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HOW TO MAKE FLAT STRIPS OF CLAY WITHOUT AN EXTRUDER

Make a simple device to roll oil based clay to an even thickness.


Often when making a mold box, or walls to contain a moldmaking material, you need to make flat strips of clay. If you do this a lot, you can get a piece of equipment called an "extruder" that forces the clay into long strips of most any shape. Be aware though, that most extruders are made for forming soft water-based clay. It takes many times as much pressure to extrude an oil-based clay, and most extruders can't do it. Ask before you buy.

Here's an easy way to get strips the size you need: just roll it out with a rolling pin, using some strips of wood or dowels to act as thickness gauges. If you use 1/2 inch diameter dowels as your thickness gauge, you will roll out a strip of clay 1/2 inch thick, and so on. You can use a larger dowel (1 inch or so diameter) to act as a rolling pin if you don't want to use a real rolling pin. Use water as a "release agent" (with oil-base clay) so the clay doesn't stick to wooden rolling pins or dowels. When the clay is the right thickness, just slice it into strips the width you need.

Here's a homemade clay-rolling setup made on a plastic cutting board. Some metal strips were used so the replaceable wooden dowels wouldn't shift around. This lets you swap out the dowels and roll clay 3/8" thick, 1/2" thick, 5/8" thick, or whatever thickness the dowels are. You could use wood strips instead of metal, or make permanent thickness gauges from wood if you always need the same thickness of clay.

Simple adjustable thickness clay roller

One final tip: you can use some silicone-coated parchment paper or a silicone baking mat under the clay to keep the clay from sticking to your work surface. You can also get silicone rubber rolling pins. These items are sold in many grocery stores, or the cookware sections of department stores.


Download a PDF source list

Includes 26 suppliers of all mold making and casting materials mentioned in ALL the demonstrations on this web site, including silicone rubber, polyurethane rubber, latex rubber, polyurethane plastic, epoxy resin, polyester resin, molding clay, foam board, release agents, pottery plaster, Hydrocal, metal powders, other plastic resin fillers, and gelatin molding compound. With company names, addresses, phone numbers, and web sites. Downloads to your computer as a PDF file.



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