Air-Dry Clay Ideas

Air-Dry Clay Ideas – Fun Air-Dry Clay Projects for Everyone

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Do you want to start a hands-on creative hobby, but just do not know where to begin? Why try crafts with air-dry clay? There are many easy and fun things to make with air-dry clay, for both kids and adults. To provide some inspiration, we have created a list of clay ideas. We hope you have fun discovering and creating these air-dry clay projects.



Air-Dry Clay Projects

Now that we know a little more about air-dry clay, let us delve into some of the fun air-dry clay ideas. We have divided the clay ideas into easy air-dry clay ideas, air-dry clay and ideas for kids, and air-dry clay ideas for adults.

Types of Air-Dry Clay Projects


Easy Air-Dry Clay Ideas

Most easy air-dry clay ideas can be done by both adults and children, as they are simple and uncomplicated to make. Some of these clay ideas only need your hands to do the work, while others require a few more tools. However, you do not have to always buy these tools. For example, if you wish to create a textured look, you can try using a doily or a lace patterned tablecloth to create a design or texture on the clay.

Tools for Working with Air-Dry Clay


Air-Dry Clay Decorations

There are so many ideas when it comes to clay decorations. You can make them in shapes from plain round or square clay items to star shapes, birds, or heart shapes. Many of these clay ideas are done for special holidays like Christmas, so you can hang them on the tree. In this case, you can also do tree or gingerbread man shapes. The clay can be painted, stamped, or textured to create beautiful decorations.

You could also consider making a garland with clay shapes all along some string.


Clay Diffusers

Since air-dry clay is slightly porous once dry, they make great passive diffusers. Preferably, use a section of the clay that will not be on display as the diffuser part, as the essential oils can leave a stain. There are a few ideas for clay diffusers, including keyrings, bracelets, and necklaces. In the case of diffuser jewelry, just make sure the section you add the oils to, does not touch the skin as the oils can irritate.

Essential Oils for Air-Dry Clay Diffuser

A simple idea is to create a textured round clay diffuser that has a hole in it for some string, so you can then hang it up somewhere or wear it as a pendant. You could also make smaller bead-like clay shapes and use a handful in a bowl as a diffuser.


Clay Pinch Pots

This is an easy technique anybody can do. With the pinch technique, you can create small to fairly sized pots and bowls. You can also create various shapes with this technique, for example, a heart-shaped bowl. Once you completed a pinch pot, you can then apply paint and make it look nice.


Clay Tags and Bookmarks

Clay tags can be used as unique gift tags or simply as a decoration. The clay can be customized by adding a name or initials with a clay stamp. You can have round, square, rectangular, heart, or flower shapes as tags, or any small cookie cutter shape you can find. You could also cut the clay out into letters, making monograms, a nice idea for something like a wedding. The same process can be applied on a slightly larger scale to create bookmarks.


Air-Dry Clay Seed Bombs

This idea is great if you love flowers and plants and want a more unique way to propagate wildflowers. Some soil and wildflower seeds are placed in clay and made into small balls. These can then be placed in the garden, and when it rains, the clay is moistened, and the seeds will germinate. However, the seed bombs should be done correctly to work. For example, the bombs should not be too big, you should not use too many seeds, and the seed bombs should be placed in the garden at the right planting time.


Clay Plant Pokes and Garden Markers

The clay plant pokes are more for decorative purposes. They can be anything you want, as long as you can place them on a stick or popsicle stick you can place in the ground. A popular example would be clay flowers or butterflies. Garden markers are usually created to identify plants and herbs in the garden. A simple clay herb marker can be made in the shape of a nail file, with the name either stamped, painted, or written on the clay. The clay should be sealed to make it more waterproof.


Clay Magnets

Clay magnets are fun to make, and there are lots of ideas. The ideas can be simple, like applying a texture or a stamp. You can also make mini animals, leaves, flowers, or mini food items like donuts or cookies. Clay alphabet letters can also be created for the fridge, to spell out messages or help the kids learn their letters.


Clay Incense Holders

These holders are extremely easy to make. All you need to do is make sure there is a hole in the clay to place the incense sticks. The clay can be imprinted, textured, and painted, once you have formed the shape you want. The incense holder should preferably be big or long enough to capture any falling burnt incense.


Clay Gnomes and Other Figurines

Figurines might be a little more challenging to make, but there are easier and more difficult ideas. The easiest way to create a figure is to use a mold, and there are a variety of molds available. Once dry, you unmold the clay, and you can paint it. Otherwise, you can mold the figurines by hand from snails to mushrooms, bunny rabbits, sea creatures, and lots more. Clay gnomes are also popular, especially for the garden.


Air-Dry Clay Keepsakes

Keepsakes can be done by using the hands and feet of your kids or loved ones. The clay can be cut out in various shapes, for example, a foot or hand. The child or person then places their hand to make an imprint in the clay, which can then be made into a bowl or simply kept as is. The final clay keepsake can then be painted, you can even add their names to the clay.


Air-Dry Clay and Projects for Kids

Most of the above easy air-dry clay ideas can also be done by kids, however, some clay ideas are better suited for the younger bunch. Below are a handful of ideas you can try out together with kids for a fun afternoon.

Air-Dry Clay Projects for Kids


Clay Stackers

Creating ways to teach kids things like colors can easily be achieved by using clay stackers. These are hassle-free to make, and you can also include the kids in the creative process. All you need to do is make round clay disks, which can be done by using round cookie cutters.

Stacking Disc Toy Design

Try to make them as flat on the sides as you can, so they do not wobble too much when you stack them. You can then paint the disks a variety of colors, helping your kids to learn all about colors. You may also consider making the clay items in various basic shapes for an added learning curve. You can also simply use the cookie cutters to create shapes as you please.


Clay Imprint Art

The idea is to take items like leaves, acorns, or even toys, and then press them into the clay to make an imprint. Some nice size leaves can easily leave a beautiful imprint on the clay. How about an imprint of a dinosaur, which is also a great idea for parties?


Homemade Air-Dry Clay

There are many brands available for air-dry clay. However, air-dry clay can also be made at home. Everyone can get involved from scratch, learning how to make the clay to create the final clay item. The easiest recipe only requires some cornstarch, baking soda, and water, or one with flour, salt, and water. To add some color, food coloring can also be added. Most recipes are easy to follow and safe for kids to work with.


Fingerprint Clay Ornaments

This is another fun and easy air-dry clay idea that even small children can do. The clay can be pressed and molded into any shape and used as a decoration or ornament. The idea is to imprint or press the pads of your fingers, usually a thumb, into the clay. The prints can then be painted and hung up for everyone to admire.

These can also make great keepsakes.


Match the Clay Game

Not only can the kids have fun making these clay items, but once done, there is a game to play as well. All you have to do is make flat disks or shapes you can paint on with the clay. Once the clay is dry, you can then use a sharpie to make images, making sure to make two images the same. Once you have at least six clay images that are finished, you can turn them over and see if you can find the matching clay image.


Clay Mobiles

A clay mobile is also an easy clay idea, which can be hung up around the house. The mobile can be a simple, single string of clay shapes or multiple strings hanging from a wooden stick. The clay can be done in various shapes and painted or decorated in any way. For example, try a rainbow clay mobile, or a leaf imprint mobile.

Keep it simple, by just playing around with various shapes and colors.


Clay Ladybug

A lump of clay can easily become anything you want it to be. However, since kids are involved, how about a simple ladybug? The clay only has to be a round shape to which you can paint on dots, or you can even add dots using small pieces of black-colored clay. You can also make eyes with the clay, or the easy way out for this is to just stick googly eyes onto the clay.


Clay Crayon Holder

This air-dry clay idea can involve crayons, pencils, or pens. You can make a large hollow holder that can be textured and decorated. You can also try taking a solid lump of clay and making it into a shape, then place holes into the clay that are big enough for a crayon or pencil.

You can form geometric shapes, a rainbow shape, or form into animal shapes like a hedgehog or worm.


Air-Dry Clay Ideas for Adults

The below air-dry clay ideas for adults are more challenging and many of them have a more practical use around the house. Again, for most of these crafts with air-dry clay, you can add textures, emboss, use stamps, paints, and even sharpie pens to decorate with. Also, remember to seal the air-dry clay once you are done.

Air-Dry Clay Project Ideas for Adults


Air-Dry Clay Planters

Planters are great for around the house and as gifts. There are numerous ideas you can try and many different sizes and types of planters you can make. You can go from mini planters to larger planters, which can be painted and textured as you like. Create shaped planters that look like faces or animals, or simply draw faces on the planters.

Air-Dry Clay Planter Idea

Make mini planters or vases that you can use as magnets. There is also various size hanging clay planters you can make. Air plants and succulents are particularly popular when it comes to clay planters.


Air-Dry Clay Pots and Bowls

You can use your imagination when it comes to pots and bowls. You can try the pinch bowl technique, coil technique, or lay the clay over a bowl to create the shape. You can also paint, use stamps, or apply clay texture sheets. Bowls and pots can also be made into different shapes, for example, a leaf or hands.

Air-Dry Clay Pot Design Idea

The pots can be used for plants, while bowls can be used for jewelry and other trinkets, or to keep your car keys from getting lost. You could even create a magnetic pin bowl, simply by placing some magnets at the bottom of the bowl. You can also use other items, like a balloon to create the shape of the bowl.


Clay Coasters

Mostly coasters are round, but you can also make ones that are square or even flower shaped. Since coasters are a nice flat surface, you can roll out the clay and use texture sheets and then cut out the coaster shape using a craft knife or cutter. There are also molds you can use to make a coaster. Consider blending in some color and making a marble-type effect. Otherwise, paint, draw, and create something unique.

Just remember, coasters often have hot cups placed on them, and liquid can spill on the coasters, so the surface of the coaster must be sealed and protected.


Air-Dry Clay Jewelry

Air-dry clay projects are quite popular, mainly with polymer clay but there are similar ideas with air-dry clay. You can make anything from earrings to bracelets, and necklaces. There are special clay cutters you can purchase, which are made for this kind of project. You can also make beads for the jewelry. You can also make some pretty unique ring holders, the most common one being the ring cone.


Clay Quote Plaques

The main items needed to make a clay plaque are the clay itself and clay alphabet stamps. You may also be able to find texture sheets with inspirational words you can use similarly. Create a beautiful mother’s day message or use a plaque to place at your front door to welcome guests. You can use hand-lettering if you are skilled in calligraphy, or you can print out your quote and transfer it directly onto your clay.


Personalized Clay Napkin Rings

Napkin rings are fairly easy to make and are great gifts for family and friends, or as a unique item at your next party. You can personalize the napkins, paint them, or add texture. Simply roll out the clay and cut the correct size, then place it over a cardboard tube, a toilet roll would do nicely. The clay will then dry into the shape you want it to.


Clay Candle Holders

Candle holders and tea lights are always a favorite. These can be anything from smallholders that can take tall candles to containers of different sizes and shapes. A tealight can easily fit into a star shape or round, square, or heart shape clay form that has a hollowed-out center. You can also create a cup or bowl shape and fill the clay up with melted candle wax, to create your own candle from scratch.


Clay Wall Hangings

If you feel that your room needs a bit more unique than a photograph or painting, why not try clay wall hangings? There are various designs, but a popular idea is to use clay and yarn to create or weave a macrame piece. Of course, you can incorporate other items like beads, glass, and shells, or create an entire clay wall hanging piece, containing different shapes and colors.


Air-Dry Clay Photo Holders

Clay card and photo holders are two more easy air-dry clay ideas. The card holders are also a great idea for events like weddings, as placeholders. The clay can be a simple shape that is big enough and has a slit or section cut out where the card or photo can slide into. You can also add in wire, which is then what holds the photo or card.


Clay Cellphone Stands

The cellphone stands can be straightforward or there are more difficult designs you can attempt. You can go from folding a length of clay to fit a phone to creating an animal design that can fit a phone. The holders can then be painted, and a protective layer added.


Some Final Air-Dry Clay Ideas

We have already provided some easy to a few more challenging crafts with air-dry clay. There are so many clay ideas out there, and we cannot include all of them in this article. However, we will add just a few more to the list.

  • Clay wine glass charms
  • Clay door knobs
  • Clay bookends
  • Air-dry clay eggs
  • Clay pencil or pen toppers




A Description of Air-Dry Clay

Air-dry clay is what its name implies, it is clay that dries at room temperature and does not need a kiln or oven to cure. This is what makes it easy and affordable to use, for everyone. All you need to do is leave your finished clay project to dry for at least 48 hours before you decorate and paint them. There are many things to make with air-dry clay, from practical pieces to decorative art.

Air-Dry Clay Projects

Although air-dry clay is easy to use and does not require a lot of specialized equipment, the one downside is its durability. For most projects, you will need to make sure you add a protective coat of varnish or mod podge. The clay you buy also comes in different colors, mainly a terra cotta or white variety. However, you can also get color air-dry clay, especially for the kids.

Colored Air-Dry Clay Ideas

There are also many brands available, some better than others, so you might have to investigate to find the right clay that works for you. Of course, you can also opt for making your own clay, which is great for decorative pieces or something just for fun as this might be less durable than the store-bought clay. Some well-known choices include the following:

  • Das air-dry clay
  • Crayola clay
  • Jovi premium air-dry clay
  • Mont Marte air hardening clay
  • ACTIVA Plus self-hardening clay
  • AMACO air-dry clay

You can simply use items around the house if you are working with air-dry clay. However, if you are going to be working with air-dry clay often, you should have a few basic supplies. Besides the actual clay, the more common supplies are as follows.

  • Craft knife
  • Clay roller
  • Wax paper
  • Smooth surface or silicone mat
  • Flexible palette knife
  • Joining and smoothing clay tool
  • Brush or sponge
  • Clay sealer
  • Sandpaper
  • Heater for faster drying (optional)


Major Differences Between Air-Dry Clay and Polymer Clay

As we have already mentioned, air-dry clay is easy to use, and you do not need to fire it in a kiln or oven. The clay is also non-toxic and can be used by children. You also do not need all that many tools to get started. However, polymer clay is also easy to use and comes in a variety of colors. So, what are some differences between the two?

 Air-Dry ClayPolymer Clay
 DryingDries naturallyOven-baked
DurabilityCan become brittleMore durable
WaterproofNot waterproofWaterproof once cured
ColorsLimited colorsVariety of colors
ShrinkageTends to shrink when dryingDoes not shrink when drying
PermeabilityPorousNot porous


There are endless things to make with air-dry clay, you just have to use your imagination and creativity. Air-dry clay is fun, affordable, and easy to work with, so it is perfect for kids and beginners who want to try something new out. We hope these ideas have encouraged you to begin creating with air-dry clay.



Frequently Asked Questions


Is Air-Dry Clay Durable?

Air-dry clay is quite durable, but it can become brittle if rolled out and used too thin. Also, in most cases, you will need to seal the clay to protect it as it is not waterproof once it dries. If you do want a more durable option, polymer clay is very popular.


What Can You Use to Seal Air-Dry Clay?

Air-dry clay usually needs to be sealed as a final step to help protect the clay. You can use mod podge as a protective layer, or you can also use varnish or an acrylic topcoat to preserve the clay item and keep moisture out.


What Can You Use to Decorate Air-Dry Clay?

There are many ways you can decorate clay, including applying textures, stamps, and even transferring images. You can use acrylic paint, gouache, tempura as well as inks and watercolor paints. You can also use markers for adding finer details.

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