Non drying water clay

Do you like to use water based clay?
I do, but I hate the fact that it dries out too quickly and cracks.
So what can you do to avoid this?
I have heard there is a clay called Wed-Clay that is not supposed to dry out but I could not buy it here in Sweden and importing it would cost too much.
So I started to experiment to make something similar myself.
Since at this time  I have never had the chance to test Wed-Clay I have no idea if this is like it or not but I don't care about that. I never wanted to copy it. I just love experimenting!
I like the clay and use it a lot these days so I thought I should share it with all of you.
Hope you will like it!

(Since this article was written back in 2005 I need to add a 2020 update. I have now worked with proper Wed clay for many years but forgotten to update this page. The real Wed clay contains a lot less glycerin than I use in the recipe. The real stuff most likely have less than half or a third of what I say here and more water instead. But try all versions! You will find what works for you!)

What do I need to make it myself??

You will need a strong mixer with a dough kneader. I use a Kenwood but other brands will work too.

Clay powder.
Most ceramic supply shops sell clay powder. Buy a very fine grain one in a colour that you like.

Glycerin. Try to find one that is at least 85%.
Less water in it means less risk of cracking.

Talcum powder (baby powder works fine).

Ok. I got everything now. How do I mix it?

Pour 400 grams of glycerin into your mixer bowl.
Put 500 grams of clay powder in there too.

Start the mixer.
It is hard work for the mixer and you might need to hold it down.

After the clay powder has been mixed in you keep adding more clay to the mix until it is very thick and heavy. You might need to give your mixer a rest sometimes so it doesn't overheat.
Use a spatula to move the clay down from the walls of the bowl.
You will probably have to add about 350 grams clay powder until it looks really lumpy.
Now your mixer is probably jumping around on the table. Hold it down!

The clay is now almost done but it still looks awful.

To fix this you use some pure muscle power and add some talcum powder.
Take small pieces of the clay and roll it on the table until it becomes smooth.

When it is smooth you can roll it over in talcum powder and keep working it in.
The talcum seems to bind the glycerin a bit and makes the clay nicer to touch.

The clay is now done and you can start sculpting.

I know what you are thinking now!
How will I be able to make textures and then make a mould
on it if it never dries??

The answer is easy. It took me a while to figure it out but then it was obvious.
When you are getting close to finishing your sculpt and want to start on the textures you use a damp sponge to wipe the surface. This extracts the glycerin from the clay and you have normal water based clay on the surface that will dry with the help of a hairdryer. Now you can do the fine textures and when you are done you can spray a layer of Crystal clear over the sculpt prior to casting it.

What about storage?
I just put it into a bucket with a lid. No wet towel or nothing. It just won't dry out.
When I first made this clay I left it out on the bench to see what happened.
Nothing happened! After three weeks it was still just as soft as the day I put it there.

So that's it. To make a batch like this takes only about 15 minutes from start to finish and even if it is tempting to to bigger batches I suggest that you stay small. The mixer could burn if you do too much at the same time.

Have fun!