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Best Clay to Make an Ashtray (Top 5 Options)

Best Clay to Make an AshtrayAshtrays are commonly a beginner’s first project working with clay. They are simple in design, but to get good results, basic techniques must be performed properly. If you are new to pottery or experienced and just want to brush up on your skills, an ashtray is a wonderful item to create.

You may be wondering, though, what the best clay is for making ashtrays. If you are, then this article is for you. Here we will look at the best clay for making an ashtray, What to consider when picking your clay, and answer some commonly asked questions.

Got no time to read? Here are our best picks and why we picked them.

Product Name Why We Chose It
Crayola Air Dry Clay Can be easily softened with water
Original Sculpey Gives you plenty of working time to perfect your design
Creative Paperclay Non-toxic and bio-degradable
Amaco Stonex White Clay Dries to a smooth finish and can be painted using tempera or acrylic paints
Staedtler Fimo Soft Polymer Clay Comes in a wide variety of colors and is easily mixed with other types of Fimo polymer clays

Best Clay to Make an Ashtray

1. Crayola Air Dry Clay

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Crayola air dry clay may have been intended for exciting children’s creativity but works just as well for igniting a spark in adults. Finer than other clays, it delivers a smoother finish that can be easily used to make embossed ashtrays.

Crayola only comes in two colors, Terra cotta, and white, but can be decorated using acrylic paints, markers, watercolors, or tempera.

Perhaps best of all, unhardened Crayola air dry can be easily softened with water to make working it easy and cleanup a breeze. A little soap and water and it will dissolve away.

2. Original Sculpey

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Sculpy is a name that most people who sculpt in clay will easily recognize. The company has one of the best reputations in the market and produces an entire family of clays. Original Sculpey Is the flagship of the company and is considered one of the best resin-based clays available.

Original Sculpey comes in three colors:

  • Gray
  • White
  • Terra Cotta

As a resin clay, Sculpey Original has to be baked to be hardened. While some may see this as a negative, it does give you plenty of working time to perfect your design. Besides, no kiln is required. Baking Sculpey at 275 degrees F (130°C) in a common household oven will suffice.

Once hardened, Original Sculpey can be sanded, glazed, rebaked, painted, or carved to create true works of art.

3. Creative Paperclay

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Creative Paperclay is a special type of clay that includes paper fibers in its formulation. Sometimes called stationary clay, this type of clay has the advantage of being very lite when it drys. Suitable for large ashtrays, it is easily workable when moist but sturdy when it drys.

Non-toxic and bio-degradable, Creative Paperclay can be used by kids without worries, and even the clean-up is quick and easy requiring nothing more than soap and water.

Creative Paperclay is an air-dry clay requiring no firing. It comes in only one color, white, but can be easily decorated using a wide variety of inks, paints, and dyes, including markers and watercolors.

4. Amaco Stonex White Clay

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A pure white clay with a very fine grain, Amaco Stonex White Clay is easily conditioned and softened with water. This makes it easily workable either on a wheel or coiled and shaped by hand.

Requiring no firing to properly harden, Amaco Stonex White Clay sir drys to a smooth finish and can be painted using tempera or acrylic paints if desired.

Highly refined to achieve its white color, Amaco Stonex is one of the pricier clays on our list, but its results for an air-dry clay are worth the extra cost.

5. Staedtler Fimo Soft Polymer Clay and Sets

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If you prefer working with a firmer clay, then Staedtler Fimo Soft Polymer Clay is ideal for your ashtray project. Softer than the Classic Fimo, it is still stiffer than most other polymer clays.

Staedtler Fimo comes in a wide variety of colors and is easily mixed with other types of Fimo polymer clays to create unique textures and effects.

As with all polymer clays, your will need to fire your ashtray to harden it, but this is easily achieved in any standard household oven. Simply preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and bake your project for 15 minutes for every 1/4 inch of thickness.

What to Consider When Buying Clay to Make an Ashtray

here are a few factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a clay for an ashtray project.

Drying Method

porcelain ashtray

Ashtrays can, of course, be made from stoneware, earthenware, or porcelain clay but using these clays that require firing in a kiln is really not necessary. Polymer clays and even air-dry clays will more than suffice for this type of project. Firing in a kiln requires a great deal of energy, and depending on the exact clay used, and the design of the work can add exponentially to the cost of the finished piece. There are many air dry and bakeable clays that are more than adequate for making ashtrays.

Plasticity

Plasticity is how flexible a clay is. Clays with more plasticity are easier to work with and more flexible. You may hear clays described as being stiffer or softer. Stiffer clays hold their shape better, but softer clays are easier to form. Finding the correct clay for your touch and project is largely a matter of taste and technique.

Shrinkage

potter molding clay

All clays shrink as they harden, making the finished piece slightly smaller than the original work. Low shrinkage clays will be about five percent smaller, while other clays can shrink as much as fifteen percent. If you are aiming for a particular sized piece, it is best to know the shrinkage rate of your clay so you can compensate for the loss in your design.

Absorption

Different clays are capable of absorbing different amounts of water. This is primarily a concern when working with clays that must be fired, but some air-dry clays can be affected by it. Generally, clay remains workable at 0 to 15 percent water. The more water it can hold, making it softer and more pliable. Of course, the softer it becomes, the less ability it will have to hold shape.

Workability

molded clay design

Workability is how easy a clay is to form and shape. It could be thought of as a balance between being soft enough to be easily formed and stiff enough to hold shape and support the weight of a design.

FAQ

Can you make an ashtray out of clay?

Yes, you can make an ashtray out of clay. In fact, almost any clay that can be hardened can be used to make an ashtray.

Is polymer clay safe for an ashtray?

Polymer clays are safe to be used to make ashtrays. It should however be noted that left in contact for extended periods with burning embers it will give off a slight order and could suffer scorching.

Can you use air-dry clay for an ashtray?

You can use air-dry clay to make ashtrays. The one drawback is that these types of clay can not be washed in a dishwasher and some can soften if immersed in water. Ashtrays made from air-dry clay should only be wiped clean.

How to Make an Ashtray Out of Clay (Video)

Want a fun and easy tutorial to follow for using air-dry clay to make an ashtray? Follow the video below!