Types & summary
...single colors
......special clays
...dyeing, inclusions
...more pages here with scrap ideas
Hard (or baked) scraps
...grating, grinding
Buying scraps?
(more websites)



There are always scraps of clay left over from a project or experiment! . . . but don't throw them away because there are many uses these scraps can be put to!

First, you can make new colors:
...scraps of many different colors can be mixed together to give what we call "mud" --kind of a rosy medium gray
...scraps of similar colors (e.g., blues and purples) or two or more colors that won't "cancel" each other out since they're complementary colors top each other ... see more below
...(from adding certain materials)

...scraps of any colors can be mixed together just until marbled a little or a lot (can make scraps into smaller pieces before, or not) (see Color > Marbling for more on that)
...if the scrap color are rolled together, then rolled into a log and twisted, a log of twisted stripes will result

DISCRETE COLORS not blended into one color
..James Lehman's use of discrete scraps (or could be scraps) to create elements for his "draped" bowls (see Vessels for more info)
.....one section of chopped scraps is made with same color scraps (green and light green), one is made with similar family colors (red and orange with black), and one is made from unlike colors (red, white, black)
...this bowl was started with scraps and finished with some cane work to make the colors of the scraps work together better (it was made on a ten inch glass gazing globe) James


See Color for much more on how to mix colors together to get various new colors, which colors are complements to each other, etc.
...Also, remember that darker colors will always overwhelm lighter colors when mixed with them, so don't use much of those unless you don't mind getting a darker value color.

If your scraps contain other materials, or just have other materials on their surfaces, cut those parts off before combining, unless you don't mind the effect they create in the new mix
(like metallic leaf or lots of metallic powder, releases--esp. ArmorAll, finishes, inclusions of any kind, dust or pet hair)
...Also remove any hard clay bits (cured, or just really hard) because those won't go away in the new mix (except over a long time, with lots more conditioning).

SINGLE colors

It's good to get in the habit of separating your scraps into various containers, if you want "good" color scraps. The colors could then be separated by:
...color families . . . for example:
......primaries & secondaries --reds, blues, yellows, blues, greens, purples, oranges... black-based, brown-based, etc.
......larger related colors -- reds, oranges, & yellows... blues & purples... greens & bluish greens
....each family could also be divided into light or dark values, or tones (but if the scraps are left in hunks, those could be in the same container)
When you need new colors, or just anytime, you can then mix new colors from hunks in your containers.

NOTE: don't create new colors with colors that will neutralize each other ("complements" of colors --like mixing any type of red/orange with any type of green ....or like mixing grays, browns/beiges/etc, blacks with any colors)

Mixes from similar-colored scraps can also be used like shadow colors of the truer color if they've been toned down a bit with other colors.

Don't immediately give up on the clay if it gets messed up with another color. I'm sometimes amazed by the great colors I get by thoroughly mixing my scraps! Jody B

(special clays --scraps)

metallic scraps:
...metallics (including Pearl) can be mixed together to create beautiful new metallic colors
.....these can be similar colors like gold and copper, or they can be the pre-colored metallics with a gold or silver, etc., and Pearl can be mixed with any
.....metallics can also be mixed with regular colors or translucents, though their effect and mica-shirting properties may be changed depending on the amount used
..Yes, that was Kyle's egg that inspired you....I gave him all my gold scraps and he proceeded to mush and smoosh the scraps together as only a 5 year old could (but not thoroughly mixing), and then he placed them on the egg. I smoothed it out for him and baked it. Claire
....(original message for "satin swirl" eggs) ...I run my sheet of (gold) clay thru the pasta machine about 10 times. then, roll this sheet out thin, and roll it up into a log. I have 2 different sized logs of clay (one big, one small) so when you take a slice off the log, the center is dark, and the outer edges are the bright gold. then I would run those thick slices thru the pasta machine on #3, and apply the slices to the egg. some of the slices I would fold in half before running thru the machine to get different effects. ...and after baking, sand the crud out of it, and buff. Kelley
...satin swirl eggs in various colors http://www.kelliesklay.homestead.com/satinswirleggs.html
lesson: http://polymerclaycentral.com/satinegg.html

tinted translucent scraps
... I had scraps from a mokume gane I'd made using translucent clay and Pinata inks....I fed them through the pasta machine til they looked good to me and then covered a votive holder. All that ink and layers and tiny trapped air bubbles came out really cool. Ginger

MUD especially

When scraps of many different colors are mixed together, the usually give what we call "mud," which is a slightly-rosy medium gray

... these may be colors that are too mixed together to separate (from canes or anything), or just those you don't want to bother separating


mud or discrete scraps or marbled scraps can all be used in many ways
....using scrap will also avoid wasting "good" clay and often $ave money...

molds (& casts)
....I sometimes like to use my scraps as mold-making material
.....also I often mix up the amount of clay in paricular colors to make molds with a similar theme (for example, all face molds will be green, geometrics molds purple, nature images blue, etc)... after baking I can always tell at a glance which molds were created at the same time, or with the same theme in mind.
......ditto for the casts from the molds that I may keep with the molds (I find it helpful to make a cast of each of my face molds especially so I can more easily see their details)
.......(I do the same with SuperSculpey since it's mostly translucent and shows up the added colors well)
Be sure and mix the colors completely though for molds -- little tough to see what a mold is if it's made with marbled or choppy colors. Diane B.
....shallow molds can also be clay "stamps" (see stamping below)

armatures & cores for covering with decorative clay
......larger beads
..... any beads where a decorative layer of clay is added over a pre-baked or raw base shape

.......(see Beads > Covering a Core, but also some Tube beads and Pillow beads--under Hollow, but not hollow in this case)
...mini-furniture... houses ... walls ...parts of dioramas

......larger sculpts, or any where a decorative outer clay layer is desired
..........polymerclayexpress' lesson on sculpting a very nice small dragon with scrap clay (over foil armature)

beads with symmetrical patterns (not with a core)
...mirror-image, or symmetrical, beads
.....(1 symmetry)....cut 2 thick slices from a rectangular or square log of discrete scraps, then place them together in any of their 4 matching orientations to create flat beads with a symmetrical pattern (press the seam together)
..........each set of 2 slices will yield a slightly different symmetrical pattern as one cuts further down the scrap log, but will be in the same color family unless separate logs or hunks of discrete scraps were added to create the log
...(4 symmetries) ...rectangular-solid logs of scrap can be cut and rejoined so that they have 4 symmetries, one on each side... for lessons and examples of those, see Beads > Symmetrical Pattern Beads, Natashas, etc.
...Elissa's lesson on making flat-backed, mirror-image hearts from scraps, in Polyzine (for rounded backs, see Hearts sub-category) http://www.pcpolyzine.com/february2001/eheart.html

other beads
...swirled bicone beads (see Beads > Flat Rollers > Swirled Bicones)

stamp, texture or carve the surface... then highlight or antique or backfill the depressions (see just below)
(see Stamping... Texturing ... Carving > Backfill)

metallic powders ...metallic leaf
....completely cover or just highlight or your raw scrap object with metallic powders (see Powders for more)
.......Balinese Filigree might be one possibility
.......with crackled leaf, can always color the cracks with other color to hide the mud, see Leaf > Crackled)
antique or backfill the object with powders (of leaf if sand top later) or with a finish like Varathane with powder in it, so that only the crevices have the color
.... I had made a mokume gane stack and had a lot of scraps left over so I smushed it all together and came up with the most gorgeous (to me) reddish brown color (like cordovan) ...then I antiqued it with black. Ernie H (see Molds and Paints for more)

paint over (sculpts or other items) with paint
.....create a sculpt with scrap or mud, then paint over with opaque paints (acrylics) --maybe using gesso as a base coat
.....(can also use paints to highlight or antique or backfill over dimensional or stamped, textured, or carved scrap without painting entire object
........using white acrylic paint as antiquing can look quite cool
(see Paints and Sculpting)

holders ...for anything
.... neat holders can be made with scrap or other clay, since sometimes they don't need to be "decorative"
........(see Cutters-Blades > Small & Medium cutters for a holder to make for lots of little plunger cutters)
....... Jean S's holder for blades and pointy hand tools
.........I made a divided tray (clay separators in a box lid) to hold various colored powders (eyeshadows, chalks, blush, etc.) to I could easily dip my brush into any color I wanted at a glance
clay handles might be the same too (see Tools > Handles)

canes (use scraps in canes)
....Sarajane suggests using scraps (in this case an excess of marbled green) as backgrounds in canes .
....or use scraps as components of canes ...your images will then looked more "textured" or more complex than if you used only a single color..DB
...some other canes use variations of scrap too, like "faux fabric" which uses "worms" of clay between layers (see Canes-Instr > Ikat > Faux Fabric)
...mokume gane & other techniques that require a loaf of layers could use scrap between the layers (Mokume Gane, etc.)
.........Jenny's beads from shavings of layers of twisted-scraps stack (website gone)
...likewise, scraps could be rolled up on a sheet of clay to make a spiral cane (see Canes-Instr > Spiral) or folded cane (see Folded)

using canes as scrap
(lots of ideas --many applicable to general scraps as wel-- in Canes-GenInfo > Unloved Canes ... and Canes-Old)

...bits, shreds, etc.
.......to create heavily visually-textured (busy) sheets of patterned clay by placing bits, shreds, shavings, or clay gun extrusions of scraps onto a base clay sheet (scrap may show through as background as well) ...see Sheets of Pattern > Flattened, shreds)
...using as base clay sheet underneath the "real" sheet of slices to make it thicker
.......or to make it thicker so you can then stretch it by putting it through thinner openings of the pasta machine
.........doing the same for mica-shift techniques ....see Mica
.........creating a sheet of very fine, scalloped lines much like the combed, feather patterns you see inside the covers of old books (paste papers; nonpareil), by dragging a stylus across the stripes of a sheet, see Sheets of Pattern > Marbled Paper/ dragged lines
....roll out a sheet of scraps (or marble, etc. first), then cut out shapes to use for pins, embellishments, etc.... if using unmixed scraps, can also embellish cutouts with solid color clay bits for decoration or features, etc.

mosaic tiles... and other inlay (for faux ivory, e.g.)
... you can bake your leftover sheets of leftover colors, or chopped or marbled colors, then cut them into tiles for mosaics you make later . . .It really helps if they are organized by thickness (I usually make my sheets at the #4 thickness. It's pretty easy to cut with an exacto knife if you warm it up a little first). Jody B.
....or you can bake and save for later cutting for mosaics, and inlays
(see much more in Mosaics)

add things
... run a bit of wire in and out of it ... add beads. autumnae
... use with mixed media

....caning or making a Skinner blend, etc.
.see how many bead shapes you can come up with by rolling in your hands (also useful for sculpting and onlay)... more info in Beads > Rolling by Hand

as inspiration
...What you do with scraps of clay and cane are amazing...your color mixtures and personal style are always delicious eye candy! ....Sometimes a handful of scraps rolled out or twisted a certain way just 'says' something to you and a light goes on. A lot of times I have stopped in mid-roll because the colors throw out an idea of their own and I have to find a way to use it just like it is. . . . I had made a small cane in some Flamingo-ish type colors and then tried to niggle it into the 'look' I wanted which achieved nothing after an hour of screwing around. I just gathered all the scraps into one big wad and twisted it with the intent of making yet another mirror bead when the Flamingo face just jumped out. Same thing with the sea gull pin. Some days you just have to let the clay do the creating! michele 'luny'

dyeing & inclusions

The black dye paste does work well, but it is mes-s-s-y!
.....You should probably wear rubber gloves and mask your work area well. Your food processor will need a *thorough* cleaning afterward and don't use any tools you can't clean well....(After it's mixed it, it doesn't seem to come off on anything though.)

Munro's still carries it? http://www.munrocrafts.com
Accent Imports? (http://www. fimozone.com...gone) (Nov 03.. Eberhard Faber does not make it. Since Fimozone is now affliated with Amaco, and with my request, they are going to work on getting this product again)
...We do carry the black dye for...polymer clay. We sell it in a 8-oz jar for $9.99 and you can find it on our website in the shopping section under tools and things. We also carry a 1 gallon container of the black dye if you wanted to purchase it in bulk and distribute it yourself within the guild or class or what have you. The 1-gal container runs $44.95. Please feel free to contact us via 1-800-989-2889 with any other questions you may have. Sean Donovan
....However, when I went back to their site to find what he was talking about I couldn't locate it on any page. So my recommendation is to make an e-mail to him from their site or contact him by phone. Tamila

Sue Screws of the Metro Detroit Polymer Art Guild used (black?) "Tempra Powdered Paint" to mix in with her clay too and it worked pretty good (I was told about it, didn't actually "see it" so I don't know the process) ...Tamila
... will it fade with UV light the way regular tempera does though?

Will other artist pigments work?

With my sun-dried, hard canes, after crumbling them I whizzed the pieces even finer in my food processor, then incorporated them into some "mud" I already had--and came up with my own version of Granitex! . . . use as a color, or mix with other colors ... or use in a cane or twisted-ropes or something that needs a bit of neutral color

I tossed out all my old spices a few months ago, before I got into clay... Dang! Dang! Dang! Sunny
(see more on what to do with these "scraps" in Inclusions)

more pages here at GlassAttic with scrap ideas

There are many more categories here at Glass Attic to consider for using scraps:
....for creating ..... Mokume Gane ..... Fauxs ..... Miniatures...... Paints
....for mixing with
....for extruding with
Clay Gun
.......including sanded multi-color filigree, and sanded woven braid

--for ideas on using scraps for regular marbling, see Colors > Marbling
--for ideas on making blends, see Blends
...for ways to store scraps, see Storage

Or donate your scraps to a non-profit group (see more details in Business > Donations)

HARD (or baked) scraps

grinding, grating, etc.

Chop up your hard scraps, then partially (or completely) food process the bits. Desiree

if your scrap waste (or burned) clay is already baked, grate it with a grater (small hole, or larger hole too?) or grind it with a food processor, coffee bean grinder, hammer (put clay in a pastic or other bag), or mortar and pestle (for that though, put a thick plastic bag inside so it can be used for spices again)

use these gratings/crumbles/powder, as is, in one of the ways below
......or mix them with a binder of translucent or colored clay... or into a liquid carrier like liquid clay or Varathane/Future, etc, then use as below.

Use your speckles of hard clay by tightly squeezing it into a snake.... Wrap it in a sheet of some marvelous color and, again, you've got a kind of patterned thingy cane that can be used in other canes.... These canes make good cores of flower canes. Desiree

these crumbly bits are good for landscaping . . . there is no such thing as garbage clay around here, not in the mini world.
....crumble, then bake, and add it to raw clay for things like:
......texture for flag stone , bumpies in stucco
..... or could be dirt, gravel, pebbles beside a stream... or snow, or shredded coconut. . . Nora-Jean

With my sun-dried canes, after crumbling them I whizzed the pieces even finer in my food processor, then incorporated them into some raw clay--and came up with my own version of Granitex!
I put it aside to use later, but by the time I got back to that project a week or so later, the dried out pieces had actually become "reconsituted" by the good clay so that when I ran it through the pasta machine a few times, the speckles blended into the rest of the mud! LynnDel

He made "grog" of polymer with thin, baked polymer which he'd ground to a powder then screened, just like you do with fired earth clay. ....He mixed that into raw clay, which adds body for throwing, and gives a very earth-clay look to things.

It looks pretty cool too to use the dryish crumbled pieces as is, in pasta-machined sheets
.... I have several that look almost like scenes . . . with varied layers of fine, speckly colored bits of different colors. Diane B.

use crumbles of clay as inlay. I have seen jewelry where a sand-textured mixture of a semiprecious stone (e.g., turquoise, coral) is mixed with epoxy and inlaid into a depression in the surrounding metal. You see this frequently with Mexican silver jewelry; it is a good way for the jeweler to use up fractional pieces of stones. I've done the same with intentionally cured polymer clay that I have ground up. Place the crumbled clay where you want the inlay to be, cover this with a mixture of half Sculpey Diluent and half TLS. Mix it all together and pat it into place.
....If you want a smooth surface for the inlay, after you have mixed the crumbles and solution, pour a thin layer of 1/2 and 1/2 solution over the mix so that you have a smooth layer of the fluid laying on top. If you don't have this smooth top surface, you'll be sanding forever (I learned the hard way). Celeste

Crumbles can also be mixed in with polymer clay to get a wonderful rugged texture for the clay. You just use the crumbles as you would colored play sand. Celeste (see Inclusions > Sands)

You could also bake any still raw crumbles... and then run them through the food processor to make a fine powder.
.... If mixed with translucent polymer clay, using enough fluid (Sculpey Diluent or mineral oil) to keep the mixture pliable, you;ll have a softer version of your original color. Celeste
.... (see more on this in Sheets of Pattern > Other Sheets)

BUYING Scraps?

ordering cheap clay scraps online .. .
--http://www.enasco.com site, the scrap clay is under Arts and Crafts> Sculpture and Modeling> Polymer Clays> Recycled Clay (though it's only 8 oz for $3.75 + SH --almost the same as ordering regular clay bulk).

...sometimes scrap clay is sold on eBay, or one of the polymer or beads auction sites?

I just got my latest issue of the Fire Mountain Gems catalog, and you won’t believe what they’re selling now ­ junk clay! Basically, they’re half-pound logs of mixed-up leftovers which they are selling for (get this) $4.80 each! That’s almost as much as the original clay was before they used it. Lisa

Crooked River Crafts: http://www.crookedriverinc.com/ no longer carries Claymates, or scrap? (gone?)
scrap clay trimmings and some assorted cane ends from ... The 10 pound box of scraps was $20. Marilyn H.

more Websites

Nora Jean's many uses for scraps (organic)
http://norajean.com/Tute-List.htm (look down under Tutorial list... many do use scraps or could use them)