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Mineral OilMineral oil is cheap and easy to find -- your local pharmacy probably has a big bottle of some generic brand available for less than a dollar. And that makes it a darn good value for a surprisingly versatile craft supply.

Here's 6 reasons you need to buy a bottle of mineral oil for your craft space:

6 Uses for Mineral Oil

  1. Cleaning your hands. Mineral oil works so much better than alcohol for wiping highly-pigmented colors of clay off your hands. I just rub a little dab of mineral oil into my hands, then wipe it off with a paper towel (repeating if necessary). And it's not just polymer clay that it's good for either -- mineral oil is also very helpful for getting alcohol inks off your hands... which isn't an easy task otherwise!
  2. Cleaning your supplies. Glass Attic recommends using mineral oil to clean your cutting blade. You can also use it in combination with dish soap or rubbing alcohol to clean your pasta machine.
  3. Conditioning old clay.
  4. Thinning polymer clay & liquid polymer clay:

    Be sure to check out Jeanne Rhea's experiments comparing mineral oil to Sculpey diluent for liquid clay mixtures. The diluent mixture seems to be clearer and stronger, making it a better choice for certain projects.

  5. Using as a release agent. Apply mineral oil first to glass, metals, or styrofoam to act as a release agent. Glass Attic also recommends applying it to your bead corer to prevent sticking.
  6. Smoothing clay before baking. MossyOwls suggests brushing down clay with mineral oil before baking to help reduce fingerprints.

Did You Know...?

According to Wikipedia, baby oil is just mineral oil with added fragrance. So if you happen to have baby oil around, you can substitute it for any of these mineral oil uses.

Your Uses for Mineral Oil

Got a favorite tip for using mineral oil? I'd love to hear it!


I know the current problem is with clay that is far too soft but I came into more than 40 pounds of very firm fimo this year.

Most of the fimo got diced and crumbled into big freezer bags, tossed with a few drops of mineral oil, sealed and left a few days. Then, I sat and whacked it with a rolling pin and repeated as necessary.

Now that it's been beaten into submission, it's happily being used.

Wow, Elaine -- that's a lot of clay! I have some several-years-old blocks that are very firm, too. For the longest time I resisted trying the mineral oil thing -- guess I thought it'd be expensive or hard to find -- so the clay just kept sitting in the drawer, unused. I was surprised & pleased when I found out how well it works!

Thanks for the link! :o)

I can't think of any new tips to suggest, but I learned a thing or two from the ones you listed.

For instance, it would never have occurred to me to use mineral oil for cleaning anything! I'll definitely give that a try. I don't like using alcohol on my hands too often, since it dries them out so much. Mineral oil would probably leave your hands softer and more moisturized.

Mix white granulated sugar with a little mineral oil, add fragrance and color if you want and you have a nice sugar scrub for your hands, elbows, and knees. Just be careful if you use it in the shower. It makes the tub floor slick, slick, slick!

I also use it in homemade bath salts to help the fragrance oil mingle all through the salts.

Thanks, NesieJean. Along those same lines, my sister sent me links to these bath oil recipes:
Homemade Bath Oil with Fragrant Potpourri
and Bath Items You Can Make. I had no idea mineral oil was used for these!

Ahh, great idea! I've been using alcohol as a wipe-down to smooth + remove those pesky dust-bits (I'm a little anal, considering I'm trying to make perfect skin tones with 0 texture), but mineral oil is a great idea too!

Another hand-cleaning tip for your readers: Fast Orange Handcleaner! It's pretty natural and cheeeap in automotive supply stores. It's pumice and oil-cutting skills work perfectly to remove polymer clay residue from my hands. (plus it has moisturizers!)

Thanks for the tip, Ashleigh. My dad always used that orange stuff to clean his hands after mechanical work & I remember how yummy it smelled! Hadn't considered trying it for polymer clay, but it certainly makes sense that it would work wonderfully. Thanks!

I feel so smart right now. :) I'm not much of a polymer clay person, especially since I found out why everybody who is dedicates a toaster oven to it. :P

But I pulled out my clay today only to find it totally unusable. Dry, crumbly, almost impossible to kneed, totally impossible to shape.

It crossed my mind that I noticed before that the oil from my hands seemed to soften clay when I've used it before. I wondered if more oil would moisturize it better.

I greased my hands up with mineral oil (which I use for lots of things, such as defrizzing my thick, curly hair.)

Worked like a charm. I googled this to see if it was safe to bake. Good to know it is. Thanks!

Check out this link for another view on using mineral oil. Just want to throw a different perspective out there. http://www.herballuxuries.com/mineral-oil.htm

I have another use that I discovered by accident -- brightening your colors again after sanding. I don't own a dremel or sander, I sand by hand, and I found that sometimes the colors 'fade' a little after sanding, and even buffing doesn't always bring them back. A make up pad or paper towel with a bit of mineral oil on it, applied gently over the surface and allowed to sit a few seconds then wiped off, brightens the colors back up to where they should be. I haven't noticed that it harms the pieces (remember this is done AFTER it's been baked), and it's a nice 'touch up' right before a craft show.

Oh, how interesting, ceallaig! I'd never heard of anything like this. Kinda like applying Pledge to a wooden table, eh? Hmmm...

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CraftyGoat's Notes is all about sharing polymer clay tips & tricks that have worked for me. (And even a few that haven't!)

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