensive, non-toxic and easily made material. It’s a mixture of cornstarch and glue and to enhance its smooth texture you can also add oils and glycerol. It’s advised to add lemon juice and sodium benzonite to the mixture to prevent the growth of mold.

Cold porcelain doesn’t require firing, it simply dries on air. However, due to its contents, it’s possible to soften it by heat or water even after it dried, so it’s not suitable for some projects.



Tools –> https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/set-of-3-clay-modelling-tools.html
White Clay –>https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/das-white-clay-500g-pack.html
Terracotta Clay –> https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/das-terracotta-clay-500g-pack.html
Modelling Clay –> https://www.iartsupplies.co.uk/white-modelling-clay-150g-block.html


  • http://kilnarts.org/education/ceramic-pottery/the-basics-of-clay/types-of-clay/
  • http://www.lakesidepottery.com/Pages/Pottery-tips/choosing-the-right-clay-type.htm
  • https://thebluebottletree.com/polymer-clay-tips-beginners/
  • http://www.things-to-make-and-do.co.uk/sculpting-and-modelling/cold-porcelain-clay/cold-porcelain-clay.html
  • https://www.clay-it-now.com/coldporcelainrecipe.html
  • https://www.delineateyourdwelling.com/best-tips-for-using-air-dry-clay/