Can air drying clay catch on fire?
In my experience, people want to know if air dry clay is flammable for two reasons because they want to cure their clay projects in an oven or kiln or for their safety because they want to make crafts like candle holders or ashtrays.
Will air dry clay easily set on fire? No. If you expose a piece of (dried) air hardening clay to a source of an open fire, for example, a candle, it will char and release a burnt paper-like smell. As you touch the burnt area it will turn into a soft, ash-like powder.
Most air drying clays are not flammable. They’re made of paper, glue, and resin. You should always check the labels to see if it has an ingredient that could make them flammable.
Will air dry clay catch on fire – The Test
I was too curious not to test it, so I grabbed a piece of DAS clay scrap and a lighter. Check out the video!
Paint can make it flammable
Even though, air hardening clay is not a particularly flammable material the paint you are using to color it could make it catch fire. Always pick water-based pigments like tempera, watercolors, or most acrylic paints because oil-based paints can fuel the fire.
Does air dry clay burn?
Air drying clay burns without a fire, chars, and turns into ash. It’s a self-hardening medium, meaning you don’t have to fire it!
If you want to speed up the drying time you can use an oven. Make sure you always insert the clay in the cold oven (if it’s already hot your craft will crack) and set it to a low temperature. Leave it for a couple of minutes (15-20) and turn it off. Let the clay craft cool in the oven.
You should never put air drying clay in a kiln! It won’t resist those high temperatures and your craft will either break apart or turn into ash.
Just in case you have a ton of air dry clay objects, and you want to burn them, they’re not good as fuel for the fire, but you can destroy them by tossing them in the flames.
Is air dry clay heat safe?
Air drying clay resists a certain level of heat, but not too high temperatures. For example, you can put your craft into the cold oven and set it to a low temperature (170-175 degrees) to make it dry faster. However, don’t put your clay crafts into the microwave, it will heat too quickly and they’ll crack, and never put them into the kiln.
I wouldn’t also make trivets with air drying clay because it’s porous. The hot pot may deteriorate or stain the clay, also the sealant you use for the project burn, oxidize, or melt and stick to the pot.
Does air dry clay melt in the heat?
No, air drying clay won’t melt, just char and turn into ash.
Can you make an ashtray out of air drying clay?
You shouldn’t make ashtrays with air dry clay. It’s a porous material that will get burned if it gets in contact with a burning cigarette. Also, you can’t wash air modeling clay items, so you won’t be able to clean them.
However, there is a workaround if you want to make an ashtray at home.
Safe way to make ashtrays
To make a safe and functional homemade clay ashtray, you need to use a metal insert to protect the clay. Short tin cans are perfect. You can build the clay around them.
Make sure you only clean it with a damp cloth, and never leave a burning cigarette unattended. Especially in an air dry clay tray.
Can you make a candle holder with air dry clay?
How to use air dry clay for candles?
Yes, you can but just like with the ashtray, you need an insert for the candle holder if you plan to use it with real candles.
You also need to protect the clay from the melted wax. If you don’t seal your candle holder the clay will soak the wax and stain its surface that you won’t be able to remove. Melted wax can make the candle holder catch on fire.
Safe air dry clay candle holder option
Safety is first! There are two simple ways you can make safe candle holders:
1. Use battery-operated led tealight candles.
2. Apply a metal insert, for example, a tin can or a fire-resistant glass container for lanterns or luminaries. and build the clay around it.
Always keep your air dry clay crafts away from fire and very high temperatures (a hot oven or kiln). For your safety, use battery-operated candles or build the clay around inserts (metal or heat-resistant glass) when creating your projects like lanterns. candle holders, or ashtrays.
Other articles on how to use air dry clay:
- The PROs and CONs of Working with Air Drying Clay
- How to Color Clay – An Experiment
- How to Strengthen Air Modeling Clay
- Prevent and Fix Cracks in Air Hardening Clay
- Can You Make Functional Mugs and Plates with Air Dry Clay