Gen. info
Containers small & med. (...plastic & other)
... large (...also for transporting clay & supplies)
Plastic wrap/baggies
Waxed paper, parchment, coated papers,etc.
Racks & trays, Shelves & bins
Other places
Cold & heat
...cold (temp, long term)
...heat
Misc, travelling
Websites 

STORAGE

see Covering > Plastics -- for plastics which can and cannot be baked with polymer clay 

see also Tools-Dremels > Work Surfaces for work surfaces and work rooms

Basic Info.

...raw clay can be stored in anything that is not absorbent (paper, fabric, etc.)
.......waxed paper is porous, but generally okay (t will allow some plasticizer to leach through it over time IF there is an absorbent surface underneath, contacting it)
...raw clay can be store in, or next to, any plastic that will not. be dissolved by the plasticizer
...raw clay can be stored in glass and metal
..
(see below for storing in plastics --containers, baggies, wrap, etc.)

I had old sheets of clay and pc "fabric" that I'd made a year ago which I forgot all about
...when I tested them last week they cracked when I touched them.
....so I 'excited their molecules' by smacking them between their plastic wrap layers until I'd hit every inch of each. I used both an acrylic rod and then switched to a rubber mallet.....it WORKED like a charm... I later used a lot of them to make mokume gane (slabs). Carolyn
.........(see more in Conditioning, and in Canes >Old Hard)
..
I had a thin sheet of raw, patterned clay I had used as a laminate several months ago. It cracked when I tried to use it
........so I tried back-filling those cracks with liquid clay --but I colored the liquid clay with gold.
........now it looks like grout in a mosaic but outlines the pattern shapes
....... this could be very interesting if I had used some Glow in the Dark liquid clay-- jayne

 

CONTAINERS (plastic & other)
... small and larger
for raw clay... tools, brushes.... other items

plastic containers for food ....the plastics which are "food grade" are chemically inert so they are not supposed to react with anything. faun

Watch out for those plastic containers intended for storing embroidery threads though... they are made from the hard, unbendable plastic which is generally not safe for raw clay (...unless the clay is protected from contact with it ...e.g., wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, etc.)

disposable containers made by Glad... near the plastic bags (in the grocery store)... about $2.50 -3.00, in packages of 4
....come in different sizes ..... somewhat clear plastic (microwave safe/dishwasher safe/ and freezable) ... fine for raw clay
....I keep my canes up on end in one of these containers.... so there is room for many canes, and I can then see the cane patterns at a glance.
....I keep all my scraps in these Glad containers ...sorted in color families. ... very handy... I just toss in bits of colors, etc., as I clean between projects.
..
I use those disposable ZipLoc containers ..... and they stack neatly.
......1 lb. bar of Premo fits perfectly inside the tall ones. Dawn

Glad now also has lasagna size pans! ...i was thinking that the larger pan would be great for hauling clay to classes... deb

I also use the little plastic pencil boxes from Walmart
.....you can mark on the end of the boxes with a sharpie and when ready to change the contents the sharpie can be removed with a quick swipe of acetone
.....this marking method also works on any cloudy-plastic box surfaces.... I even do it on the storage systems that are the little drawers (nuts & bolts).
....sharpies don't work well on the hard clear plastic because they will etch a little, but I still do it. Deb F

The video box storage is a good idea. Sarajane & Dee

Those bathroom wipe containers (toddler wipe, cottonelle, etc) are clay-safe, and I am using them to store my canes. Ginger

I use, and have used for years, those clear plastic tackle boxes with the dividers that you can easily find at Walmart, Target, Sears, etc.
....one brand name is "Plano".
....the reason they are great for storing clay is that they are made to the type of fishing lures called worms which are soft rubbery kind of things that contain the same type of plasticizer as polymer clay..... So any fishing tackle box that is "worm proof" will store polymer clay indefinitely (It may not actually say "worm proof" but almost any tackle box for storing lures made these days will be worm proof ). Elisabeth

I got a huge tackle box at Walmart for about $25 ...& it's blue.
...It has two sections which open independently....top is segmented & fairly shallow on one side... deeper well on the right side, which is divided in two parts.
......the segmented areas were just made for our tools! One long section holds all my clayshaper tools and a couple of brushes. Another holds all my dental tools... another holds gel pens... one holds drill bits and pin vises... and that's just the start... all my tools right there at the flip of a lid!
.....the small part of the deep well holds my decorative scissors and my garlic presses... the large part of it holds my cutter sets and alphabet stamps. But would be perfect for a clay dump as well! .....I carry my clay in a separate tote.
....the large bottom section of the box will hold 5 floss boxes if you like. I carry two in it... one holds my powders & the other holds jewelry findings and misc hardware. I slip my foils in between them & the rest of the box holds rollers, glue, wet ones & other large items. How cool IS THAT??? Joanie :o}

fishing supply houses are heaven for containers! PoRRo

rifle ammo & handgun ammo boxes... bullet cases are perfect for keeping your canes clean and not smooshed (because they have lots of upright compartments just large enough to hold single canes --can see the ends), and the ones at the Harbor Freight store are only 1.49 apiece. Kathy G.
....Donna actually had both at Shrinemont...the 1/2" openings and a larger 2 1/2"x2" size. The smaller sized opening box has a bunch of spaces (50) perfect
for teeny tiny canes. The larger box has 4 sapces. I wrap the individual canes before storing them in there. I haven't found the ammo boxes listed on the Harbor freight website...only at the actual store. Linda H
http://www.mtmcase-gard.com/products/rifle/rifl.html and http://www.mtmcase-gard.com/products/handgun/ammo_boxes.html and http://www.huntingtons.com/PlasticBoxes.html
(various sizes)
...also shotshell boxes and cases for hunters and for reloading ..try also hunting stores locally

I happened upon the 'Car Garage' which is in the Toy Dept of Wal-Mart around the Hot Wheels area ..... there are 48 sections which are permanent cubby holes for items, with 24 on each side... they are usually under $5.00, however now they are less than half that as I heard that they will be discontinued... so for about $2.00 + your local tax, check em out... I put longer canes in there .
...they are also great for taking to class... as my blades, small tools, etc will fit in the long sections on each side. Patsy

Any size or shape Rubbermaid containers are generally fine.
...I use rubber maid plastic boxes of all sizes ...then I label the end as to what is in them.... I stack them, or put them on shelves
...I mainly use the shoe box size for each project, and the project I'm working on at the moment, so I can carry each one to where I'm working. alicejob915

(see below, for more on plastics)

(glass) baby food jars . . .you can glue their bottoms to the lids of other jars...and voila! containers that screw together in a tall stack (use crazy glue...very easy and dries fast).... good for misc. small parts or beads, etc. Lori
... attach jar lids to a board, using screws or nails (any size jars, as long as they SCREW on). You then attach the board to the wall or ceiling....and you can see what's in each jar. --shoe

wall pockets .....and large vases for paintbrushes, knitting needles, large scissors. Jeanne

old wood knife block--- drilled the openings larger to hold the decorative scissors.
...also l
eather tool wood blocks to hold all kinds of leather tools and other tools that I use often. Jeanne

small vases and mugs for tongue depressors, toothpicks, Q-tips. Jeanne

dishwasher basket for silverware ... excellent for putting clay tools in:)
... I just cut out some pieces of cardboard and placed them in the bottom of the basket. ...They are easy to move with a little handle and stores a lot.
... Go out hunt for other metal baskets. . . and I also took some storage boxes from ruined refrigerators!!!.. Christel :-)

floral "frogs" (for holding flowers upright in containers) to hold sculpting tools upright. Jeanne (glass ones with holes, wire "baskets", or spiky metal ones?). Jeanne

2 sheets of plastic-grid paneling (which is intended for use over overhead fluorescent lights) horizontally, separated by 4 spacer dowels vertically (glued to grid)... (Pam's clever paintbrush holder (for holding many slender tools upright and separated)
--- top and bottom grid sheet are cut to fit inside a woven basket using 2 cardboard templates ... she also glues felt to the inside bottom of the basket
http://pamscountryblessings.homestead.com/tipsntotes.html

metal cans...
...btw, a perfect lid can be made from the top of any metal can if you open it with a safety-type can opener...the best ones (Oxo, for example --$20) leave a thickish, unsharp edge on both the lid and on the remaining can rim (..some types do leave the rim sharp though, so be careful which you buy but the second types can be good for making cutters... for the first type, look for the untoothed disk to be taller and farther away from the toothed disk than a normal cutting disk would be).. the can is being cut on the side, rather than the top, and the metal strip there is actually being cut in two, releasing the lid (hard to explain!).. this results in a lid which can't fall into the can and nests nicely on the can's top (almost air tight)

....small metal tuna or cat food cans ...they stack fairly well, particularly the pop-top type. That's what I use to keep scrap colors separated into coordinating groups. Halla

...coffee cans or other cans would work for stacking....look at my clay space http://www.abundancebox.com/Studio1102.htm. The cans are glued together where they meet with dots of crazy glue into a pyramid shape . I use this for clay-at-a-glance that's been conditioned but not used. Different bins for different colors, one for scrap clay, one for metallics, one has a little container of TLS, etc. Lori
.......Dar covered some metal coffee cans, then "wrote" the content on the outside with ropes of clay
http://www.dar.addr.com/pctools5.jpg

You might also be able to see the open, cube-shaped wooden cigar boxes stacked on end with the openings facing out so it's like a tower of little shelves. On beading table they hold some cordings and wire. Lori
http://www.abundancebox.com/Studio1102.htm
...I use the same trick as your cans but use the triangular Priority mail boxes. I send them to my firends and they send to me
so they're legal (LOL). I even made a yarn cubbie with them (pic on my site). . . .Linda B.

Teri's workroom(s) and her triangular Priority boxes cubbies
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=681515&uid=452502&members=1

I just got a few things from American Science and Surplus http://www.sciplus.com that I really like. I bought a bag of the little plastic snap shut jars that come with craft kits. They come hooked together in a row, though I cut mine apart. They're great for saving TLS colors or Flecto and Pearlex mixes. Jody B.

I made my own holder "bases" ......for Kemper cutters and for little jars of powders.
lesson ... make a scrap layer of clay at #1
....arrange the cutters by sitting them on top of that layer.... use the cutters to cut their own little space ( I use a release)
... make another layer of #1. ....take first layer and put it on top of the (uncut) second layer.
....have the little cutters do their little cutting again through the second layer
........repeat this process until you have 4 cut layers
....make a final fifth layer at #1.... this will be the very bottom (so also make it big enough to go up over the sides if you want).
....leaving the cutters in the form, bake the whole thing in the oven for about 45-60 min..
.......as the form cools, wiggle the cutters around just so they have a "little wiggle room"
....Another little tip I'm taking from Helen for making a "label" for each hole is to use your tiniest cutters, cut a little extra shape and put on top of your creation. That little piece becomes its " title". Dar http://www.afamilyjournal.com/pctools2.jpg
Could you do this with only a few layers in or on a box lid?
To save clay, could you use only one base layer, then add a stack of 3-5 clay disks (or other shapes) of clay for each cutter (cutting after refrigeration to firm the stack), on top of the base layer?

LARGER CONTAINERS.... & also TRANSPORTING clay & supplies

stacked drawer units ... most of these are made from translucent rubbery plastic which doesn't react with clay... often they're trimmed in either white or black
...Cindy's drawer units holding her clay (by color family) http://www.cindysartandsoul.com/images/d3.JPG

For me, "what goes where" is a constantly evolving process that changes pretty much every time I turn around....it's all a matter of what works best for you depending on the type of work you do!
...Right now, my little bottles and jars like Pearl Ex, Pinata inks, metal powders, etc are in the top tray of my tool box
........ In the second tray are tools like my needle tool, bead rollers, Kemper cutters, clay shapers, and tissue blades (the drawer is divided into little slots/sections.) This is the stuff I work with most frequently.
...In one of those big clear plastic sets of drawers on wheels I have texture plates, molds, and stamps in one drawer, glues and finishes in another.
........My paints take up two drawers - one for regular craft acrylics and one for Lumiere/Neopaque/etc.
.......Jewelry findings are all together in still another drawer.
...My pasta machine, Dremel, and a worklight on a pivoting arm are all bolted to a wooden barstool that sets next to my worktable and can be moved out of the way easily. Lisa

Mastercraft Rolling Toolbox with Tote . . . I got it at a Black & Decker factory store in Westbrook CT for $29.99. Other people posted that they had found some similar boxes at Home Depot or Lowe's. The guy at the factory store told me it was a new item so maybe it will be more widely available soon. I really love it btw, it holds EVERYTHING. Libby
....That neat rolling toolbox is available at Canadian Tire (hardware store chain). It's on sale right now for $39.99 Canadian dollars. That's about $27 US dollars! Check here: http://www.canadiantire.ca (then search for Mastercraft Rolling Toolbox with Tote)

(...Some years ago, Marty Woolsy of the NTPCG showed us a picture of a rolling cart that is primarily designed for construction workers like carpenters or home do-it-yourself handy people.)
.....To travel to classes, guild meetings, many clayers have found a tool chest on wheels works wonderfully well ...these are 3 section carts that clamp together to make one unit
... Being able to take the 3 sections apart is quite handy when lifting it into the car.
.......I bought a K-Mart brand (it's a blue color in the tool section... about $30), and another one similar to it many years ago from Sears that is alike in construction and paid twice the cost of the K-Mart cart (it's a "safety" yellow and black color).
....the bottom section with the wheels has a tilt out front where I can easily store my pasta machine, motor, small glass cutting board (WalMart), a square cigar box with deli-tissue, a plastic can of Wet Wipes (has alcohol) and a box to hold Ziplock baggies as well as my rolled up white solid non-slip shelf liner (WalMart in the Contact paper section)....the base also has two bungee cords on one side where I store my caulk gun which is adapted to hold my clay gun....the other side has a reel to hold an extension cord for the motor.
...the middle section has two shallow drawers in which I store blades, X-acto knives, Marxit, clay shapers and knitting needles, Sculpey Clay Softener, small TLS bottle, needle tools (all this in one drawer) and in the other drawer lots of unopened packages of clay in the 2 oz. size.
...the top section when opened has a lift out tool tray that rulers and long acrylic rods fit into nicely... and below it is a deep section that holds a large quantity of pound blocks of clay. There is a handle which extends at the back and is attached to the base section.
(...let me say that not all of this is needed all the time . . . ). Patty B.

WalMart has a rolling tool box of black plastic, but to get to the large bottom bin you must first lift off the top sections (better for security, but harder to access). The tilt out bottom bin is really handy. Patty B.

Some of our guild members use a large cropping/scrapbooking cart made of canvas and is on wheels with a handle. Patty B.

From container stores, you can buy a 3 section semi-clear white cart on wheels. It holds a lot of stuff, but does not have a handle to pull it by. I've added a heavy duty luggage strap to mine to tow it along when I need to bring extra supplies. Patty B.

Kathy's workroom and her automotive tool cart-table (this one only has one drawer though) http://people.delphiforums.com/kkephart/workspace.htm

PLASTIC WRAP & baggies & plastic bags, etc.

Plastics
... the rubbery type plastics (often translucent) are okay, as are most plastic bags and baggies
....but the hard, very clear plastics sometimes aren't ......(tho acrylic sheets are ok!)
... plastic recycling numbers # 1, # 2 or # 4 seem to be okay ... # 5 is okay too (Rubbermaid containers, and many other rubbery translucent containers)
... # 6 (polystyrene) avoid it like the plague for storing clay!
.........however, it's possible to use # 6 (and others?) as an armature for baking with clay if it's not in contact longer than a day when clay is raw

You can test containers with a drop of mineral oil, to see if the container is usable for clay. Just let it sit for a few days..... Polystyrene will start to get a roughened appearance pretty quickly ( in fact it's almost instantaneous with other oily products like Citra Solv, as I found out when trying to remove a price sticker from a toothbrush holder) ...The melting and deforming takes at least a few hours or overnight though. Halla

If your using Ziploc brand bags for any contact with clay, beware the areas of white writing ... they will will transfer to the clay !!)

I store my unused clay pasta-machine-rolled clay flat (a number 1 setting) in ziploc storage bags. This makes it easier to roll back thru the PM, and takes up less space being flat. ...I stack the sheets standing up in a rubbermaid box with like colors for easy reference (how separated?). Jeanette

To keep canes (or any clay) as supple as possible (esp. if you think it may be a long time before you use them), in addition to putting them in a container, also wrap around the outside with a piece of plastic wrap. Some clays get stiffer with age than others.

TEST: I learned by setting clay on top of each material I wanted to test, with paper towel underneath, for a few days that everything, absolutely, everything leaches plasticizer EXCEPT aluminium foil (???). All the plastic wraps are porous, including wax paper, whereas aluminium foil isn't. Hope this helps, Meredith
~.... TEST containers (and plastic wrap/baggies??) with a drop of mineral oil if the container is expendable, that is (or a little blob of clay in an inconspicuous place). Just let it sit for a few days. Polystyrene will start to get a roughened appearance pretty quickly, in fact it's almost instantaneous with other oily products like Citra Solv, as I found out when trying to remove a price sticker from a toothbrush holder. The melting and deforming takes at least a few hours or overnight. Halla
...Try not to let it get to the stage of actually melting though, because it creates a sticky mess. If a kind of fogginess appears before the actual melting which can't be removed with your finger or alcohol, then you'll know that plastic isn't going to work. DB

.... I've noticed that Sam's Choice plastic wrap (my favorite for food) is not good with clay either. After 24 hours of being in contact with the clay it had changed consistency.
.....Reynolds plastic wrap (their newer ones though?) dissolves after prolonged exposure to polymer clay also . . . Faun
.....the old Saran brand plastic wrap isn't good (but the new version is okay)

Handiwrap is okay . . .
(Apr 2000:) The makers of Handi-Wrap sold the product to another company, who renamed it "Saran with Cling Plus" and repackaged it in a red box. They claim that the formula is the same (as Handi-Wrap), but please check it for yourself. . . . They acquired and have been making Handi-Wrap for a couple of years now. When they first got it, they repackaged it into a yellowish box. All they are doing now is changing the packaging to be more consistent with their other plastic wrap products .
. . If it's the same great product, the bonus is that there is now a "Saran with Cling Plus Junior" size, which is 8 inches wide (about two-thirds the width of the regular kind). Great for size for cllayers! . . . Shelly

I store my clay wrapped in Glad Clingwrap.. . .doesn't react with the clay. It even states on the box that it does NOT contain plasticizers. I like useing plastic wrap because I can easily see the color of the clay, and because in a house with 4 cats, it keeps the hair off my clay! :-) Diane in NE

the plastic wrap I use is from Gordon Food Service and I bought a gigantic roll like the ones they use in restaurants. All my latest projects get left on my clay table with plastic covering to keep dust out ... I have not had a problem with it reacting with the clay.-Laurie in MI

I cover all clay piles with pillowcase-sized pieces of cloth to keep out the light.
. . . also I cover everything with Handiwrap (first?) instead of plastic bags...but same idea. Sarajane H.

BAGS
I've been storing my sheets of clay in the clear bags that are sold for freezing fruits and veggies in (for canning) ... they come with a twist tie. work great.
... I can keep them flat ...they are pleated on the bottom which makes a nice fold and the stack lays nice and flat.
....I don't have to "open" anything to see what's there .... I also keep any small pieces of canes that I have in these.
....they are sold near the canning jars and stuff. ....I think I got them at Wal Mart. Jan

"Ziploc" is a brand name for one kind of zip-top bag, which is sturdy and thicker than some others .....the Ziploc brand is fine with clay. . .
....for ziptop bags, I sometimes cut them on 3 sides, leaving one side uncut, so that I can have a larger, flat piece of plastic to use (under clay or as a cover).
.. there are also some larger ziptop bags in a box at Smart and Final here (a restaurant supply store)
..I've also found some humongous ziptop bags at an automotive supply store (Pep Boys or Kragen...can't remember; another place to look might be camping suppliers)... they'd make great large dust covers or they could be easily cut into smaller sections to separate layers of clay balls or sheets: Ziploc Heavy Duty Big Bags (Extra Large, 12 gal--24x21" ...and 2X Large, 20 gal--24x33") --light blue, translucent (though not as rubbery and soft as regular Ziplocs), have a pleated bottom, and handle-holes above the zipper area. Diane B.

...I have stored my clay in Ziploc sandwich or freezer bags for over 10 years now and I've never had one of them fall apart. I am fairly sure that some of the bags I have in my conditioned clay drawers are that old because I don't change them; I just keep conditioning clay and adding it. Kat
. . . however the white printing on the front of each Ziploc brand bag will be dissolved by the plasticizer and end up on the clay, if it comes in long-term and continuous contact with it (unless they've changed the paint or whatever it is by now).
... just having the bags around, here and there, always leads to some kind of inadvertent contact for me
....so you also can't stack raw clay between baggies or cut open the baggies and use them flat (unless you're careful not to let the clay ever come in contact with the painted side)!

I've had some canes wrapped in (the brand name) "Baggies" sandwich bags for years without any problems.....they came on a roll and were automatically sectioned.
.....I've always loved Baggies especially because they have that subtle textured surface, so the plastic doesn't stick to itself like plastic wrap.... Desiree

I once got smaller bags from jewelry supply (TSI), that have a white placard printed on them. They are a zip type bag - not zip loc brand/sandwich bag type. The white area printed on the bags became gooey after storing clay in them! It was a real mess
...
After the white ink on the bags got gooey, the seams and stuff started going....either they were splitting or being "eaten", I'm not sure which to be honest. It was this experience that clued me into the fact that plasticizer leaches through some plastic wraps and bags and I began experimenting. I came to the conclusion that plastic in general wasn't great for storage - although I have heard that Handi wrap works...Meredith
..... I suspect some of the disintegrating bags that people have gotten from some jewelry supply places and such have been vinyl rather than the more common food-grade #2 polyethylene, but that's just a suspicion…Halla

plastic liners for baby bottles (package of 50 for $1.99, store brand), and so far they have been holding up very well! I just put the clay in the bag, wrap the excess bag around the clay, and then folder over and tape the end with scotch tape. DayleB

So making an almost perfect vacuum with ziploc bags is easy and you don´t need to (suck out the remaining air from the bag with a straw before closing). Put (your clay, or clay/mineral oil, or canes, or clay sheets) into the bag and close almost half of it. Find a little bit bigger container than your bag and fill it with water. Put the bag under the water (the air-hole should not go under water), and let the water (force) the air out of the bag. Seal and take out of the water. Dry with towel. You have to try this before you believe it is almost as good as any machine out there. But only works with plastic bags. And yes, this is the method I am using constantly with food. PöRRö

I guess I have staging areas (for storing my clay things) . There are the cardboard boxes where I keep the unopened packets. Then there are the big plastic bags which contain little plastic bags which contain partially used packets of clay. Then there are the plastic bags where I keep sheets and logs of conditioned clay (Fimo fiend that I am). Then there are the lovely plastic organizers where I keep all my raw canes. Finally there are the big plastic bags that contain little plastic bags where I keep scraps, loosely organized by color palette. Desiree

I also use those clear plastic cheapie picture covers (page protectors?) to sort my clay into project trays. Then all go into drawers when I am not working on that particular project. Dianne C.
....or page protectors with a sheet of card stock or cardboard inside for stiffness (I put mine in a binder, but the clay does stick bit)
...a friend of mine does something similar to this - she runs her clay through the pm and then 'files' her sheets in a hanging file system. You could put like colors in the same folder with clingy plastic wrap separating the sheets. Helen p.
...When I condition my large batches of clay, I lay the sheets out on deli wrap paper first (a full sheet of the large size folded in half fits the width of one sheet of clay nicely) and then slide them in Avery page protector sleeves, and store my sheets in a notebook. I have been doing it this way for over a year now....some sheets of clay with the deli paper, some without and haven't had any reaction with the plastic page protectors....when I want a sheet of clay in a certain color, I pull it out, run it through the PM once or twice and it is ready to go. Kathi

I use regular plastic grocery bags! They don't react with the clay & it keeps it just fine. ... it is the cheapest ( if least elegant ) storage (I've hesitated to confess to this, but)
......I store them in a large cardboard carton, which is also free, but you could put them in a drawer or cupboard or on a shelf. I keep thinking this can't be good for the clay, but so far, after a couple of years it has been more than OK. & the price is right. I usually "double-bag' them. Mavis

When doing a semi large piece once, I used a white plastic kitchen trash bag (all brands?) though as a dust cover....the surface of the clay got so soft and mushy. . .

(see Supply Sources > Plastic for buying small plastic bags --ziptop or not)

WAXED PAPER... PARCHMENT...SILICONE/Polyethylene?... Freezer Paper
(paper based materials, often with coatings)

Some of the experiences with clay stored touching waxed paper indicate that a lot depends on what the waxed paper is touching on the other side. Since waxed paper is "slowly absorbent," the effects won't necessarily be seen for a long time, and will be seen more with sheets than with balls or logs, etc. because of their larger surface area.
....So, if the waxed paper stored with clay is in contact with something non-absorbent and non-reactive to clay (e.g. sitting in a rubbery-plastic drawer, etc.), not much of the plasticizer will move through the waxed paper to that surface. (And if stacks of clay are stored on top of each other with waxed paper between, the plasticizer will migrate, but mostly only to the other clays in the stack... as long as the stack is on a non-porous surface).
...If the waxed paper is on something absorbent though (like a cane wrapped in waxed paper, next to a cardboard box, or on top of a piece of paper, etc.), the plasticizer will leach out of the clay more (and quicker), because it has a surface which will accept it. That's my take on it so far anyway... whew. Diane B.

What I found with wax paper is that the container you keep it in makes the difference. I've always kept my wrapped canes in the non-reactive fishing cases, but last summer I put some old canes in a wood basket to warm in the garage and left them there. Within several days the plasticizers has leached through the wax paper and adhered the clay to the basket...I lost several canes this way and the basket. . . . .On the other hand I have other baskets, different types of plastic, and don't have problems with them. Adrienne

I've noticed though that the sheets I had layered together between waxed paper *seem* to have gotten a "drier" feel (more than usual) after sitting for awhile ..again, not right away. Don't know if this is a real effect or just coincidence. Diane B.
....
Diane--I'll confirm your take on this--the clay DOES leach through waxed paper and dry out.
.... This is also a function of storing clay in sheets, period, as there seems to be an effect from having more of the surface area exposed--whether its to temp, light, or air, I don't know. ....Could even be because the plasticiser is too spread out, and migrates more than it would in a lump form. Sarajane
... Sculpey (Sculpey III translucent, or Super Sculpey too?) is the only one that has 2 plasticisers, and one of them is water soluble.... since it has some water in there --more than the other brands-- maybe the flat sheets dry out a bit AND cool off ...that's my theory. Sarajane
.....If the clay will be sitting for awhile (more than a few days?), it will stay most supple if it's wrapped in plastic wrap or containers (see Storage for which plastics are ok).
...( for ways to revitalize old, stiff sheets of clay, see above in "Gen.Info".)

I condition my clay and roll it into sheets and store them wrapped in wax paper, but I put the wrapped sheets into large plastic freezer bags. I then store these sheets in plastic tubs. So far I have not had any problems with clay drying out.
.........when I'm ready to clay, I just roll the sheet through the pasta machine 2 or 3 times, and it's ready to go.:-)
....I have also been thinking about buying one of those plastic filing cabinets and some file folders, then putting my sheets in plastic bags in the folders/cabinet. ...because right now to get to the bottom colors, I do have to take the top layers off to get to the bottom ones. Matilda

I have always used baking parchment to separate sheets and wrap canes. I have stuff stored like this for up to 10 years and it is all completely stable - no leaching or any drying out. It is also wonderful for baking on. Is it called the same thing in the States? It is a non-stick paper for baking cookies or whatever on, and you can buy it in any supermarket here. Very cheap too! Sue

"silicone parchment pan liners" or "high density polyethylene (which?) ..easy release...waterproof & greaseproof... (same as Patty Papers but diff. brand?)
...Marla Frankenberg introduced us to a different kind of deli paper by Papercon that doesn't leach at all ....... it's wonderful for burnishing with as it is somewhat slick... in a green box that says "CP8" and "interfolded Clear Plastic"...1000 sheets (8x10 3/4" is the smallest size).. $9 per box. Helen
http://www.prpaper.com/webcatalog/detail.asp?line=B0076&item=PPC-CP8

http://www.pkdy.com/papercon/bakery.html

Papercon also makes "dry waxed" patty sheets... maybe the same as:
....
Patty Papers (500-1000 sheets of waxed high density "parchment"? paper that come in a box... 5 or 6" square (plus larger size)... $5-10... at restaurant supply stores)
..........
same as regular deli papers?...or different because one side is coated and slicker?... will leach over time? (see Work Surfaces, under Tools for more description and info)

freezer paper isn't porous, or at least the plastic side isn't...
....I often use freezer paper (to stack sheets of clay), folded back over the sheet - plastic side to plastic - for flat sheet storage.
On the plus side:
1) folding back over makes the sheet self-contained, so you know it will stick only to its own wrapping (which could also be done with wax paper)
2) for long term storage, wax paper leaches slightly - freezer paper doesn't
3) freezer paper stay's wrinkle free . . .
4) the back (paper side) can be used to write notes about the sheet, such as the recipe or date made.
On the minus side:
1) freezer paper is opaque so it's more trouble to see the color of your sheets
2) freezer paper is more expensive than wax paper
3) freezer paper likes to continue to curl a little after being removed from the roll, which can be annoying if you have only a lightweight stack of a couple of sheets. Sara Jane NC

I like to take the freezer paper and make a fanfold from it which will fit inside a pizza box ...I put raw canes 1" in or less in diameter, or unbaked pens, in the troughs.
…... med. size pizza boxes will also hold a 25 egg carton nicely ...this makes em great for transporting small ornaments, and you can also stack the boxes and tie them with a string ...best thing is the ornaments are protected, and i've had very little breakage since switching to this method. faun

(for a plastic-type separator for sheets, see above)

RACKS & TRAYS & SHELVES & BINS

You'll love having lots of shelves ... and if you use the metal strips and brackets type that allows you to adjust the height, you'll be able to customize the shelves for your specific work habits. Irene

....lots of stacked plastic drawer units on right
...and on left a homemade unit of very closely-spaced, "shelves" made from cut down masonite ..on top of each shelf, I put a pullout "tray" made from enclosing a sheet of cardstock inside a ziptop bag (so the contents can be slid out or removed). Diane B. (website gone) (DB ADD)

A year ago I had one of those efficency people come over to see how I could organize everything...the consultation was worth its weight in gold.
.....Her suggestion was to buy a wall full of these narrow, shallow, tall shelving units ( 13" wide by 9" deep x 72" high) from Hold Everything.... the shelves adjust and the shortest height is 1 1/2" .
...They fit almost everything, and I made separate compartments for glue, tape, spray paint, scissors, my dremel, Fimo, Premo, Sculpey, etc.
... She also said one thing that helped, when I balked at spending the money... one of the things that hold women back is that they aren't willing to invest in themselves. Not thinking of myself as someone like that, I was interested to see that I was indeed falling into just such a trap.
...This system is so good because I do live in my studio, and when things are on the shelves, even though they are all visible, the place has an order to it.. Jacqueline

I think if you sort out your supplies, you will begin to see things that go together logically for you and your creative process.
...so I sorted all my clay stuff into piles on the floor (..I also gather large & small boxes or lids to use temporarily. DB)
.. then I made labels for them from groupings that made sense for what I had.
...so now I have a couple of boxes of beads, beading tools, wireworking tools....others include: texture items (for texture sheets etc.) inks & paints, rubberstamps, sand paper, glues & finished, inclusions, molds, bead roller, cutters & clay gun and I have a large bin for things to cover (jars, switchplate covers, pens and all those other things I haven't gotten to)
....I have all my clay sorted out in one of the cabinets that the oven sits on, and the other sides hold baking pans, misc boxes and thing like saran wrap, foil, wax paper. Libby

create pull-out shelves from regular shelves
... I have loads of small, short items that are hard to store accessibly, and since I want be able to see everything quickly, I like to try to store them flat.... so I've often made my own cheapie version of roll-out shelves.
.....(if nec, I first cut and add more shelves to an existing shelving unit or book case --leaving about 6" of space or more).
.....then I use large, shallow box-bottoms (like the ones sodas come in or you see in Costco, e.g.) to slide into the space.
.... I can fill them with cookie cutters, molds, raw clay blobs or canes, etc. (for clay I add a lining of alum. foil, etc.), and easily see and access all the items by pulling out the "tray" most of the way (unless it's pulled out all the way, it will be held in the slot by the shelf above).
.....box bottoms can also be shortened in height from larger boxes
.......or smaller "box bottoms" can be made up in any size with pieces of corrugated cardboard or illustration board, e.g., and glue or packing tape (may need to clamp or tie something around as glue dries)
......I especially like the larger cardboard storage boxes (like the under-bed storage boxes)... those often come in 2-packs and work out pretty cheap by the time I use both the lid and the bottom (separately), cutting down shorter if necessary
......these kinds of boxes also come in many sizes (even smaller ones from Office Depot for storing file folders)
...also smaller boxes can be useful for making compartments in the larger shallow box trays

real roll-out shelves ...I've also found it handy to turn many shelves into actual shelves that roll out by attaching roller strips that can be purchased separately to the side of a freestanding shelf
... I often put box bottoms or large wire baskets on top of those (wire baskets are particularly nice because they raise the height and number of what can be stored, but still allow everything to be visible). Diane B

I also use the particleboard shelving units that hold paper (literature sorters, etc.)....and one of the best purchases I've ever made!
.....I think it was about 80 bucks but well worth it over and over...they come in different dimensions too.
....it's a wood shell, with cardboard shelf inserts, and front strips that reinforce it and make it strong (you do have to assemble it)
....I got it from Staples and they delivered free.... here's the general type I'm talking about:
http://www.bankersbox.com/us/products/04200.cfm
(but mine are smaller, 12 slots, 20 w x 16"h & made of particleboard, not cardboard) Irene
..do they sell anything comparable for scrapbookers, etc.
...what about those wide but shallow shelf units for holding larger sheets of art paper?
.....pre-school teachers also use something like this to dry kids' paintings before school is over

You can also use these large shelving units to hold "trays"
......I use the lids of plastic shoe boxes - each slot in the shelf unit holds one tray.
......because I do production work, it's so handy to pull out one tray when I'm going to work on a certain style of switch plate or something, instead of having to gather tools and materials from several different locations. Irene

...I have my shelves lined with a manilla folder so that I can pull it out like a shelf with the contents on it and utilize the whole space, not just the front-most part. Lori
....some people also use clean pizza boxes. Helen P.
..DB.. add my pull-out shelves cabinet

4-drawer box unit ...Printer/Fax Stand/Organizer . . . . What is that tan drawered box unit on your shelf? . . .
....It's a printer stand ... you're supposed to store printer paper in it (and sit your printer or Fax machine on it), but it just happens to fit blocks of clay perfectly in the lower/taller drawers, and sandpaper and claying tools in the upper, shallower drawers... "naked" clay will react to the plastic though, so I line each drawer in plastic wrap. Here's a link for it: http://www.shoplet.com/office/db/EXP44103.html Michelle

old wood silverware boxes (dividers removed) ---for paper items, ephemera.
.... I stack these four to five deep.... I want to make a cabinet for them so I can remove one at a time. Jeanne

old suitcases ...I have a stack of three to five in my bedroom, living room and in my studio. These hold paper items. Since I do not get into them daily, I can afford to take the time to move the top ones to get to the bottom ones. Jeanne

I use a wood flatware tray to hold my Dremel tool and its accessories
...for the drill bits, I use a wood game board (has little holes in it, but forgot name of game) ...I may have drilled some of them larger, but don't remember ... this board sits inside the wood flatware tray. Jeanne.

old cabinet for type trays .... use for all kinds of small items including beads, jewelry findings, found objects. Jeanne

audio tape storage, wall units
. . . I had one I was about to take down and ditch... now it's home to all my pearlescents, embossing powders, glitters and various other powdered items. It works GREAT & freed up cabinet space for other use. I just removed some of the slip-in slats and turned it so the long slatted shelves ran vertically. . . . (unfortunately, the one I have has the open backed shelves, but I took some of the old tape cases.... ran a line of hot glue along the back side... and placed it back on the shelf with the glued side in firm contact with the back of the unit. The results were nice stable little shelves with a uniform black front edge. It looks great and works like a charm! Joanie
http://www.pbase.com/image/17243199

Deb's workroom (lots of unfinished wood tape crates on the wall...also shallow, open wood shelving and more)
http://adsl-64-216-205-140.dsl.stlsmo.swbell.net/debbie/workroom.htm
PoRRo's work room, and storage http://porro.claymountain.com/blog/index.php?/archives/319_Craftstudio.html
(....see more work rooms and organization in Tools > Work Rooms)

I thought about those bamboo trays--I have dozens of them, . . , could even put a try on top of a tray upside down which kept the weight off the canes beneath.. At $2.00 apiece (when you can find them on sale, from the import shops)

The Groves went to a bakery/restaurant supply place and bought a rack and a bunch of trays. The trays are (I think they said) kind of like big cookie sheets, about 24"x36" (or at least that's what I'm envisioning as I remember it!) with inch deep lips. They fit into the rack every few inches (As for dust, if *I* had this setup, I'd secure plastic on the three sides I didn't need access to with tape or something, and make a curtain for the fourth side to drop over when I'm not working -- although with the trays close together there would be less air movement to drop dust anyhow.)

I wonder if there is something meant for drying fruit and stuff that has racks closely spaced we could swipe for the job?
....special art racks for prints or other things? etc.
....
I've seen racks JUST LIKE THIS for putting prints and pictures in. About a 2 foot cube maybe 2-1/2 foot high, runners every 3 inches or so, and trays that slide in and out. Only difference, the trays are flat and covered with felt or something like that, to rest the prints on so they don't slide around. They looked hand made, the cubes were wood painted white, and the runners were metal L-shaped molding, and the trays were just felt covered thin boards.

Each corner has a two-inch wood block nestled into it: this gives space between each tray so they don't squash each other and it eliminates dust from entering between them. I can also peek into the stacks to see which tray I've got.

I use metal puzzle holder racks, meant for preschool puzzles. I take sheets of shirt cardboard, cut to fit the rack, and cover them with Handiwrap.

Next on my want list is a rotating rack of work surfaces, kind of like clay rotisserie.

The dividers are something not offered for this size box. I would just get some cardboard and make them with the power tools.

Tamila's shoe pouch hanger (BeanieBaby organizer)
http://simplydarling.com/SDCPages/SDCStudio/SDCStudio.htm
...
I use a shoe bag hung on the back of the door to put all my little stuff, glue, staples etc.alicejoy915

Over my large work table, I have a peg board with hooks to hang rulers, scissors, thread what ever. alicejoy915

Under the drafting table more plastic boxes that are labeled. . . . .In my closet I have a large metal cabinet for more craft supplies. alicejoy915

http://www.kingsleynorth.com/displays.html --trays, etc.

~I also use those clear plastic cheapie picture covers (page protectors?) to sort my clay into project trays. Then all go into drawers when I am not working on that particular project. Dianne C.

OTHER PLACES for SUPPLIES
(or unbaked items)

(see also work tables and work rooms, etc. in Tools-Dremels > Work surfaces)
see also Disabilities for lots of ideas for work surfaces, tools, etc.

There is this closet in the hall..I think its supposed to hold towels or something?! I believe the term is Linen Closet but I can¹t say for sure.....there are no linens in there. Who knows its real use but its perfect for clay!!! Lots of shelves lots of room....NO CATS! Tara

Where do I put all this clay waiting to be cooked? Refrigerators are for food right? The cats might want to play with the left out clay. The top of the microwave can only hold so much and you can't even cover the vents on top as it gets over heated... The handyman is using the socket that I would use to cook so I can't stay up all night...Dust and animal hair on the floor. OMG! All my ready to be cured beads and runes are just waiting for a warm toaster oven. Perhaps I need a new refrigerator (or an old, non-working one in the garage)? Perhaps I need to take my loom down and use the table to put clay on? Helen

COLD & HEAT

cold

Raw clay never actually gets rock hard, even when frozen for weeks.

TEMPORARY
....I find its OK just to chill a cane temporarily for slicing purposes
......... or to cool the outsides of a large cane while reducing. Sarajane H
.....I've frozen for a couple hours, but I've frozen them all night too and find that they work the best when frozen longer.
....after freezing overnight, I noticed I was able to work with the cane a lot longer before it started to warm up to much (in fact I was able to work on it until I didn't need it anymore when I froze it overnight)
...the thicker the cane, the longer you'd want to freeze it, I'd think
...might work well for translucent canes or others where you want to cut the thinnest slices possible
.......there could be an increase in plaquing when using translucent clays which have been frozen. Dotty in CA (only if they're not dried off completely though?)

We also put sculpts, or other things in the frig or freezer temporarily for 10-60 minutes just to firm them up to make them easier to sculpt or otherwise work with.

LONG TERM:
After I thawed the canes I kept in the freezer for a couple of years, they were just as soft and workable as the day I'd made them... no cracking or breaking of the slices, no reconditioning the cane reconditioned in order to reduce it ...(other canes stored, instead, in plastic drawers were very difficult to get moving or to reduce any further).
..... I don't think it's brand-dependent, either...those canes were Fimo, Premo/Fimo mixes, or only Premo. Elizabeth
...storing canes in the freezer is just fine. I don't know how long, but some of mine have been in there since April and they're just fine.
....If you're storing canes in there, the slices may develop condensation on them as they warm up, so make sure that has time to evaporate before you apply the slices to your project, or you'll probably get steam bubbles and other nasties in your finished product. Eliz.
.....I have stored canes in the freezer and found no cracking with canes stored this way.
...there is condensation when you first take them out to use them, but they can be wiped down or just set to rest to room temperature.
........... plasticiser also comes out onto the surface when you bring them out into a warm room --they "perspire" an oily residue, so it is NOT just humidity in the room.
...It's my theory that with time, the plasticizer in raw clay settles out and is not mixed homgeneously throughout the clay after time, but I think freezing slows this process. Susan
....I used to freeze canes for long periods, but proved to myself that it dried them out (a bit?) they they became brittle by comparison to unfrozen canes of the same batch(?). .... I think long term freezing doesn't destroy canes, but doesn't really help them in the end. Sarajane
..This also would be a great way to store unused canes. ..just keep them in a Tupperware or Rubbermaid container. Nancy W.

Some clayers store their bulk raw clay in the frig, and some store in the freezer with great success.
....Just be sure to allow the clay to defrost before actually conditioning or doing anything which can trap the condensation which can form on it while it's warming up (it's not good to actually get moisture into polymer clay -will turn to steam while baking and create bubbles or white spots) because polymer clay is an oil-based product.
...I used to store my clay in the freezer in a house in which we had no air conditioning. ....having spent three days painstakingly reconstituting some nearly rock-hard clay (which had been stored in the bins under my work table), I think that when the warm weather begins next year, all my clay is going in the freezer...

(for cooling clay when working with it during summer or with hot hands, see Conditioning > Cooling Clay)

heat

Higher temperatures can cure or partially cure the clay so if room where you store your clay gets really hot:
....Since the temp of a room is usually cooler the closer it is to the floor, use a thermometer to get a temperature reading from the floor in your room (...and also possibly corner vs. middle, or window side vs. non-window side). You *may* be okay with just putting your clay in whatever turns out to be the coolest spot.
....You could also insulate it by storing it in a closed, corrugated cardboard box ice chest, possibly with other insulators inside, even a few towels or a bunch of newspapers. Then take the temp there after a hot day and see what it gets up to. I think that the temp. inside the box will eventually reach the ambient room temp, but I'm pretty sure it would take a long time and before that happens it will be night when it's presumably cooler. Only one way to tell though for sure though and that's to get out the old thermometer and play scientist .

I've been making my own little bags out of bubble wrap for my polymer clay things for while, now. I started by using a narrow hair curling iron to heat seal the shape. Works pretty well on the sort of small-bubble, bubble wrap you can buy in rolls at office supply stores.

for avoiding problems with overheated clay when ordering online and having it delivered, see Supply Sources > Ordering in the heat of summer

MISC.

traveling with clay. . .. I have a small cooler just for my clay. I use the refreeze packs and when staying in a hotel they are put in the ice bucket overnight. When we made a day-long stop at an amusement park I just checked my cooler of clay at the front gate with directions to keep it in the shade. It worked out fine. ~The kids and I enjoy claying in the car and the small con-vection oven fits under the car seat to bake up what we create. I have used the car dashboard to warm/soften clay. We use little lap desks and keep baggies for wrapping up creations til later. Jenny?
use the hair dryer in the hotel room and blast the piece for awhile until cooked. Sometimes I just set it enough so it won't smoosh on the trip home and rebake it when I get home.
....I saw a wonderful little "fridge" for $59 at Target.. . . It will plug into your car or the wall and hold about the quanity of a six pack of cans. Marty
...if clay gets too wet, it will eventually become a slimy mess so make sure it can't be reached by any melting ice
....Forgo the wax paper altogether for this situation. Use plastic sandwich bags, preferably the kind that seal. Second, store the clay in high quality coolers, intermixed with ice or blue ice packs.
Third, pre-cool the clay in your fridge overnight before putting in the cooler. Desiree

Don’t pack your finished polymer clay pieces in those Styrofoam peanuts (DB: these are actually "compressed foam,", but Styrofoam will do it too) ! Not for any length of time, anyway.
....I had packed up some things about 4 months ago and when I took a vessel out of the box today it the peanuts had melted into the clay! I was able to buff it off with my dremel but if it had stayed in there any longer ­ who knows? I know the reasons that this happened ­ those peanuts are similar to the foam trays that meat comes in and I know that that type of plastic will melt pclay in no time at all. elisabeth

WEBSITES

Joanie's many storage ideas ... work room, display board, etc.
http://www.pbase.com/joanie/workroom&page=1 (2 pages)
Elizabeth's many storage photos
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=642436&uid=488109

some storage containers
http://www.bigfishtackle.com/tackle_boxes.htm


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