The Clay Storage Solution You’ve Been Waiting For

Do you dread your clay units because of the hassle involved? Maybe the mere mention of the words clay unit gets your heart racing as you think about your struggle with organization. Numerous “no names,” projects drying out before students are finished, or the inability to even start a project because it would take weeks to complete are enough to make any teacher say, “ No more clay!” Lucky for you, today I’m sharing my solution for keeping projects week-to-week with the added bonus of never having a nameless clay piece in your art room again!

Excited about your clay units now?  Want even more great tips? Check out the links below from 6 of our best Clay Articles.

How do you store clay projects week-to-week?

How do you battle the no-name epidemic?



Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.


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  • Ashley Fournier

    I hate to say it but a couple years ago I donated my air dry clay to another art teacher. I became frustrated with the amount of time I spent repairing the projects, and the students became very frustrated themselves. As an educator with a minor in ceramics I was sad to do this. However, I have found that instead of clay, which I doesn’t get provided by my district anymore anyways, I have started using other three-dimensional materials to supplement instead.

  • Toby

    You should try to approach your PTA for funding for clay, see about writing a grant for clay, or art organizations in your area donate clay and/or money for clay? Do you have a lake by your area with “clay” soil around? Glaze is an option as you can always paint them. I would really stress the importance of the subject of clay you teach for your curriculum! Have visiting artists come in… Show the clay… Kids will go home and talk to parents, who may donate money for clay. Good luck!

    • Ashley Fournier

      Toby, these are great ideas! I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

  • Mary Gallagher

    To prevent mold from forming inside the Ziploc bags, I spray a paper towel with a water/Clorox mixture. After I fill a 24-ounce spray bottle with tap water, I add just a few drops of the bleach and shake it up. I spay each towel and gently place them over the wet clay pieces just before the kids place them in the bags.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Smart thinking Mary!

  • Mary Gallagher

    Thank you, Alecia! Being an older art teacher, I have learned a lot over the years. Here’s another tip that I learned from a now-retired art teacher: Use the tiny alphabet-soup noodles (dry and uncooked, of course) and spread them out on black paper on the art tables about 15 minutes before kids are done with their clay projects. Have the students pick out their initials (and room numbers, in my case) from the dry noodles and press them into the clay. (Works with K-12!) Then let the pieces dry with the noodles in place. Fire them normally and the noodles burn off leaving the students’ initials and room numbers permanently imprinted in the clay. I have purchased bags of noodles in the Mexican Food section of my local grocery store for under a dollar a bag. My last tip: SHARE everything! You learn so much more when you share and I want to thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us!

    • Art Tech

      Awesome idea about the alphabet soup noodles.
      Saves so much time especially with the first graders

  • Pam Tycer

    I use 12″ x 18″ Masonite boards that are covered with plastic to store clay. It works wonderful and does not take up a lot of space to store. Students make a paper name tag to slip under or inside their project–yes they do get soggy but they still work. The students place their unfinished clay pot or sculpture on the plastic covered Masonite board. A board holds about 12 projects. I then cover it all the projects with a damp dish cloth that has been soaked in soapy water and squeezed out. Soap in the water keeps mold from forming. The damp towel keeps the clay nice and moist so projects don’t dry out between classes. I then use an old clay bag that has been slit open and the bottom cut off so it is just a flat piece and cover the Masonite tray tucking the plastic under the edges of the board. Off to the storage cupboard it goes. This method works GREAT and I never have any projects that dry out by accident because the student didn’t properly seal the bag. I also like it because it doesn’t take much room to store the projects.

    • Cool tip about the soap, Pam. I didn’t know that!

    • Art Tech

      Just another idea.. I inherited a set of 30 older cafeteria trays 9 years ago and use them for storing clay on. I also use them for outdoor drawing trays too.

      This year I laminated strips with teacher names on
      them to use for the drying rack but soon found out I could use them for the cafeteria trays. I made enough strips to use on any project and stored them in a pocket chart.

      Buy, sew
      your own, or find a left behind pocket chart from teacher recyclables. I
      hung mine on the wall by the drying rack. Easy to reach, makes kids
      responsible for laying one on the first and last project.

      For quicker access and trying to decipher handwriting, you could print a page of names for each student with their teacher code for the year, cutting one at a time and leaving in their manilla folders or journal.

      • Pamela Tycer

        Great ideas! Thanks!

  • Lynn Goff

    A couple of summers ago someone gifted me with 3 plastic bread trays (the type that are used to deliver many loaves of bread to the store) that nest on top of each other. When it is time to store clay projects I put a big plastic table cloth in the bottom of the tray and then I wrap the all of the projects from one table in each bag. The bag is labeled with the table# for easy return delivery. Once all projects are stored I wrap the table cloth around the whole thing and slide it out of sight under one of my work tables. I have successfully kept projects damp and workable for up to 3 weeks with this method. And the really wonderful part is I can have 3 classes worth of work( which is a whole grade level for our school) stored and organized at one time!

  • Lynn

    How many times do you have a student’s project that breaks or cracks before it is fired. I use a homemade paper clay to repair bone dry cay pieces. Mix 1 part toilet paper with 2 parts dry clay in a blender with enough water to cover all. It becomes a thick slip that can be used to fill in cracks and attach pieces of bone dry clay that have broken off. Really saves the day many times.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Thanks for the tip Lynn! I’ll definitely look into it! :)