5 Uses for Scrap Clay

One way or the other every clayer ends up with scrap clay. Some of us make a lot of it. In fact some of us (like me!) make pounds of it a year.

I keep some rectangular containers on my desk to catch scrap as I work – they have ‘Cane & Translucent Scrap’, ‘Blues’, ‘Reds’, ‘Yellows’ and a final one for ‘Sludge’. I long ago realized I should have invested in Gladware or Tupperware. I do mix and reuse colours from my colour buckets. These go right back into the cycle for base beads, blends and so on. They’re not scrap yet.

For the rest:

  1. Make swirlies from the cane and translucent scrap. An excellent tutorial for this is from Barb Fajardo on PolymerClayCentral.com
  2. Make small textures. Take a ball of clay, pinch one end and then go take an imprint from something… a grate, a shoe, a button, lace, a stamp Cook like normal and use to add detail texture.
  3. Make bead guides – roll a sheet at each setting on your pasta machine, use one small cutter to cut a piece out of each sheet. Roll the piece into a ball. Pierce and bake the balls. Make a note on each what thickness and cutter made it. String and keep as a reference.
  4. Make face cabs. Form a rough oval and use a tiny pinch for the nose. Indent for the eyes. Slice and shape for lips. Use a needle tool and a little alcohol to shape and smooth the tiny features. Bake and either paint, cover or mold your little face.
  5. Make tool handles – either from the fun scraps or the sludge and cover with cane slices, texture, powders or any other decoration. One idea is to cover the eye of a yarn needle to make your own needle tool. Another is to add clay along one edge of razors to form safe handles for your sharps.


  1. Ponsawan says:

    I turn my scrap clay into Pebbles. Just run it through pasta machine until it turn purplelish-grey, roll it up in to small pieces, add some texture and have fun with them.

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