is clay flammable

Is Clay Flammable? Important Facts!

Clay comes in many different types, colors, and textures. This material is used for crafting many beautiful decor pieces. One question that always concerns people who are using clay is whether it is flammable. And, the answer to this question is not as simple as you think. But still, after reading this article you will know the answer to the question: Is clay flammable?

Most clays, including air-dry clay, are not flammable. However, If you expose a piece of air-hardening clay to an open fire for a long time, for example, a candle, it will darken, lose its color and release a very unpleasant smell. In most cases, clay will not catch fire but it will lose its structure. As you touch the burnt area it will turn into a soft, ash-like powder.

In my personal experience, people want to know whether clay is flammable for two main reasons. First, they are planning to craft a candle holder or an ashtray and want to know if clay is a suitable material for that. Second, they are interested if you can bake the clay in the oven or a kiln. In this article, I will give answers to those questions.

Is Clay Safe For Candles?

There’s nothing quite like the cozy environment created by a wax candle. Homemade candle holders add beauty and charm to any room. But, can you use clay for crafting candle holders? 

You can work with many different types of clays, but most of them require an insert to protect the clay from fire. In addition, you will also need to seal your candle holder, otherwise hot wax will penetrate clay and stain its surface you won’t be able to remove.

In this article, I will discuss the types of clay that can be used for candle holders. Air-dry clay and polymer clay are two options that you can consider. Yet, both of them require specific knowledge. Let’s start with polymer clay.

Polymer clay is a versatile material that can be used to craft many objects, including decor and kitchenware pieces. Making a candle holder using polymer clay is safe, but you need to know how to craft it properly. 

The most important rule to consider is that the clay should not be placed directly on top of the flame. This is because it can cause the clay to stain, darken in color or even burn very quickly as it heats up.

Meanwhile, placing polymer clay to the side of the flame will be safe so long as the clay is not close enough to cause darkening or odors. Although these odors are not super toxic, they are certainly unpleasant!

Air-dry clay is more tricky. You can use this type of clay for candle holders, but it’s not recommended. Yet, if you decide to go with that option, you need an insert for the candle holder if you plan to use it with real candles.

Air-dry clay can be easily flammable so I recommend Applying a metal insert, for example, a tin can or a fire-resistant glass container for lanterns or luminaries. 

Is Air Dry Clay Good for Ashtrays?

As I have discussed earlier, air-dry clay is not the perfect material for objects that are exposed to fire and flames. 

You cannot safely use air-dry clay for ashtrays, as lighted cigarettes or cigars often touch the surface of this object, sorry. If you want your ashtrays to be safe to use, they need to be made from glass or some type of fired ceramic.

This type of clay mostly uses organic glue that is water-based to ensure proper binding. In most cases, polyvinyl acetate is mostly used as glue in arid-dry clay. When it dries, this object can be extremely porous in nature. 

So, if a cigarette or a cigar touches the surface of air-dry clay for a relatively long time, it might catch fire. The air-dry clay per se might not catch fire, but the molten clay on it can. This could lead to charring or burning of the clay. However, the clay in itself isn’t flammable.

Related: Is Air-Dry Clay Waterproof?

Is Oven Bake Clay Flammable? (is clay flammable)

The first thing you need to know is that air-dry clay should not be baked. Unfortunately, the baking process makes the clay more flammable, and it should never be fired or heated in a kiln or oven.

As air-dry clay is quite similar to ordinary clay, it can be shaped as normal and even used on a potter’s wheel, but never baked in an oven or a kiln. 

Other types of clays, such as polymer clay can be baked in the oven and this does not make them more flammable. 

You can use an oven that can reach and maintain the correct temperature through the baking process. It’s perfectly okay to use the oven you have at home. You don’t need to dedicate your oven to polymer clay. Small ovens are fine, but tiny ovens can cause more burning.

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