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Bonsai Kathy's Old Fimo Question - 8-12-02

I have lot's of packages of fimo and sculpey, all are over 5 years
old some probably way more than that. Even the ones that still feel
soft took me over 30 minutes per package after breaking up in the
food processor to condition with the pasta machine. After doing just
2 and it took over an hour I gave up again. Every once in awhile I'll
go back and fool with another one but it just wears me out fooling
with it for so long. I love premo. 

My question. actually 2 questions,
first is there an easier way to condition this, as Carolyn said
yesterday, if you use oil it's way to sticky and messy, I tried mix
quick, didn't do a thing for me, no help at all, I also threw in some
translucent logs.

2nd question, if after going through all this work, will this stuff
hold up or should I just chunk the whole lot? I hate doing that if
there is a way to condition it easier. I have so many colors. Some of
these are in need of just throwing away because they feel like they
may have started to cure they are so hard. Those I've started to weed
out and throw away. It was mighty hot in the room they were stored in
and I never thought about it.
Thanks guys, hugs, bonsai Kathy


> first is there an easier way to condition this

Kathy, I had the same situation as you a couple of years ago and
after hours and hours of work, I eventually came to the conclusion
that life is too short to mess with dead Fimo. *g* This might save
you a little work, though - it sounds like you might be trying to
pasta machine it before it's really ready.

I used the food processor and went heavy on the diluent. The diluent
says to add "a drop at a time," but to me, that just seems silly when
you've got five-year-old "hand-breaker" Fimo to soften up. ;-)
Besides, diluent is so cheap that it's not a good place to economize,
especially when you consider that a dime's worth of diluent can save
$2/worth of clay. :-)

Break the clay up into the food processor and give it a really good
squirt - 40 drops or even more for a 2oz block of clay. Whiz it up
for a minute to turn the clay into small crumbs, dump it into a
ziplock bag and let it sit for a couple of days so that the diluent
can migrate into the clay. See if you can gather a bit of it and get
it working pretty easily after a couple of days.

If not, do the food processor/diluent thingie again - and don't be
stingy with the diluent this time, either. :-) You may not need as
much as before, but it might still need a pretty stiff belt. ;-) Let
it sit again for a couple of days. If it's still dry and won't go
through the pasta machine after two good soakings, then it's probably
partially cured already and even if you can reconstitute it enough to
get it working, it may not have the end strength that you want to
build into your items. JMO.

Another personal opinion - mineral oil and baby oil are cheaper than
diluent, but they aren't made to be part of the clay. I know lots of
people have used them, (as well as hand lotion, vaseline, etc) but
while reading the explanation of how polymerization occurs in "The
New Clay," something just didn't sit right about adding ingredients
that could interfere with the merging and expanding into each other
that these molecules are supposed to be doing in the curing.

Only intuition, here, but it seems that anything that isn't polymer
could theoretically get between the molecules and make them not "mind-
meld" they way they're supposed to. And anything that interferes with
that is going to affect your end strength.

> 2nd question, if after going through all this work, will this stuff
> hold up or should I just chunk the whole lot?

I'd do some test strips of the reconditioned stuff and see how it
holds up to flexing and bending after curing. It's inert after
curing, so that if the test strips aren't breaking or cracking right
after curing, there's nothing in there to cause them to be more
fragile a few years down the road.

Good luck and have fun!


Hi Elizabeth,
Thanks for all the great info and help. My hands are now so numb just
from breaking this stuff up all afternoon that I may have to quit for
the rest of the day. I was trying to get all the rest of the softer
feeling clay at least broken up and into bags so that I can work on
it whenever I have a few minutes here or there. I did as you
suggested with the diluent and then there are several bags sitting
aside. I managed to condition fairly well 5 bags of the older stuff.
The stuff that looked funny to me like dry I just got rid of. I
agree, it's not worth it but this is a fairly large chunk of money
and would like to save what I can and be able to use it. Lot's of
differant colors too. So thanks for your help and hopefully I'll be
able to use some of it at least.
Take care, hugs, Bonsai Kathy


Kathy, I have had fimo that is a good ten years old, and hard as a rock.  It
just takes time.  The coffee grinder did work well.  Cut down on the time
spent cutting and working with tiny bits at a time.  Myself, I have never
had to throw any of the clay out.  When it gets way to sticky, I have then
leached it with the paper.  I have even done it a couple of times to get it
down to a usable mass.  lol  But I hate to think of you pitching it.

Hope this helps.




Black and Gold Bullseye, pictures of taming old crumbly Fimo.




As a very very very last resort, you can cure the block and then use a
scraper and get a fine color powder out of it and tint your TLS! I found
that out accidentally! heeheehee That would be a last resort though!



August 16, 2002

Well for anyone that has a question about conditioning old clay, here's my take on the subject.

Diluent helps make it less dry. Putting plenty in worked well. A food processor is very necessary. Do small amounts at a time. Be extremely patient, this is not a fast process, no way, no how.

Put wax paper under the rollers of your pasta machine to catch the scrap.
I finally realized saving every tiny scrap, and flaked off stuff was
a waste of time. So now after each pass or two through the pasta
machine I'm cleaning the wax paper off. What a difference it made in the
speed of conditioning. Just drop all that dry stuff right in the trash which
I kept next to the table I was working on. A lot less mess that way also.
I also start out and get a small piece conditioned fully then start adding
new stuff to the middle and then squeezing all around the dry stuff. Then
squeezing that as flat as I could get it before putting it through the

Most importantly and the biggest time saver for me was my heating pad.
No not for the shoulder that is getting used non stop, lol, but for the

I laid all the bars and bags that had already been through the food
processor on the heating pad and I conditioned 6 bars this morning already, versus taking 2 days to do about as many before doing it this way. I also have put the rest of the bars through the food processor waiting for conditioning this morning. That was the last 7 bars of fimo and sculpey III that I had left to do. The rest of what I have has partially cured so will save that for doing into a powder for tinting my tlc and see how that does for me.

I have 4 bags left to condition and I'll be done. Then maybe I can get back
to my flower swap and finish it up. Almost there thank goodness.

This was my experience with the clay. Anyone that has anything to add to this feel free for any of the newbies that might have the same question I did a few days ago.

Not a tute but taking all the hints I got the other day and adding my own observance and putting them together to show what worked for me. Thanks to everyone for your help.

Take care all, I'm gone to try to get a bonsai together for show and tell
tomorrow at clay day. They all wanted to see one of them. For the newbies to the group, I make 1" scale bonsai's. If interested in having a look see, my website is below my signature.
Bonsai Kathy